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Does Sealing the Primers on Your Handloads Make Sense?

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February 15, 2012
Does Sealing the Primers on Your Handloads Make Sense? - 4

Do you fret that when Mr. Big Buck arrives, the handloaded cartridge in your rifle will be a dud because moisture seeped into the case and killed the primer? Such a nightmare scenario kept me staring at dark walls to the point where I conducted a test to determine if it was necessary to seal primers against moisture.

The Test: I seated Winchester Large Rifle primers in five .30/06 cases that had been fired once and had tight primer pockets, five cases with slightly enlarged primer pockets from being reloaded numerous times, and five cases with tight pockets whose primers I sealed with a dab of fingernail polish around their circumference. I soaked the heads of the 15 loaded cartridges for a half hour in water. I then stood the cartridges bullet-down for a day to give any water that had seeped between the primer and primer pocket wall a chance to reach the priming mixture. 
The Results: The following day I fired the three batches of .30/06 cartridges through a Rock Island 1903 rifle. All 15 cartridges fired without a hitch. In fact, all the bullets grouped in slightly over 3 inches at 100 yards. That’s pretty good for an old rifle with an aperture sight.

Conclusion: There’s no need to seal primers against moisture.

Comments (4)

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from Yoda wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

we've had shotgun shells not fire, but I've never had old rifle rounds not go off, unless it was a bad primer strike.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Martin Morehouse wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

A neighbor had a plastic carry box of .30-06 stored on his boat. The cartridges failed to fire on a hunt. When I checked them, the individual cartridges 'sloshed' when shaken. I disassembled them, cleaned and reloaded them, and he got his deer with them last year. I don't know if the water got in through the primer or the neck, but they were soaked.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MazPower wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

WOW! When did Mr. Haviland join the OL team? I love his stuff in RIFLE Magazine.

Oh, and good stuff here too. I live in the desert so have never sealed my primers, good to know I now have even less to worry about.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Never even knew some people sealed primers =o. Thanks for the post though.

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from MazPower wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

WOW! When did Mr. Haviland join the OL team? I love his stuff in RIFLE Magazine.

Oh, and good stuff here too. I live in the desert so have never sealed my primers, good to know I now have even less to worry about.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

Never even knew some people sealed primers =o. Thanks for the post though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Martin Morehouse wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

A neighbor had a plastic carry box of .30-06 stored on his boat. The cartridges failed to fire on a hunt. When I checked them, the individual cartridges 'sloshed' when shaken. I disassembled them, cleaned and reloaded them, and he got his deer with them last year. I don't know if the water got in through the primer or the neck, but they were soaked.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Yoda wrote 2 years 8 weeks ago

we've had shotgun shells not fire, but I've never had old rifle rounds not go off, unless it was a bad primer strike.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment (200 characters or less)