Removing Live Primers

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by 340ORHNTR, Mar 17, 2010.

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  1. 340ORHNTR

    340ORHNTR Active Member

    Mar 17, 2009
    I was given a rifle and some reloads from a friend of my grandfathers and i don't trust the loads. There is no real marking of what powder bullet primer etc. I want to pull the bullets, dump the powder, and remove the live primers so i can tumble the brass and start fresh. What is the best way to remove the live primer?
  2. jimbires

    jimbires Well-Known Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    I just gently push them out with the die . just as I do with fired primers , only gently . I've never had a problem . Jim
  3. RockyMtnMT

    RockyMtnMT Official LRH Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2007
    If there is any other way I would like to hear it. I have always done the same thing with no trouble, knock on wood. The only other thing that I could think of was to pull and empty the case then fire the primers. I did not want to do that so I have always just decapped them.

    I would like to hear from others on this.

  4. freebird63

    freebird63 Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2009
    That what I have always done is just carefully decap them. Good luck
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2004

    That's the way I would do it to be safe.

    Some of the old primers had soft cups and could even go off during seating them and that's
    why a lot of old shooters/re loaders won't use the primer magazines that will hold 1 or more
    boxes of primers.(If one goes off the hole lot will)so you only have to deal with one primer at
    a time.

    You can push them out very slowly but why take the chance.

    PS; Some of the old primers are corrosive so be sure and clean the firearm after you disarm
    the primers.

  6. winmag

    winmag Well-Known Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    If your nervous about decapping live primers, shoot em' first, but make sure to clean your rifle when your done.

    GNERGY Guest

    You could soak them in some water. If I have to deprime live primers I wrap a towel around the press so if it does go off it doesn't go flying all around, it will take a little longer but you won't have to wear an eye patch.
  8. Kevin Thomas

    Kevin Thomas Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2009
    I'll agree here. I've decapped quite a few by just doing it very gently, and the idea to wrap a towel around the press isn't a bad thought, either. I'd say forget about filling the cases with water, though. I've followed the age old advice to apply a little penetrating oil and let them sit a while to deactivate the compound, and I'm here to tell you, modern primers are pretty damned hard to kill! Always gotten a bit of a laugh about the notion that handling primers with your fingers may impart enough oil to kill the compound, since I've found several that were still perfectly "live" after a penetrating oil soaking. Being that I've never (and wouldn't advise, anyway) reused the primers that were knocked out, the thought of just popping them is perfectly good, too. If nothing else, it gives one an appreciation of the power that's contained in that little cup, and you'll treat them a lot more respectfully afterwards, I guarantee.

    Kevin Thomas
    Lapua USA
  9. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    I put on ear plugs and safety glasses and decap them gently, as others have done. Still have my eyelids. Never had one go off. But I do try to protect my eyes and hearing should one go off. I don't go so far as to cover my face to protect my good looks. :D
  10. dozernomore

    dozernomore Member

    Dec 21, 2008
    you can shoot the primers off if you want,,,but I just deprime the live one gently,,but after I deprime live primers,,I save them and re-use them again,,,and never have had any issues with miss-fires
  11. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    I like the bang and clean your rifle afterwards method.
  12. dirtball

    dirtball Well-Known Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    You just got to ask your self, Do I Feel Lucky Today, well do ya punk?
    Cause if that primer goes off just as it is coming out of the case, it is going some where, very fast, depending on the make and design of your press it could leave you very uncomfortable.
    Why take the chance just fire them or put your new load on top of them.
  13. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2005
    Every article on reloading procedures I've ever read that addressed this issue has always been emphatic - that one should never decap live primers. I've already admitted that I do it. When I deprime on my RCBS Rockchucker, there's an opening for the primer to depart the primer pocket/casing directly down the center of the Ram. I've considered the odds of injury should I light a primer up, and with my press I decided they are acceptably low - provided I'm wearing eye and ear protection.

    But the prescribed 'safe' method is always written the same way. Fire them off in the firearm, and then decap the dead primer. This method is the rule of the road.