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Old June 4, 2014, 09:33 PM   #1
lee n. field
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primer seating depth, flush with base, causing misfire problem?

The last couple outings with my Bersa .45, I've seen a number of light strike failure to fire problems. Restriking (it's a DA/SA, so this happens naturally) did not make these fire. