You will need the following to recharge shotgun shell primers.

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(Continued from Part 2.)

FOR SHOTGUN PRIMERS ONLY

You will need the following to recharge shotgun shell primers:

  • Large (3/8-inch or larger) hex nut – Depriming stand for shotgun shells and assembly holder for shotgun primers. A 1/4-inch hole is drilled in one of the flats for the primer body. Used with the C-clamp for pressing the primer cup into the body, the open space in the middle of the nut allows gases to vent if the primer “pops” during assembly.
  • 8mm Nylock nut – Supports a fired shotgun primer to aid disassembly.
  • Small nail with point cut off flat – Inserted through flash hole to disassemble primer.
  • Small fine file – Press the anvil flat against the file and swipe it to clean. One quick pass on each side is usually enough.
  • Small needle-nose pliers – Used to press the anvil into the primer body.
  • Black powder – A few granules inside the primer body improve ignition.
  • Tissue paper – A tiny piece is pressed into the primer body, to cover the flash hole until primer is fired.
  • Duco cement – For securing/waterproofing tissue paper that covers flash hole in primer body
  • Powder scoop – This is a .22 rimfire case, cut to a length of about .25 inches (about 5 or 6mm). Epoxy or solder on a piece of wire as a handle. The scoop is used to trickle a few granules of black powder into the body of a shotgun primer, to improve ignition.

My infographic, below, shows the process of recharging shotgun primers. (Click to enlarge.):

Recharging Rifle or Pistol Primers

Rifle and pistol primers are quite simple to recharge. I use two paper caps to provide the spark. Here is the process:

Put on safety glasses or goggles.
Place the fired case on your depriming stand. Place the decapping pin in the case, and be sure the pin goes into the flash hole in the bottom of the cartridge case.
Use a mallet with the decapping pin to knock the primer out of the case.
Use the large needle to carefully pry the anvil out of the primer.
Clean powder residue off the anvil and the primer cup. Rotating a small screwdriver tip in the primer cup works well.
Place the primer cup—open end up—on your anvil. Insert the flat tip of the punch—or the torx or hex bit—into the primer cup.
Strike the back of the punch or bit with a mallet or hammer to remove the firing pin dent from the primer cup.

Note: There may be a “ghost” of the dent remaining in the cup. This is generally okay.
Use a paper punch or scissors to punch or cut out the raised dot of TWO PAPER CAPS. If using scissors, you can cut out a small square, rather than trying to cut out circles.
Use a matchstick, small dowel, or other small piece of wood to gently seat the two caps in the primer cup.
Set the anvil—point-down—in the opening of the primer cup.
Use a small C-clamp to slowly and carefully seat the anvil flush with the mouth of the primer cup.

CAUTION:
Occasionally, a primer may “pop” during assembly. If this happens, the C-clamp will generally control and contain the metal anvil and the gases from the two paper caps. Keep body parts and flammable objects away from the primer during final assembly.

Recharging Shotgun Primers

Although the process is more complex than that for rifle or pistol primers, shotgun primers are not difficult to recharge. They have the advantage—using this method—of being more resistant to moisture or handling than both rifle/pistol primers and homemade percussion caps. Here is the process:

Put on safety glasses or goggles.
Place the fired hull on your depriming stand. Insert the decapping pin into the fired hull. Make sure it goes into the flash hole of the primer.
Use a mallet to knock the primer out of the hull.
Place the fired primer—flash hole up—on an 8mm Nylock nut, with the nut resting on your anvil.
Insert a small nail with the point cut off into the flash hole. Use a mallet to tap the primer cup and anvil out of the primer body.
Clean the inside of the primer body and primer cup with a small screwdriver. Make sure to scrape out any carbon or fouling.
Rub the flat anvil gently for a moment on a fine file to remove carbon.
Place the primer cup—open end up—on your anvil. Insert the flat tip of the punch—or the torx or hex bit—into the primer cup.
Strike the back of the punch or bit with a mallet or hammer to remove the firing pin dent from the primer cup.

