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Thread: breaking down loaded cartridges?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Remmy4477's Avatar
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    breaking down loaded cartridges?

    Picked up a box of 45-75 jamison brass over the weekend.
    Most of it has been reloaded but no data is available as to what was used.

    Question is how would one go about breaking it down, mainly decapping the live primers? Yes it would be simple if I had a rifle to fire them in!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Pull the bullets out and dump the powder and slow use the deprimer and size die and will be good .I do it my self when needed. It works for me .Maybe someone else have a different way.
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    Ive done it before, wear safety glasses and earplugs. I used to smack em with a hammer to destroy them but now I toss 1 or 2 at a time in my fire barrel and count the pops then repeat until they are gone. The decapped primers that is.
    Last edited by Frosty Boolit; 02-17-2020 at 08:58 AM. Reason: clarification

  4. #4
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    If it was me, I would use an inertial bullet puller.
    You put the loaded cartridge in the top, tighten the nut and smack it on some concrete until the bullet and powder pops out of the case.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1019614146?pid=157862


    To get the primer out, just run the case into a sizing die and the primer should come right out. There is a possibility that the primer will go off, but it has never happened to me.
    If you wanted to, you could spray some oil into the case to kill the primer first.
    If you don't have the correct sizing die, then you could use something larger than the case that you have, or they make universal decapping dies.
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/1011183740?pid=136543

    I hope this helps.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    The only reliable way to kill a primer is by heat or impact. You can soak them in whatever you want, when they dry out they can still be dangerous.
    Warning: I know Judo. If you force me to prove it I'll shoot you.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    I salute your wisdom in taking apart mystery cartridges! It sounds as you have the bullet removal challenge licked; for me, a lot is based if I wish to re-use said bullet. You indicated you do not possess a rifle in this calibre, but do you have a shell holder? If you have a shell holder, you can put this upside down in a vice, insert primed shell, and then -- WEARING EYE & HEARING PROTECTION -- use a small hammer on a finishing nail to strike primer. (I've done this on many occassions with no casualties to me, brass, or anyone) As there is lead styphnate in primers, you do want to be careful -- I wad up an old washcloth under brass to "catch" most -- but still do this in my open garage, followed by a good hand wash with D-Lead soap. If you do not have a shell holder, the rim on your .45-75 is roughly 0.6200", with the case diameter before at roughly 0.5470". These may vary -- 'specially if your cases are not virgin -- e.g., had been fired. In any case, what I have also successfully done is to measure the case diameter, and then bore a hole through a piece of hardwood. I've used scrap maple flooring. Using drill press, I'd drill a 1/2" hole through, and then use a rat-tail (round) file -- take your time -- to just accept the case. Same procedure as with shell holder, above, using a finish nail -- the one's I use are about 2" or so in length -- to detonate the primer.Click image for larger version. 

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    Once the primer is detonated, you can unscrew the decapping assembly from pretty much any die, and although you must make sure it's tip drops through the flash hole -- a few taps with a wooden mallet (to not harm die) -- gets the primer out.
    Note, this is what *I* have done/do, and may be dangerous to you and others -- so be safe if trying/doing it. Further, I have -- years back -- filled cases with WD40, water, alcohol, and ??? -- in attempts to deactivate primers -- and *I* have never achieved more than marginal success.
    Good luck, and again -- whatever -- be safe doing it!
    geo

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve got a question... if you don’t have a 45-70, why did you buy reloaded ammo in this caliber? Are you planning on reforming the brass for a different caliber or just keeping it as-is in case you buy a rifle later? If the former, I can understand unloading (I would go with an inertial bullet puller for that) and remove the primer carefully since I reuse them for casual plinking. If I were going to just keep the brass in hopes of finding a rifle in this caliber, I’d leave the primers right where they are and be one step ahead when I started reloading. The primers would be fine “stored” right there in the brass.

    Froggie
    "It aint easy being green!"

