Is a Primer a Primer a Primer?


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fmnnc
November 26, 2007, 08:56 PM
Simple Question...

Can a small rifle primer from one company be substituted for a small rifle primer from another company?


http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/image?saleitemid=485932http://www.midwayusa.com/mediasvr.dll/image?saleitemid=959699

Example: Winchester's WSR for CCI's 400 or vise versa?

Thanks...:confused:

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RustyFN
November 26, 2007, 09:31 PM
Can a small rifle primer from one company be substituted for a small rifle primer from another company?
Yes, that's not a problem. If you are shooting max or near max loads I would reduce the charge a little and work back up. Some primers are quite a bit hotter than others.
Rusty

Sistema1927
November 26, 2007, 09:40 PM
One thing to be aware of also is the fact that primers from different companies are softer or harder than others. CCI are harder than Winchester, which are harder than Federal.

My slicked-up 1892 in .45 Colt won't reliably set-off CCI primers, but Winchester and Federal are 100%.

Starter52
November 26, 2007, 09:44 PM
I've been reloading for 30+ years and I have never cared what brand of primer I used. They are all the same to me. I feel the same about different brands of gasoline.

I will note that some (CCI) seem to be a tad bit larger than other brands. I've always needed just a bit more pressure to seat CCIs. Winchester primers seem to slip in a bit easier.

Quoheleth
November 26, 2007, 10:13 PM
I realize the OP is about rifle primers.

However, "a primer is a primer is a primer" is not necessarily true for pistols, I take it, having read Lee's manual. He says be very caaaaaaaaaareful when using Federal primers in his machines. Must be something about them, I guess.

Not trying to hijack the OP...just curious about rifle vs pistol primers.

Q

sargenv
November 26, 2007, 10:16 PM
I know several people who have had the whole tube go off on their 650's when using federal primers. Knock on wood I have not yet, but it's always in the back of my mind when I load with them.. I always make sure to be wearing safety glasses regardless of which primers I use.

FieroCDSP
November 26, 2007, 10:25 PM
Federal primers are a bit more volatile. From what I have read, it's due to the way they seal the priming compound. Some brands use foil or paper. I'm not sure what Federal uses, but it's said they're more prone to chain detonating. A little extra caution is warranted (reduced number in Lee prining gear), but they perform about the same.

SlamFire1
November 26, 2007, 11:22 PM
Federal primers are a bit more volatile. From what I have read, it's due to the way they seal the priming compound. Some brands use foil or paper. I'm not sure what Federal uses, but it's said they're more prone to chain detonating. A little extra caution is warranted (reduced number in Lee prining gear), but they perform about the same.

Federal primers are about the most sensitive around. It has to do with thin primer cups and the priming compound they use. They use the most sensitive formulation of priming compound around: normal lead styphnate. Everyone else uses a different lead styphnate.

Winchester redesigned their primer around 2000 to make it more sensitive.

Why? All those folks out there with out of tolerance firearms were complaining that the primers were too hard. These folks cut a couple of coils from their mainsprings and are upset when their firearm will not reliably ignite a primer. Since it can't be their fault, it must be the primer, and they are able to convince other people that what the world needs is extremely sensitive primers.

The consequence is that primer manufacturers change a perfectly good product line and make primers that are extremely sensitive. Which means they are prone to slamfire, and pierce easily.

Sunray
November 26, 2007, 11:29 PM
Change any one component and you need to work up the load again.
"...cut a couple of coils from their mainsprings..." That'd do it. You don't cut off a couple of coils.

R.W.Dale
November 26, 2007, 11:34 PM
Winchester redesigned their primer around 2000 to make it more sensitive.

Why? All those folks out there with out of tolerance firearms were complaining that the primers were too hard. These folks cut a couple of coils from their mainsprings and are upset when their firearm will not reliably ignite a primer. Since it can't be their fault, it must be the primer, and they are able to convince other people that what the world needs is extremely sensitive primers.

I wish that were the problem! I had to stop using CCI primers all together as I was getting a 5% misfire rate. When it first started happening with my arisaka sporter I ordered an extra power striker spring to rectify the problem. Did it change things? NO. Then I bought a CZ527 in 7.62x39 and it wouldn't set cci's off reliably. And this rifle will fire milspec 7.62x39 without a hitch hard recessed primers and all. The misfired primers were literally so hard the firing pin wouldn't leave but the slightest indention

mc223
November 27, 2007, 12:25 AM
I have yet, in thousands of reloaded rounds noticed any of the alleged volatility or sensitivity of Fed primers.
The 550 just churns em out without a hitch. I have heard the internet stories of tube detonation of primers in Dillons, but have never seen a documented report of it actually happening.
I have however, had multiple pierced primers with mid book level charges with the WSRs.
Cup hardness is debatable, however the actual thickness of the cup is known and could be used as a reference.

