Author Topic: Primer Explosion  (Read 5957 times)

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rbwillnj

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Primer Explosion
« on: June 21, 2010, 09:22:21 AM »
It finally happened.  I had a primer Explosion.  My fault of course, but I got off easy.

I let the primer follower rod drop the full length of a nearly empty primer magazine.

BANG!!!   Four primers went off in a single loud bang, and the primer follower came flying out.

No damage to the primer magazine, but the end of the follower rod got fried.  It took a while to clean up the magazine, the socket and the primer slide, and I had to replace the end of the rod.   I was lucky.   For the record, they were WLP primers.
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CDRT

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2010, 09:42:38 AM »
Glad you're okay.  Of course, it just shows how well they built Star presses.
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Kirk A

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2010, 11:26:00 AM »
Glad you're unscathed, but -- as a new Star owner -- it is not self-evident to me what exactly was your fault. Is it problematic to run low on primers? Was the primer follower rod too short to keep pressing on the minimal primer stack? The root cause, I gather, must have been related to some sort of mis-feed issue, but it is not clear to me how your actions caused that. For my own benefit, please advise what to avoid doing.

As a side-note, I should post a picture of my primer follow rod. It has a non-metal tip, different than what I see pictured in this thread. And these are replaceable?  I will need to examine mine more closely...

Thanks,
Kirk A
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fc60

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2010, 12:14:26 PM »
Greetings,

I have used Teflon as a replacement tip material. It is available from McMaster Carr. I believe it is 1/8" diameter. Cuts easily with a single edge razor blade.

Cheers,

Dave Wilson

Jerry Lehrer

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2010, 04:27:53 PM »
Loaders,

All you guys missed the reason.  He DROPPED the follower down on a  nearly empty primer magazine tube.  That is a NO NO!

There is nothing said by him of a mis-feed.

Jerry

rbwillnj

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2010, 04:58:44 PM »
Jerry is correct.

Actually, I had a jam in my casefeeder tube caused by some corn cob cleaning media.  I didn't have anything else in easy reach, so I grabbed the primer follower rod and used it to dislodge the stack of cases that were hung up on a big granule of corn cob.  Then I absent mindedly put the rod back in the primer magazine and let it drop.  Since the magazine was nearly empty, it fell the full length of the magazine and developed enough momentum to set off a primer, which instantaneously set off the other three primers in the magazine.  And that's the rest of the story.

I was lucky that there weren't more primers in the magazine, but then again, if there were, maybe the drop wouldn't have been enough to set them off.   Anyway, Note to Self.  Insert the primer follower rod CAREFULLY.

All of my Stars have steel tubes over the primer magazines to protect against primer explosions as described in an article by Don Krout Jr. in Handloader Magazine Issue #159 .  In this case there wasn't enough pressure generated to deform the brass.   I took a second look at my primer follower rod and found that in addition to the fried nylon tip, the steel rod is bent as well.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2010, 05:02:50 PM by rbwillnj »
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Kirk A

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2010, 10:19:35 PM »
Oh. Somehow I did not equate "drop" with "free-fall", but rather "attain the level of". Thus my curiosity. Again, glad all is well. Thanks for the additional safety citation; will have to look up that article...

-Kirk
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rbwillnj

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2010, 10:28:49 PM »
Actually the article is attached as a PDF to my response above.
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gilmarc74

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2010, 04:19:13 PM »
my question is are your primer tubes brass or aluminum and how long are they and how many primers do they hold :o

rbwillnj

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2010, 05:45:21 PM »
Not sure if you mean primer magazines or primer pickups, but both are brass.   Star primer magazines were available in two sizes, 13" and 15 1/4".   I use the larger ones which comfortably hold 100 primers.  The primer pickups were also available in short and long versions.  I use primer pickups that are 13-14" long and easily hold 100 primers.  The shorter ones typically hold 65-75 primers, and I have seen some that were even shorter.

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eyegots2no

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Re: Primer Explosion
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2010, 05:52:19 PM »
I have heard of this occurring long ago---the person had "tapped" the rod a bit too aggressively.  Had many more primers in it however.  I do not recall if the brass tube went shrapnel, but, I do recall the rod went Saturn V-----went through ceiling, attic, shingles etc., never to be found.

Glad you are not hurt.

 

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