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I do use the hammer type bullet puller also to take my rounds apart and if I had the boolit go deeper then I want I use the puller also to pull the boolit out some ,it take some doing at times to do it that way .
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Just pull the bullets with whatever method thats available to you. A collet puller, an inertia puller or a pair of pliers across the top of the press. Then dump the powder and deprime them. I've removed a lot of live primers. Just go slow and smooth. Gloves and glasses are suggested but I've never had a primer go off.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Carefully deprime. Go slow. Don't rush or "slam fire" the press handle. If you are depriming "quite a few", save the pulled Large Rifle primers (regardless of standard or magnum, which you don't know) for plinking reuse! I have done it with 100% success. Works every time.
    If it was easy, anybody could do it.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    I have posted this before, but here it is again.

    Deactivating primers
    When I started reloading in the nineteen sixties, the “common” knowledge was; don’t touch the primers with your bare hand---you will “kill” the primer! During that time (and for some time thereafter) if I had to remove a primer from a damaged case etc. I dropped it into a small (airline liquor) bottle along with some really light weight oil. Later I learned I could have reused most of those primers and the little bottle got shoved to the back corner of a shelf. This subject appears from time to time on one or another of the sites I visit and I remembered that little bottle. SO----I went and found it. I dumped out the 20+ oil-soaked primers and washed them in white gas (Coleman fuel). I let them dry for a day and then set them into some old 303 brass. The freshest primer in that bottle was at least 20 years old. Every one of those primers fired (to some degree)! Some only lightly “popped” but others gave quite an authoritative “bang”. I don’t know if they had enough power to set off a powder charge BUT I do know I will never believe you can “kill” a primer by soaking it in anything.
    R.D.M.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Bazoo's Avatar
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    I gather you don't have a way to remove the primers such as a universal decapping die or an appropriate sizing die. Well, you can decap brass with a punch if you're careful. A drill press used as an arbor press would be safest. But I have decapped brass with a punch and hammer with the case head resting over a hole in a board. Obviously you want to wear safety glasses and not hem up on it. If it does go off it will blow the primer out and the punch up. I've done somewhere around 50 and didn't have any go off. But I have had the lee classic loader pop primers when priming. It isn't as scary as you expect.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I may have been doing something stupid but live primers, I just decap just like regular primers. I'd not like you are going to be slamming that resizing die into them. Lee has any universal decaping die.

    Funny thing happened to me once. When I first got my 325 WSM I used a spent brass to cycle and dry fire the rifle. Not the first time, not the second time, but the THIRD time I dry fired the same spent brass it went BANG! Scaring and confusing the bejesus out of me. Not only was residual primer stuff there but it took several hits for it to go off.

  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master

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    I like pulling bullets in the press a piece of pvc pipe that fits over the ram shell holder just longer than and a pair of side cuts. this pulls bullets very quickly. Saves a lot of stroke.

    As to the primers the sizing die or one the case will fit in used gently works well. I use my had deprimer, it more push than bang or slam. Im not sure water will reliably deaden primers. oils or solvents will but then you have the step to clean remove it from the cases.

    One important tip is to wear safety glasses or better a face shied while doing this.

  15. #15
    Boolit Grand Master

    Wayne Smith's Avatar
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    If you reload, and since you are here I assume you do it is well worth it to invest in a universal depriming die. Lee makes one, I have an RCBS. I use it to deprime all my ammo and then drop the brass in the vibratory cleaner. I don't have to worry about breathing lead when I take brass out of the cleaner that way.

    I have also routinely reused decapped live primers - especially for fireforming brass, or, as Froggie does, for non-serious plinking. I've never had one fail to go bang.
    Wayne the Shrink

    There is no 'right' that requires me to work for you or you to work for me!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I’ll second the idea of just dumping the powder and storing the primed brass. That you don’t know what the primers are is of very little consequence for anything but shooting for groups, and that’s not likely what you’ll be doing with your first handful of rounds anyway.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master



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    I’ve deprimed a few live primers with a universal depriming die, without any problems. I prefer the inertia type pullers. The collet type damaged some jacked bullets I could have reused.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy Remmy4477's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input everyone!
    I do have a universal lee decaper die and a shell holder. Will probably do it in the press slowly and wisely!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master

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    I do the same as everyone else here, depriming live primers. It's a common assumption, that depriming live primers is dangerous. I read all the time about people who soak the brass in oil or dispose of the entire case, even people who treat unwanted or old ammo like it's old dynamite or something. I guess it's best to err on the side of caution, but...

  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    Put a foam ear plug in the bottom of your hammer style puller And adjust the final rap and save all those bullets.

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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
GC Gas Check