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Old December 23, 2021, 12:03 AM   #1
74camaroman
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Reloading primers??

I would like to know if anyone has tried to load up their used primers? If so, what did they use to ignite the primer? Is it hard to do? Since it is almost impossible to buy pistol or rifle primers these days, I figured someone might have tried to reload their used primers and I was wondering what kind of success they have had and how they did it. Do you have to be a chemist to accomplish such a feat? Thanks. 74 Camaroman.
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Old December 23, 2021, 01:25 AM   #2
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Answers are corrosive

Chemical mixtures listed for sale on line as well as toy caps (black powder) are all corrosive so go in with eyes open. There have been a couple of threads on the Cast Boolits forum on this topic in the last year.

Good luck!
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Old December 23, 2021, 07:22 AM   #3
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It can be done, it's fiddley time consuming work, and most of the primer mix kits you can buy are corrosive. Clean thoroughly, clean often.
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Old December 23, 2021, 09:20 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Butzbach View Post
Chemical mixtures listed for sale on line as well as toy caps (black powder) are all corrosive so go in with eyes open. There have been a couple of threads on the Cast Boolits forum on this topic in the last year.

Good luck!
This. There's a thread going on over there right now on how to do it. "Making spark plus" or something like that. I'd do it but I'm not nearly meticulous enough to feel I can do it safely.

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Old December 23, 2021, 10:06 AM   #5
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There's a lot of things i've done in my youth that i look back on and am amazed i'm still alive.
Boiling gasoline to make napalm is one of them.

I'm older now, so i'll let stuff like making primers up to the professionals.
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Old December 23, 2021, 10:37 AM   #6
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I'm not a chemist,and I have never considered or attempted making primers.
Which means I mostly don't know what I'm talking about.

Here are some things that would bother me about it. Primer compound,unlike smokeless propellant,is a true explosive.

Its sort of the difference between "Whack" and "Whoosh".

Smokeless burns. Priming compound explodes. I can light a pound of smokeless,step back 10 feet and watch it burn.

Ignite a pound of priming compound and they may be scraping your flesh off the cedar fence,

Add to that its PRIMING compound, so friction,shock,sparks, etc can lead to disaster. Think walking on dust on the floor. Or vacuuming.

My very limited experimentation with "cool stuff" in my youth convinced me improvised explosives are unpredictable,dangerous,and can very quickly leave you with injuries not so different than our troops receive from Improvised Explosive Devices. You know,like a face gone or a hand gone,burned away flesh, eyes gone..... That stuff.

If its about being able to shoot without ammo or components, consider a flintlock.

One more thing to think about. Do you notice how anything you do on a computer is analyzed for marketing,ads, "algorithms" etc? Kinda creepy.

Do you suppose the Bureau of Alcohol,Tobacco, Firearms and EXPLOSIVES might track and gather up data on a person doing on line explosive research,then buying components for priming compound?

What might a pressure cooker full of priming compound do in a crowd?

The BATFE has to ask questions like that. They'd be interested in someone making priming compound if they weren't CCI ,Winchester,etc.
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Old December 23, 2021, 11:00 AM   #7
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The kits I have seen are like tannerite. Not explosive until mixed. You measure the ingredients in small batches with a liquid, like water, and mix. The liquid renders them inert until dry. Then you paint them into the primers, replace the anvil, and let them dry.
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Old December 23, 2021, 11:09 AM   #8
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Old December 23, 2021, 07:25 PM   #9
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I'm 69 years old now and have been shooting since I was 8. Been reloading for 45 years. I love guns and almost everything associated with them. But, I'll never love them enough to try to make my own primers. Some things just aren't worth it...
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Old December 23, 2021, 11:02 PM   #10
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Reloading primers?

Reminds me of a time, about 1951, when my buddy and I made gunpowder.
Charcoal, saltpeter and sulfur. Discovered later Potassium permangante was
a good idea as a catalyst.
Made a bomb, about 3 in dia x 6 in long, detonated it in a storm sewer-
blew the cast iron lid about 8 ft in the air, cracked the concrete, and every storm sewer drain for 4 or 5 blocks spewed smoke.
Scared us badly enough that was the last. Found out later we could have had
an auto detonation due to too much catalyst. I was maybe 14 years old.
No primer building for me.
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Old December 23, 2021, 11:41 PM   #11
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The Army Improvised Munitions manual had a method to create primers using the compound from match heads.

I've never tried it, nor had any reason to...
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Old December 24, 2021, 10:12 AM   #12
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Upon reading the OP's question again, i'd have to say no.
There would be little chance of taking the old, fired primer apart and just refilling with primer compound.
The used cup will have already been indented from the firing pin on the first firing.
You would at least need a new cup.
Possibly a new anvil.
Plus the primer compound.
Aka, your manufacturing new primers.
Which would require possible ATF dealings.
Then of course Uncle Joe would get involved.
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Old December 25, 2021, 01:00 PM   #13
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I think they just take a pin punch and knock the indentation out of a spent primer cup. I have done that for making dummy rounds that look live for a display. If one were actually reloading those primer cups, I have no idea how many times you could do it before you started seeing a lot of piercing due to the brass cup cracking.

