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Old December 25, 2000, 08:47 AM   #1
Jorah Lavin
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Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: Indian Land, SC USA
Posts: 593
Still gearing up for my first reloading session (the SDB won't be here for at least another 9 days) I was reading the warning panel on the Winchester primers I bought.

" ...Handle one at a time; NOT in bulk or primer feed devices..."
I was actually planning to hand-prime with an RCBS primer tool while I'm learning to reload, so this doesn't affect me right now, but reading this warning makes me wonder about all the large primer feed tubes on the various machines.

Is the warning against primer feed devices just a case of Olin covering their butts, or is there a real danger with the feed devices (presumably the ones which "stack" the primers)

Now I understand that there are thousands and thousands of reloaders using primer tubes across the country, so the danger can't be that great. Still, as a beginner, I'd like to know as much as possible about the safety aspect of reloading.



I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit... it's the only way to be sure.
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Old December 25, 2000, 10:02 AM   #2
Bud Helms
Join Date: December 31, 1999
Location: Middle Georgia
Posts: 13,155

It's true. "Stacked" primers are dangerous. Primers are THE most dangerous component in reloading. Handling primers one at a time is the safest way to do it. For some of us, it's a way to introduce error too. Contamination is one of the biggest concerns. Automating the primer loading and seating steps helps there. We look for ways to not have to "handle" them. That way they stay clean. You'll find yourself looking for that ideal mix of safety and speed.

That warning, though technically true, is a "liability" statement. Like the warning on a bag of packing peanuts: "Not For Human Consumption!" No kidding. If you eat it, don't blame us!

If you follow the directions and cautions given by the reloading press mfr, you'll be okay. Reloaders have been safely handling primers for many years. Just don't get careless.

Welcome to reloading. You are on the right track reading the small print already ... . Congrats on the Dillon SDB. You'll be happy with it.
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Old December 25, 2000, 10:25 AM   #3
Jorah Lavin
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Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: Indian Land, SC USA
Posts: 593
Small Print

I've always been odd that way. Years ago, when I had my brush with construction work, my boss used to buy new equipment, unpack it, toss the owner's manual to me and tell me "let me know if there's anything I need to know about in there."

He knew I'd do it anyway, so he might as well get the hen-pecking over with.

I also intend for reloading to be a fun hobby, not another chance to visit my friends at the emergency ward.


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Old December 25, 2000, 10:52 AM   #4
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Location: PA
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My Dillon 550B has a heavy steel primer tube for the primer feed. I wouldn't want to have my eye over the top of it if the primers went, but it's designed to insure that in normal operating position, you'll survive such an incident. I suspect that you'd have to change your underwear if a whole tube of primers went up!
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Old December 26, 2000, 02:44 AM   #5
Keith J
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Join Date: December 15, 2000
Posts: 469
Primers in anything other than their original packaging will mass detonate. The risk is low but if one goes off, ther rest will.

I can remember old primer packaging where they were stacked in 10 rows of 10 each. Each row was only divided by a thin plastic strip and I can guess if one went, the whole thin could. Now they are all packed in their own compartment so its pretty safe.

As far as primer feed devices, Dillon has the best except when you are loading the pick-up tubes. I can see the whole thing going off in one's hand. Not a pretty sight. The feed tube on the machine is isolated by a heavy steel pipe that is vented at the bottom. The top would geyser the ceiling with primer cups, anvils and debris but the bottom would be the biggest vent. Its pretty safe. The RCBS/Blount CCI APS strips and machines are the safest but one must load the strips unless you are willing to buy only CCI and pay the premium for this packaging and equipment.

Other things I would worry about are plastic primer flip trays and feed mechanisms. I don't know if the plastic is a static dissipative type of material and I can see a problem arising from dust and static electricity setting it off. Here again, Dillon has a zinc tray that's not only conductive (no static problems), but also non-sparking.

Penetrating oil will desensitize priming compound but its still explosive. Cleaning the equipment/area with isopropyl alcohol until all green/yellow residue is gone is the only way to stay safe and not contaminate primers.

Primers are noting to fool with. I've heard of anvils and cups launched with sufficient velocity to imbed in muscle form an errant detonation.

WEAR YOUR SAFETY GLASSES! Handle bulk primers only in counts of 100 or less. Use tweezers to pick up spilt primers and account for all primers. Oh yes, wash your hands after any reloading as lead is everywhere thanks to the primers.
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Old December 26, 2000, 08:35 AM   #6
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Safety glasses EVERY time you TOUCH your reloading goodies.
"all my ammo is mostly retired factory ammo"
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Old December 26, 2000, 07:22 PM   #7
Art Eatman
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Location: Terlingua, TX; Thomasville, GA
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Common sense and "Be Careful!" will make it all very easy. I've been using the tube-dealies and the little tray-type deals for beaucoup years with no problem. The idea is to not be in a big roaring hurry. Take your time, be methodical.

Create a system and stick to it. Don't get distracted by TV or conversation--one thing at a time.

Any cliches I've forgotten?

, Art

"A cliche becomes a cliche because of the truth in it."
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Old December 26, 2000, 08:21 PM   #8
Jorah Lavin
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Join Date: April 4, 1999
Location: Indian Land, SC USA
Posts: 593
Go Right Ahead! Cliche' Away!

I didn't visit the Reloading Forum much when I first got on TFL, since I wasn't shooting enough to make reloading worth the investment. Since deciding earlier this fall to get into the game, I've found you all to be helpful, thoughtful, and patient. Thanks again for all the advice.

I'm soaking it up like a sponge.

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Old December 26, 2000, 10:00 PM   #9
Join Date: December 25, 2000
Location: SouthEastern USA, A displaced SouthWesterner
Posts: 38
Hi Jorah,

Yep, Primers are the most dangerous part of reloading. One of the reasons that I like CCI Primers for reloading, as IMHO, they are the safest primers out there to use for reloading, plus they have served me well for 13 years.

Exercise caution, use some common sense and follow the press manufacturers directions and pay heed to their warnings, and you should be okay.

You said:
(the SDB won't be here for at least another 9 days)
You didn't go and buy one of them there Dillon SDB's now did you??

Well, I am sure you will be happy with it.

Be careful with your primers and safe loading!

Keep It In The 10 Ring,

[I]"We find comfort among those who agree with us - growth among those who don't."[I]
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