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Old May 27, 2019, 10:29 PM   #1
Prof Young
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Why you don't reset a primer . . .

Loaders:

I have some 44 mags, loaded, that have a primer that is just a touch high. High enough that the cylinder won't turn with them in the chamber. So I've put them aside thinking about maybe resetting the primer. Advice on this forum suggests that is a BAD IDEA and I haven't tried it. Today I learned why but not with the 44 mags.

I was loading 223. Some of the brass has crimped primer pockets and so I just ream all the pocket as part of the prep process. Well some of them were not reamed as well as they might be. The primer will feel stiff going in, I inspect it and it's not seated so I put it back in the press. If it still won't seat it goes in the reject box. Well, today I managed to set one off with the extra effort to seat it. YIPES! I've never had that happened before with a press. With the old whack-a-mole lee loader sure it would happen sometimes, but never before with a press.

Lesson learned and the 44 mags in question have gone into the reject box too.

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Old May 27, 2019, 10:31 PM   #2
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It CAN be done, but you need to do it slowly and carefully; or pull the bullet and just deprime and start over.
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Old May 28, 2019, 01:46 AM   #3
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Don't dink with a hi primer in a loaded round; disassemble and redo. Or as Gomer says "surprise, surprise, surprise....goolllleeee!"
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Old May 28, 2019, 10:28 AM   #4
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I have reseated primers, but not on a finished handload. I have found a few "high" primers on my primed brass (I batch reload s I have a lot of primed brass waiting a charge and bullet). I haven't had any pop, but I guess it can happen as your .223 experience. I can't imagine what would happen to my press and me if a loaded round went off on the top of my Co-Ax!
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Old May 28, 2019, 10:53 AM   #5
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If you set a primer off during seating and you were using normal seating pressures I would get rid of that entire batch of primers. You can literally crush one flat with normal seating pressure and methods and it shouldn't go off because that is not the way primers work.

To be clear, I'm not saying it didn't happen, I have no way of knowing that. I am saying you should not trust any of the primers in that lot.
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Old May 28, 2019, 11:25 AM   #6
44 AMP
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I have some 44 mags, loaded, that have a primer that is just a touch high. High enough that the cylinder won't turn with them in the chamber.
This is a two part problem. Part 1 was creating the rounds to begin with, Part 2 is what to do with them, now.

Part 1 happens because you aren't doing proper QC. This is my biggest gripe about progressive and turret presses, the loading sequence must be interrupted to do QC checks, and people are reluctant to do that. Single stage presses allow you to check each case multiple times during the loading process without interrupting anything just to do the check. And, still, some people don't check what, or as often as they should.

Primers are a "prime" example. EVERY primed case should be checked for proper primer seating depth (flush or below) BEFORE anything else happens. Absolutely before adding powder and seating a bullet.


So, you need to examine your loading steps and figure out how the cases with high primers got past you to become loaded ammo, and then fix it so it doesn't happen again.

As to what you do with the bad rounds? You can TRY to seat the primers deeper, and while this can work, as you have learned, it is NOT a zero risk process.

Pull the bullets, dump the powder, and THEN try reseating the primer. OR PUSH (not punch) the primer out. Wear safety glasses!!! (good thick gloves won't hurt, either)

I would advise in the future, you place every primed case base down on a good flat surface, and check for "wobble". OR place a straight edge across the base of the case to check for a high primer. Once this check is passed, then return the primed case to your loading sequence.

Good luck.
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Old May 28, 2019, 12:09 PM   #7
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If you set a primer off during seating and you were using normal seating pressures I would get rid of that entire batch of primers. You can literally crush one flat with normal seating pressure and methods and it shouldn't go off because that is not the way primers work.
Agree.
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Old May 28, 2019, 12:32 PM   #8
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I've had to go back occasionally to sink primers in loaded brass. Usually done as a favor for a fellow home reloader whom I tutored the skill of reloading. Although, {no intention to brag} my primers since day one have always been seated to the lowest depth there primer pocket allow do in part too a Tip from the shop owner where I purchased my reloading tools years ago. It concerned a bench tool that was specifically designed for the trimming of brass and found to have a handy-dandy secondary purpose. {Countersinking of Large primers without worry of touch-off.} Since this bench tool was long ago discontinued when Pacific's name was replace with Hornady. I don't see a need to repeat myself.
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Old May 28, 2019, 01:06 PM   #9
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Why you don't reset a primer . . .
We had a member blow the head off of his thing....hammer handle. He claimed he was hammering on the concrete driveway when it scattered. It seems he was doing the hammering in a crowd.