Scroll down the page for cup thickness.
http://www.radomski.us/njhp/cart_tech.htm

Some primer photos.

http://images.google.de/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bjonessights.com/PMC_Large_Rifle-a.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.bjonessights.com/Primerpix.html&h=480&w=640&sz=32&tbnid=OyVLHJHc42kBjM:&tbnh=101&tbnw=135&hl=de&start=6&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dprimer%2Bflash%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Dde%26lr%3D

http://usera.imagecave.com/PCSNaples/Primers/

scrat
November 27, 2007, 12:38 AM
the primer topic again. Remember the primer pole on whats your favorite brand of primers. I have used cci primers. had way tooo many missfires. everyone was saying your not seating them deap enough your not seating them correctly. well either way i switched to winchester and i have not had a single miss fire. so im just going to stay with winchester. sorry cci. my money goes to winchseter on primers.

Wildfire
November 27, 2007, 01:08 AM
Hey There.
I have fired many many thousands of CCI primers. That is all I have ever used for the 25 plus years of competative, target , and hunting.
I have never had not even 1 miss fire. All primers have different burn rates just like powders do. PSI will vary . You got some good advice in the above post. From experianced shooters. Primer seating depth is important. If not at the bottom of the pocket the firing pin has to push it that far before it can do what it is intended to do. Normal firing pin protrusion should be .055" Max.
Any more and it will pierce primers. Get much shorter and it will not be reliable in setting them off. Many factory guns come with that already messed up for you. Check that and see what is going on. The primers may not be to blame at all. I have found many rifles with firing pins that were too long. 2 new Encore's had .076 and one had .096" firing pin protrusion. Pierced primers. Ordered new ones. They came even longer yet. T/C claims they never heard of this problem. I just bought 2 weirdos a year and a half apart.
I shortened them and all is fine. That primer should set .003 to .005" below the case head. Improper head space can also result in bad hits on the primer.

Steve C
November 27, 2007, 02:21 AM
Can a small rifle primer from one company be substituted for a small rifle primer from another company?

They can be substituted but they are not identical, you will get changes in pressure and velocity. Some brands of primers are just hotter than others.

rero360
November 27, 2007, 07:56 AM
I know with the Lee auto primer the instructionssay ot to use any type of federal primers with it. Needless to say it made me curious as to why this would be, found out the answer.

You shouldn't use federal primers with the Lee auto primer because the primers can't feed from the pan onto the ram, however if you drop the primer directly onto the ram it works just fine, just rather slow.

P-32
November 27, 2007, 09:58 AM
You shouldn't use federal primers with the Lee auto primer because the primers can't feed from the pan onto the ram, however if you drop the primer directly onto the ram it works just fine, just rather slow.

I never noticed this fact when using Federal primers in my Lee autoloader hand held.

the primer topic again. Remember the primer pole on whats your favorite brand of primers. I have used cci primers. had way tooo many missfires. everyone was saying your not seating them deap enough your not seating them correctly. well either way i switched to winchester and i have not had a single miss fire. so im just going to stay with winchester. sorry cci. my money goes to winchseter on primers.

I have used CCI's for years. There was a period of time I could hardly prime a pistol cartridge with them but they improved. I can think of no misfires with a CCI primer, ever! I would say in scrat's case there was a problem either in the ammo or firearm out of spec.

SlamFire1
November 27, 2007, 04:02 PM
:
Winchester redesigned their primer around 2000 to make it more sensitive.

Why? All those folks out there with out of tolerance firearms were complaining that the primers were too hard. These folks cut a couple of coils from their mainsprings and are upset when their firearm will not reliably ignite a primer. Since it can't be their fault, it must be the primer, and they are able to convince other people that what the world needs is extremely sensitive primers.

I wish that were the problem! I had to stop using CCI primers all together as I was getting a 5% misfire rate. When it first started happening with my arisaka sporter I ordered an extra power striker spring to rectify the problem. Did it change things? NO. Then I bought a CZ527 in 7.62x39 and it wouldn't set cci's off reliably. And this rifle will fire milspec 7.62x39 without a hitch hard recessed primers and all. The misfired primers were literally so hard the firing pin wouldn't leave but the slightest indention

Krochus: You don’t have a primer problem.

