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Reloading Berger Bullets


making powder and primers?

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Unread 03-04-2013, 09:51 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Sedalia, MO
Posts: 1,256
Re: making powder and primers?

Just to pile on here a bit, but making smokeless powder is downright safe, compared to making primers. If you've ever been inside of a primer production operation, you IMMEDIATELY get a sense of just how serious a business this is. At Lake City, you're issued all clothing, pants, smocks, shoes, to ensure that they're non-conductive and meet flame retardant regulations. You have grounding cord that attahes to your shoe, and drags along behind to make sure any static build-up is immedaitely discharged. The door to the primer assembly room is a large, heavy blast door. Before passing through it, you have to sign in on a log, so that they know how many people are in the room at any given moment, and just who they are; I'll leave it to your imagination as to why they're so picky about that. As you go in, you have to grab a grounding pole and wait until you're clear (it's actually measured at the door) of of any residual static electricity. The door is immediately closed behind you once you enter. Once inside, you notice that the work stations are divided up like office cubicles, but the partitions are made of heavy armor plate. There are warnings about having any more than "X" number of people in any given area at a time, again, I'll leave the conclusions as to why to your imagination. The priming compound is actually pretty stable and fairly harmless stuff, when it's still wet. Once dried, and sort of impact, friction, excessive heat, etc., and you've got a very serious problem for a microsecond or two. Not that you'll know anything about it, I assure you. The shifts there for the guys who are actually doing the primer wiping (seating the mixture in the cups) are split up into two four hour periods. The first is spent wiping the primers with the still moist compound. The last four are spent cleaning the station from top to bottom, with a series of chemicals and washes that will kill every trace of the priming compound in that area, before it can dry out. Every speck of compound residue has to be removed, treated, washed away and destroyed before it can dry, each and every shift.

Once the primers are completed, they are transferred to drying bunkers until they're ready to be loaded. They are transported to these bunkers in wheeled hand carts. The term for these carts among the employees is an "Angel Buggy." Again, you can draw your own conclusions from the name.

This is a fool's plan, and a downright suicide mission for the DIY type. If you choose to try this, just make sure you lace your dog tags into your boot laces; they're probably the only part of you that the coroner is likely to find.
Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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Unread 03-04-2013, 10:30 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: S.E. Michigan
Posts: 4,120
Re: making powder and primers?

Reminds me of Iodine crystals. That tincture of Iodine that you buy at the pharmacy is pretty harmless (other than it stings when applied to a cut) but Iodine has a sinister side...

Iodine (pure) has to be kept in a liquid (wet) form. Once dried out and crystalized, it becomes very unstable. Just the act of an insect walking on Iodine crystals causes them to rapidly oxidize (rapid oxidation is what powders and primers do that makes them go bang). My dad used to take iodine (wet) and smear a bit on the window ledge and let it crystalize. A fly landing on the crystalized Iodine was immediately expunged. He blew the back of his desk out one time at work (he was head of Analytical Research for a large Steel company). He put some liquid Iodine in his desk drawer with the stopper not toght in the bottle and it dried out. He closed the drawer and bang, out went the desk.

I had a very interesting childhood. Found out early on about frozen Co2, Iodine and distilling various substances.....

Probably why I have a profound respect for compounds that oxidize rapidly.
'It's not about me, it's about we'..........
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