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RCBS hand priming tool blew up in my hand

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by JohnnyGrey, Mar 20, 2008.

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  1. JohnnyGrey

    JohnnyGrey Member

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    Yes, it was I that posted earlier about problems with this god forsaken thing and .223. I did as I was advised, and checked the plastic parts for mold flash, there was none, but the parts didn't seem to line up perfectly, they seemed slightly convex. I went to my local gun store and bought a flash hole uniformer thinking it would make the brass easier to prime. It worked partially, but the thing was still occasionally shredding primers. It always jammed too. No matter at which angle I held it, getting a fresh primer was hit or miss.

    So just a few minutes ago, I was priming a shell when I got a BANG! My hands are black and they sting, the primer dish landed on the other side of the room, scorched. The clear cover is nowhere to be found and the flourescent light overhead is shattered. I got pissed off and just left everything the way it was. My ears are ringing still and my left hand is red. My eyes are okay since I was wearing glasses and I had the thing pointed away from my face. Oh, you know that black sliding piece that's supposed to keep the prmers in the tray from blowing up in your face? It doesn't work. Good thing I only had about 10 left in it.

    :cuss:
     
  2. sig228

    sig228 Member

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    Wow. What brand of primers?
     
  3. Luggernut

    Luggernut Member

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    Glad you are ok- that's scary.
     
  4. JohnnyGrey

    JohnnyGrey Member

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    Thanks Luggernut.

    They were Federal primers. I was telling the guy at the store about the difficulties I had in seating primers and he suggested I go with Federal. He says they're a hair smaller than the CCI primers I tried last time. I don't blame the primers for what happened here.
     
  5. gravelyctry

    gravelyctry Member

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    I had a primer go off one time in my press. From now on, I wear safety glasses and ear plugs whenever I'm reloading. Glad you or no one else was injured.
     
  6. scrat

    scrat Member

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    you had a defective priming tool. you really need to contact rcbs. glad your ok.
     
  7. Nighthawk0083

    Nighthawk0083 Member

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    did you happen to put the the bar in upside down. One side is flat and the other round. Flat side should touch the primer and the round to the socket in the tool.

    When i prime brass i hold the tool at a 45 so i see the primer drop in the hole and then slide the case in to the shell holder, then point it away from me and push it in.
     
  8. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...problems with this god forsaken thing..." If you don't have confidence in it, stop using it and contact RCBS' Customer Service. 1-800-533-5000 They will help you.
    Never have had an issue with the auto-primer feed myself.
     
  9. bensdad

    bensdad Member

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    I'm really sorry this happened. Must have scared the crap out of ya.

    I'm so new to reloading that I really should just keep my mouth shut, but I noticed one glaring omission. You said you got a "flash hole uniformer?" That does not sound like a tool that would fix the primer pocket. Maybe it is. If so, then I'm off-base. Anyway, I'm wondering if the primer pockets were the real culprit. Sometimes they need to have a crimp removed. I think the tool is a swager?

    I smashed two or three primers a while back (on .223 no less). I was told to swage the primer pockets. Now, I just set aside any .223 cases that don't take a primer easy enough. I'll get back to them when I get a swager.

    Also, as posted above, you have to have the pin in with the flat surface facing up.

    One last thing, I don't know what you mean by, "that black sliding piece," but if you mean the unit that the shell holder goes on (primer feed) you were using the wrong one. The white is for small primers. The black is for large primers. .223 are small primers. If you were using the black primer feed with the small rod, then the rod was very likely canted. This could have easily caused a kaboom (I think).
     
  10. 71Commander

    71Commander Member

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    The black thing has me confused also. Mine is white.:confused:
     
  11. stubbicatt

    stubbicatt Member

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    Groan.

    Glad you weren't hurt. There are other priming tools you can use that will work better perhaps.

    I have a Lee for the last 20+ years or so, and I like it that you have to use thumb pressure, so you can tell if you are meeting resistance to seating the primer. As soon as I can tell it's not going in the primer pocket, I stop and examine the situation more closely.

    I've been using a Dillon Super 1050 since late last year on my 223's since it can swage out the primer crimps, if any. As I sit here now, I realize how much safer that press is than hand priming.
     
  12. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    As posted earlier, it's a bad one. Contact RCBS. It is to late to stop what happened, but they will make it good. Mine has worked great for years.

    It's the old rule of thumb, don't force it. Quit using it. Find out what's wrong. Fix it before you use it again. :)
     
  13. steve4102

    steve4102 Member

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    Exactly! Black is for large primers and White is for small primers.
     
  14. JohnnyGrey

    JohnnyGrey Member

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    I'm sorry, I meant primer pocket uniformer, a hand tool. I did have the pole flat side up.
    I don't mean the black/white plastic piece, I mean the long, curved black metal strip that slides through the above pieces. This metal piece is supposed to isolate the primers in the tray from the mechanism, but it didn't work. I had the primer tray rubber banded shut with two rubber bands, as someone on here recommended, but the thing still blew itself apart. I still can't find that clear plastic lid.
     
  15. evan price

    evan price Member

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    Federals are actually the softest primers and the easiest to Kaboom. Try Winchesters next time, and have RCBS send you a new tool.
     
  16. ADKWOODSMAN

    ADKWOODSMAN Member

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    Will he ever use a hand priming tool again?
     