The primer mixes are not black powder. Black powder is not impact-sensitive. It needs a spark. The mixtures I've seen advertised are an old military formulation. One of the ones listed in Hatcher's Notebook, I believe.
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Old December 25, 2021, 01:43 PM   #14
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Most likely the FH42 mix used 1898-1917; Hatcher pg 353. Only three ingredients with blending instructions here and there on the www.
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Old December 25, 2021, 03:00 PM   #15
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You can purchase a kit to reload 22 LR. It has the ingredients for priming compound in it. You mix very small batches. Only enough to reprime 5 or 6 cases or 2 or 3 primers. Add acetone to liquefy the compound. Remove the anvil and clean the old priming residue out. Fill with new liquid priming compound and replace the anvil. Let it dry.

I studied the process, ordered the kit and loaded some 22 shells. Haven't tested them yet. The centerfire primers crossed my mind. But the videos I watched had less than stellar results. Add that it is corrosive, so I decided to wait for primers to become available again.
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Old December 26, 2021, 12:55 AM   #16
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So it boils down to coming up with a desperate few rounds that you may not be able to count on.

The way I count my cookies, I'd rather build a flintlock.
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Old December 26, 2021, 12:39 PM   #17
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Flint locks are slow and I understand the flint only lasts 3 to 6 shots.

Question: Can one build a black powder gun that uses piezoelectric ignition for the powder? Works with propane/butane on grills and fireplace lighters, cigarette lighters, etc. Would the spark be enough for black powder?

If spark not hot enough for black powder, how about an action that injects a tad of propane into the chamber containing the black powder just before the spark goes off?

Obviously the above is the work of an idle mind awaiting the first football game to start.
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Old December 26, 2021, 05:37 PM   #18
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There are a number of photos online showing failure to ignite BP with electric sparks. The stuff is glazed with graphite, which tends to conduct electricity well enough to prevent ignition temperature from being reached by the powder at the core of each grain.
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Old December 26, 2021, 06:04 PM   #19
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There was an electric muzzleloader but I believe it had a glow plug, not a pizeo sparker.
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Old December 27, 2021, 01:30 AM   #20
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I am one of the posters in the Cast Boolits thread:Making-Sparkplugs-My-first-100-primers

I actually did not get started until several weeks ago and it was the Sparkplugs thread that prompted me to give it a try.

The thread is discussing reloading primers using the non-corrosive EPH 20 or EPH 25 primer mixtures.

You prep a primer by prying out the anvil and removing the indentation in the cup (as simple as setting the inverted cup on flatnose punch and tapping with hammer)

You then fill a cup with your EPH 20 or EPH 25 powder. The dry powder is not contact sensitive and will not explode. The simpler EPH 20 consists of Lead Nitrate, Lead Hypophosphite, ground glass and ground nitrocellulose. The Lead Hypophosphite is one of the tricky parts for this process as we make it ourselves in a "wet lab" setup.

We add a drop of water to allow the two lead compounds to react and activate the mix. The powder is packed and the anvil in installed. It does not become contact sensitive until the mix has been wetted and then dries.

Videos and other helpful info can be found at https://aardvarkreloading.com

Last edited by P Flados; December 27, 2021 at 01:50 AM.
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Old December 27, 2021, 01:49 AM   #21
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The amount of time spent dealing with pulling the anvil out, punching the indent flat, packing the mix into the cap, and replacing the anvil and then loading that into a case is not worth it IMO. Buy some 9mm CCI ammo from Natchez for $16 and go shoot.

EDIT: Oh, wait, you can't do that because you live in California. You can always try making your own percussion caps. Punch out a cap from a soda can, fill with powder mix, drop of acetone, let it dry and done. Can probably do 50 caps in an hour.
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Old December 27, 2021, 02:32 AM   #22
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TT,

I am retired and I load a lot of ammo. This is for myself and my son (we try to shoot weekly). More than 95% is with bullets I cast myself.

I do not have a 9mm (the boy does) and the last ammo I bought was 22 LR probably some 10 - 15 years or so ago.

I do not remember ever buying loaded centerfire rifle or handgun ammo.

Feeding my 327, 357 mag, 357 Max, 7 Tcu, 30 Herrett, 300 BO, etc. without reloading would be much more expensive (where possible) than popping for a couple of boxes of 9mm.

I have not bought powder or primers since before Covid. I am getting lower than I like on SPP. My average cost per round using pre-pandemic supplies is around $0.06. Cost per round based on current prices for on-line purchase of consumables would be closer to $0.16. Average cost per round with reloaded primers will be under $0.03. My cost for setting up to reload primers will be less than the current cost for 2K primers.