You stuck a Wolff extra power mainspring in an Arisaka and still had misfires? Think about it, that firing pin had one heck of a lot of momentum and you did not have reliable ignition?:confused:

I can recall, almost three decades ago, assembling a M1917 firing pin assembly. As I was pushing the firing pin and mainspring into the bolt sleeve, I lost control of it and the firing pin shot out across the table. It hit a concrete block wall, tip first, and with enough force to knock a dime sized divot out of it. :eek:

I learned a couple of important things. 1) firing pins can be dangerous,2) Never, ever, point a loaded firing pin assembly at your head. :o

So let us examine your statement of “The misfired primers were literally so hard the firing pin wouldn't leave but the slightest indention”
I do not believe that any primer is so hard that it can bounce firing pins off its chest like Superman can bounce bullets off his belly. Nope, you have another problem.

If you only have the slightest indention, that is evidence the firing pin is barely touching the primer at its fullest extension. If that primer was right next to the firing pin you will have one heck of a large indention. And if you had large indentions but no ignition, then I would say you had a primer problem. But you don’t.

You might say, “hey I get excellent indentions with all those good primers that go off.” Well that is what you would expect. The first thing to back out on ignition is the primer. It literally impales itself on the firing pin. The higher the pressure, the shallower the indention as the firing pin attempts to push its “inney” belly button into an “outey” belly button.

So my guesses:

1) A thin rim, the extractor is not holding the case head against the bolt face.

2) Excessive cartridge headspace

3) Insufficient firing pin protrusion.


I am unfamiliar with the action on a CZ527, looking at a picture it appears to be a claw extractor bolt gun. And you say, it works with military surplus with hard primers. Well it should have enough zing to make commercial primers ignite, so I don’t think you have a primer problem. You have a dimensional tolerance problem somewhere. First thing I would check is rim thickness, next cartridge headspace. Try a crush fit on your reloads, have just the last 10 degrees of bolt turn swag the cartridge into place.

It should ignite everything. If not, carry a ramrod to knock the cartridge out!:cuss:

RyanM
November 27, 2007, 05:10 PM
I've yet to have a problem with CCI primers being "hard." My Ruger SP-101 with a 9 pound mainspring (factory is 14#) sets them off just fine. I had a couple that weren't seated deep enough when I first started reloading, but that was obviously my fault, as they'd have just the tiniest little dent in them.

Other guns with factory mainsprings, I can purposely seat the primers out a little too much, and they still usually work. 100% ignition if they're flush with the case head or deeper.

Werewolf
November 27, 2007, 05:27 PM
I take it, having read Lee's manual. He says be very caaaaaaaaaareful when using Federal primers in his machines.I've not experience the problems many here relate concerning Federal and easy detonation but I have had big problems with Federal primers and a Lee Classic Turret.

It is the only brand that flips when being pressed into the primer pocket. 1 in 8 or so just turns over. Winchester and CCI don't do that. Wierd but true on my press.

EShell
November 27, 2007, 05:48 PM
Can a small rifle primer from one company be substituted for a small rifle primer from another company?
They can be substituted but they are not identical, you will get changes in pressure and velocity. Some brands of primers are just hotter than others.

Agreed. There can be **many** performance nuances.

There are also very different definitions of "work", so when one asks "will it "work"", we would need to know "in what context?" the question is asked.

Using CCI #34 in .308 match loads, I found it impossible to get decent accuracy that was much more forthcoming with regular WLR primers and the same set of components. This may be due to the hotter mix being incompatible with the medium-capacity of the .308 case, since #34s are most similar to CCI #250s, but less sensitive in order to be compatible with military auto and semi-auto firearms. I had been trying to find a load that would "work" in both my M1A and my M-700 LTR . . .

Did they "work"? Yes, the cartridge fired and since I had worked up to that point, pressures were withing my boundaries. Did they "work as well as an alternate, no, they did not work with respect to the desired accuracy level.

My 6.5-300 Weatherby burns 74 grains of Retumbo behind a 123 Scenar for near 3,500 fps. I used the commonly recommended "magnum" Federal 215M primer. 100 yard accuracy was great in the match-quality rifle. Velocity was great and pressures were again within limits.

Did they "work"? No, they did not work at all, even though the rifle fired and a bullet came out. My velocity extreme spreads are terribly high, almost 100 fps, which gave me severe vertical dispersion as I reached 1,000 yards, the working range of this rifle. Hitting stuff consistently at long range was just not possible, even though my 100 yard groups went into 3/8 MOA.

I went to Fed #210M, the "standard" rifle primer, upped the powder charge to get my velocity/pressure back up, and my velocity extreme spreads suddenly went to single digits and my 1k vertical went away. Did they "work"? Yes, perfectly.

