What happens if I pierce a primer?

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wolfee

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I have been a casual shooting enthusiast for over 40 years. I have never experienced a pierced primer or been around someone else who did. But, I keep reading about the event occuring. How much drama is there if it occurs in a single action Ruger? Any good pair of shooting glasses is sufficient protection from whatever happens, yes? Seems like there is probably more gas escaping from the cyl/barrel gap than a tiny hole in a primer could produce.
 

WARD

Single-Sixer
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May 28, 2008
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MINNIESODA
While I have never had a pierced primer in a Ruger revolver, I would imagine that any gas venting thru the primer would be directed to the sides of the frame and not to the back towards the shooter. While your hands might be in position to receive some of the gas, the amount of gas and intensity will likely be so small as to be of little consequence.

While I have experienced a pierced primer in a bolt action rifle, all that I noticed was a very small puff of smoke from the action as firing.

I have also expereinced pierced primers in an Italian 1851 open top replica using black powder and did not notice anything unusual until opening the loading gate and observing the pierced primer. This revolver had an unusually sharp firing pin and once I fixed that problem the pierced primers went away.

ward
 

mhblaw

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Just recently experienced that for the first time in 30+ years of shooting and reloading revolvers. A 357 Mag in a USFA Shooting Master. Did not notice anything while firing, but when came to eject empties, I noticed smoke smudging on the sides of the polished hammer. Could have only come from a pierced primer, seems to me. Load was not hot in either Ruger or S&W of same caliber.
 

wolfee

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Thanks, that's kind of what I thought. I'll worry about more important things--like hitting the target.
 

J Miller

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Not in IL anymore ... :)
Very little will happen externally. However if the primer is pierced enough it will erode the firing pin nose and the breach face around it.

I bought a quantity of Fiocchi LP primers once at a gun show. I found them to be very brittle and pierced and cracked around the edges frequently. My OM BH and S&W 25-5 have little marks where this happened. I reluctantly finished off those loaded and tossed the rest in the burn barrel.

Joe
 

the fatman

Single-Sixer
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Had a fellow shooter years ago pierce a primer with a firing pin on the hammer of a S&W 357. Only problem was getting it unstuck. Took quite alot of effort.
 

tek4260

Buckeye
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May 31, 2008
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Had a M70 in 270 shear the retaining pin and blow the cap off the back of the bolt and hit me in the face pretty hard. Had a bruise if I recall correctly. The loading manual showed a max load that was 7 gr hotter that 3 other manuals. Moral of story, check multiple sources when you are near the top.
 

Driftwood Johnson

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Howdy

A Cowboy Action Shooting pard of mine has a pair of Uberti 1872 Open Tops. These revolvers come with very sharp, pointy firing pins. They used to regularly pierce primers. The worst effect was the pierced primer cups would sometimes flow into the firing pin hole and bind up the gun. This is apparently a common problem with these revolvers. Happy Trails at the Smith Shop made up some new firing pins that were not quite so pointy. The new firing pins helped, plus my pard only uses CCI primers now in these pistols, because they have a harder primer cup and do not pierce quite so easily. I think my pard's Open Tops are 38s.
 

Rodfac

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Mar 11, 2009
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Piercing also lets hot gas flow back over the firing pin further cutting it..sharpening it if you will. In competition with an AR-15, admittedly a much higher level of pressure, one pierced primer can and has ruined the firing pin. Handgun pressure levels are much lower, but it's worth while to inspect the pin as it now appears. One primer pierced is probably of no account, more than one and I suspect the pin is too sharp, or has a burr of some kind. JMHO, Rodfac
 

nn

Single-Sixer
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Feb 22, 2008
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NC
I've had pierced primers with a 9mm speed six and a 610. Nothing dramatic happened, firing pin got dirty though.
 

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