The other day I found my dog chewing on something in my reloading room. I made him spit it out. I was a little horrified when it turned out to be an unfired Winchester small pistol primer that I use for reloading 9mm ammunition.
Just think what would have happened if it would have gone off in his mouth. Images of him yelping and blood drooling from his mouth flashed in my mind. Fortunately, that didn’t happen and he was all right. I picked it up and threw it away in the trash.
I was very surprised that he got hold of a primer because I am quite careful about picking primers up when I drop one. I guess I missed that one. I reload 9mm ammunition in a spare bedroom that I redesigned solely for reloading. All supplies and loose parts are neatly organized on shelves in the closet. My reloading press in on a reloading bench. Nothing is ever left on the floor.
Are Primers Dangerous To Dogs?
After thinking about it for several moments I began to wonder if after all that primer went though was is still good and will still fire. You read about how primers can be finicky and you are not even supposed to touch them lest you get body oils on them causing them not to fire. I retrieved it from the trash and made a functional round with it.
Later that week I went to the shooting range and fired my “dog chewed” reloaded primer in my Glock 19. It fired fine. No problem. I guess primers are tougher than advertised.
What would happen if a small pistol primer went off in my dog’s mouth?
I guess nobody knows for sure but the range master at the shooting range that I go to didn’t think that it would have been as terrible as I imagined. I have fired a primer only reload in my gun and was not very impressed with the “pop” sound that it made. It was less than I had imagined.
What are the odds that a small pistol primer would go off in my dog’s mouth when he chewed on it and bit down on it?
When you think about it small pistol primers are pretty hard to make “go off”. I have mangled quite a few in my reloading press and nothing happened. Some of the primers were crunched up pretty badly and yet no boom. I even did a “primer crunch test”. Nothing happened.
What causes a small pistol primer to fire?
The primer consists of a tiny amount of explosive compound as well as two metal parts. Primers can come in various sizes depending on the firearm. As an example, the cup of a small pistol primer is typically around 0.125 inch (0.32 cm) in diameter and height, and composed of brass or soft copper.
Inside, you will find a small amount lead styphnate (the impact-sensitive explosive), and pressed into the opening is the anvil. When hit by the firing pin, the middle of the cup collapses, forcing an explosive between the anvil and its inner surface. The explosive ignites and produces a flame that exits the flash hole, setting the propellant alight to fire the cartridge.
The Bottom Line
Even though nothing came of this situation, I will still be vigilant about cleaning up after myself so that my dog doesn’t chew up or swallow anything he shouldn’t. The thing about firearm safety is that you never know when something might happen.
I would not be able to live with myself if something were to happen to a good boy like my dog. Accidents happen all the time to people who are sure that they know everything. Even if a human isn’t getting hurt, an animal getting hurt is no better. And even if a dog can’t cause the primer to fire, I don’t like the idea of my boy using it as a chew toy either.