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Old October 15, 2012, 08:56 PM   #1
Okcafe86
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Flattened primers?

I'm new to reloading and I'm thinking these loads were a little hot. I ended up seating the bullet about .010 to .015 deeper than the manual called for. I figure this increased the pressure a little much. The max load was 5.7 gr bullseye, I loaded 5.4. Is this flattening or am I being over cautious?

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Old October 15, 2012, 09:26 PM   #2
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Don't know what they looked like before but they certainly don't look flat. They look perfectly normal.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:05 PM   #3
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Being cautious is exactly the best way to be.

To me they look very normal with no signs of flattening (based on the still rounded edge of the outer part of the primer near the case head).

But I find flattened primers to be one of the less reliable of the many ways to determine if you are approaching a maximum load. While not all apply, an excellent list can be found here.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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Look very mild to me.

Edit: Which will make your 1911 and brass last a long time.
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Old October 15, 2012, 10:13 PM   #5
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Look fine.
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Old October 15, 2012, 11:01 PM   #6
chris in va
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I suspect it's nearly impossible to flatten a 45acp primer. The round is absurdly low pressure as it is.

Another thing, the 45 has a LOT of extra space, even at full charge. You'd have to seat that bullet extremely deep before worrying about overpressure issues. Now 9mm on the other hand...
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:01 AM   #7
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Likewise, they look fine to me also.
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Old October 16, 2012, 08:36 AM   #8
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Chris in VA makes an important point: the pressure that will flatten a large pistol primer can be enough to damage a gun that is intended to fire cartriges that do not exceed about 20,000 psi.

So, primers are NOT a good pressure indicator for maximum charges in the .45 ACP.

One indicator for auto-loaders is how the brass is ejected. If it is getting thrown farther than similar factory loads, then the pressure is probably higher. But, that is not a sure thing either, especially if you are comparing full power factory loads (which may use a powder with a moderate buring rate) to some of your target loads that use a fast powder.

QuickLOAD calculations are a pretty good way of determining what a change in over-all length does to the pressure when you are starting from pressure-tested data.

To do a QuickLOAD calc, we will need your bullet weight and length, YOUR cartridge overall length, the OAL specified with the data you used, and the powder name and charge weight. If you are using a different bullet than was used to shoot the data you are using, then we will need the length of that bullet as well, although we may be able to find that in the QuickLOAD database if you tell us what bullet it is. Of course, I am assuming that you are at least using data for the same weight bullet as the bullet that you are loading.

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Old October 16, 2012, 09:26 AM   #9
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Are you kidding!? Oh IC, you're new to the reloading game. Okay, just look at some factory loads to compare to. They're loaded to max usually, so their primers should be the flattest you will ever see.

Primer appearance is a poor way to read pressure. Something like tea leaves, palm reading, or tossing chicken bones.
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Old October 16, 2012, 10:35 AM   #10
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Snuffy, I definately see that with commercial rifle cartridges,, like Superformance .270 win and some Federal stuff. +100
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:22 AM   #11
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Snuffy, I definately see that with commercial rifle cartridges,, like Superformance .270 win and some Federal stuff
It holds true with some commercial, high-pressure cartridges but even then there are too many variables to be definitive.

With a cartridge like 45acp, primers are going to be irrelevent. Those same primers are used in cartridges whose STARTING loads are 50% higher than 45acp max loads and have max loads more than double 45acp maxes.

45acp max loads are barely enough to push the primer back flush with the case, say nothing of flattening one.
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Old October 16, 2012, 11:30 AM   #12
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It looks like your firing pin is dragging some on the primer. I DO find this to be pressure related. The gun is functioning faster than the firing pin can get out of the way. I consider your reading about max pressure in my XD, but my 1911 does not do this regardless of pressure. It could also be a weak firing pin spring. Also, the shape of the dimple in the primer can be a pressure sign. The firing pin dimple should have a nice round bottom.

Also, rested accuracy is a measure of pressure. When pressure gets too high accuracy usually accuracy goes south.

Last, keep within the manual limits for like bullets and you should be close.

BTW, you should be setting OAL on what feeds, passes the plunk test, etc. Manual OAL's are a "how did they get this max load" number. Don't just copy the manual OAL.
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Old October 16, 2012, 04:53 PM   #13
Okcafe86
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Thanks, a lot of helpful information. Ya, I plan on ordering quickload when I get a chance, sounds like a great tool.
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