Winchester primers in AR-15?


February 20, 2008, 06:24 PM
According to this link ( the brass colored Winchester primers should be avoided for AR-15's. Having a box of 1000 of them and my AR-15 being the only rifle I have using small rifle primers, I'm wondering if anybody has any personal experience with this?

I'd rather not let them go to waste but if it's not safe it's not worth the $29 or whatever I payed for them to blow myself or my gun up.

I also have 1000 pieces of .223 brass, Winchester headstamp.. believe it's crimped. What's a cheap but effective way to remove the crimp?

Thanks... new to this whole reloading thing.

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February 20, 2008, 06:48 PM
Winchester small rifle primers are all I use to reload my .223 rounds for my AR. They are my preferred small rifle primer for any application. Too bad they are impossible to come by lately.

February 20, 2008, 08:15 PM
Ditto....all I ever use for pistol, rifle, and shotshell loading are Winchester primers. Been loading for over 40 years and have never had trouble with them.

February 20, 2008, 08:16 PM
Ditto....all I ever use for pistol, rifle, and shotshell loading are Winchester primers. Been loading for over 40 years and have never had trouble with them.

February 20, 2008, 08:30 PM
I use them in my AR loads.

Never had any problems.

February 20, 2008, 08:44 PM
I use Winchester Small Rifle primers in my .223 match ammunition, except for 600 I use CCI BR4 primers. No issues with Winchester primers.

You can remove the crimp with the same tool you use for deburring the case mouth after trimming, if you trim. After the primer is removed, a couple twists will cut out the crimp.

Some people use a countersink in an electric drill. Fast, but don't take too much material.

The major reloading equipment makers sell primer pocket swaging tools to remove the crimp without cutting away any brass. I've never used one but everyone says they are great.

If you are new to reloading, just take it step by step, stay with "safe" loads from a manual, ask questions as you are doing, and you will have a great time and find yourself learning more and more. Have fun!


February 21, 2008, 04:47 AM
I'm loading 5000 of them for an AR15 with TAC. They seem to be working OK so far.

February 21, 2008, 05:40 AM
I use Winchester primers in my AR.

The main thing to do with the Winchester primers is to seat them correctly in the primer pocket.

If the primers are not seated fully, you could have a slam fire, so inspect each of your reloads.

February 21, 2008, 07:03 AM
I love 'em, they are a decent price and not too difficult to find.

What do you mean by "slam fire" WWorker?? Have you had one from these primers? Inquiring minds want to know.

February 21, 2008, 08:46 AM
from the Fulton Armory website

a "Slam Fire" is simply the condition when a round is discharged without the normal firing mechanism being employed. Slam Fires may be caused by a broken/protruding firing pin, foreign matter on the bolt face, firing pin intertia, or other means. A Slam Fire may occur *in* or *out of* battery. In the first case, we have a truly Accidental (in contrast to a Negligent) Discharge with little or no potential harm to the shooter. In the latter, the breech is unlocked and *very* bad things can happen.

February 21, 2008, 11:52 AM
All I use is Winchester SRP. Never any issues for me.

February 21, 2008, 02:54 PM
Winchester SRP, Winchester brass, Win 748 and Winchester bulk bullets. Use them all when I can get them.

PS LAYUSN1, thanks for having the brass trader link. I signed up before, what a great idea. Bill

February 21, 2008, 03:53 PM
Prior to 2000 the entire Winchester line of primers was plated. Might have been nickel or chrome plate. The date is not firm, could have been 1999. However, after 2000 Winchester changed its primers to the brass finish.

I called up Winchester and asked them what they had done. I was told that they had changed the design of their primers to make them more sensitive and ignite consistantly with off center firing pin hits.

I believe this is driven by folks who have out of tolerance firearms. You always hear of the mainspring coil clippers complaining that such and such primers are awful because they won’t go off in their revolver. This is not limited to revolvers, most mil surplus rifles and old boomsticks have original, half century or older mainsprings, and folks seldom replace those with new stronger springs .

You change the shocks on your car, and change the valve springs when you get the heads redone, don't you? Put in new, strong mainsprings in these antiques!

