Primer burn rates?


March 8, 2009, 11:10 AM
I have seen the chart for the burn rates for powder. Is there a chart somewhere for the burn rate "hotness" of primers? Since primers seem to be scarce, and we get what we can get, it would be nice to see a chart of the burn rate of primers (for both pistol and rifle) on the principle that too much information is ALMOST enough.

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March 8, 2009, 11:34 AM

I haven't found any "official" authoritative charts on primer brisance. There are a lot of factors to consider, but here is a guy that did some tests on his own. Take the info for what it's worth.

I would like to see some high speed pics of the flame propagation of various primers.


March 8, 2009, 12:25 PM
They are faster than a speeding bullet. :D

Some are "stronger" than others, but I imagine they all are so fast (burn rate) that it would not matter. They explode, they don't "burn" per say.

March 8, 2009, 12:26 PM
There's always this one:

March 8, 2009, 12:45 PM
Thanks Pecos, that's interesting!


March 8, 2009, 03:40 PM
That is what I was looking for. I will have to study his methods more and see if I can build something like that to test small pistol and rifle primers. OR see if someone else has already done so.

March 8, 2009, 03:59 PM
on the principle that too much information is ALMOST enough.Don't forget that there is also the principal that:
Too much info is too much!

Can't see the forest for the all the trees, don't ya know!


March 8, 2009, 04:54 PM
For the Lyman 48th handbook (and check to see if the table is in the 49th Edition also?) they tested various primers as a function of velocity and pressure. You can test primers for velocity variance if you have a chrono. Make sure you keep the other variables constant: cases, powder charge, bullet, seating depth, and clean your bore every 5 shots.

March 8, 2009, 05:20 PM
RC, the only problem with that, is since I am an new reloader, the more I learn the more I find out I don't know. I have my reloading manuals, so I can follow a recipe to get something safe that will shoot, but, I keep wanting to ask WHY and HOW ABOUT IF. Perhaps when I have attained the level of knowledge that you and the other senior members have I will be satisfied with not having to ask WHY anymore, but, I hope not.:) That's not a slam, that's admiration for your level of competence, which I hope to one day achieve. As my tagline says, "The process is the hobby!" Right now the hobby is the process of learning about reloading.:D Right now I am feeling my way through the forest by banging my forehead on trees. :)

March 8, 2009, 05:33 PM
I respect the process of learning. Have you acquired a chronograph yet, Jim?
It surely opens up a new chapter in the process!

March 8, 2009, 05:55 PM
Right now I am feeling my way through the forest by banging my forehead on treesI have learned many things the hard way too. :)

March 8, 2009, 08:33 PM
Like everyone else, money is always tight. There is other additional equipment that I want to get before a chronograph, like a set of .40 S&W dies to reload for my wife's P40. I get one thing at at time as I can afford it. I also want to get into casting my own but, I would get a chronograph first to better test my loads. I just started reloading after receiving a RCBS Rock Chucker press for Christmas. Before, when asked what I wanted for Christmas, I didn't really have much to ask for. Now, I can hand them the wish list from Midway or Natchez.:D

March 8, 2009, 10:55 PM
Everyday I find out how dumb I am, but I try to get a little less dumber everyday. Hopefully!

Try this web link to James Calhoon Website:
in the left hand side there is a link to articles of interest and an article about primers (mainly their thickness). This is also important with some guns, because of pressure levels and some gun designs (like Glocks) need a more sensitive primer to fire (lighter strike they have no hammer). So this complicates things even more. You can have a hot primer that doesn't fire because of hardness or pierced because of primer being thin.

LongRifles, Inc.
March 9, 2009, 03:51 AM
If you are really really really serious/anal about this there is a solution but it's not cheap.

You built a "gun" that shoots 17 cal pellets propelled by rifle primers. You then chronograph the pellets.

The ones that sling lead with the most consistent velocity usually work dern good in big boy guns.

Have fun!


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