As always a shell holder was blaimed and I said it is impossible for the shell holder to cover the primer on cases with large diameter heads. I also suggested he was pulling bullets from cases with high primers. The thinking? Trickled down powder meaning powder trickled down through the flash hole and filled the space between the primer and the bottom of the primer cup. I suggested he seated the primer with all of that hammering.

I use shell holders in my inertia bullet pullers, I do not pull bullets from cases with high primers. And then there is the design that is supposed the reloader from himself. On ammo for slide action ammo I have trouble getting the a case out of the shell holder when the primers are not seated.

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Old May 28, 2019, 01:18 PM   #10
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High enough that the cylinder won't turn is not "just a bit high". However, as mentioned, you can push 'em in more with no fuss if you can get 'em into the shell holder. Question is how did you get 'em out of the shell holder? High enough that the cylinder won't turn is seriously high. High enough to have 'em jam in the shell holder.
"...If you set a primer off during seating..." You're doing something seriously wrong. At a guess, a WHAG at that, I'd suspect something in the pocket or a sideways primer.
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Old May 28, 2019, 04:12 PM   #11
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It's not that seating a primer a little deeper can't be done ... It's knowing how to seat the primer safely. Slowly , gently and when you reach a certain amount of pressure on the priming arm, knowing that's the limit....this primer isn't going any deeper.

1.) Inspect every primed case , as it comes off the priming tool for a high primer. Before it's loaded with powder and bullet !

2.) Make darn sure crimps are totally removed . My method : Cut the crimp away , swag the pocket with a pocket swaging tool and then use a primer pocket uniforming tool to finish up.

Gary
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Old May 28, 2019, 04:42 PM   #12
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Always wildly exciting to try and reseat primers in loaded ammo. Not for the faint of heart. The anticipation can literally be heart-stopping.

I had two booms doing this sort of thing; that was enough for me. Now I disassemble this type of ammo, save the projectile and the brass for possible re-reaming. Everything else is discarded, unless I loaded the ammo, then I'll keep the powder as well.
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Old May 28, 2019, 05:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by F. Guffey
and I said it is impossible for the shell holder to cover the primer on cases with large diameter heads.
Cover completely, no, but cover a high primer enough to cause ignition, yes. It can happen if the shell holder's open end is facing away from the handle end so the case is thrown into it centrifugally during the swing. We had a fellow on another forum with a blown-to-pieces hammer and the head of the torn-open case embedded in the soft suspended ceiling above him. On inspection, the primer had exactly the crescent mark matching the overlap of the primer in figure 4. photo below. No other indentation mark to suggest why it fired. The parts have to align correctly to make it happen. Figure 3. shows what happens when the case is not falling toward the case insertion cut milled into the shell holder. Figure 4. shows what happens when it is. Again, not an issue if you don't have high primers, but a hazard if you do.




CAUTION: The following is not a published or standard practice. USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. Neither the writer, The Firing Line, nor the staff of TFL assumes any liability for any damage or injury resulting from the use of this information.


If you need to seat a high primer, take a foot-wide piece of 1/4" plywood and drill a hole in the center to slip over the cartridge and down against the shell holder in a hand priming tool. Go outside and point the bullet straight overhead with your arm extended and with nobody else around. Wear eye and ear protection. Wear gloves. Don't stand too close to windows. A case that goes off does burst and does send brass fragments radially outward from the centerline of the case. By pointing the bullet overhead those fragments should spray and arc over your head sort of in the shape of an umbrella. The plywood guarantees none can peel away to the rear and come at you.
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Old May 29, 2019, 09:27 AM   #14
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Before the Internet does not count, I did have the opportunity to trade my shell holders one for one. I explained to RCBS I have unique shell holders I am not willing to give up. And I explained to them I could alter shell holders.

Back to the first time this went around; if the shell fits the puller it has no choice but to stay centered. If the reloaders wants to prevent the shell from moving it is a matter of centering the case in the puller with 'O' rings. The reloader that blew his hammer head off of his handle could have had the 'trickle down' powder problem. It is not that I did not have anything else to do but I tried to get a shell holder on the top of a primer.

I have good fitting shell holders, my favorite shell holder is the RCBS shell holder; it fits like a hand me down shirt, it fits where it touches. Not all RCBS shell holders are alike.

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Old May 29, 2019, 11:42 AM   #15
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Interesting....I have absolutely destroyed primers while seating them, so mangled and squashed (before I learned about crimped primer pockets) that they would never again fire. Never on a loaded round though and never a detonation. It has happened also on a progressive where some SPP 45 acp cases made it into my XL650 case feeder loading large pistol primers.

