Upside down primer

How did this happen? It appears that this primer is flipped prior to insertion in this reload.

Exactly. Not an uncommon occurrence.

In 36 years selling firearms and ammunition, I came across primers seated backwards probably at least 15 times, in factory ammunition. Inspection should catch these glitches, but doesn’t always. I agree with Jonny that it is not an uncommon occurence, unfortunately.

Occasionally you will see this in peoples’ reloads also, especially where progressive presses are used (auto primer feeding).

John Moss

Weren’t the Norma cases with the Re sold as empty unprimed cases? Or was the Re hdstmp on all cases? I suspect it is a reload and not factory. I have some Win. and Rem cases in pistol cart that were factory errors.

Yes, correct, it is a reload.

This round could be a reload. If Vlad says it is, that is good enough for me. However, the NORMA Re headstamp appears on factory new cases and factory new ammunition during a particular time-frame, the spread of which I don’t know. Likely it was their form of announcement of a switch to Boxer primers as various calibers began to be made by Norma with Boxer primers. Earlier Norma commercial ammo had Berdan Primers.

John Moss

Well, I am guessing about being a reload. I fished it out of a bin at Unadilla, no box, and it has various dings and scratches.

I once ran into a bunch of 5.56x45 short range frangible rounds made in Israel with primers in the pocket just about ever which way you could imagine. Some of them were so mangled it’s amazing they didn’t go off during the seating.

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Hey Pete - I have a 9 x 18 mm Russian cartridge that was found in a box of commercial ammunition. It is headstamped “ICEBERG 9mm” which is a correct headstamp only for various loadings, usually less than lethal, I think, for the Russian “Iceberg” Revolver. The primer, which became loss before it came to me after being in two other’s hands, was seated sideways. When it fell out, it was revealed that it had no flash holes in the primer pocket. Three separate defects and it still passed inspection and made its way to the shelf of an American gun shop for sale. Incredible. It is likely one of a kind. I love it!

Mistakes happen!

John Moss

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Very cool John never heard of an ICEBERG headstamp, let alone the firearm.

Mistake are neat, I have a S&W factory primed & loaded 12 ga w/a red plastic hull that has no rim on the head or a headstamp.

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Pete, no wonder you never heard of. It was a short lived blank firing gun (in 1990s) which used altered 9x18 cases (rolled in case mouth).
The fact that it ended up amongst life ammo is quite an exception as it never should have existed.

Thanks Alex. That it never should have existed I’d take to mean dangerous to shoot, even with a blank loading? Or do you mean made it past the inspectors?

The cases seem to be standard 9x18 ones, so no danger here but the headstamp should not be amogst life ammo.

Indeed, gentlemen, not uncommon for any reloader. I never find out how this can happen with my good old Lyman O-press but it does, as a matter of fact.

Here (I hope) is the improperly headstamped and totally screwed up 9 x 18 Makarov cartridge with Iceberg headstamp.(upload://dKZKyqpvaBigEHUkmFiM6gPiGWJ.jpeg) MAKIcebergHeadstamp%20009 totally screwed up 9 x 18 Makarov cartridge with Iceberg headstamp. Remember, before it got to me, it also had a primer crushed sideways into the primer pocket. Note the lack of flash holes.

I couldn’t seem to post both pictures in one answer and the computer spread the text all over the place. I will try again for the picture of the profile of the cartridge, and will try to go back and by “edit” clarify the print on the previous one. Well that did not work so hot, but here they are anyway.

John Moss

John, very interesting cartridge, thanks for sharing.

Did you find it in a Silver Bear box with cartridges made by LVE? This headstamp is found in the latest Iceberg traumatic loads with electric primer that were introduced in 2009.



Fede - Unfortunately, I am not the one you found it and don’t know the other than it was a “Silver Bear” box. That brand has been filled by at least both Barnal and LVE. I believe this cartridge likely was from Barnaul It has been around since, I believe, LVE got into the “Bear” (Brown or Silver) line. It went from the fellow who found it to another chap who is a friend of mine. He had it awhile, and passed it on to me, very generously, because he felt I had a better Mak collection. Of course, I am very grateful to have it. It is not only likely the only such headstamped regular Makarov cartridge in a collection, but it is a great object lesson on how much can go wrong with the production of an item and still manage to sneak by inspection.

I can’t say that it wasn’t made by LVE. It had to be by someone who was making ammo with this headstamp. I believe the headstamp error might have been cause either by simply forgetting to change a bunter, if the shorter less-than-lethal versions are made on the same lines, or an errant draw set piece being picked out of a bin for reasons unkown, and thrown back in the wrong bin. That could explain the lack of flash holes, although not the crushed primer. Not knowing the machinery the Russian have, and their sequence of production in cartridge cases, leaves it a guess and a gosh for me. When I toured FN, perhaps in 1985, they had a machine for one caliber, perhaps .223, where cups were put in one end and came out the other as totally finished cases. In that type of machinery, the theory (mine) of someone looking at a draw piece and getting back into the wrong bin would be just about impossible, I think. I wish I knew more about the process. Unfortunately, the only two ammunition-making facilities I have visited was Bell Lab (it was pretty much closed for the day, just a couple annealing cases), as I recall, and FN, where we were in a production room but it was not operating at that moment.
As a result, I do not have a really good idea of the case-production process and what is possible, or even likely, and what is not.

John Moss

To my knowledge the ICEBERG cases are from LVE.

EOD - thanks. When I have a moment, I will carefully compare my ICEBERG-headstamped 9 x 18 mm Mak round to both Barnaul and LVE finished, live, zinc-plated, steel-cased HP cartridges, and see if there are any differences to pin it down. I am confident that both you and Fede are correct. It just seems to me at the time this cartridge appeared, it was Barnaul that was doing the Silver and Brown Bear Brand ammunition, rather than LVE. However, time goes by so fast for me now, that this may be just an illusion.

John Moss