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Old July 8, 2012, 11:07 AM   #1
ThisIsMySig
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De-Capping a live Large Pistol Primer

Can this be safely done?
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:25 AM   #2
sheltbt
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I have done it several times. Put some glasses on and go real slow.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:39 AM   #3
Lost Sheep
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If you are doing it in a press, yes, there is very little danger of setting it off if you press it out slowly with the same method you use with spent primers.

If you are using one of the Lee Load-All tools (the ones powered by a mallet), use hearing protectors as well as eye protection and gloves. And small taps of the mallet. Or use a vice to press it out. (I am pretty sure you have a press, but others reading this thread may not).

Better yet, use this as a learning experience and chamber the round and fire the primer off in the empty case. It will give you an appreciation for the amount of energy released by a primer.

Lost Sheep

p.s. I started shooting and loading in 1975 when I was stationed at Williams Air Base near Chandler. Used to visit a gun shop in Apache Junction all the time.

Last edited by Lost Sheep; July 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:41 AM   #4
DeadCenter
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Have done it several times also without issue. As stated, just go slow.
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Old July 8, 2012, 12:00 PM   #5
jcwit
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Just press it out. Primers ignite with impact not pressure.

This seems to come up here at least once a week.
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Old July 8, 2012, 02:49 PM   #6
howlnmad
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^ That says it all.
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Old July 8, 2012, 03:47 PM   #7
wncchester
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If it does go off - and that's unlikely - it's just a little bitty cap, not a stick of dynamite so it won't blow your arm off.
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Old July 8, 2012, 09:23 PM   #8
chris in va
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It's not a 'little bitty cap'. Definitely has force behind it.
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Old July 8, 2012, 11:07 PM   #9
Jbotto
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Quote:
It's not a 'little bitty cap'. Definitely has force behind it.
I agree with Chris. I was amazed at the force they have when I set one off in a vice. Sent dust and debris blowing all over the work bench. My jaw dropped. I used to think they were just this little harmless component. I treat them more respectfully now.
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:02 PM   #10
gorin
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I have to do it too often with the range .223 brass, even after removing the military crimp some of the russian primers get stuck halfway.
Just make sure you go slowly, wear safety glasses and separate the live primers from the rest.
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:35 PM   #11
bedlamite
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ANSI Z87.1 glasses first, then press it out gently.
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:35 PM   #12
ScottRiqui
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When I was much younger and dumber, I tried to de-prime a 30-06 case by clamping it in a vise and tapping the primer out with a blunt nail inserted in the case neck. Of course, I had my other hand poised underneath to catch the primer when it came out.

Now, this wouldn't be a good story if the primer didn't ignite (it did). Fortunately, it passed between two of my fingers, rather than hitting either of them solidly. Still put a nasty groove in both fingers, though.
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Old July 9, 2012, 02:36 PM   #13
wncchester
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"I used to think they were just this little harmless component. I treat them more respectfully now."

Goodness. Didn't say they are harmless, said they are 'little bitty' and not dynamite; that's true. I've decapped a few hundred pulled GI .30-06 with an old Lee LOADER, that set off nearly every one of the primers but I was wearing a leather gloove on my left hand so there was no harm. It's much 'safer' to decap live non-crimped primers in a press and die than what I was doing and I still didn't have to change my pants afterwards.

But ... whatever, no one should do anything that frightens them; I don't.
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Old July 9, 2012, 08:34 PM   #14
jcwit
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Quote:
I agree with Chris. I was amazed at the force they have when I set one off in a vice. Sent dust and debris blowing all over the work bench. My jaw dropped. I used to think they were just this little harmless component. I treat them more respectfully now.
True, they do have amazing force, thats why reloaders are all concerned about a piece of tumbling media being stuck in the flash hole.

Now then lets use some common sense. If decapping a live primer from a case using a reloading press the case is enclosed by the sizing/decapping and/or the universal decapping die, NO?

Now then the shell case and the primers anvil is held in place by the decapping rod, NO?

The case is also held in place by the shell holder attached to the top of the ram, RIGHT?

The primer cup does have the ability to exit the case, going thru the shell holder and thru the ram going out of the ram exiting to the rear. At least in all the presses I own.

Finally, NO the press will not be yanked from your hand breaking your wrist.

This is all assuming a primer goes off from pressure and not from impact as they are designed to do. Very, very unlikly.

You all are much more in danger driving to and from the range, or in todays world just walking down the street.
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Old July 10, 2012, 03:31 PM   #15
ThisIsMySig
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Thanks everyone for weighing in on this. I appreciate your information. I do like Lost Sheep's suggestion of firing it to get an idea of how the primer performs. Do you remember the name of the gun shop?
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Reloading 9mm, 32 magnum, 45 ACP, 45 LC and 410 bore brass.

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