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Old April 9, 2014, 09:50 PM   #1
Kappe
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How loud is firing a primed shell?

No powder, no projectile. A 209 shotgun primer, to be exact.

I'm asking because as I was reloading some shotshells earlier, I noticed one of the hulls was split, but I'd already primed it. Rather than trying to punch out a live primer, I figured I'd just shoot it.

Luckily I thought to go get my hearing protection before firing it. It was loud, even through the earmuffs. Blackened the bore, too, so I had to clean that.

But now I'm wondering what would have happened if I didn't think to put hearing protection on. Would a shotgun primer be loud enough to cause hearing damage? Any idea how many decibels it would be?
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Old April 9, 2014, 10:59 PM   #2
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I was able to deprime a case that I crushed the neck on while seating the bullet. I emptied out my primer tube, cut the neck of the case off below the crush and just slowly and smoothly pressed it out. It plinked out, and I was able to reuse it for a good round.
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Old April 10, 2014, 04:50 AM   #3
Hal
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When I was a kid. we used to whack shotgun primers with a hammer until one of us kids got a big hunk of metal stuck in their face.

IIRC (it's been like 45 or more years ago though) they sounded like a firecracker.

After the kid caught a piece of metal, we took the rest of the box to the railroad tracks and scotch taped them to the tracks.

It wasn't what we expected. You could just make out the "pop" over the noise of the train.
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Old April 10, 2014, 06:53 AM   #4
Mavrick79
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I fired a primer off in my 357mag in the house with no hearing protection on once. Don't do that It was really loud
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Old April 10, 2014, 07:08 AM   #5
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One feature a bit unique to Kimber rifles is an adjustment screw to set the firing pin protrusion. Mine was a hair too short and causing some misfires. I went outside into my back yard with a handful of primed cases and the necessary tools for adjusting.

I touched off about a dozen experimenting with different settings until I got it right. Then about a dozen more just to be sure before trying any live rounds. Primers are cheaper than bullets and powder. From a rifle it is not bad at all. Much quieter than a 22 and I never felt the need for hearing protection.

It wouldn't have hurt a thing to deprime a live round. I've done that many times in the past too.

Last edited by jmr40; April 10, 2014 at 07:10 AM. Reason: added info
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Old April 10, 2014, 07:11 AM   #6
jimbob86
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Quote:
I was able to deprime a case that I crushed the neck on while seating the bullet. I emptied out my primer tube, cut the neck of the case off below the crush and just slowly and smoothly pressed it out. It plinked out, and I was able to reuse it for a good round.


As I understand it, the anvil gets pushed into the priming pellet when primer is seated, in a sense "arming" an otherwise pretty stable deal .... re-seating would be pushing (albeit a slow steady push instead of the sharp blow of a firing pin) on the go button .... you saved, what? 4 cents? .... popping a primer in the press wouldn't be that big a deal, but if you were using a a hand primer, I'm sure it would get your attention ....
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Old April 10, 2014, 09:51 AM   #7
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I've been de-priming "lived" shotshels, rifle brass, and pistol brass, for about 35 years now and have yet to have a primer go off during the process. On my progressive press any "boo-boo" that hasn't had a bullet seated yet merely gets the powder poured back in the hopper and the primed case tossed back into the case feeder. On my single stage I just pour out the powder and wait until I have a few to use my universal depriming die on.

Primers are not sensitive like nitroglycerin or "armed" in any fashion by seating them. Yes, the anvils are seated in the priming compound when inserted in the case but they aren't overly sensitive.

Primers are detonated by IMPACT. It takes a fairly strong hit to set them off. When de-priming the live primer the press should be operated with a steady force rather than "slam-banging" your way through the loading process.

Live primers or not, one should always be wearing eye protection whenever reloading.
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Old April 10, 2014, 10:11 AM   #8
UncleEd
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Over the years in working on .38/.357 revolver double action pull weights, I've popped a fair number of primers to make sure the hammer in double action had enough oomph.