  17. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

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    My guess, if there was nothing wrong with the tool, is you were using the wrong insert (one black, one white) like another poster suggested. If you use the black one, which is meant for large primers, when using small primers, it will let the small primers flip around, get out of alignment, etc, and cause problems. It's easy to do. :)
     
  18. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    In 30 years plus, I have had one primer blow up in my old Lee hand primer. I was loading Remington primers in Remington 25-06 cases and it just went bang. Fortunately all the bang went out the case which was pointed away from me. After that I started wearing glasses religiously. The fired primer was seated in the case and looked just fine just like any fired round. Haven't a clue what caused that little jewel.
     
  19. spencerhut

    spencerhut Member

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    Wow. Just freaking wow. I've been around this hobby pretty much since I can remember, 8yo or so, and have never set off a primer with a hand tool or personally known anyone that has. Hell I've seen primers crushed in every manner you can imagine with various hand tools and on the several presses, but never seen one go bang on the press or in the hand tool. 30+ years.

    This hobby requires significant patience, requires it. High levels of force/effort/energy are nearly always bad in nearly any operation we perform. The operations that my require high levels of force/effort/energy require patience and practice to learn. Like sizing a case fired in a machine gun in a small base die without getting them stuck in the die. Patience, practice and the correct level of force is required to prevent frustration.

    Difficulty in seating primers is a very common thing, especially when dealing with military or just mixed range brass. Seating primers should always be done slowly and carefully. Excessive force means something is wrong and you need to stop and figure out what it is. If you can not figure it out and work around it, you may end up loosing an eye or a hand.

    We have all been in a position at some point where we blamed a tool for a problem and later realized it was our own fault. So don't blame the tool if it is operator error. If you don't have significant experience reloading, chances are it is operator error rather than a defective tool.
     
  20. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    It’s hard to get a free lesson these days, glad that you are ok. In the future STOP if things don’t feel right and get the machine working or trash it. It looks like you were struggling with it for at least three days (your last post about it was on the 17th). What if 100 had gone off?

    Now to your problem, if the machine works(ed) fine for 9mm and not .223, you have yet to remove the crimp from the .223 primer pocket. The pocket should look like the one on the left (photo below); the one on the right will cause the symptoms you described. You can ream to make the pocket uniform and not remove the crimp. The crimp it must be cut out or swaged to be removed. After this operation is preformed you won’t be able to tell the difference between 9mm and .223.


    [​IMG]
     
  21. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Member

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    You might try the Lee Auto Prime II. The way it is designed it will allow only one primer to be set off if one does and I haven't had one go off in the 20 years I've used it. It is a press mounted primer seating system and works very well with the Lee "C" press or other single stage press.
     
  22. mallc

    mallc Member

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    Plus 1 for crimped pocket

    Agree that the problem was likely crimped primer pockets on .223.

    I occasionally crush a primer with my Dillion 650 when loading military brass, even after the sweging the pocket.

    I also load a lot of .223 new brass using an RCBS Universal hand primer and have never had a problem.

    Can you post a photo of the offending brass?

    Scott
     
  23. JohnnyGrey

    JohnnyGrey Member

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    No, it was the white insert. Since all I do is 9mm and .223, I have no use for the black one.

    I might not have 30 years experience reloading, but I've got plenty of experience with mechanical devices and tools. I understand how this thing is supposed to work, and I can tell you that it is poorly built for that purpose.

    The fit between the parts is loose and sloppy.

    The feeding is extremely unreliable regardless of how I hold it.

    The black "safety gate" flat out does not work and I have a blown up primer tray and shattered work lamp to prove it. Take it from me, that little strip of metal will not protect you from a kaboom.

    What am I supposed to think when many shells took more force to prime than the kaboom took to happen? Because the priming tool uses shellholders, I can't simply stop if a primer goes in crooked or takes too much force. If a shell isn't primed perfectly, it will remain stuck in the shellholder!

    The brass I have had the most trouble with is stamped: ππY

    I don't know exactly which shell I was priming at the time because after it blew up, I got mad and just walked away. I couldn't remove it from the tool because the primer didn't seat properly and is preventing the shell from coming out.
     
  24. Spartacus451

    Spartacus451 Member

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    I have had this problem occasionally. What I do is take the shell holder out and put it in a press and gently decap the stuck primer.

    Primer detonation is an odd thing. It never happens to some people no matter how many times they mangle primers. Others it happens to repeatedly. I can't figure out why people have such markedly different experiences.
     
  25. spencerhut

    spencerhut Member

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    Primers are designed to function on impact. If you work slowly, even with great force, they will not go off. I have crushed my fair share of primers and never had one go off because once I feel abnormal resistance I slow my movements way down. I've crushed primers in sideways and nothing happens. Then for the hell of it chambered and fired the empty case with the crushed primer, bang, nearly every time. Why? Impact vs slow steady force.

    Ouch. I disagree.

    I would continue to apply slow and steady pressure until the crushed primer is far enough in the primer pocket to remove the case from the shell holder. I've done this many times over the years. Never had a problem.

    nnY is Priv Partisan if I remember correctly.

    I'd suggest you get one of these:
    http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=447022&t=11082005

    Load it in your press while you are hand priming. The moment you feel more resistance than you are comfortable with stop and run the offending case through the Primer Pocket Swager. When you place the case on the pocket expander (mounts in the press ram like a shell holder) you will be able to visually see almost immediately if the primer pocket in question will easily take a primer or if it is indeed too tight and should be swaged.

    Remember most of the operations in this hobby go by experience and feel. We all have crushed, broken and destroyed our fair share of equipment, brass and bullets. Most things, like seating primers, are not easy to get a feel for right away. Be very patient. Go very slow when seating the primers. If it just wont go in there is a reason, and I doubt it's the equipment you are using be it Lee, Lyman, RCBS, Dillon Hornady, you name it. All these companies make good reliable reloading gear. They have to or they would not be in business.
     
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