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Thread: De-activating Primers

  1. #21
    Boolit Master tiger762's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    NE Georgia
    I too have deprimed live primers without incident. There are a heck of a lot of well-meaning people who have claimed everything from antifreeze, brake fluid, methanol, etc. to chemically render primers inert. I think what happens is a liquid acts as a solvent to start dissolving the primer mixture. Nothing to do with what the actual liquid is. As long as it can act as a solvent. Anyway, I let a friend deprime 4000+ primed 44mag for me. He kept the primers and I was then able to sell the brass through the USPS

  2. #22
    Boolit Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    Apr 2008
    Unlike primers or loaded ammo shipping primed brass thru UPS or FedEx doesn't require hazmat.

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by Minerat View Post
    My mother worked for CCI in the Lewiston factory as a test\QC tech back in the 80's. She said a drop of oil and let it sit for a while would kill a primer. It always has for me. FWIW.

    You then need to get the oil out of the case or it will affect the next primer. Brake cleaner makes a fast job of that if you want to use it right away.
    I also hear thin oil

    I soak old 22's in oil/water mix to incapacitate before disposing of and dispose of them in a plastic peanut or --- Jar still on the solution

  4. #24
    Boolit Master

    M-Tecs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    About 10 years ago I was contracted to demill a bunch of 50 cal and under ammo for a museum. While I did not try an ultrasonic with citrus and water nothing I tried was 100% or long term.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master rr2241tx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    San Marcos Texas
    Boxer primers can -nearly always- be backed out with a depriming die without drama. If you get a glued-in or heavily crimped one, the worst thing that happens is that it will pop and shoot the primer into the waste bucket a little faster than normal. Perfect use for an old press that drops primers through the ram.

    I decided to reclaim components from a few thousand SAMCO "floor sweepings" Brazilian 7X7 that were Berdan primed. None of the usual methods was working because the primers were glued in with the same grey ??? that the bullets were. Since the primers couldn't be set deeper to break the bond, I discovered a use for a ratty old Spanish Civil War wallhanger. It took a while, but the massively out of spec headspace was perfect. The primers were every variation from completely inert to hot enough to make a Federal 215 look weak. Most would poof and the combination of pressure and heat cracked the sealant making them relatively easy to extract with the RCBS tool. Got a few questioning looks from neighbors sitting out on the front porch popping primers but no one got overly excited.
    Timin' has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

  6. #26

  7. #27
    It might be easy to deactivate a primer when you don't want to - and be assured, it will be on the game shot or match-winning shot of a lifetime that that will show up. But it isn't so easy to depend on its working every time, when you do want to.

    Most primer compositions will dissolve in hot water, but there is always the chance that it is partly soluble, partly insoluble, and I don't kno if any will remain ignitable by impact. More importantly, more primers than formerly are now protected with lacquer and/or an aluminium foil disc. Solvents might gain ingress for water, but we all know that if we try to find a solvent for an unknown kind of lacquer in more conventional situations, some will work and some won't.

    Using two methods, like oil and water, isn't necessarily twice as sure as one. Wear belt and suspenders and they have to support your trousers equally, or they will go pop one at a time, just as if you used only one. Oil will keep water out, or water will keep oil out.

  8. #28
    I too have deprimed hundreds of live primers without incident. Use a full length sizing and decapping die, or a universal decapping die, and apply steady gentle pressure. It's always worked for me, I have even tested re-using the primers with success.

  9. #29
    Boolit Master
    JBinMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Goodhue County, SE Minnesota
    Just deprimed 3 live primers & re-used them today. Just used the de-prime stem in a sizing die. No issues at all. Slow & easy...

    If I need to make a primer "inert/dead" for some reason, I will usually just put it in the appropriate firearm & fire it off in a safe direction( usually down & away). Pretty easy.
    2nd Amend./U.S. Const. - "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "A man ought ta do what he thinks is best" - "Hondo" Lane.(John Wayne)

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    Enforce the Immigration laws & deport the illegal immigrants. Quit fooling around.

  10. #30
    Super Moderator & Official Cast Boolits Sketch Artist

    RP's Avatar
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    Mar 2008
    Nahunta NC
    I swage 22 brass into 55gr bullets the duds that I find I pull the bullets and use them as well. I SS pin with water to clean them before I de rim you would think tumbling in a tank full of water and soap would kill the primer plus it was a dud to start with. But I found a surprise when I de rim a few. So duds have been going to the scrap bucket now I have no need for any of that kind of excitement lol.
    Reloading to save money I am sure the saving is going to start soon

  11. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by RP View Post
    I swage 22 brass into 55gr bullets the duds that I find I pull the bullets and use them as well. I SS pin with water to clean them before I de rim you would think tumbling in a tank full of water and soap would kill the primer plus it was a dud to start with. But I found a surprise when I de rim a few. So duds have been going to the scrap bucket now I have no need for any of that kind of excitement lol.
    I once bought a large number of WW .22 shotshell cases on eBay, from the US, for that very purpose. They had been primed but never loaded or cannelured. The seller claimed to have boiled the priming composition out - and it ought to work much better than in centrefire primers, since it is only ever unprotected for a brief period in the cartridge factory, and isn't sealed by lacquer or foil.

    For safety's sake I tried to cook off a few on a cooker ring, and they all detonated with a sharp crack - whether as sharp as WW intended, I don't know, but surely enough to ignite fine-grained powder. They came through customs with no trouble, too.

    I also have several pounds weight of primed 9mm. Fiocchi shotshells, once owned by the Birmingham Gun Barrel Proof House, who would have overloaded them to make proof rounds, but instead auctioned a large quantity of ammunition they realised they would never use in such numbers. From these I learned something quite interesting. A similarly cooked-off round mangles its case quite extensively, which few cooked-off rounds do. But when I experimentally popped one of them in a .38 rimfire chamber (a loose fit, since it is more like a .30 case), it didn't expand at all. I don't think even annealing of the case before ignition temperature would have accounted for the difference.

    General Hatcher found that firearms fired through heat, as in a house fire, would go off, but with less than their usual power. It seems likely that the powder ignites at lower temperature than a primer, and is somewhat lacking in power when ignited that way.

  12. #32
    Boolit Bub
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    This discussion pops up all the time and the truth is that primers are very difficult to de-activate by any means other than firing. The compounds used to make them are not readily soluble in water, oil or most solvents. While you may find that some primers don't work after soaking in WD40 (common mythical primer killer) or other oil the reason is not because the compound is dead but that the oil is absorbing some of the energy from any strike that would otherwise set off the primer. Same goes for water. The material fills the empty space in the primer and helps spread the load out like a bullet proof vest does.
    Lead styphnate is the most commonly used primer system right now and it's not soluble in either water or oil. Potassium perchlorate is also not soluble in either though potassium chlorate is slightly soluble in water when its hot.
    All in all the basic answer for those trying to deprime live primers is keep your safety glasses on, make sure that any areas that can be hit by shards of blown up primer are covered and go easy on the depriming tool. In all the years I've been loading I've had a total of zero live primers fire when depriming. On the other hand I've had a couple go off when priming cases. That was usually due to something in the primer pocket screwing things up. I have had primers turn sideways in the priming tool and get crushed while loading in the case but none of them have ever gone off.

    Use care and caution and don't depend on anything that you believe is killing the primer. It isn't.


  13. #33
    Boolit Master MyFlatline's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Crystal River Florida
    I know this is mainly about metalic loading and yes I have been successful at depriming myself but what about shotshell? Would those primers back out the same?

    I got a bunch I got the lead from, never thought about trying to de prime.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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