Loud but not exceptionally loud without muffs. With muffs, hardly anything.

At a gun store, owner tested a shotgun with primed unloaded rounds and noise wasn't all that loud either.

Maybe those of us in the store had already lost our hearing.
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Old April 10, 2014, 10:34 AM   #9
madmo44mag
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I had a sleeve of primers get knock of the bench once and went every where.
I didn't find all of them but a couple got into thee tread on by shoe and found there way into the living room carpet.
They are pretty loud when they end up getting vacuumed up and go off.
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Old April 10, 2014, 11:20 AM   #10
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When I was in high school there lots of people would go duck hunting before school. There was a guy whose favorite practical joke was to uncrimp and roll the shot out of a shell, then tape a marble to the primer and toss it high across the parking lot. When it hit the pavement the primer/powder would go off and blast the wad out. I don't remember it being that loud, that ear protection would be required, but if you weren't expecting it, it would sure make you jump!
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Old April 10, 2014, 11:33 AM   #11
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Ive shot TONS of primer powered rubber bullets, inside and out. Its about like a LIGHT 22
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Old April 10, 2014, 12:46 PM   #12
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Maybe I have more sensitive hearing than most who have responded, but ONE TIME I shot off a primer only case without ear protection on, and it was loud enough to make me never want to do that again. It was a 308 Win in an unfinished basement with cinder block walls, and it was pretty loud.

With muffs on, I would compare it to a 22.
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Old April 10, 2014, 01:40 PM   #13
wayneinFL
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I'll usually put an old rag/towel over the muzzle, point it in a safe direction to fire off a primer.

If you to try to decap a live primer. They can go off. I don't recommend the practice, but if you insist, do it real slow.

I haven't heard of anyone hurting themselves doing this in a press, but I have heard of an instance in which someone decapped one on his knee with a Lee Loader, and basically fired a primer into his leg.
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Old April 10, 2014, 02:45 PM   #14
Kappe
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See, I don't have a shotshell press. I use a punch much like a Lee Loader and a mallet to deprime the shells.

To remove the live primer, I would have to slowly tap the punch with the mallet bit by bit. Not cool.
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Old April 10, 2014, 03:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Ive shot TONS of primer powered rubber bullets, inside and out. Its about like a LIGHT 22
We used to shoot my buddy's .44 mag Contender with primer-powered plastic cartridges into a cardboard box stuffed with carpeting, and a target taped to the outside. I remember it to be not even loud enough to cause ear-ringing, but I'm quite sure it wasn't GOOD for us.
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Old April 10, 2014, 05:28 PM   #16
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I've popped both large and small pistol primers a couple times with a Lee Loader, wasn't that bad. The dogs didn't even jump, and they were within 10 feet. We used to hit 209s with hammer and throw them in fires. I don't think they were much louder than fire crackers.
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Old April 11, 2014, 11:20 AM   #17
Hal
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The OP asked about shotgun primers, not pistol or rifle primers.

I've shot a lot of the latter two in both empty cases and/or those Speer plastic cases with a plastic bullet.

It's been a long time - like 50 years - since we whacked them with a hammer, but, I seem to recall the shotgun primers were a bit louder.
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Old April 11, 2014, 03:23 PM   #18
Panfisher
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Inside a small enclosed room like a loading room, garage etc. they are pretty loud. Personally while they are pretty easy to press out, I would just toss the primed empty hull into the trash can and forget about it. I have dry fired my Knight ML with 209 primers inside my closed loading room, yep it was loud, more than you expect the first time.
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Old April 13, 2014, 02:38 AM   #19
barnbwt
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"but ONE TIME I shot off a primer only case without ear protection on, and it was loud enough to make me never want to do that again"

That's my experience, mostly because they're always louder than you expect them to be. Rather than use muffs, I snap the primer into sound absorbing towel or rag to mute the noise so as to not bother the neighbors. About like a really loud pellet gun or maybe a low-end 22. Close range would have your ears ringing.

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