History of primers with mercury fulminate


Following a previous post questioning the possibility of mercury poisoning being related with shooting activity I would like to present another question about this issue.

I know that mercury fulminate primers are not in use for several years, but I have been told that china and east bloc countries kept using primers containing mercury till the 70


A big part of the confusion about mercuric primers is the fact content of mercury within the priming compound and corrosiveness are separate issues. A primer can be mercuric and either corrosive or non-corrosive. Standard American military small arms primers became non-mercuric about 1900 but were generally corrosive until the 1940s. In the early years of commercial non-corrosive primer manufacture in the U.S. (i.e. after about 1927) mercury content returned in at least some commercial American cartridges, tho I believe an effort was made to insure all primers sold for reloading purposes were non-mercuric. Many military cartridges produced outside the U.S. continued to use fulminate of mercury well into the 20th century. JG