Guffey's point is a good one, about the powder going through the flash hole. Especially ball powder which does not compress well.

The time I had issues with high primers in .308 and .300wm, was, as Guffey again pointed out, when I tried using Lee shell holders in my RCBS bench primer system. No matter what I did, they stuck a couple thousandths above the casehead. So, I went and got the appropriate RCBS shell holders for those cases and VIOLA!, primer seated about 0.0065 below flush.
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Old May 29, 2019, 05:46 PM   #16
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If you set a primer off during seating and you were using normal seating pressures I would get rid of that entire batch of primers. You can literally crush one flat with normal seating pressure and methods and it shouldn't go off because that is not the way primers work.
While I whole heatedly agree with that, especially in that it's not the way primers work I still have a very healthy distrust of primers. They do not always behave as advertised. Primers detonate with a shock or violent action. Like many I have seen primers get mangled in a press and even get split in half and not detonate, just as expected. Then on the other hand I have read countless stories just like this.

I figure it this way, every story I have read as to accidental detonation of a primer can't all be wrong. My best guess here is sometimes primers do not behave exactly as expected and when that happens they can be nasty little monsters. I hand prime simply because I know how my priming tools feel. I ream or swage crimped primer pockets and if while priming a primer doesn't quite feel right I back off simply because a few cents worth of primer isn't worth losing my sight over and at my age I need all the sight I can get to see the targets. I also figure don't tempt fate. Just because with slow constant pressure a primer shouldn't detonate does not mean it won't I guess. Respect the primer.


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Old May 29, 2019, 06:31 PM   #17
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Quote:
If you set a primer off during seating and you were using normal seating pressures I would get rid of that entire batch of primers. You can literally crush one flat with normal seating pressure and methods and it shouldn't go off because that is not the way primers work.
I don't really like to admit it, but I've pressed primers in upside down, sideways crushing it badly, and two at a time crushing both, and have never had a primer go pop in the press.
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Old May 29, 2019, 08:16 PM   #18
Reloadron
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and have never had a primer go pop in the press.
Neither have I but was afraid to even say it.

Ron
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Old May 29, 2019, 11:10 PM   #19
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7 to 15 cents of materials will never be worth the risk of reworking a loaded shell with a reversed or incorrectly seated primer, imo...... To me this is a disposal problem, not a retool problem. This reflects my material costs for a pistol load. I've heard some folk go a long ways to save a piece of competition rifle brass, but I in no way could ever cost or risk justify that either.

Last edited by Grey_Lion; June 1, 2019 at 09:11 PM.
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Old May 30, 2019, 10:18 AM   #20
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I am going to take a wild guess, did you use Winchester small rifle primers?

Throw them away...
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Old May 30, 2019, 10:37 AM   #21
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Don't dink with a hi primer in a loaded round; disassemble and redo.
it's called the Darwin theory, ignorance can be cured but stupidity can be fatal
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Old May 30, 2019, 10:55 AM   #22
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Long ago I got in the habit of running my finger over the case head to feel the seating of the primer after seating it. I had to modify that a bit when I got my Dillon and I'd inspect loaded rounds the same way as I was putting them in boxes. Any rounds with high primers (not that there were many) went into the box to be pulled down...

The only time I set off a primer when seating it was with one of those Lee whack a mole loaders over 40 years ago. Needless to say it scared the crap out of me.

No matter how low the odds are of setting off a primer pressing it in, there's no way in hell I would seat a primer deeper in a loaded round. It's just not worth the risk...

Tony
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Old May 30, 2019, 02:27 PM   #23
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Next someone will say,”Heat it with a torch to loosen the primer:. Soak the old case in Kroil and take it apart. Ream out the primer channel and reprime after you clean up the case.
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Old June 2, 2019, 08:47 PM   #24
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7 to 15 cents of materials will never be worth the risk of reworking a loaded shell with a reversed or incorrectly seated primer, imo...... To me this is a disposal problem, not a retool problem
Geez...it's easy, for gosh sakes, just pitch the case, primer and all...it's not worth the trouble it could potentially cause. Rod
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Old June 5, 2019, 10:28 AM   #25
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It CAN be done, but you need to do it slowly and carefully;
About as safe as crossing a 4 lane highway in the dark wearing black clothing.
I have 7 stitches in my left forearm from re-seating a high primer in a loaded round, $2,000 ER bill

Quote:
or pull the bullet and just deprime and start over.
Just re-seat the primer
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