Primers going off unintentionally

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Primers going off unintentionally

Post by mikemyers on Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:30 pm

For as long as I've been reloading, I've always been concerned about a primer going off unintentionally.  A few horror stories on the net, usually with photos, are the reason I won't get a reloader with a primer tube.  I know most of you feel that this worrying is needless, but I'm less anxious using the RCBS plastic primer strips.  Regardless of anything else, if I'm doing anything with reloading, the first thing I do is put on my safety glasses.  It's as natural to me now, as putting on my hearing protection when I get to the range.  I don't expect anything to go wrong, but I always have a concern....

One thing I've noticed is that I am always "concerned" about a primer going off.  I've had primers that fell on my floor (meaning I would search forever until I found the missing critter).  Just wondering, how likely is it that a "missing" or loose primer could find a way to set itself off?  Is this next to an impossible event, or is it something that actually happens every so often.  

Have any of you actually had that happen, for any reason, at any time in your reloading career?  How easy or difficult is it for a primer to go [bang] at the wrong time?
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Aprilian on Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:44 pm

I set one off with a hammer using the Lee hand reloading set in the 80's.  I set one off on a friend's 650 last year and I set off another with the APS strips when I started using them this year.   I found the problem with the APS bench primer's registration and reworked the alignment and everything has been great since them.   I always wear safety glasses and, due to the ringing ears after the last one, I now wear hearing protection too.

Conversely, I had a WLP go in sideways with a RCBS hand primer and it completely changed shape, but did not go off.

YMMV.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by gregbenner on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:22 pm

Ive never had an issue. I have, on occasion, de-primed charged primers, and have at least a few times stepped on one on the floor.  Never tried the hammer trick though (lol).

I do wear safety glasses when reloading.

The gentlemen I purchased my Star reloader from (Bruce) indicated (as I recall) that he uses some kind of blast shield, although I could be mistaken?

That said, they are dangerous and in my opinion do whatever makes you feel comfortable.  Have you tried googling the issue as well?

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by cdrt on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:34 pm

gregbenner wrote:Ive never had an issue. I have, on occasion, de-primed charged primers, and have at least a few times stepped on one on the floor.  Never tried the hammer trick though (lol).

I do wear safety glasses when reloading.

The gentlemen I purchased my Star reloader from (Bruce) indicated (as I recall) that he uses some kind of blast shield, although I could be mistaken?

That said, they are dangerous and in my opinion do whatever makes you feel comfortable.  Have you tried googling the issue as well?
What he was probably talking about is, that the primer tube for the Star is blast proof.  So, if you had some primers go off in the tube, it would not "blow it up".  One of the guys on the Star Reloaders forum had some primers go off in the tube when he dropped the primer follower rod on a small amount of primers in the tube.  It ignited one of them and then the rest.  It drove the primer follower rod up and it struck the ceiling.  He and the press were okay.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Jon Eulette on Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:44 pm

I have some range officer police friends that have been hit by the bullet from a dropped cartridge hitting the primer on the ground. It smarted but they survived to tell the story Wink
They've actually experienced it many times between themselves.
Jon
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Mike38 on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:04 pm

I've pressed in primers up-side-down then removed it with decap die just like a spent primer, sideways crushed in primer pocket, vacuumed up live primers, have never had one go bang. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by mikemyers on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:05 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:I have some range officer police friends that have been hit by the bullet from a dropped cartridge hitting the primer on the ground. It smarted but they survived to tell the story Wink
They've actually experienced it many times between themselves.
Jon
Jon, I just watched a video of that being done on purpose, to see what would happen:



To gregbenner, yeah, I looked around, but I thought Id get a more realistic answer here.   That's how I found the above video....

I'm not overly concerned, as I see it, but I'm definitely overly cautious.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by mikemyers on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:06 pm

Mike38 wrote:I've pressed in primers up-side-down then removed it with decap die just like a spent primer, sideways crushed in primer pocket, vacuumed up live primers, have never had one go bang. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen.
I'm not that brave.  When it's happened to me, the result of the mistake gets added to the trash can at the range, usually after soaking it in water.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Gary Wells on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:55 pm

I set 1 off about 2 yrs ago unintentionally, and then set off another 1 intentionally to see how the 1st 1 happened & what I thought was the root cause.
As it is impossible for a primer to turn sideways in the primer tube (at least in the Dillon set-up) it had to happen when the primer dropped from the bottom edge of the primer tube to the primer "pouch" below. The alignment of the set-up was off far enough it would not allow the primer to hit the bottom of the primer pouch squarely and left the primer at enough of an angle to turn the primer sideways and squeezing the primer sideways set it off. I re-aligned everything and it has never happened since then.

