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M1A's: Softness of Winchester Primers?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by BerettaNut92, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Mentor

    Dec 23, 2002
    I have some Winchester Silvertips in .308 for my M1A for defense.

    How 'soft' are these primers? An article about slamfires came with my M1A and recommended mil surplus ammo because of its hard primers.

    Am I safe w/ my Silvertips, or are these primers too soft and I risk slamfire?
  2. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2002
    Southeastern US
    I personally have used the WLRs without a problem in my M1A, but I can't say for sure about yours, you know.

    I do know that WSRs are easilly pierced with a hot load in .223. If you get piercing with that M1A, stop and switch to Remingtons or CCI's...no need to destroy your bolt face.
  3. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Mentor

    Dec 28, 2002
    Houston, TX
    I also used WLR's for over 3000 rnds in my M1A with no slamfires, but I sized carefully and seated them manually. I then bought Duff's book on the m1a/m-14 and it scared me. I now only use c-34's (hard magnum primers) and am using up the WLR's in my 7-08 and 25-06.

    After seeing some of the slamfire pictures on the web I simply said "not in my guns!" and switched. It is as simple as that.
  4. ms1200

    ms1200 New Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    i've loaded 1ooos of rounds for my m1a useing wlr primers without any problems. i am currently useing cci#34 primers, that are supposed to be milspec with good results.
  5. seagull

    seagull New Member

    Mar 11, 2009
    I have a supply of CCI #200Large Rifle primers. Are these ok for my M1A?
  6. Gunfighter123

    Gunfighter123 Participating Member

    Oct 26, 2005
    IL/WIS State Line
    I have used Winchester primers by the hundreds in my M1As with no problem.

    Most "slam fires" with the M1A is due to loading a live round DIRECTLY into the chamber and then letting the bolt slam shut. You should ALWAYS load the M1A by way of the mag.
  7. USSR

    USSR Mentor

    Jul 7, 2005
    No problem using Winchester WLR primers in an autoloader. However, I would caution against using Federal 210's.

  8. 30Cal

    30Cal Senior Member

    Feb 11, 2004
    Albany, NY
    I've shot through the better part of 10k WLRs** through an M1A.

    I take these steps to minimize risk of slamfire:
    1. Set my sizing die with a gage
    2. Uniform primer pockets so they're ~0.010" below flush
    3. Clean the pockets every time
    4. Check each primer is below flush
    5. Always feed from the magazine.

    ETA: **The new ones. Not the old silver ones.
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2009
  9. Slamfire

    Slamfire Mentor

    Dec 29, 2006
    The old nickel plated WLR was an excellent primer. That is what I used after two Garand slamfires with Federals.

    Around 1999 Winchester changed their primers by eliminating the “nickel” finish to a “brass” finish. Back then I called Winchester to find out what that change meant for primer sensititivity. Per telephone conversation with Mr. Chris Huseman at Winchester Group, Olin Corporation the old WLR primer had a zinc plating on the cup. Mr. Huseman said the material was zinc, even though I thought it was nickel. Anyway, Winchester removed that plating, with other changes, to make their primers more sensitive. I was informed that the product change was specifically targeted to “combat light firing pin hits and off center strikes.”

    Those were not words I wanted to hear. I did purchase 5000 of the brass WLR and used them up. Mostly bolt gun loads, but some gas gun loads. They shot fine, and I have not had a problem. But since slamfires due to overly sensitive primers are one in a million events, I would not automatically expect a slamfire to happen unless I had a serious mechanical problem.

    I have heard of one WLR slamfire in a Garand on THR. The description was not conclusive one way or another in assigning a cause.

    As for factory ammo, you are shooting the least likely stuff to cause problems. Factory ammo is so much smaller than reloads. The bolt is going to turn into battery without any resistance. This is great. Yes the firing pin is tapping on the primer, but there is no delay to bolt closure. So if there is a slamfire, the round will simply discharge, similiar to a mechanical malfunction. The gun will go boom, but not Kaboom.

    Reloads cause 99 % of slamfires. Most people's size their reloads with standard sizing dies, folks don't set up their dies with a cartridge headspace gage, so their rounds are often too fat or too long, or both. This combination of issues creates an interference fit in the chamber. High primers can also cause problems. These things contribute to the probability of a slamfire.

    And, as stated before, always feed rounds from the magazine.
    CCI 200 primers have thick cups. That is good. Better than the brass finish WLR. Never tried Remington. Never ever use Federal.

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