So Winchester reacting to market pressures, made soft shelled primers that are easy to pierce.

I found this out after I bought 5000 of the new brass WSR. I shoot .223 in NM AR’s or my Kreiger barreled Space Gun. This stuff pierces on loads that the old nickel WSR laughed at. I have replaced so many firing pins that I am never going to buy any more brass WSR. I am also not interested in replacing the bolt due to continued firing pin erosion.

Last year, I took my Space Gun to Camp Perry. I reloaded 69 Sierra’s 23.5 AA4064, LC cases and nickel WSR. That same load with brass WSR will pierce at least one primer, maybe two, per 10 shots. For the week, with the old nickel WSR’s, I had zero pierced primers.

I have been using the CC#41 mil spec primers in my long range ammo. Camp Perry 2007, I never shot a long range group less than 197. Good enough for me.

February 21, 2008, 05:54 PM
The other day, I shot about 30 reloaded .223's with WSR primers out of my AR, two of which were punctured. I'm going to shoot the rest of my .223reloads, but if that rate remains the same, I'm going to have to use those primers in something else.

February 21, 2008, 06:01 PM
How ironic that I just read that same post you provided the link to last night.
WSR primers are all I've used for the last 20 years in my ARs, but, I don't know what color they are. I would imagine that they are recent mfg. since I go through about 10,000 a year.

February 21, 2008, 07:00 PM
Wow this is interesting. I personally haven't had any issues with my AR, yet. I have always shot WSR primers as well. I will definitely switch them up after hearing this. I will say that I have recently fired some pretty fast rounds from my gun as it seems to only be accurate when I get close to max loads. I have had a few that were just starting to flatten, but never have I had one pierce. After hearing some of the above testimony I think I will try a new primer on my next purchase.

February 21, 2008, 07:07 PM
Hmm... so maybe I should find somebody who could use those in a bolt gun or something and not blow up a shiny new AR...

February 21, 2008, 07:18 PM
If you are piercing primers check your firing pin. I bet the tip is pitted. Once they get a little pit they get worse and worse, faster and faster. It's a cheap fix.

WSRs may not be the toughest primers in the world but they certainly are reliable, safe, consistant, et, et.

The CCI 450s give a little more velocity and seem harder.

I've shot a ton of WSRs with match handloads on them, both in RVO primed brass and with my own priming tool. Few problems. I switched to CCIs to get a little more speed, found about 3500 River Valley Ordnance cases primed with WSRs and am back to shooting my way through them. No probs. When I first started handloading and shooting matches I had WSR failures about once every 200 rounds or so. I saved them for curiosity and one day sat down and took the kinetic bullet puller and pulled all the bullets. Every one was a failure to add powder.

WSRs pretty good primer.

Shooting 80s at 600 with 25 Varget and 69s XTC with 26 gr Varget.

Check your firing pin tip. Rock River firing pins are less than 10 bucks. You need a couple of spares anyway.

And you do have to replace the bolt every now and then in ARs. The firing pin hole can erode out a bit, let the pin come through more, piercing primers, eroding the tip and the hole, then more gas comes back, everything burns out more, et, et. Takes a lot of rounds usually but nothing lasts forever.

You aren't going to blow it up.

When an AR bolt is dropped, (and it needs to be dropped, not eased shut, to make sure it goes into battery) the firing pin is loose. It always gives the primer a little kiss. Drop the bolt on an empty rifle and then shake the whole thing. Some of the rattle you hear is the firing pin going back and forth.

If the primer isn't seated deep enough, its enough of a kiss to make a BOOM. Drop the bolt on a round and then pull it out and take a look at the primer. You'll see it. Little dent. (I wouldn't want to drop the bolt on the SAME round too many times.)

ALWAYS keep weapons pointed in a safe direction.

I usually feed new shooters at least one high primer while I am coaching them shooting standing, just so they know it's possible.

February 22, 2008, 10:01 AM
When an AR bolt is dropped, (and it needs to be dropped, not eased shut, to make sure it goes into battery)

I have only one AR slamfire with brass WSR and that was in the standing stage. I dropped the bolt and took a divot out of the grass less than ten feet in front of me.

