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Bullet Primers In Pax Bag Explode During Unloading  
User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6688 posts, RR: 11
Posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 7622 times:

Just saw this referred to on the flightaware front page

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN2822231720101228

Authorities detained the man after a baggage handler reported a small explosion while unloading luggage from an American Airlines (AMR.N) flight that arrived in Miami from Boston.

FBI spokesman Mark Leverock said the man's luggage contained hundreds of bullet primers -- a key component of bullet cartridges.

"The bag was being taken out by a baggage handler, he put it on the ground and something ignited and hit him in the shoe," Leverock told Reuters. "One of the primers ignited and then they all ignited," he added


Now certainly such hazardous materials should have been declared before the flight. Should they have been spotted anyway???

Could there have been a rather more serious outcome if they'd gone off during the flight? I presume that bullet primers need a bit more heavy handling than implied to actually explode (i.e. the bag was perhaps dropped or kicked rather than just being put on the ground)


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17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 1, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7485 times:
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They may have been declared. I carry guns and ammunition in my bag all time. As long as it is in the manufacturers original packaging or suitable ammunition box it is just fine. All you have to do is declare the stuff before check it. "Containing hundreds of primers" big deal.... The ones I buy come in a tin of 100. They come in larger packs too. They are used by reloaders and by people who are into black powder guns.

Primers really aren't that dangerous, but it makes me wonder what they were in and how they were handled. I buy primers in a tin for my black powder pistol and they are just all thrown in together. If you smash them with a hammer they aren't anymore exciting than the cap guns I had when I was a kid. I bought a box of primers once and they were the wrong ones and I couldn't return them. I dumped about twenty in my fire pit to see what would happen. They just sparked and popped, and were far less interesting than the crappy wood I was burning.

You have to strike a primer hard to get it to fire, or get open flame heat on it. If dropping the stuff made it go off we would hear about this all the time. Bullets and primers are shipped all over the world everyday and this doesn't happen. They go in trucks, planes, ships, and cars and the stuff arrives safely. I order bullets though the mail too, many of which are WWII era stuff, and they come on a truck in a regular cardboard box.

There has got to be more to this story.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3466 posts, RR: 47
Reply 2, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7345 times:

Quoting oly720man (Thread starter):
Now certainly such hazardous materials should have been declared before the flight.

Why do you think the individual was "detained?"



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User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 3, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7263 times:
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Quoting AAR90 (Reply 2):
Now certainly such hazardous materials should have been declared before the flight.

Why do you think the individual was "detained?"

Maybe not. I am sure that if some of the bullets or primers I have carried on went off I would be detained, at least for questioning, and I always declare my stuff.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineGrid From Kazakhstan, joined Apr 2010, 624 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 7263 times:

Quoting AAR90 (Reply 2):
Quoting oly720man (Thread starter):
Now certainly such hazardous materials should have been declared before the flight.

Why do you think the individual was "detained?"

Initial report was, I think, that aerosol can exploded.

Not sure whether the article has been updated, but it says he says he was arrested and charged with transportation of hazardous materials.

More interesting is that the man was traveling to Jamaica. I wonder whether taking the primers into Jamaica would have been legal under Jamaican law.



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User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 5, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 7110 times:
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Quoting Grid (Reply 4):
More interesting is that the man was traveling to Jamaica. I wonder whether taking the primers into Jamaica would have been legal under Jamaican law.

He may have been using them for something other for bullets. If that is case he may not be breaking any laws.

I would really like to know why they exploded, that may be the real story, considering bullets and primers are transported every day and nothing happens.

Quoting Grid (Reply 4):
Initial report was, I think, that aerosol can exploded.

That could be the case and upon opening the suitcase a bunch of primers were found. I have had beer bottles "blow up" in my luggage, but never a bullet or primer.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineGrid From Kazakhstan, joined Apr 2010, 624 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (3 years 7 months 5 days ago) and read 6826 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 5):
He may have been using them for something other for bullets. If that is case he may not be breaking any laws.

We don't know whether such a law exists and, if so, whether this guy had credentials or licenses to be exempt from it, but I think allowing an purpose-based exception to a law prohibiting the importation of bullet primers would undermine the law; not to say that doesn't not happen in every country.

Quoting falstaff (Reply 5):

That could be the case and upon opening the suitcase a bunch of primers were found. I have had beer bottles "blow up" in my luggage, but never a bullet or primer.

Good point.



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User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 904 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5973 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 5):
I would really like to know why they exploded, that may be the real story, considering bullets and primers are transported every day and nothing happens.
Quoting falstaff (Reply 3):
Maybe not. I am sure that if some of the bullets or primers I have carried on went off I would be detained, at least for questioning, and I always declare my stuff.

Loaded ammunition can be shipped via air since it is considered stable (ORM-D). Shipping loose primers (or gunpowder) by air is a big NO-NO since it's considerd HAZ-MAT. He should be in big trouble, not to mention that he's an idiot!


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 8, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5811 times:
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Quoting johns624 (Reply 7):
Loaded ammunition can be shipped via air since it is considered stable (ORM-D). Shipping loose primers (or gunpowder) by air is a big NO-NO since it's considerd HAZ-MAT.

