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reloading dangers - have you ever had an accident?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by tuj, Jul 14, 2011.

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  1. tuj

    tuj Member

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    To the old hands reloading here, my question is two-fold:

    1. How dangerous do you find the reloading process? What I'm getting at here is how sensitive are the primers to accidents? And secondly, just how bad is a double-charge in a handgun like a .45? I've seen pictures of chucks of metal and understand that a double would likely destroy the gun, but what about the shooter?

    2. Have you ever set off a primer or worse, a box of primers? What happened? Ever had any other accidents? Do you wear any kind of protection while you are reloading?

    Just trying to get a full understanding of the risks before I start reloading. I'm fully aware that my own safety is in my hands (and head) but I wanted to tap into the collective wisdom of others with experience doing this. I plan on reloading for .45ACP.

    The last thing I want is to be hand-priming on the couch while watching tv and somehow blow my hands off. :eek:

    So I'd like to know if you guys have ever had an incident of a primer(s) going off accidentally or a double-charge that you fired, or any incidents with powder.

    Thanks in advance, sorry for the newbie question. If it helps, I am currently reading the ABC's of Reloading.
     
  2. popper

    popper Member

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    about as dangerous as driving you car.
     
  3. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    I'm not an old hand, but I've had 2 accidental primer discharges while reloading. The primer didn't completely line up with the primer pocket and instead of seating the primer, the press caused the primer to go off. This was reloading 9pm using small pistol primers. I had my head turned to the side slightly and the resulting noise was incredibly loud. Instant ear ringing on the one side. It was so bad that I could rub my fingers together right up beside my ear and not hear a single thing! Took about two days to get back to "normal". A week later it happened again. Same thing. Now I wear earplugs when I reload.




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  4. tuj

    tuj Member

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    Yes I understand we all take risks in a daily activity such as driving. But I'm familiar with the risks of driving but not so much with reloading. Was hoping some could share words of wisdom regarding minimizing risk and/or lessons learned.
     
  5. Olympus

    Olympus Member

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    Words of wisdom I SHOULD have listened too: don't go with a progressive press to start out with. Too many things going on at once.


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  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I follow KISS principles and (knock on wood) have never had a major mishap. I use only CCI primers and I only load with the hand primer and hand press. That way I can feel problems before they arise. A progressive press with auto prime features gives you much more leverage but can also mask problems. So if there's a burr or obstruction I instantly feel it and don't press the primer home. So far that's saved me from a primer KB.

    But primers are unlikely to do any major damage anyway. The big danger is the double charge or the squib you fail to notice that creates an obstructed bore. I also always make a point of using a load tray fifty at a time and directly inspect each and every cartridge prior to seating the bullet. I use a bright headlamp or tactical light (though not held close enough to ignite anything).
     
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    It's far less than driving. Any primer that goes off is caused by operator failure.
    Haven't had any issues of any kind in 30 plus years. Mind you, I did get bit by the press once. Caused by not paying attention to where my mitt was.
     
  8. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Not very dangerous at all if you pay attention to what you're doing and NEVER go above listed max loads.

    Very. There are pics, some on here, of mangled hands. I don't know if it's .45s, but anytime your gun flies apart, there's a big danger of you getting hurt.

    I've never had a dangerous incident, thankfully, in the two years I've been loading. I've got to the woods and couldn't chamber a round, because I didn't trim the cases. I have double charged a case or two, but I caught them because I always insepect the charged cases and make sure the powder levels are the same. Always check.

    The .45 ACP is a good round to start on by the way. It's low pressure and pretty forgiving.

    It's good that you are so concerned for safety. But like I said, if you follow the book to the letter you should be fine. It gets dangerous when people think that the max loads are more suggestions than strict rules. You're also right about sitting there priming while watching tv. I wouldn't do anything distracting while loading. It deserves your undivided attention.

    Welcome aboard.
     
  9. Funshooter45

    Funshooter45 Member

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    Well... one time I kinda strained my back when I went to lift 2000 .45 Colt bullets out of the back of my truck. They weigh quite a bit. Use proper lifting technique. And the other day I sorta scraped a knuckle when I was tightening a bolt to remount a press.

    But I've never had a primer go off when loading. I do try to keep my glasses on though when priming cases.

    Actually, I think the most danger comes from when I'm trimming or chamfering rifle cases. I use an electric drill with either my Wilson trimmer or the chamfer tool. Sometimes those brass shavings come off fairly fast. It could be a nasty thing to have a tiny piece of brass shaving imbed in your eye.
     
