7.9mm - no primer


I am not familiar with high volume production such as used in military loading plants. Is it possible for a case to make it through the loading process and not have a primer? This one has the correct weight for a S.M.E. round and even has the undisturbed stab primer crimp but no primer. What do you think?


Does it have powder in it? I have had, and have run across more, platzpatronen that look as a loaded round, but have no primer and no powder. I have always felt that there are more of them than there should be if they are just an occasional inerted round so a collector could send it easier. I have ignored them because no one could tell me if they were some sort of dummy round. I have seen a couple with normal bullets in them too, but ignored them as well. I may have a few of them in my collection for the lot number.


IF THE PRIMER WAS EVER PRESSED IN YOU SHOULD SEE THE MARKS ON THE INSIDE WALLS OF THE POCKET. Hard to see in your photo. If the inside walls of the pocket are not marked than it never had a primer seated. The primer crimps look good.

Are there other FN loads like this? I have never heard of a German plant mistake like this. FN inspection machinery may differ.


My question has been answered!! It is possible for a case to make it through the loading process and not have a primer!! This one was found in the box shown.


Loading machines have gizmos built into them to detect such things but, unlike human beings, machines are not perfect. I find cartridges like this unremarkable but, considering the gazillions of rounds loaded, I’m astounded that we do not see more of them.



I’m puzzled as to why the green primer sealant on pbutler’s cartridge doesn’t extend down into the primer pocket. It does appear to have spread out more on the head than those with the primers, resulting in a larger diameter green circle. If there were no primer in place when it was applied, wouldn’t it be expected to run down the sides of the pocket?


Ok…here’s a question…looks like pbutlers cartridge is from 1937…did loading plants, back then…have a way, other than inspection by a human being…to detect that a primer has been left out…and then of course…the cartridge went on to get crimps and sealant…now…we have electronic devices and lasers, etc., for this purpose…did they have mechanical devices in WW2 and before to detect the absence of a primer ? And then…this cartridge made it into a box of loaded rounds…??


In my opinion, it is hard to see in that picture whether or not any of the lacquer did run down into the pocket. I am not saying it did - I am saying I can’t tell because the picture was taken so perfection straight on. However, one thing I didn’t know and seems apparent - maybe I am wrong - and that is that the primer crimps seem to be applied AFTER the sealant, at least in this factory. I have not gone downstairs to look at lots of 7.9s to see if it is always so, but it sure looks that way for this box. Interesting.

It is a wonder than no one involved in the inspection and boxing process of this ammo caught this. I think most ammo was boxed by hand then - I have seen pictures of people - mostly women - doing this at various factories in various countries. The Germans were fairly technologically advanced, so maybe that had machine packing. Again, I don’t know. Still, it does happen today. In years of looking at ammo new in boxes both as a shooter and a collector and in showing thousands of boxes over the years to customers, I have found one round with no primer and sever with the primer either seated backwards or crushed into the pocket sideways, all going undetected. By the amount of rounds looked at, the number didn’t amount to a pimple on an elphants back-side, however, just as someone else pointed out on this thread.


It took me a while to figure out how to get a cartridge to stand up at a 45 degree angle on top of my flat-bed scanner but I think you can see what the primer pocket looks like now.




I can’t say when they were first used but, yes, there were mechanical devices used to detect such errors. I believe some manufacturers still use them today. Basically it was a pin that dropped into the primer pocket and flash hole to make sure both were there, then the primer was inserted, and then another pin to assure that there was a primer there. That is why upside-down or sideways primers would pass by unnoticed. It’s also why most new brass that came from the factory was primed. All three steps were done on the same machine and to produce unprimed cases would have required a change in the machinery (at some extra expense to the manufacturer).



Dan Kent’s book on the 7,9 mauser mentions box packing machines, but does not give dates of use. From his text, cartridges were fed or oriented to the machine by hand as were flattened, empty boxes and the machine did the rest. Cartridges packed on clips/chargers were boxed by hand. So, apparently there was a human element that “could” have seen the round without a primer. I imagine that after handling thousands of rounds a day for days and weeks on end one would become either super-perceptive and pick out a defective round or become brain-dead from the repetition.