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Chris Miceli on Sat Mar 31, 2018 4:57 pm

Mike38 wrote:I've pressed in primers up-side-down then removed it with decap die just like a spent primer, sideways crushed in primer pocket, vacuumed up live primers, have never had one go bang. Fingers crossed it doesn't happen.

Same
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by jglenn21 on Sat Mar 31, 2018 5:33 pm

My dad set off a stack of primers  in the tube on an old inline  progressive many years ago.. believe it was a Cougar and Hunter and he was loading some 38 spl..

I was just outside casting bullets.. scared the crap out of me so I know he messed his pants.. Never did own up to how he did it,but I was very happy we had added a steel shroud around the thin brass tube.. I did the same thing in my Star and CPM just cause.. we also never again used a steel primer rod...

He left the primer rod in the ceiling as a reminder...


Personally never had a primer accident in 50 some odd years of loading but I have crushed a few sideways
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by lyman1903 on Sun Apr 01, 2018 3:08 pm

Jon Eulette wrote:I have some range officer police friends that have been hit by the bullet from a dropped cartridge hitting the primer on the ground. It smarted but they survived to tell the story Wink
They've actually experienced it many times between themselves.
Jon

I knocked a bag full of .380 off the top of a safe in my garage years ago,
maybe 30 rounds in a sandwich bag,
one went off when they hit the floor,
found the brass, no idea where the bullet is,

not as loud as I would have thought



did set off a couple when depriming primed brass, but the decaper I was using contained most of the flash etc,
just startled me a bit,


I don't use the APC  strip type RCBS primer, but do use the one that uses primer tubes, 
had a few go backwards and bent one up once, but none ever when off (yet)

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by mikemyers on Sun Apr 01, 2018 4:48 pm

lyman1903 wrote:I don't use the APC  strip type RCBS primer, but do use the one that uses primer tubes, 
had a few go backwards and bent one up once, but none ever when off (yet)
Not sure if I understand you, but if you're saying you use the newer RCBS press that uses the tube instead of APC strips, I just saw a YouTube video a couple of days ago about preventing what you described.  I think it's a newer modification - the video shows exactly what to do.  If you can't find it, I probably can in my 'history'.  If you're not using the newer RCBS, ignore what I just wrote.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by desben on Mon Apr 02, 2018 8:32 am

I never had issues with thousands of rounds reloaded on my press with the Lee Safety Prime. I don't know how it could fail.

For fun, I recently acquired a Lee Loader where you use a hammer to drive in the primer; sooner or later one will blow up I'm sure. It works, but not very well.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by gregbenner on Mon Apr 02, 2018 12:16 pm

cdrt wrote:
gregbenner wrote:Ive never had an issue. I have, on occasion, de-primed charged primers, and have at least a few times stepped on one on the floor.  Never tried the hammer trick though (lol).

I do wear safety glasses when reloading.

The gentlemen I purchased my Star reloader from (Bruce) indicated (as I recall) that he uses some kind of blast shield, although I could be mistaken?

That said, they are dangerous and in my opinion do whatever makes you feel comfortable.  Have you tried googling the issue as well?
What he was probably talking about is, that the primer tube for the Star is blast proof.  So, if you had some primers go off in the tube, it would not "blow it up".  One of the guys on the Star Reloaders forum had some primers go off in the tube when he dropped the primer follower rod on a small amount of primers in the tube.  It ignited one of them and then the rest.  It drove the primer follower rod up and it struck the ceiling.  He and the press were okay.


Thx, hadn't heard that.  That would sure wake you up though:D

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Skid on Mon Apr 02, 2018 1:58 pm

I've never had any primers go off spontaneously and like reloaders here I've had them load into primer pockets upside down sideways etc and crushed them in the press and none of them have ever gone bang.

