Percussion caps and mercury poisoning?

Discussion in 'Percussion Rifles' started by hyuzu, Sep 3, 2019.

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  1. Sep 11, 2019 #21

    Dphar1950

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    I am note sure many caps used mercury. Most were Potassium Chlorate. THIS is what rusted the heck out of barrel. Murcury primers were REALLY destructive the cartridge cases in the early smokeless era. BTW shooting Pyrodex produces CYANIDE gas.... Nobody has died of that either.
     
  2. Sep 11, 2019 #22

    Pukka Bundook

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    Dphar,

    The opening post was about historical (possible )mercury poisoning, not anyone worrying about it now.

    Re the OP question;
    I think there were easier ways to get a good dose of Mercury in the 19th century, than from percussion caps.
    Colonel Peter Hawker swore by mercury ointment for corns on his feet. I believe he said it cured them very quickly.

    Even when I was a kid, we played with mercury and no-one thought anything of it. They would bring it around the class, and we all got a go with it! Same with asbestos as someone mentioned up the page. I made all sorts of things from asbestos sheet, like "stone" tomahawk heads.

    Best,

    R.
     
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  3. Sep 11, 2019 #23

    Stumpkiller

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    No doubt. And all of us flint shooters will risk a slow death due to silicosis. But at least we keep our sanity.

    Or at least what we began with.
     
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  4. Sep 11, 2019 #24

    Dphar1950

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    It just seemed silly given that they shot outdoors almost exclusively and the amount of mercury is so minute. Then the fact that they used to cast balls from lead mixed with mercury to harden it for use on heavy game in Africa and India. But the "news" keeps everyone frightened of something these days. Remember when the snow was radioactive?
     
  5. Sep 11, 2019 #25

    Pukka Bundook

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    Oh I well understand that the "news" has a scare- us -all- to- death agenda, DPhar!

    I was just meaning that no-one was worrying about this now, and the Q was historical, but as you say, not really a possible threat at any time.
    The only shooting -related thing I have heard that Was a problem, even if not recognised at the time, was the "High to debilitating, and even deadly" levels of lead found in the bones of some Native Americans, (Eastern) and the presumption was, they were casting lead in their cooking pots or pans.
     
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  6. Sep 11, 2019 #26

    Loyalist Dave

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    I'd venture to say that if one was not a "hatter" or lived adjacent to one, then the mercury that one might be exposed to from caps was negligible. I'd also venture to say that you today have more to worry about from eating too much tuna and mercury than they did back then.

    LD
     
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  7. Sep 11, 2019 #27

    Sun City

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    Beer....will kill ya too......iffen ya drinks enuff of it!!
     
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  8. Sep 12, 2019 #28

    Pukka Bundook

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    Drinking milk can also be deadly;
    Hear about the Irishman who died through drinking milk?

    Cow fell on him.
     
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  9. Sep 12, 2019 #29

    hyuzu

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    Thanks guys for your replies and views on this.

    And yes, just to make it crystal clear, I did not pose this question because I have any worries about percussion caps myself. I was just asking out of historical interest, to see if there were any records of mercury in the caps back then being known or suspected of making guys sick. I wasn't making any assumptions, just trying to ask a question. I didn't mean to come across as a fusspot :p
     
  10. Sep 12, 2019 #30

    Loyalist Dave

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    Perish the thought, for NOW if you run into a non-shooter who is freaking out because that person "thinks" there is mercury in caps, you can correct them.

    There are also the people who think humans get lead poisoning from animals killed by shot, or if they swallow shot, and those that think the smoke from muzzleloaders is carcinogenic..., (really funny when that person is smoking a cigarette when they bring that one up :D)…, so there's no problem asking.

    LD
     
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  11. Sep 12, 2019 #31

    45man

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    Carol is my concern. She says I do nothing in the house but who does all outside plus I built her furniture and half the house. She complains about laundry when all she does is open a door or lid. I need to get her a wringer washer. Or a tub with a wash rack. I bought her a John Deer mower but I still cut the whole yard.
    A woman is more deadly then caps or lead. They will work you to an early death.
     
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  12. Sep 15, 2019 #32

    Rat

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    If women will kill ya, then I don't mind dying. :)
     
  13. Sep 18, 2019 #33

    N.Y. Yankee

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    Like lead, are we shooting it, or chewing on it?
     
  14. Sep 19, 2019 #34

    smoothshooter

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    Only if you are from California.

    The folks out there seem to be awful succeptible to injury from all kinds of things, from the warnings I read on the labels of all kinds of substances.
     
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  15. Sep 19, 2019 #35

    Bo T

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    One serious product for causing mercury poisoning was calomel. Used as a medicine from who knows when-before the civil war up till the 30's (I believe). Finally taken off of the market after someone died from taking to much. Unless someone was popping caps all day, day in and day out, they would be hard pressed to get the exposure a hatter would get in a few years-even after several decades. Miners would go crazy after years of consolidating gold using mercury.
     
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  16. Sep 19, 2019 #36

    Bo T

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    Early caps, from 1820 till ? used mercury fulminate.
     
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  17. Sep 19, 2019 #37

    Pete G

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    Miners are crazy to begin with.:rolleyes:
     
  18. Sep 19, 2019 #38

    Zonie

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    There is a place in Phoenix near "North Mountain" called "Dreamy Draw". The reason for the name is, there was a mercury mine located there and because of mercury poisoning some of the workers had some brain damage and got sorta "dreamy".

    The problem with mercury mining back in the day wasn't due to digging the cinnabar rocks up. It was caused by the miners extracting the mercury from the ore by heating the cinnabar in a fire to drive off the sulfur. Some of the mercury also was vaporized in the process.
     
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