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  #1  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:46 PM
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Default Primer manufacturers choices?

How critical is the choice of primer manufacturer in recipes? Federal vs. Winchester vs. CCI vs. Wolf, etc.
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Old 12-08-2012, 12:07 AM
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Winchester been good for me, switching to CCI.

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Old 12-08-2012, 1:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickaru View Post
How critical is the choice of primer manufacturer in recipes? Federal vs. Winchester vs. CCI vs. Wolf, etc.
I would say pretty critical as some brands have different cup thickness, rated as magnum, etc.

I use CCI only.
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Old 12-08-2012, 2:35 AM
Deadwood Dick Deadwood Dick is offline
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Here's a handy guide to primer selection:
http://http://www.sksboards.com/smf/index.php?PHPSESSID=2680267622fda400f518f383ee58da 3b&topic=56422.0
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Old 12-08-2012, 3:19 AM
Wrangler John Wrangler John is offline
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It's like anything else, each manufacturer produces a different product than the others, and even within a given brand there are variations between lots. There are chemical differences between the explosive mixes, the way they crystallize as they dry, the manner in which wet mix is placed in the cups (done by hand by the way). Then there are differences in the cups, thickness, hardness, dimensions, etc. At one time Remington's DuPont manufactured primers came with two legged anvils, while everyone else used three legged anvils (see below).



At the time I found the Remington product to deliver a slight accuracy advantage across the entire primer line. Now Remington brand carries three legged anvils just like everybody else, not that some other difference wasn't the cause of their better performance. Today the Remington 7-1/2BR primer is my go to choice for the .204 Ruger and .223 Remington for most powders, with the Federal 205M the choice for those cartridges when using Reloader 10x powder. I find that Wolf standard large rifle primers work really well in the .243 WSSM with Ramshot Hunter, producing very consistent results and amazing groups, but they require more force to seat in cases. Winchester standard large rifle primers, still marked as being made by Olin, are another choice in my inventory for the WSSM, just as accurate as Wolf.

Then there is the question of who is manufacturing the brand of primer selected? Like many things, tires and automotive batteries come to mind, primers can be contracted out and rebranded. CCI makes a lot of rimfire ammo sold under other marques for example, and Norma cartridge brass is rebranded and sold as another premium brand. Loads from 20 years ago may have been developed with brand X primers that are not the same as brand X today.

So the answer is that the primer used in the recipes is important as a starting point in load development. The dangers that exist are found in swapping out a magnum primer for a standard primer in certain published loads of ball powder, especially in handgun magnum loads, or conversely, substituting a magnum primer for a standard primer in a near maximum load, especially in overbore capacity bottle necked cartridges. Ball powders have deterrent coatings applied to control burning speed, and generally need a more brisant primer for consistent ignition. I learned this with hangfires and excessive pressure in the .45 Colt loaded with W-296 when the only change was a standard primer for a magnum primer. In substituting a magnum primer for loads calling for standard primers the result can be excessive pressure, but in my experience it usually degrades accuracy with more open groups, excessive pressure or not.

If a recipe calls for a standard primer then stick with those, and vice versa. Try the load exactly as published, if it works satisfactorily, you are home free.

Generally, one experiments with different brands of primers to develop the best accuracy with any given powder, bullet and cartridge combination. In some cartridges and rifles the mechanical properties of the primer may be of the greatest importance, an example would be the use of CCI No.34 and No.41 Military Rifle Primers designed with thicker cups to prevent slam firing in semiautomatic rifles. Handloading is all about making the most dependable and accurate ammunition at the lowest cost. It is also about experimenting, tinkering and obsessing over minutia, that's why its more than a hobby.

Last edited by Wrangler John; 12-08-2012 at 3:25 AM..
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Old 12-08-2012, 6:04 AM
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No offense, but I think the OP is fairly new and is asking a basic reloading question and not a bench rest/Olympic shooting question. If its the latter, please accept my apologies, read Wrangler's post, it is good advice.

If you mean for general loading, the performance of any of the major brand of primers works fine for shooting. There are some slight differences in that Federal primers tend to be on the slightly softer side which is good if you have an old gun with a weak firing pin, but not so good if you use a primer tube in your press because of the risk of a chain explosion. CCI is on the other side in that they are a little harder, Wolf even harder.

Unlike shotshell primers where loads are very dependent on brand of primers, general purpose rifle and pistol primers are not critical.
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Old 12-08-2012, 6:24 AM
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Default Consistency is key

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickaru View Post
How critical is the choice of primer manufacturer in recipes? Federal vs. Winchester vs. CCI vs. Wolf, etc.
It depends... If you reload for a pistol and your goal is range ammo that you will typically fire at targets 30 feet away; it's not very critical. Any of the above will work nicely.
If your goal is to consistently put your rounds in a 10" circle at 1000 yds; it can be very critical. If this is your goal, you'll probably want Benchrest grade primers.