Note: There may be a “ghost” of the dent remaining in the cup. This is generally Okay.

With a match stick or small dowel, push a tiny square of tissue paper into the primer body.
Use a toothpick or similar object to apply a tiny drop of Duco cement to the outside of the flash hole. This helps protect the primer from moisture and glues the tissue paper in place.
Place the primer body in the hole in the large hex nut. This will make assembly much easier.
Use small, needle-nose pliers to insert the anvil in the primer body, until it bottoms out. Resting the hex nut on a stable surface makes this easier. Note: The point of the anvil should face upwards and should be slightly below the mouth of the primer body.
Use the powder scoop to trickle a few granules of black powder into the primer body. The powder must be below the “shoulders” of the anvil.
Punch out or cut out THREE PAPER CAPS, so they can fit into the primer cup.
Use a small dowel to press the caps into the bottom of the primer cup.
Invert the primer cup and start it into the primer body. The primer body should still be in the hex nut.
Place the hex nut and primer into a small C-clamp.
Clamp the body of the C-clamp in a small vise, or hold the body of the clamp, away from the primer.
Slowly tighten the C-clamp to gently press the primer cup into the primer body.

CAUTION: Occasionally, a primer may “pop” during assembly. If this happens, the gases from the three caps and the tiny quantity of black powder will vent out through the flash hole and the opening of the hex nut. Keep body parts and flammable objects away from the primer during final assembly.

TESTING RESULTS: .45 Colt Testing

Safety Note: When loading cartridges with black powder or black powder substitutes, there must be no empty space inside the cartridge, and the powder should be compressed slightly (about 1/16 inches, or about 2mm). You may need to use a wadding or other “filler” over the powder to take up the space inside the case.

Initially, five .45 Colt cartridges were loaded with black powder and recharged Large Pistol primers. The bullets were cast using a Big Lube® Bullets (http://www.biglube.com/) 210-grain flat-point bullet mould. The bullet lube was homemade Gatofeo Lube #1 lubricant (described in the first post of this thread: https://www.thehighroad.org/index.php?threads/found-proper-felt-to-make-wads.123266/ – Look for the section titled “WHAT’S THE BEST WAD LUBRICANT?). All cases were filled with homemade black powder to a point that the powder was slightly compressed (about 1/16-inch) when the bullets were seated. All bullets were firmly crimped in place.

Cartridges were fired from a Uberti Remington New Army with an 8-inch barrel, using a Kirst Konverter “gated” .45 Colt conversion cylinder. Testing emphasized function, as this pistol has been proven quite accurate in the past. All cartridges fired with no hesitation, hangfires nor other issues. Recoil was as expected.

The second phase of testing involved 20 more black powder .45 Colt cartridges, loaded as described above, with the same results. They were shot from a Pietta New Model Army “Sheriff” revolver with a Howell Conversions six-shot, .45 Colt drop-in cylinder. All cartridges fired perfectly.

The second phase also involved 10 .45 Colt cartridges loaded as described above, but with a charge of Blue Dot smokeless powder. The load data I used was found in the 2nd edition of Modern Reloading, by Richard Lee. Blue Dot was chosen because it is bulky and would fill more than half the case, increasing the chance of powder near the primer.

Smokeless testing was in a .45 Colt Ruger New Vaquero revolver. Firing was done without trying to “position” the powder in the case. The results were a complete failure. A few rounds in the first cylinder did fire, but felt recoil was very weak, and the barrel had to be checked to make sure that the bullet had exited. Testing with the smokeless loads was canceled after one cylinder, out of safety concerns.

Finally, 10 (ten) .45 Colt cartridges were loaded with Pyrodex “P” black powder substitute, recharged Large Pistol primers, and the Big Lube bullets. The results were similar to those with black powder—with immediate ignition of all cartridges tested—though there seemed to be a small increase in recoil over black powder, indicating a velocity increase.

(To be continued tomorrow, in Part 4.)



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