  10. Glock20

    Glock20 Member

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    tuj -

    1. No more dangerous than walking out to pick up the mail..... so long as all safety rules and loading by a published manual are followed. When a person loads outside these simple parameters bad things can happen.
    If you read on a message board someones load data, take it with a grain of salt at best and never, ever load any round without verifying the load data in a published manual or manufacturers on-line data. Preferably cross check with a 2nd manual.


    2. Yes, set off a primer once with a "whack a mole" Lee Loader for 38 Special. No damage and went on to finish loading what I started.
    Never had a primer go off in 15k + rounds on my L-N -L AP.
    When using a press, SS, turret or progressive, don't force anything. With the Lee Loader, by the nature of design one pounds the primer in with a steel rod and mallet.
    Sounds bad, but really it's a very safe tool and as simple as a rock.

    The ABC's of reloading is an excellent book.... Keep reading, then read it again.
     
  11. popper

    popper Member

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    tuj -
    My comment was not a joke. When learning to drive, you learn to shift gears, work the pedals and steer. Same thing with re-loading. Learn the rules (THR is a good place to learn) and OBEY them. Yes, I had one mistake, loaded a 40 SW FC HS case that blew up. Had seen someplace that they were bad, but forgot or didn't check HS. Lesson learned.
     
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I have popped one primer ever in a loading press, about two years ago after 31 years of practice on that one machine. My elderly CH AutoCHamp did not advance the case all the way and the primer punch sheared a primer over the edge of the pocket. It was louder than you might expect but did not throw fragments around. My fault, I seldom use that machine any more and it needed cleaning and lubricating but I tried to just start it up.

    I have squashed and flattened a number of primers in the seating step but always with gradual pressure and not the impact or shear it takes to set them off, except as above.

    I have never had a double charge, a no-powder "squib", wrong powder in the measure, or other powder handling blunder.

    The only double charge I know of on our range demolished the gun but did not injure the shooter.
     
  13. PCCUSNRET

    PCCUSNRET Member

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    There was a fellow posted a picture of a primer tube that was stuck in the ceiling of his reloading room. Apparently, one set off the whole tube and it went off like a rocket and stuck in the ceiling. I have been reloading for about 12 years now and so far I have been very careful and have not had any "major" catastrophes. I tend to load mostly for rifle so it would difficult to get a double charge. I have had a couple of "squibs" which if not caught could have caused some damage but I knew as soon as I fired them there was something wrong. Other than that, I would say this isn't any more dangerous than fishing or hunting. I found that one can become complacent while reloading as some of the steps are somewhat monotonous (cleaning primer pockets). It helps reading about mistakes made by others to make one realize they may have gotten a bit lax and this can be a dangerous hobby if all steps are not done properly. It's just like many things we do that can be somewhat dangerous (driving, shooting, hunting) if you stay alert and follow the rules it can be an enjoyable and safe hobby.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  14. GLOOB

    GLOOB Member

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    I've had:

    1) A squib. My very first batch. I intentionally used an empty primed case to set my seating die, then forgot about it. It says right on the instructions for my press, DO NOT use an empty case when setting the seating die.

    2) My friend somehow managed to load an unsized case with the old primer still in and didn't notice the lack of neck tension. When it fed, it setback almost all the way. Of course it didn't go off. But I'll never decap unsized brass with a universal decapping pin, because of that.

    3) I've accidentally tried to doublecharge my rifle brass several times. I verified from the start that a double charge wouldn't fit, though. And I check the lot before seating. So it was no big deal when it happened. With my pistol setup, I can't easily do a double charge or a squib. But I load the rifle on a block, moving (or forgetting to move) the funnel from case to case.

    I've mangled up a bunch of primers. Never had one go off. I've never used Federal primers, though. They're supposed to be the most sensitive. Lee even advises against Federal in some of their priming systems, although I'm not sure if it's because of that, of maybe due to slight dimensional differences.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2011
  15. Strykervet

    Strykervet member

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    Had a batch that was loaded with weak charges. Just enough to get the bullet stuck most of the way down the barrel and just enough recoil to be deceiving. I weigh each charge now and I don't trust meters. For me, reloading is a slow, painstaking process where I shoot for consistency and accuracy not found in manufactured ammo. If I didn't, it wouldn't be worth it.

    I like what that one guy said. It is about as dangerous as driving your car. So don't text and reload, that could be bad.
     
