View Full Version : Causes and cures for primer flow

March 10, 2009, 08:28 AM
I just pieced together a 1911 commander and I seem to be getting primer flow. at least judging from the spent case. what causes it and how do I fix it? thanks for any advice.

March 10, 2009, 09:59 AM
Primer flow as in... pierced primer? Do you have any pictures?

Factory or reloads? Have you had a look at the firing pin in the pistol to make sure it doesn't have a burr or isn't jagged and partially broken at the tip?

March 10, 2009, 10:10 AM
they are reloads. however they seem to work fine in my other 1911 pistol I built. the slide is a new Essex and the firing pin is brand new ED brown. and nothing wrong with it that I can find. it is .09 dia at the tip and the hole in the slide will just pass an .093 pin. is that too much clearance on the firing pin?

March 10, 2009, 10:11 AM
i can get pics but not til i get home from work this afternoon.

March 11, 2009, 09:11 AM
I think primer flow could be a sign of excessive pressure and/or excessive pressure of the firing pin strike.

March 11, 2009, 05:05 PM
ok heres a couple pics. the dents in the case it self were already there prior to firing. this was a reload. keep in mind this doesnt happen with my other 1911 or my buddies using the same reloads. I have fired 4 shots thru this gun so far and all of them exhibit this primer deformation.



March 11, 2009, 05:34 PM
I have a couple theories, and I hope if nothing else that you get a thread bump and someone else gets involved. Better yet, if this thread were moved to either the gunsmithing or the reloading forum, it might get seen by folks who have the correct answer.

One theory has to do with the timing of the pistol -- if the lockup is ill-timed and the slide moves rearward too quickly, there won't be a breech face that is covering the primer and the pressure from inside will attempt to take the path of least resistance. Given that you just put the pistol together, I think this is possible.

But not being a gunsmith, I have no idea if that is a valid theory, but I'll throw it out there since you haven't had much luck with other posts. (yet?)

The other easy theory is that yes, these loads are too hot and you are seeing a sign of high pressure. I'd like to know the bullet, weight, powder and charge, and COAL, that might help.

Last theory is the one I'm most sure of -- it may or may not be causing your grief, but I'm for DAMN sure of it:

A-Merc brass is the worst brass on the face of the earth.
It's awful. There is no brass made by anyone that is nearly as bad. Sure, there are some berdan primed or aluminum brass that isn't even reloadable. Yes, those are better than A-Merc, because at least with them, nobody gets conned in to actually trying to reload it.

A-Merc brass is one of those things in the world that I crusade against. (for the curious, TicketMaster is another)

I don't have the energy to detail every reason I hate the stuff, but if you run the search engine, you should find some of my posts complaining about it. Hopefully, you'll find others as well.

In my opinion, and I stand by it, neither you nor anybody else should ever, under any circumstances, reload A-Merc brass. It's fodder for the recycle bin. There's nothing good about it. And do the entire shooting fraternity a big favor, and weed it out of ANY brass that you have and recycle it before it gets dropped, traded, or otherwise forwarded to any new reloaders who don't realize how awful it is.

The job the brass has to do is way too important, to your firearms and to your hands and face to be left to THE worst brass on planet Earth.

March 11, 2009, 05:49 PM
ok shall I assume you dont like merc brass? LOL just kidding. its not the brass. I have 3 other cases with the same thing. and they are not merc one is a winchester cant remember the other 2. I did not make these reloads either but will keep in mind your advice on the merc brass. as for it possibly being timing. I wouldnt argue with you on it. may very well be it. but I am unsure how to change that. I have a fair idea. but not willing to go there unless I am given more insight but someone more knowledgable than I. thanks for the input though. I appreciate it.

March 11, 2009, 05:50 PM
Are you seeing this on all cases or just Amerc ( and yes, I agree, Amerc is junk ) and I pitch all of it out when I find it in my mix.

I think we need some info on the load you are using and all the components including the brand of primers.... That looks like a tear in the primer ...

March 11, 2009, 05:53 PM
I would be happy to provide that info. however I cannot. they were purchased at a gun show from a local guy who sells reloads. these work fine in my other 1911 as well as my friends. it is a 230gr fmj buller. aside from that. it goes bang when I pull the trigger. sorry I cant be more help on the ammo. but I still feel its not due to ammo. since it works fine in 2 other guns I have access to.

March 11, 2009, 05:54 PM
I have fired a total of 4 rds thru this pistol. all 4 show the same signs. and are of different head stamps.

I requested this be moved to smithy too. in case you guys want to follow it and see what I come up with in the end. thanks for the help so far.

March 11, 2009, 08:07 PM
well I guess I may have found the problem. I rummaged around and found a single JHP factory load. yeah I know I need to stock up on ammo. anyway... after firing it. I was pretty certain I would find the same thing as before. but instead it has a perfect indent of a firing pin hit with no evidence what so ever of the problem the others exhibited. I guess the reloads are not such a good deal as I had thought they were. lesson learned. at least no lasting damage was caused. thanks for the help.

March 12, 2009, 07:14 AM
It looks to me like the firing pin has a broken tip and might be sharp, and if the primer unseats (as they sometimes do, especially if the primer pocket is worn from too many reloads) it could be spitting a chunk off the primer before reseating itsself. When you punch out the primers to reload, do they come out too easily? or do you have to use normal force to get them out?
try some factory rounds, see if they do it too.... then you will know if it is a problem with your gun ;)


March 12, 2009, 07:19 AM
the firing pin is new and is in perfect condition. factory loads seem to work just fine.

March 12, 2009, 07:32 AM
Has to be crappy primers then? or they just dont like your gun


March 12, 2009, 01:00 PM
DISCLAIMER.... I do not reload nor own/operate a .45. But I am fair at troubleshooting and keepin' my ears open... Could a slightly over load of powder affect the operation of the action timing any? Reloads from questionable sources are not allowed anywhere near me if I know about it...:eek:

James K
March 12, 2009, 01:59 PM
First, use good factory loads or good handloads. The only reloads I use are my own, that way if something goes wrong I know the name of the idiot who screwed up.

However, that primer problem can also be due to too light a firing pin blow or too light a firing pin. What happens is this: The firing pin strikes the primer hard enough to fire it, but it is too light or the hammer spring is too light and the firing pin does not have enough inertia to stick around and support the primer properly. The pressure inside the primer (from the primer explosion itself, not from the powder burning) pushes the firing pin back and extrudes the primer metal into the firing pin hole, shearing off when the barrel drops. In this case, there was not quite enough extrusion to cause a "pierced" primer, but that has the same cause, not "sharp" firing pins or too heavy a blow.