I've carried primers for my black powder pistol a couple of times and nobody ever said anything. They were in the case with my pistol and in plain sight. I was asked if I had powder, which I did not, and that was that. If you can't bring primers they must have not bothered enforcing it, or didn't know what they were. I have run into TSA that don't know the rules of weapons transport (sometimes I'm not sure of the rules because some agents aren't sure. I hear multiple things from multiple people). I once had a box of Czech ammunition and the TSA agent said I could not check it. I asked why and he told me that it was not in the manufacturers original packaging. I told him it was and I wanted to see his supervisor. The boss came over looked at my bullets and asked what the problem was. The other agent said the ammo was not in the manufacturers original package. The boss looked at the agent with disgust and said "huh, looks like the original box to me". The first agent said "it isn't in English". The boss said "well ya' know they make bullets in other countries". the boss apologized for the delay. I had another TSA agent take a small empty oil bottle out of my gun case and tell me it wasn't allowed. He said it had oil residue on it. I told him the entire gun had oil all over it and a lot of it. I talked to the supervisor and he gave me my bottle back. I have checked that bottle before and since and nobody ever said anything about it.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 904 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 5664 times:

Quoting falstaff (Reply 8):
I've carried primers for my black powder pistol a couple of times and nobody ever said anything

Well, then you were breaking the law,as well as being reckless. Buy them when you get to your destination. Would you pack a bunch of loose lithium batteries in your luggage? Same thing...

[Edited 2010-12-29 17:25:44]

User currently offline26point2 From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 813 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5266 times:

I'm not a "Red State" guy so forgive me...what the heck are primers used for and why not use a regular bullet?

User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 904 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

Quoting 26point2 (Reply 10):
I'm not a "Red State" guy so forgive me...what the heck are primers used for and why not use a regular bullet?

Bullets are just the projectile. A round of ammunition (cartridge) is composed of the case, bullet, gunpowder and primer. The primer is a little cup filled with explosive compund that fits in the base of the cartridge. When you pull the trigger, the firing pin hits the primer, which explodes and ignites the powder.


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 12, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 5188 times:
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Quoting 26point2 (Reply 10):
I'm not a "Red State" guy so forgive me...what the heck are primers used for and why not use a regular bullet?


Well technically I'm not a red state guy, because I live in a blue state. Primers are what the firing pin strikes to ignite the "powder" to fire the bullet. You can buy them to reload shell casings and shotgun shells. They also are used in black powder rifles and pistols to ignite the powder to fire the ball or bullet. A bullet without a primer is just about useless. I also have seen primers used to operate a starting pistol.

Quoting johns624 (Reply 9):
Well, then you were breaking the law,as well as being reckless


I didn't know I was being either. I never thought of those primers as being dangerous, the caps I played with as a kid were louder. I bet you can't check those either. I only carry lithium batteries installed in my camera, but I bet most people don't know they could be dangerous. Now I know... thanks.... Another example of the TSA not enforcing laws.



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User currently offlineOshkosh1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2009, 102 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 3904 times:

I fly with my AR to High Power rifle matches all over the country. I don't carry ammo...however, I did have a TSA scanner seem surprised when he found gun powder residue IN MY GUN CASE!!!!

He said he needed to call a supervisor, so I asked "you're kidding right?" and he assured me he was NOT joking.

The Sup came out, asked what the problem was, promptly apologized to me, then took the ignoramus in back.

Just the look and sigh he gave were worth the wait!



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User currently offlineoly720man From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 6688 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3784 times:

Thanks for the answers everyone. It does seem that it's not illegal to carry primers, as long as they're well packaged.

More news about the man in question, here.

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/c...ted-in-checked-luggage-on-airlines

He claims he'd forgotten the (700) primers were there, he'd hidden them in the suitcase to stop his kids getting to them.



wheat and dairy can screw up your brain
User currently offlineGrid From Kazakhstan, joined Apr 2010, 624 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3757 times:

Quoting oly720man (Reply 14):
Thanks for the answers everyone. It does seem that it's not illegal to carry primers, as long as they're well packaged.

More news about the man in question, here.

http://www.enterprisenews.com/news/c...ted-in-checked-luggage-on-airlines

He claims he'd forgotten the (700) primers were there, he'd hidden them in the suitcase to stop his kids getting to them.

A likely story by a fast-thinking guy.



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User currently offlineAirNZ From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3749 times:

Quoting Oshkosh1 (Reply 13):
He said he needed to call a supervisor, so I asked "you're kidding right?" and he assured me he was NOT joking.

The Sup came out, asked what the problem was, promptly apologized to me, then took the ignoramus in back.

To be fair though, he was only doing his job so I see no need for the 'ignoramus' comment. Would he still such if someone, for example, were using it as ploy to carry explosives/avoid easy detection. If that were the case I'd wager a lot there would be a lot of crying as to why he didn't do his job. Just an observation!


User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 6075 posts, RR: 29
Reply 17, posted (3 years 7 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 3682 times:
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Quoting Grid (Reply 15):
A likely story by a fast-thinking guy.


maybe... I know a guy (friend of a friend) who had a box of shotgun shells in his carry on. He forgot they were in a side pocket and carried them right through security at DTW, he found them when he unpacked his bag at SFO.

Quoting johns624 (Reply 11):
Bullets are just the projectile. A round of ammunition (cartridge) is composed of the case, bullet, gunpowder and primer. The primer is a little cup filled with explosive compund that fits in the base of the cartridge. When you pull the trigger, the firing pin hits the primer, which explodes and ignites the powder.




The first picture is the bottom of a case the small circle in the middle is the primer. This round is a 8x56



In the second photo of 7.92x57 you can easily see the case and the bullet. The bullet leaves the case and the case is ejected (manually or automatically).






My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
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