Consistency is the key. Pick a primer/powder/bullet make/model, work up your load then buy in the quantities that suit your needs. For example, for my semi-auto pistols I use CCI SPP (buy the case), Bullseye (buy the keg) and Barry's plated bullets (buy the 1000).
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Old 12-14-2012, 11:49 PM
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I've been reloading for a long time and have always used Federal primers for the calibers I reload. I use the magnum primer for the magnum rounds and standard primers for standard calibers. rifle for rifle and pistol for pistol.
The reason I was asking the question if it matters from one brand to another was I have a friend that is starting to reload and I'm helping him get started. He called me one day and told me he was trying to buy small pistol primers for reloading 40 S&W at a local shop and when he told the guy behind the counter he needed standard small pistol primers, he was asked what brand and he answered it doesn't matter. The guy asked what his recipe called for and he didn't have it with him. The gun shop guy told him he was going to seriously injure if not kill himself with that knowledge. He asked me what he meant and I couldn't think other than slightly different pressure variations between brands.
It's just for target practicing.
Good info wrangler John.
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Old 12-15-2012, 5:19 AM
Wrangler John Wrangler John is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickaru View Post
I've been reloading for a long time and have always used Federal primers for the calibers I reload. I use the magnum primer for the magnum rounds and standard primers for standard calibers. rifle for rifle and pistol for pistol.
The reason I was asking the question if it matters from one brand to another was I have a friend that is starting to reload and I'm helping him get started. He called me one day and told me he was trying to buy small pistol primers for reloading 40 S&W at a local shop and when he told the guy behind the counter he needed standard small pistol primers, he was asked what brand and he answered it doesn't matter. The guy asked what his recipe called for and he didn't have it with him. The gun shop guy told him he was going to seriously injure if not kill himself with that knowledge. He asked me what he meant and I couldn't think other than slightly different pressure variations between brands.
It's just for target practicing.
Good info wrangler John.
Some times I get carried away - Mrs. Wrangler says it's more often than that.

Some gun store guys don't quite have it right. I have been loading for over 50 years and spent two decades shooting IHMSA Silhouette matches, hunt varmints, wildcatted cartridges, and worked as a Range officer at a publicly owned firing range. So, here's the truth from my experience.

You will not injure yourself by substituting brands of primers of the same size and strength. If the recipe calls for standard CCI small pistol primers, then Winchester, Remington, Federal or Wolf will work just fine, and vice versa. Any pressure variation will be very small and within tolerance.

If the recipe calls for a magnum small pistol primer, then use those.

Don't substitute a magnum small pistol primer for a standard primer, that will raise pressure up to 10% and likely disperse the group.

Don't substitute a standard small pistol primer for a magnum primer because that can cause hangfires and raise pressures dangerously with some powders.

Here is a chart of all the various primers:

http://www.handloads.com/misc/primers.asp

Within the rows on the chart any of the available primers can be substituted for one another. However, one primer may provide the best accuracy, that can only be determined by trial.

There is one caution here. Do not use the Remington 6-1/2 Standard Small RIFLE Primer in any rifle load for high pressure rifle cartridges, .204 Ruger, .223 Remington, 6mm PPC, etc. as their cups are too thin and the edge of the cup will pinhole and erode a pit in the bolt face. Instead use Remington 7-1/2 BR primers or CCI, Winchester or Federal.

Last edited by Wrangler John; 12-15-2012 at 5:25 AM..
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Old 12-15-2012, 5:47 AM
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Nick,
Tell your friend to avoid advice from that guy as much as possible. Let him know that there are virtually no differences between brands in primer performance when loading mid range 40 S&W. Since he is new, he should know that he isn't trying to max out his load (and you should remind him not to). The guy at the LGS doesn't know the difference between shotshell primers and metallic primers. Shotshell primers vary significantly between brands and when you start loading you should follow recipes to the letter including brand of primers.

He should either:
- Avoid the store altogether.
- Know exactly what he wants and not rely on the guy behind the counter for any knowledge beyond "in/out of stock", "price" and "do you want a bag for that".

The difference in pressure variations between brands of primers would not be discernible between brands of primers and shot to shot variances on a chronograph. Again since he is just plinking with mid range 40 loads, it really doesn't matter between Fed/Rem/Win/CCI.

Agree with Wrangler for a beginner. Don't substitute type of primer unless you know what you're doing and can verify the results of substitution. That's another subject.
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:36 AM
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Substituting primers gets more dangerous when you are loading at or even near the maximum charge level. If I had a midrange or lower load and the primer was the same class, such as large rifle standard for a large ridle standard, I wouldn't stress about substituting. But understand that it does make a difference. Yesterday I did some load development with my 308 sniper rifle. In same gun, using the same case headstamp, COAL, bullet, powder/charge weight, but different primers, I ended up with a significant difference in group size. Using Winchester Large Rifle Primers, group size was .459" at 100 yds. Using CCI 34 Primers, group size was .792" at 100 yds.
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:45 AM
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I've seen the POI change by 12" at 1000 yards going from CCI #35 (Blue box) to RWS .50cal primers.
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Old 12-16-2012, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nickaru View Post
How critical is the choice of primer manufacturer in recipes? Federal vs. Winchester vs. CCI vs. Wolf, etc.
I have not noticed any critical difference between brands unless the Book of Lee is speaking of thou shalt not use xx brand in their products...

I have not reloaded for very long such as others who are very well informed but I also would not know the difference in accuracy if it bit me in the butt.

Now with that said I can shoot a hawk in its eye a thousand yards out with my Desert Eagle and I always use TULA or WOLF primers in my Desert Eagle because they are cheap.

They also have not failed. SO, this might evolve into a ford/chevy debate, but I hope not. As long as you stick with the proper TYPE you should be okay.

I.E. Do not use a Large Rifle Primer if the recipe calls for a Large Pistol Primer. HOWEVER, The only exception to that rule (now there are TWO exceptions) is that you CAN substitute a small rifle primer for a small pistol primer. But as a new reloader you should not do that until you are aware of what and why you are doing it. Also, Winchester now only makes ONE large pistol primer and it is meant for magnum or regular loads where everyone else still has large pistol and large pistol magnum.

Personally speaking, magnums I THINK tend to burn a a TAD longer to help ignite more powder but I could be wrong. I have swapped out magnums with regular in my 44 mag loads and seen no real difference except with the magnum primers I do not have as much crap stuck to me after shooting 20 rounds...

I bet the guy behind the counter read the Book of Lee and ALSO took it WAY too serious just like me...
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Last edited by stilly; 12-16-2012 at 11:32 PM..
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