So, please tell me again, what was the question?:confused:

GaryL
November 27, 2007, 07:56 PM
I'm using WSP in 9mm. Last week I picked up some PMC primers for a good price and loaded 10 of them into my current 9mm setup and took them to the range just to see if they were any different. Couldn't tell any difference, except my group size doubled with the PMC primers. Not sure if they don't ignite the powder as well or what, but I figure I'll use them when I work up a new load with a different powder since I like what I have worked up now.

RustyFN
November 27, 2007, 08:49 PM
OK I finally found it. Here is an example of different primers and how some are hotter than others. http://www.6mmbr.com/PrimerPix.html
Rusty

SlamFire1
November 27, 2007, 09:43 PM
Using CCI #34 in .308 match loads, I found it impossible to get decent accuracy that was much more forthcoming with regular WLR primers and the same set of components. This may be due to the hotter mix being incompatible with the medium-capacity of the .308 case, since #34s are most similar to CCI #250s, but less sensitive in order to be compatible with military auto and semi-auto firearms. I had been trying to find a load that would "work" in both my M1A and my M-700 LTR . . .

I cannot explain it. I have been using CCI#34's in my M1a's and 308 bolt guns. And I have been getting excellent results. I use IMR 4895, or I am going through a batch surplus 4895. When I chronograph the stuff, velocities are not all that different from WLR.

Still, I miss the old nickle plated WLR. That was a great primer. Wish Winchester had not changed them. They also changed the WSR. That primer pierces so easily. I still have a stash of them, and used them to load my short range ammunition at Camp Perry this year. The same load will pierce at least new brass WSR per relay. The old primer, not a single pierced primer for the entire National Matches.

scrat
November 27, 2007, 10:51 PM
rusty thats some page. good find.

FLORIDA KEVIN
November 28, 2007, 11:48 AM
I was surprized at the difference between the Rem 6 1/2 and rem 7 1/2 both small rifle primers .!! i was under the impression that the 6 1/2 were small rifle and the 7 1/2 were small rifle bench rest ! no indication of difference in power ! ? Now i am confused ! kevin

RyanM
November 28, 2007, 12:20 PM
Very interesting. Has anyone done a similar test on pistol primers? I may have to switch to Remingtons in my carry loads, since then I'd have absolutely no worries about ignition!

EShell
November 28, 2007, 04:50 PM
Slamfire . . .

Using CCI #34 in .308 match loads, I found it impossible to get decent accuracy that was much more forthcoming with regular WLR primers and the same set of components. This may be due to the hotter mix being incompatible with the medium-capacity of the .308 case, since #34s are most similar to CCI #250s, but less sensitive in order to be compatible with military auto and semi-auto firearms. I had been trying to find a load that would "work" in both my M1A and my M-700 LTR . . .
I cannot explain it. I have been using CCI#34's in my M1a's and 308 bolt guns. And I have been getting excellent results. I use IMR 4895, or I am going through a batch surplus 4895. When I chronograph the stuff, velocities are not all that different from WLR.

LOL, that IS tough to explain - I'm using MilSurp 4895 myself, and didn't have any better results with commercial.

I'm loading FGMM brass ('cuz I have a gazillion) and Lapua 155 Scenars. I shoot a lot of long range, and one of the tactical matches I shoot requires a .308, of all things. FGMM 168s don't reliably stay stable to ranges beyond 800-900 or so in my 20" LTR, and FGMM 175s drop ferociously (43 MOA to get on at 1k from a 100 yard zero) and drift is almost as bad. The Scenars have the same BC as the 175 SMK, but can typically be driven 200 fps faster, making them THE bullet to use in Ol' Stubby, IF I can get them to shoot. I ran into light pressure indications at 42.0, some 3-4 grains below book max, and am holding at 41.5. Did some research and found the #34 to be equivalent to CCI#250s.

FWIW, I just found out that my lot of MilSurp 4895 is terribly temperature sensitive with my combo and I will have to abandon it for my match ammo anyway. Loads worked up during moderate weather (60-70oF) used about 4 more MOA to be zeroed at 1k or so when used at 30oF. Putting some of the ammo in my pocket as an experiment gave me *FEET* of vertical at extended ranges compared the ammo carried awhile in the rifle. :eek:

Still, I miss the old nickle plated WLR. That was a great primer. Wish Winchester had not changed them. They also changed the WSR. That primer pierces so easily. I still have a stash of them, and used them to load my short range ammunition at Camp Perry this year. The same load will pierce at least new brass WSR per relay. The old primer, not a single pierced primer for the entire National Matches.
I used to use the old WLRs myself, and still have a few hundred *old* ones around. I haven't have any problem with my new ones (brass-plated cups), and use them in my daughter's .243, my .260 and 6.5-284 match rifles. Using match-prepped Lapua, Rem & Norma brass, respectively, I typically get light ejector marks (M700s), then hard extraction before seeing a lot of primer flow.

