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Old July 22, 2013, 03:38 PM   #1
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Toxic non-metal primers

Recently received some 9mm ammo marked "toxic non-metal primers". Never used these previously. What is different about them? Any negatives for either shooter or weapon?
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Old July 22, 2013, 04:10 PM   #2
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Never heard of that. Never heard of "non-metal" primers.

Got a brand name?
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Old July 22, 2013, 04:32 PM   #3
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Federal American Eagle 124 gr. fmj. 50 rd boxes.
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Old July 22, 2013, 04:37 PM   #4
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Clarification

I messed up. The box reads "toxic metal-free primers". Sorry for the error. Still confused, though.
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Old July 22, 2013, 04:57 PM   #5
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Means no mercury, no lead. Most current primers use lead styphnate; some older ones used fulminate of mercury. Both lead and mercury are toxic metals.

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Old July 22, 2013, 05:13 PM   #6
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The first wave of lead free primers contained barium, which was not a great improvement. The current crop is made with an organic compound known as Dinol, no metallic content at all.

It has been many years since an American or West world primer contained mercury. I think even the iron curtain and third world have long since given it up.
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Old July 22, 2013, 05:48 PM   #7
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So they're o.k. to use with the usual precautions ??
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Old July 22, 2013, 06:23 PM   #8
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should be.
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Old July 22, 2013, 06:35 PM   #9
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I think there was some match ammo as late as 1950 loaded with mercuric primers, though I could be wrong. The problem in those days was not that mercury was poisonous to people (I don't think anyone really knew or cared) but that it was poisonous to brass, making it brittle and not reloadable.

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Old July 23, 2013, 12:37 AM   #10
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I think that mercuric primed Western Match .30 and .300 hung on as late as 1960. But the US Army dropped mercuric primers about 1898.

Some European makers produced noncorrosive primers that were actually mercuric around 1930. They did not last long, the styphnate primers came out before WWII.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:18 AM   #11
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Are you sure that it says toxic, and not NON-toxic?

Non toxic is the coming wave in primers.


"It has been many years since an American or West world primer contained mercury."

The last mecuric primers loaded in the United States were in match ammunition produced in the 1960s in .30-06 and .308.

The primers were also corrosive.

The boxes were marked that the brass was not suitable for reloading and should be disposed of upon firing.

Somewhere in my collection I have a box.

Eley Tenex .22 Match ammunition was still being loaded with mercuric, corrosive priming until sometime in the 1970s or 1980s.

I've been told that the change over was when Eley switched from paper boxes to plastic.

I knew several competitors at Camp Perry who actively sought out every source of paper boxed Tenex that they could find.
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Old July 23, 2013, 08:53 AM   #12
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I never heard of corrosive Tenex.
I seldom hear of a smallbore shooter that cleans his barrel much if at all, and no reports of rusty guns.
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Old July 23, 2013, 10:03 AM   #13
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That's what I was told by several shooters at Camp Perry, including Ron West, who won several Perry championships.

I've never bought a box of Tenex.

I've also just found other references to corrosively primed Tenex having been out of production for about 30 years now, but certainly nothing definitive.
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Last edited by Mike Irwin; July 23, 2013 at 10:08 AM.
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Old July 23, 2013, 12:51 PM   #14
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Yup. Box says "Toxic Metal-Free Primer". This ammo was ordered through a vendor on Ammoseek. I thought I was purchasing what I had ordered previously. The product number on the the Toxic Metal Free Primer box reads AE9N1. The product number on the previous ammo ordered reads AE9AP. Both are 9mm 124 gr fmj's.
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Old July 23, 2013, 01:04 PM   #15
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Is this what you have?
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Old July 23, 2013, 01:54 PM   #16
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Yes. Slightly different package design, but same terminology and same product number.
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Old July 23, 2013, 02:54 PM   #17
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Ah, OK, makes sense now.

Toxic-metal free is a LOT different from toxic non-metal or toxic metal-free.

Toxic-metal free means there are no toxic metals like lead or mercury.

The other two mean the primers are toxic, but they don't have any metal in them.
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Old July 26, 2013, 10:34 PM   #18
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I think if we put it in quotes, it's a bit easier to understand what they are trying to say.

They are saying the product is "toxic metal" free, meaning... it doesn't contain any of the bad metals.

If it said "TOXIC!" and "metal free" that might be alarming!

IIRC, the early examples of "clean" ammunition was found by handloaders to have enlarged flash holes. I believe the *new* lead-free primers didn't have the same oomph as the primers we've grown accustomed to, so the flash hole was enlarged to compensate.

I'm not sure of this, but it's what I seem to remember. Also seems as those small-primer .45 ACP brass was hitting about the same time. Are the two related?
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Old July 26, 2013, 10:47 PM   #19
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The present nonmetallic primer mix has MORE "oomph" than lead styphnate.
The early Winclean large primer NT had larger flashholes to vent the greater flash into the case. So they went small which uses less of the expensive stuff to begin with.
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Old July 27, 2013, 08:12 AM   #20
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That's what the hyphens are for, as putting it in quotes could mean something entirely different.

It should be written:

toxic-metal-free primers

The first three words are adjectives modifying the word primers.
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Old July 27, 2013, 11:23 AM   #21
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I like my way better.
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