Scared the heck out of the shooters around me.

My scorer, a several times President's 100 placer, just laughed at me. There is a reason I have the knickname "slamfire" .

Then he shot his standing relay. And what do you know, his AR slamfired too!

He blamed me, essentially saying my bad Karma caused his slamfire. :rolleyes:

I was using brass WSR and I seat all primers with a Lee tool. Each and every rifle primer I seat in ammo is visually examined. So I know the primer was not high.

His primers were Federal. Federal is proud to tell you that they are the most sensisitive on the market.

A shooting bud of mine, was at Perry shooting standing. Near him on his right was a Junior who, in his opinion, was handling his rifle in a dangerous manner. I suspect the kid was loading the chamber with the rifle up high, parallel to the firing line, and then probably released the bolt with the muzzle sweeping the firing line. I have seen folks do this.

Junior reloads one round and drops the bolt. The AR slamfires and the bullet takes a divot out of the ground, passing just below the elbow of my friend :what:

Junior and friend were scared, but Junior was not removed from the firing line.

Now days, if you shoot through your shooting stool, or take a divot out within ?ten feet? of the firing line, you are removed from the firing line.

This is because of the number of slamfire incidents in the AR.

I have changed my loading procedure standing. Yes, I drop the round in the chamber, but I lower the bolt half way with the charging handle, and then let go. I also bumb the forward release. To date, no new slamfires standing.

In the rapid fire stages I single load the magazine with the sighter rounds. No slamfires in sitting or prone.

I am hosed prone long range. When you are twisted up in that sling, and I am not the rubber man from the Circus, well I toss the round at the chamber and hit the bolt release.

And I am also using CCI#41's at long range.

February 22, 2008, 11:05 AM
Too bad they are impossible to come by lately.

I don't know what's going on, but the nearby Kittery Trading Post, which is usually very well stocked, hasn't been able to get Winchester primers in months!

Any hints as to what's up?

February 22, 2008, 03:44 PM
I don't know what's going on, but the nearby Kittery Trading Post, which is usually very well stocked, hasn't been able to get Winchester primers in months!

Any hints as to what's up?

I was talking to Graf's a couple of weeks ago. And they talk to the primer manufacturers. What they heard, primers are going for the war. Everyone is cranking out as many primers as they can for the military. They make big profits, and you pay more and more for the lesser number of primers available for civilians.

It's our tax dollars at work. Its the American Way.

February 22, 2008, 03:56 PM
Never a problem with WSR primers. I use those and Federals. No problems with those either.

I seat primers with the Lee hand tool, and I inspect each one visually to make sure it's a hair below flush.

February 22, 2008, 03:58 PM

February 22, 2008, 03:59 PM

February 22, 2008, 04:08 PM
Aw hell, I had the selector on 'burst'. :D

Hoosier Reloader
February 22, 2008, 05:54 PM
WSR primers, used them for years. No problems.

February 22, 2008, 11:48 PM
Sometimes I feel better when I don't read as much. It seems like all the things I have done for years are things that I should be fearing. As for Winchester Primers for an AR, I use them right along with my CCI's (which everyone seems to hate around here) and my Federals (which Richard Lee seems to think are all faulty and explode in his presses). For me, it is a matter of who has 5,000 primers in stock when I go to buy them.

BTW, I have had no problems with ANY of the primers I use after thousands of rounds through my AR.

March 1, 2008, 03:10 PM
I don't have a AR yet, but I supposed primers are to be seated a little below flush? Sounds like it couldn't hurt anything anyway and would help w/the slamfire occurances..


March 1, 2008, 06:18 PM
I have never had a slam fire in any GI type rifle I own. I also like and use CCI or Remington B/R Primers.

I have had pierced primes on loads with Federal match primers which were safe with the Remington/CCI B/R primers in my AR.

I like the Remingtons the best, but if I can't get them CCI's willl shoot about the same.

March 1, 2008, 10:01 PM
WSR's are good. Reloaded about 1000 of them, no issues whatsoever. I use them w/ my reloads in a RRA upper. H335 and Varget.

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