I expect to continue to buy primers when either I "have to" or when I feel the price is right. The price is currently not even close to "right, and I do not "have to" yet. I want to put off the "have to" for a good while longer if possible.

The other piece of the puzzle, is that the raw chemicals are unlikely to get hard to acquire and even if I was worried, the cost for enough for 30K primers would not be a financial hardship. My current powder stockpile is still in good shape. If ammo and reloading supplies ever get harder to find than a year ago, I would be in good shape spend what I had for some more bulk smokeless powder. As previously noted, I make my own bullets.

Last edited by P Flados; December 27, 2021 at 02:56 AM.
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Old December 27, 2021, 06:06 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
TT,

I am retired and I load a lot of ammo. This is for myself and my son (we try to shoot weekly). More than 95% is with bullets I cast myself.

I do not have a 9mm (the boy does) and the last ammo I bought was 22 LR probably some 10 - 15 years or so ago.

I do not remember ever buying loaded centerfire rifle or handgun ammo.

Feeding my 327, 357 mag, 357 Max, 7 Tcu, 30 Herrett, 300 BO, etc. without reloading would be much more expensive (where possible) than popping for a couple of boxes of 9mm.

I have not bought powder or primers since before Covid. I am getting lower than I like on SPP. My average cost per round using pre-pandemic supplies is around $0.06. Cost per round based on current prices for on-line purchase of consumables would be closer to $0.16. Average cost per round with reloaded primers will be under $0.03. My cost for setting up to reload primers will be less than the current cost for 2K primers.

I expect to continue to buy primers when either I "have to" or when I feel the price is right. The price is currently not even close to "right, and I do not "have to" yet. I want to put off the "have to" for a good while longer if possible.

The other piece of the puzzle, is that the raw chemicals are unlikely to get hard to acquire and even if I was worried, the cost for enough for 30K primers would not be a financial hardship. My current powder stockpile is still in good shape. If ammo and reloading supplies ever get harder to find than a year ago, I would be in good shape spend what I had for some more bulk smokeless powder. As previously noted, I make my own bullets.
I hear you on the calibers you load for being expensive to shoot if you didn't reload, it's why I reload for uncommon calibers too (.32, 10mm) or to just save money (.45), but I've largely put the guns in those calibers off to the side and am focusing on .22 and 9mm.

Unless someone has a product that makes reloading a primer fast enough that I could do a few hundred in an hour, I have no interest and I don't think it's a smart investment to get tooled up to reload primers, but everyone has different needs.

Good luck if you start making your own primers.
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Old December 30, 2021, 04:51 PM   #24
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I believe he said he has started.

PFlados,

I am curious how many times a primer cup can be reloaded before it pierces. When you find that out, please post it. Firing pins can stretch the metal at an indentation so extremely, my assumption is you will probably only get one reload, but I don't know from experience.

The brass cups seem to be 0.020" to 0.025" thick at the bottom, depending on the primer, and about half that along the sides. The anvils may be reusable multiple times, as they look pretty well intact when you find them among your decapped primers. So I am thinking a die like the ones used to make gas checks from tin cans could be used with 0.020" to 0.025" brass shim stock to make new primer cups.

It's more trouble than I would go to in current circumstances because I still have enough primers from before the shortage to last a while (I always try to stock 5 years ahead of need during times of good availability in order to ride out these shortages without buying anything), but I understand wanting the ability to do it in a doomsday scenario or just because you can.
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Old February 6, 2022, 12:18 AM   #25
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Well I have fired probably 500 rounds with reloaded primers and have loaded up a stash of over 2 k rounds of ammo for the summer shooting season. I will be increasing the stash over the next month or so.

I am confident that this ammo will be "good enough", but it will be many months before I will be able to report on actual performance.

My reloads are not 100% bang on first strike in all guns yet. Part of my problem is probably getting some SRPs mixed in with my SPPs. Some of my gun / load combinations have been 100% so far.

For anyone reading this and thinking there is even a chance that they would try this, start stockpiling spent primers that are 100% same brand and same type. Some folks "mix" brands, but for me using mixed brands was a real PITA when it came to seating anvils and poorly seated anvils may have contributed to less than perfect results.

As far as re-using the cups multiple times, some have reported good results with up to 6 reloads. On the other hand, one of my son's 9mms was getting over 5% pierced primers on the first reload. I am thinking the combination of gun and ammo pressure make a lot of difference. A 38 Sp with a relatively light strike, and a nice round firing pin being likely to allow more re-use than a full power 9mm with a firing pin that probably needs some rounding just to get reliable first reload performance.

For me, I have talked to the guys at my nearby indoor range and they are ok with me gathering range brass, harvesting primers and returning the de-capped brass. This will allow me to build a good stockpile of "matched" spent primers.

I do make my own gas checks, so I have a clue about what it would take to make cups. I think it is probably easier just to harvest primers from range brass than to try to set up for making cups with the precision needed.

Last edited by P Flados; February 6, 2022 at 12:30 AM.
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