  16. Super.45

    Super.45 Member

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    First rule that I follow is no distractions while loading.
    Watch TV to watch TV.
    Prime when you want to prime. Don't do both at the same time.
    Distracted loading is like distracted driving. You can get away with it up untill the moment it catches up to you.
    Rule 2 Don't reload if you are in a hurry. Better to miss a match that you didn't get ready for in time than try to rush it.
    3rd Rule is Don't reload if you are tired thinking it may take not that much effort to reload some rounds. Tired people make mistakes.
    I have been reloading a fair bit these last several years without mishaps.
    I do it in private without noise or radios on. I check cartridge charges on a regular basis even on the progressives just to be sure that something hasn't gone amiss.
    If you develop good habits and follow the rules then reloading is quite safe and very rewarding. If you get sloppy or careless then you will reap what you sow as it were.
     
  17. floydster

    floydster Member

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    I have been reloading for over 57 years in all that time I had one incident that just happened the other day--my girl friend came into my cave and told me she was PG, well, I turned around fast from my reloading bench and knocked my beer on the floor.
     
  18. BADUNAME37

    BADUNAME37 Member

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    I've been doing it for about 30 years and have never had a problem. Sure, a sideways primer in the early days, a split case neck, etc. Never anything major. I don't remember EVER having to pull more than one bullet off a case.

    I attribute it to what others have stated, I try to be organized and very methodical - triple-checking EVERYTHING! When it comes to reloading, take nothing for granted. Check, check and double-check again! Never any distractions at all. I reload in my basement and I can either hear the hum of the dehumidifier in the background during summer months or the sound of my boiler heating system running in winter months. That is it, no radio, no music, no TV.

    It is a heck of a lot easier to do it right the first time than to have to go back to Re-Do it!
     
  19. Waldog

    Waldog Member

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    1. Reloading is safer than mowing your lawn.
    2. Been loading for over 45 years. I have never set off a primer but, I have done the following:
    - Put powder from my powder measure into the wrong CAN. I caught it right away and ruined about $25 in powder. Makes good fertilzer.
    - Overloaded a 220 Swift case that caused a VERY STIFF bolt lift and the primer fell out of the case. Still have the case as a reminder.
    - Stuck a couple of 30.06 cases in a sizing dies due to not enough lube. That was before I discovered Imperial Sizing wax.
    - Had 1 squib 9mm pistol round while learning to use my LNL AP press. Easily tapped out of barrel with a dowel.
    - Spilled a package of primers on a shag rug (Circa 1970).
     
  20. empty hull

    empty hull Member

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    After 30 years of reloading, I shot my first squib in a 1911. I am lucky I only have to replace the barrel and bushing. My fault as I was distracted twice during the reloading process. Tim
     
  21. Romeo 33 Delta

    Romeo 33 Delta Member

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    NO!

    I reload with a single stage press.

    I prime 50 cases with a Lee Hand-held Primer.

    Once I begin assembling a round I:

    1. Measure and add the powder to a case
    2. Seat the bullet
    3. Only then do I move on to the next case

    No TV, maybe the radio, no visitors.

    If I am interrupted, I either finish the round I am working on or dump the powder and start over later.

    I double check my load data, either from my books or from the card that is in each box of ammo I have previously loaded.

    It's NOT rocket science ... just common sense and the ability to read and follow directions.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    I watch TV all the time when loading, but only as background. Or an AM radio. I wouldn't advise watching something with subtitles while trying to reload.
     
  23. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    I have been reloading off and on for 30+ years. So other than the occasional crushed/stuck case/primer I have been lucky to have become aware of any hazards and corrected them before they became a danger. If you think that it will never happen to you, just know that it can happen today or tomorrow if you become lax in your process. The best thing is to become amazingly boring when reloading.:D If you do the EXACT SAME thing EVERY time then the chances of making an error are diminished significantly. Also do not stop half way for anything. Finish the process you started or go back a step. For example I load my empty primed brass primer up in a loading block, pick it up turn it over and add propellant. Then I put it into a different loading block neck up. Repeat as needed to transfer all brass from one block to another. If I am interrupted I will put the empty case back into first block and then resume later or finish and put the full one in the next block and stop there. No setting the brass somewhere with the process incomplete. Careful and methodical and you will enjoy a great hobby. Let er slide and you just roll the dice again.:eek: I drive a car, mow the lawn, weld, use saws etc in woodworking, and many other things besides reloading. They are all safe if you pay attention and know what the risks/benefits are before you start.
     
  24. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    See Photo Links Below

    The Lee Classic (hammer) loader has set off primers for me. Not my fault. :D Fixed it by buying a hand priming tool. See photo links below of KABOOMS and other reloading tips. :) Some have info with the pic.
     
  25. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    I used to make mistakes while reloading.

    Then I got Ceiling Cat.

    Ceiling Cat meowrs whenever a double charge is spotted.

    ceiling_cat-1.gif
     
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