Guess these are excellent examples as to why it is always prudent to work up to max using your own components, rather than taking someone else's data, no matter how trustworthy or reliable the source.

rbernie
November 28, 2007, 05:29 PM
Small Rifle

Cup Thickness Diameter Height
CCI 400 . .020" .1753" .109"
CCI 450 . .025" .1750" .113"
CCI BR4 .025" .1755" .109"
Federal 200 .019" .1757" .111"
Federal 205M .0225" .1744" .1075"
Remington 6 ˝ .020" .1753" .109"
Remington 7 1/2 .025" .1752" .110"
Winchester SR .021" .1750" .109"

Large Rifle
Cup Thickness Diameter Height
CCI 200 .027" .2112" .118"
CCI 250 .027" .2113" .118"
Federal 210 .027" .2120" .117"
Remington 9 1/2 .027" .2100" .119"
Winchester LR .027" .2114" .121"

Brand/type Power Average Range Std. Dev
1 Fed Match GM215M 6.12 5.23-6.8 .351
2 Federal 215 LRM 5.69 5.2-6.5 .4437
3 CCI 250 LRM 5.66 4.5-7.4 .4832
4 Winchester WLRM 5.45 5.1-6.0 .2046
5 Remington 9 1/2 LRM 5.09 3.5-6.75 .6641
6 Winchester WLR 4.8 4.1-6.0 .4300
7 Remington 9 1/2 LR 4.75 3.7-6.25 .5679
8 Fed Match GM210M 4.64 4.0-5.6 .3296
9 Federal 210 LR 4.62 3.7-5.5 .3997
10 CCI BR2 4.37 4.0-5.0 .2460
11 CCI 200 LR 4.28 3.8-4.8 .3218
12 KVB 7 LR Russian 4.27 3.8-4.8 .2213
13 Rem 91/2 (30 yrs old) 4.16 3.8-4.8 .3427
14 Rem LP 4.47 3.2-5.6 .5171
15 KVB 45 LP Russian 3.89 3.3-4.2 .2232
16 CCI 300 LP 3.18 2.7-3.5 .2406
17 Federal 150 LP 3.11 2.6-3.5 .2090
18 Fed Match GM150M 3.05 2.6-3.7 .2299

FLORIDA KEVIN
November 28, 2007, 05:34 PM
I wonder if it would be of any value to get some of those rubber x-ring bullets that fire using just a primer for power .load several cases with different primers like , small rifle ,small pistol. magnum and non magnum and fire them through a chronograph to determine the relative power of each type ? I would try it but i dont have a chronograph !

SlamFire1
November 29, 2007, 10:19 AM
rbernie: Very interesting chart. Assuming that this chart was conducted on the new "brass" Winchester primers, the large rifle cup thickness is the same for them as for all.

Which means that if the new Winchester is more sensitive and more prone to piercing than CCI, then Winchester took the workhardening out of their cup, or maybe that nickel coating makes a difference.

And Remington 9 1/2 primers are the strongest of the standard primers and CCI are amoung the weakest. I would not have thought that.

rbernie
November 29, 2007, 05:22 PM
I should qualify - this is not my data, but a compilation of what I've found on the web.

scout26
November 29, 2007, 06:05 PM
Just in case someone comes across this thread and is considering shotshell reloading.....

Shotshell primers are VERY different and cannot be wantonly interchanged. You must follow the published recipe and use the primer call for.

Now back to the Rifle and Pistol primer discussion.

Wildfire
November 30, 2007, 08:45 PM
Forget about what brand of primer you are using. Slamfire1 in post 17 cover'd it well. Headspace ? Firing pin protrusion ? I agree. No firing pin bounces off a primer. The fact that some primers may be hotter or more touchy is not the issue. The fact is your gun is not working right. Atleast not all the time.

rg1
December 1, 2007, 12:02 AM
Remington 6 1/2 primers are for lower pressure 22 caliber rifles. The primer cup thickness on 6 1/2's is supposed to be .020" while 7 1/2's cup thickness is .025". Use 7 1/2's especially in semi-autos.
http://www.jamescalhoon.com/primers_and_pressure.php

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