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by bob finger on Mon Apr 02, 2018 7:19 pm

In my shotshell reloading days, high volume reloading that, once in a while a live primer would land on the carpeted floor.  I did not bother to chase after them until one day one went off inside the upright vacuum cleaner I was using to clean the carpet.  Needless to say it caused the vacuum bag to ignite.  I'm glad my wife was not running the vacuum at the time.  Then there was the time I was moving shot into the basement.  I'd throw the bags off the landing abut six feet down to the carpeted floor.  Worked just fine until one bag split open.  I never did get all the #9 out of the carpet. bob

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by lyman1903 on Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:30 pm

mikemyers wrote:
lyman1903 wrote:I don't use the APC  strip type RCBS primer, but do use the one that uses primer tubes, 
had a few go backwards and bent one up once, but none ever when off (yet)
Not sure if I understand you, but if you're saying you use the newer RCBS press that uses the tube instead of APC strips, I just saw a YouTube video a couple of days ago about preventing what you described.  I think it's a newer modification - the video shows exactly what to do.  If you can't find it, I probably can in my 'history'.  If you're not using the newer RCBS, ignore what I just wrote.


my RCBS primer is old,  bought it new in the 90's before they came out with the strips,
like this one

https://ads.midwayusa.com/product/457599/rcbs-automatic-bench-priming-tool?utm_medium=shopping&utm_source=bing&utm_campaign=Reloading+-+Metallic+Reloading+Equipment+%28Not+Presses%29&utm_content=457599&cm_mmc=pf_ci_bing-_-Reloading+-+Metallic+Reloading+Equipment+%28Not+Presses%29-_-RCBS-_-457599&msclkid=d624ca98058d103f41b2905d1c49ea5f&utm_term=4585238366685510



the issues I had were self inflicted,

going to fast and a primer flipped and crunched,  more than once,

altered my pace and learned to glance at the primer cup thingy before I put the piece of brass in and work the lever,

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by mikemyers on Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:49 pm

Hey, I've had one of those since the late 1970's.   Mine also came with the tubes, which I never used.  I guess I wasn't in a hurry.  I put in each primer manually.  Never had a problem.  I think I still have two of them somewhere, along with the replacement ones that came with the Pro2000.  

Way back when, I had a tv playing in the background, and just worked at reloading for as long as it took, going one step at a time for 50 or 100 rounds, then the next step, and so on.  Took "forever", but I never even considered ways to speed things up.  

I don't like tubes.  Never have, never will.  I think that John Dunn, the guy who sold me the reloading gear and taught me how to use it, was afraid I'd hurt myself, and (correctly) made a big thing of reloading safety.  This was long before I realized the implications of an incorrect powder load.  I think he taught me to load one primer at a time into the cup, and I never thought to speed things up.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by troystaten on Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:48 pm

Have not had a primer go off but as a kid I tried the experiment that Hickock 45 did but with a 22 bullet on a small fire, the bullet went off and the shrapnel hit my wrist from about 5 feet and cut me quite well, I needed about 8 stitches.  Of course since I was a 9 year old boy I did this about 7 am on a Saturday morning so my father and his new wife (second marriage) got the pleasure of taking his idiot sun too the emergency room.  Moral of the story, always wear proper safety gear;)

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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Slartybartfast on Thu Apr 05, 2018 4:57 pm

troystaten wrote:Have not had a primer go off but as a kid I tried the experiment that Hickock 45 did but with a 22 bullet on a small fire
Just because you mentioned it:
http://www.saami.org/videos/sporting_ammunition_and_the_firefighter.cfm

Lots of ammo, and quite big fires (fires are after the 12 minute mark).
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by Bigtrout on Fri Apr 06, 2018 9:30 am

My only unintended primer explosion came when I was 9.  I was dissecting a 12 ga. shotshell in my father's woodworking shop when I only had the primer left to disassemble.  I held the brass in a vise, took the business end if a 16d finish nail and drove it into the primer with a hammer, after which my Mom hollered out, "Are you shooting?"  As i replied negatively I shook my burned thumb and forefinger after dropping the nail, on which the primer climbed halfway up the body.   Good lesson for a dumb kid.
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Re: Primers going off unintentionally

Post by 243winxb on Fri Apr 06, 2018 10:49 am

Online, never seen any primer go off on the floor.

Progressive primer feeds and  hand help primer unit KABOOMS have been posted online. 

Most go off when forced or jammed.  Clean priming tubes and area to remove primer dust.  

The MSDS for Federal primers shows they contain Nitroglycerin* in some of them. Other brands dont list it in the msds or sds. https://www.federalpremium.com/downloads/msds/F4001_Small_Arms_Primers.pdf
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