Neutralising Old Primers

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by .338lapua_magnum, May 19, 2010.

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  1. A question for those in the know. I have been handed a single clip of five MKVII rounds by a gentleman who was clearing a loft. I would like to pull the bullets, remove the cordite (as it should be) and make the primer safe. I believe the old primers were Fulminate of Mercury so what would be the best neutralising agent? I know that vinegar is sometimes recommended for BP or flash but would it be suitable for these old primers? Thanks in advance.
  2. I used vegetable oil, but I never actually tried to set one off to check it wasn't a bullshit solution!
  3. WD 40, but the effect is not instant. They need to soak for a number of days/weeks.
  4. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    You are better of pulling the bullets and firing the cases off. The cases can be neck resized by leaving out the decapping pin, I once used an inert 9mm Steyr round to test for function in a pistol and it functioned all right. Fortunately for my dining table and legs the powder was out.
  5. RoF Chorley, who used to make primers, drowned any rejects in diesel and then burned them..

    Penetrating oil, such as 3 in 1 will desensitise the primers, but does not make them go away. (Matron... veg oil is NOT a good idea, you need a mineral oil with a detergent that will "wet" the composition..)

    Firing them off does get rid of the problem, however as you say, these are fulminate caps, which also contain potassium chlorate, which really will wreck a barrel - you need to scrub out with hot water if you do this. I would not use an inertia puller on rounds of this age. The stabiliser in the cordite will be well on the way out by this stage and you may get more than you bargained for. Use a collet puller and sniff the case when it opens. If you get a sour smell, drop a bit of meths in to stabilise.. You will have to prise out the cordite as it was loaded into the case before it was necked. Be careful doing this...!

    My advise is to hand it in to the police or the nearest 11 Reg Tp if you have access..
  6. Good to know; thanks mucker! I'll just go back to sprinkling them on cycle routes. 8O
  7. Thanks for the reply's guys. I have a .303 ticket so no real problems there. What I want, as they are in immaculate condition, is to pull the bullet and remove the cordite. If it is not for shifting I will try to dissolve it using acetone but I would like to leave the primers in an 'unused' condition but rendered safe. Would ethanol or ammonia actually dissolve the Hg(CNO)2?
  8. A strong Ammonia solution will dissolve fulminate but sadly not do the cases much good either

    Suppose you could always pop the old primers and reprime with new ones which are presumably easier to make safe and having just typed that now clock I do not know if they are Boxer or Berdan primed.....
  9. Or alternatively fire the primers off and just clean the barrel properly with some soapy water. Job done!
  10. Hit them with a nail, or put them in the oven :)
  11. In this case a squirt of 3 in 1 would do the trick.

    My concern was with disposing of oiled primers in the rubbish bin. As long as you are keeping the cases, then oil will do the job.

    My warnings re Cordite are however relevent.. if the sticks are very dark or powdery, be careful as spontanious combustion is a possibity. Wet with acetone/alchohol before trying to prize them out..

    Finally - if you are going to create "Drill Rounds" can you drill a small hole at the back of the case to show it is empty... I know YOU know it is inert, but what happens when you are gone..?
  12. As I discovered last Friday, a single drop of white gas (Coleman fuel) given 48 hours is enough to completely kill a federal large Rifle primer.

    That will teach me to rinse my cases off in solvent and not let them dry overnight before loading them... about 30% misfires and the majority of the rest hangfires, which was... rather exciting...
  13. Why not keep them as is then? They could become the basis of a collection.
  14. Just a simple concern about the state of the cordite and also the fulminate/ chlorate mix.