Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by detroit25, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. detroit25

    detroit25 New Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    I was doing some reloading 45acp yesterday and my girlfriend asked me a question.... What would happen if you loaded and fired a shell without powder but a live primer? I hope to never find out first hand but now I am curious. My guess is the bullet would get stuck in the throat of the barrel. :eek:
  2. In most cases, Detroit, the primer alone will provide enough "push" to start the bullet down the barrel and lodge it there, but probably not enough to for the bullet to fully exit the barrel. That can be one of the most dangerous situations you can create, because another, full power round, fired behind the lodged bullet will likely cause the barrel to split, at best, or explode at worst. Failing to charge a cartridge before seating a bullet is one of the most common, and most dangerous, mistakes a reloader can make. That's why you should always, always, always double check your cartridges for proper powder charge before proceeding to bullet seating and crimping.

  3. detroit25

    detroit25 New Member

    Jan 23, 2008
    Thanks for the info, thats about what I thought. You bring up another question...Would the primer alone have enough power the cycle a slide to allow for the next 2nd shot to be fired??
  4. Generally, no it would not, Detroit. The primer contains a pretty anemic charge actually, its purpose is, of course, simply to supply sufficient heat and impact to ignite the main powder charge, not to provide bullet propulsion and cycling of the action, much like a detonator is used to explode dynamite. The slide springs on most--if not all--auto pistols are too heavy to be compressed by a primer discharge alone, and thus successfully cycle the action. :)
  5. detroit25

    detroit25 New Member

    Jan 23, 2008
  6. packetsplace

    packetsplace Member

    Jun 16, 2008
    Interesting that you should bring up this subject. Just a month ago, I saw this happen at the range to a friend of mine. The weapon used was a S&W .22 revolver. He had fired three shots and the fourth was a squib that he didnt notice. He was about to fire the next round and I stopped him just in time. The bullet was lodged about one inch in from the cylinder.
  7. Dirtypacman

    Dirtypacman New Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Merrimac Valley, MA
    You may friend deserve a pat on the back for that one.. good job.
  8. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

    Jun 30, 2005
    BTW, a quick way to check your loads - particularly if you have an electronic scale - is a weight check. Also a dman good idea for loads you plan to use in your carry gun..... >MW
  9. h2oking

    h2oking Former Guest

    Jul 13, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    PISTOLNSHUTZE: I am fairly new to the site and have enjoyed your pointers. I have one that I would like to share with you. Whenever I go to the range and I need some elbow room I drag out a box of 44 mags with a big easy to read sticker that says 24 grains of Bullseye. I usually get the whole firing line to myself for a period of time until some brave soul very causiously approches me making sure first I haven't been in the box of ammo.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  10. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    What would happen if you loaded and fired a shell without powder but a live primer?

    Pistolenschutze has given you some very good answers to your questions.
    There would be nothing to add on the technical side, everything has been covered.

    However, I feel one caution is need in this discussion for everyone, and that is that even though the primers power is small, it will still cause serious damage to human tissue, when discharged in a firearm. All of it's power is concentrated by the barrel of the gun, and could possibly even kill under the right circumstances. I would hope that none here would pull a stunt like this, but back in 99 a TV star, Jon-Erik Hexum, from the show Cover Up, was fooling around with his blank shooting pistol while on the set. He reportedly placed the barrel to his temple, just playing around, and pulled the trigger. His lack of knowledge caused his death. Brandon Lee is another example of the power of a blank shooting pistol. In Brandon's case a gun was fired in one scene with homemade dummy loads that looked real (using real bullets, they just dumped the powder). We know what happens next! Later the same pistol was used to shoot another scene, (without being inspected) this time using blanks! The result was that the bullet stuck in the barrel was discharged and struck Brandon. The heavy bullet and the close range were enough to kill.
  11. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    And this is why when you hear a pop instead of a bang, you stop shooting...

    Attached Files:

  12. True, Tranter, and if one does not stop shooting, the next bang heard is likely to be rather loud indeed! :eek::D
  13. Shellback

    Shellback New Member

    Jul 10, 2008
    Broken Arrow Ok
    Wow Tranter UK is that what it looks like? 6 chunks of lead in that cut away barrel?
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    good idea h20, that label might as well say DYNAMITE, i know i would at least move a few lanes over...;)
  15. jinn

    jinn New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    At this point of discussion, why not insert a primed casing with no powder or bullet, fire the primer only, taking note of the report, flame front issuing from the muzzle, and the fact that the slide will no doubt not be moved at all?

    In fact, when you reach the point of wondering whether rifle primers really have more charge, there is no safety reason to prevent you from doing the same thing with a rifle primer, instead of pistol, noting any difference discernible in sound, etc.

    Then, would come the magnum primers, and soon you will be one of us experimenters......yes, I still have all my fingers, but only barely. Crushed a thumb once under a big sewer cover.:eek:
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