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Thread: Primer metal

  1. #1
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    Question Primer metal

    Do all manufacturers use the same metal when producing primers? Some are obviously a different color so are some brass and others aluminum? I have never found a primer that was attracted to a magnet (they prefer to stay in their own genus and species ) I have a coffee can filled with spent primers from my reloading activities and curious about what the recycler dude might say when I try to recycle them...

    .
    "The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament..."

    I'm starting, to suspect that I, don't know how to use commas.

  2. #2
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    I had some of the virgin lc-67 match and 67 ball cases I bought. That hose that goes on the lee classic cast press was put into a gallon jug of water. Most primers went for a swim in the jug. Got a bunch of 223 mil surp from weideners and supposedly inert. Threw a few in my trash pile and they did go off. Don't think your friendly scrap dealer will take live primers, otherwise he may not be so friendly next time you see him. Bury them in the ground about 6" deep and forget about them. In a couple hundred years some guy digging on what used to be your property might find them and declare that there must have been some battle there.Quick story, junkyard I used to go had a 16" battleship projectile laying in the mud out back. every so often they would add it to the load going to the smelter. And just when the next truck came back to the yard guess what was on it, yep the 16" shell. I used to tour junkyards on saturdays looking for shell casings from artillery did find a few now and then. One day there was a 5"54 shell. guy asked me if it was still alive. Still had the nose fuse and I am a devout coward. Told him call the cops to come and take it away.Frank
    Last edited by Frank46; 12-29-2009 at 11:12 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun_lover View Post
    Do all manufacturers use the same metal when producing primers? Some are obviously a different color so are some brass and others aluminum? I have never found a primer that was attracted to a magnet (they prefer to stay in their own genus and species ) I have a coffee can filled with spent primers from my reloading activities and curious about what the recycler dude might say when I try to recycle them...

    .
    You know I've never given it much thought and you got my curiosity up and did a quick search:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percussion_cap#Primers
    But now I have some CCI, Federal and Alcan primers that don't look as cooper or brass. Don't think they would be aluminum as that would seem to soft. Maybe nickle?
    Last edited by armyrat1970; 12-30-2009 at 04:53 AM.
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

    I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.

    And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by MEJ1990TM View Post
    Well, all right. Maybe just this once.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by gun_lover View Post
    Do all manufacturers use the same metal when producing primers? Some are obviously a different color so are some brass and others aluminum? I have never found a primer that was attracted to a magnet (they prefer to stay in their own genus and species ) I have a coffee can filled with spent primers from my reloading activities and curious about what the recycler dude might say when I try to recycle them...

    .
    Most generally, the primer cup is a brass-type alloy, though the anvil may be steel in some examples. I have melted down a lot of spent primers for use in making brass vise jaws. They work very well for that application....
    Pistol keeps me safe.
    Shotgun keeps me fed.
    Rifle keeps me free.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Optimist View Post
    Most generally, the primer cup is a brass-type alloy, though the anvil may be steel in some examples. I have melted down a lot of spent primers for use in making brass vise jaws. They work very well for that application....
    I would expect some attraction to a magnet if any portion of the primer was steel and yet I get absolutely no attraction to magnets. I always thought that they were brass but because of the different colors I started to question if I really knew at all...copper or brass would typically be similar in color wouldn't they?

    .
    Last edited by gun_lover; 12-30-2009 at 05:18 PM.
    "The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament..."

    I'm starting, to suspect that I, don't know how to use commas.

  6. #6
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    Default Primer metal

    In the days of mercuric priming, most primers were made of Copper, hardened with a minute quantity of other metal ( Antimony or Arsenic I think).
    With the development of Non-mercuric (but still corrosive) Primers before the First World War, primer metal switched to 70/30 brass ("Cartridge brass")

    During WW II, the Germans made Zinc-Plated Steel primers. The Czechs continued for some time after WW II, before reverting to Brass cups.
    Anvils ( in Boxer primers) are usually brass as well. European Primers , being mostly Berdan ( almost exclusively) needed No anvil as a separate Piece....

    The British Commonwealth continued the use of Copper in their .303 Primers, as several Commonwealth producers continued using Mercury Fulminate well after it was Discontinued elsewhere (India, Iraq, etc).

    Nowadays, Primers are brass, either Naked or Nickle Plated for Commercial use, and Straight brass for Military Use.

    Unfired ("Live" ) primers...soak in Warm Vinegar/Water mix for a day. After that, the priming compound is deactivated, and Caps can be melted etc. For added safety, after the Vinegar dip, use Caustic Soda/Washing Soda and Boiling water...this will definitely "kill" the priming compound. ( Caustic Soda is used by Primer Factories to deactivate old Compound and Floor sweepings etc....)

    Remember, always treat primers with care... Live primers should always be stored in their original containers( Nests) and spent primers also treated as a source of Lead Poisoning...the Fired primer Ash/dust has a large concentration of lead salts in it, and large quantities of this can raise Body Lead levels to Toxic status...always wash up well after handling spent primers ( and clean down your reloading equipment regularly ( I wipe down with a Oily Brush, to collect all the dust,, and also to stop the dust from abraiding the running surfaces.

    These days many Primer Makers offer both Lead Styphnate and Nontoxic Non-Heavy-metal primers ( Barium compounds) in their ranges of primers ( ie, Murom of Russia).

    Regards,
    Doc AV
    AV Ballistics.

  7. #7
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    Excellent information! Thanks Doc

    .
    "The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament..."

    I'm starting, to suspect that I, don't know how to use commas.

  8. #8
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    As always with Doc's post, very informative. Thanks Doc.
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

    I reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.

    And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.
    Quote Originally Posted by MEJ1990TM View Post
    Well, all right. Maybe just this once.

  9. #9
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    Not sure if it's metallurgy or internal structure, but Lee's hand primer warns not to use Federal primers. I have a couple of these hand primers, and have never used Federal primers in either one. (Not big into experimentation) CB

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