“A Short List of The WHAT NOT TO DO’s of Reloading”


This Week’s Tips or Tricks…






-ALWAYS keep your primed casing clearly separated from you unprimed casings.  Attempting to double prime a casing can result in a detonation of one or both of the primers and can result in catastrophic failures that can lead to either seriously injury or even death!


-NEVER undercharge, overcharge, or double-charge casings with powder!!!  All of these can result in catastrophic failures can lead to either seriously injury or even death!  ALWAYS double check your cartridges by either weighing them or using a powder cop to insure proper powder charges.  This is especially important if you are using an auto progressive press, you should make a habit of doing routine inspections every “x” rounds to ensure that all your equipment continues to run at optimal accuracy.   


-NEVER attempt to “decap” a LIVE Primer!!!!  There are two recommended ways that we suggest you neutralize your primers before attempting to decap them.  First method is the quickest and easiest…while in a safe outdoor location or your next trip to the range, chamber the primed cartridge into your firearm, close the action, and then safely discharge the primer by live firing the casing.  Second method, you may submerge the primed casing(s) in water for 48 hours and then you may “decap” the cartridge safely as the water contact with the primer compound with neutralize it over the 24 hour submerged period.  Decapping a LIVE primer can result in serious injury or even death!


-NEVER sweep up powder or primers with a vacuum!!!   When you operate a vacuum, the accelerated particles and debris whirling around inside of the vacuum can cause static electricity which in turn can ignite any smokeless powder or primer particles present in the vacuum!  If you spill smokeless powders or primers, clean up the large areas of spills with a small hand broom and dust pan.  For all remaining smaller particles of powders and primers that the hand broom and dust pan cannot sweep up, use strips of packing tape or duct tape to press against the floor and/or surface to pickup any of the remaining particles left behind.


-ALWAYS conduct periodic checks of all opened powders for signs of deterioration.  If you happen to find any powder(s) that may have begun to deteriorate (these will have an irritating acidic odor to them), dispose of them immediately!  If you have old powder or deteriorating powder(s) that you need to dispose of, the best practice of disposing powder is to pour the powder out in small piles not exceeded more than 1” in depth and burn the powder by lighting a small trail of powder leading to the pile from a safe distance as not to get burned by the ignition of the powder.  If this is not an option, you may also consider disposing of powders and primers by using a bucket of water and dump the powders/primers into the bucket of water and leave outdoors in a safe location while submersed for at least 24 hours.  After the powder/primers have been completely submerged in water for 24 hours, then you may dispose of the materials safely and properly.  NEVER just dump old powder or primers out or into the garbage…the garbage man has a bad enough job without having to worry about your old powder/primers catching his garbage truck on fire!!!  Alternatively, you may also contact your local fire department and ask for guidance on how to properly dispose of the materials and they will likely be glad to tell you how/where you may safely dispose of them.  Many larger cities even have some facilities available that offer free disposal of old and/or unwanted materials such as this to the public for FREE.


-NEVER store your primers and powder together and/or loosely if at all possible.  An accidental ignition or detonation of either can result in a potentially dangerous or even deadly situations.


-NEVER store primers/powders in containers other than DOT approved containers and/or packages that the products were originally shipped in from the factory.


-NEVER store primers/powders in sealed storage safes and/or metal containers that cannot breathe off trapped, expanding gases in the event of a fire.  Doing so may create a bomb-like event to take place in the event of an ignition or detonation of the powder/primers if the gases are not allowed to vent and build to extreme pressures!  


-NEVER mix powders together or attempt to recycle and/or reuses any reclaimed powder from cartridges that you may have pulled the bullet and extracted any powder from…this can be a recipe for DISASTER or even DEATH…so please DON’T DO IT!!!


-NEVER store primers/powders in extreme temperature conditions, doing so may result in accelerated deterioration or even spontaneous combustion.  When subjected to extreme heat, powders and primers can rapidly begin to deteriorate or even become subject to spontaneous combustion thus resulting in detonation.  When subjected to extreme cold, powders and primers may become subjected to condensation that may also result in accelerated deterioration when stored inside metal containers and improper packing.


-NEVER attempt to conduct reloading procedures from a crowded or messy reloading area.  Doing so may result in serious injury or even death in worst case scenarios.  You should also keep your reloading area(s) clean and free from obstructions and clutter.  Additionally, do not store your primers and/or powders within immediate proximity of your reloading area such that in the event of an unexpected, accidental detonation of a primer or a potential spark from a tool(s) on your reloading area(s) your powders and/or primers cannot be subsequently detonated due to their immediate proximity.


-ALWAYS carefully inspect and ensure all your equipment for your current reloading project is thoroughly inspected for safe operation and stored according both before and after your reloading operations.


-NEVER store powder(s) in your powder measure(s) or powder trickler(s) for prolonged periods of time.  Prolonged exposure of double base powders (contains both Nitrocellulose and Nitroglycerine) to inexpensive plastics containing polystyrene may be subjected to adverse deterioration of these reloading tools/equipment.  Additionally, you should always return unused powders and primers back to their original packaging and storage containers in order to avoid accidentally mixing or confusing them with other components which can result in serious bodily injury or even death!


-NEVER place your mechanic or electronic powder scale directly in the path of, or under a fan or heating or air conditioning vent.  The air flow coming from fans, heating/air conditioning ducts can dramatically affect the accuracy or your mechanic or electronic powder scale and can result in your powder charges varying widely.  In worst case scenarios, this can even result in the under/over-charging of your cartridges and may lead to bodily injury or even death!


-NEVER conduct processes such as annealing, forging, casting, or etc. that may involve open flames within the proximity of any flammable substances such as solvents, lubricants, powders, primers, and etc.  ONLY conduct these operations in a safe and well ventilated area(s).


-ALWAYS consult your reloading manuals, instructions, and other tools/equipment safety manuals before conducting any reloading practices to ensure you understand all common practices and safety concerns regarding the processes which you are about to become engaged in.  Please always exercise extreme caution and common sense practices when conducting any handling or operations with substances that are extremely flammable or may cause irritation or bodily harm if handled improperly.


Note: all of the above noted safety concerns and precautions are just a short list of some of the more common safety issues regarding metallic cartridge and shotshell reloading practices and these should not be considered by any means to be a complete listing of all applicable safety and/or operational concerns.  Always seek additional help and assistance from competent professionals before beginning any reloading practices that you are unfamiliar with or you are new to.  We wish you a safe and happy reloading future!




Do you have a Tip or Trick regarding reloading that you would like to see posted?  Please send us your Tip(s) or Trick(s) and we will see about getting them posted!




Written By:  Kyle R. CEO of Broken Box R LLC


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