Reader Chris V. writes:
Sort of. Fortunately it didn’t involve any of my firearms. My unintentional boom happened while I was seated, seating primers into cases that I’m in the process of reloading. I’ve pressed primers into more than 20,000 cases over the years, and this was the first time I set one off. It was some former military brass that had the original primer crimped into place. The pressure to seat it was higher than normal because of the remaining crimp overhang. I pressed a little harder on the primer tool lever and . . .
BANG! I might have risen off the stool by abouy 12 inches. A nice bloom of flame shot from the mouth of the case.
Luckily, many years ago my reloading guru beat the routing into me to never seat primers with the case mouth pointing at myself. And never put any fingers near the mouth of the case. Sage advice. He smacked a couple of primers on the floor of the shop to show me how powerful they are.
It’s surprising how much BANG there is in one of those tiny things. His lessons always stuck with me, and seating primers is one of the operations I take most seriously during reloading. Not that any of the other steps deserve any less attention, but this is one I pay the most attention to.
However … I was reworking 300BLK cases, which are very short. I got lazy. My finger was past the end of the case by about 1/2 inch and I have a nice scorch mark on my finger to go with the ringing in my ears and a generally startled demeanor. Fortunately, no real damage done. I seated the rest of the primers in about 200 more cases without incident, but you bet I paid a lot of attention to what I was doing.
This is a good reminder for me, and for any of us who use, handle, repair, and otherwise mess with firearms on a regular basis. We all know the rules for safety (or should), and we need to continually remind ourselves of those rules for our benefit and the benefit of all those around us. A moment’s lapse can result in a life-changing event.
I got lucky today, but this lesson will stay with me for a long time.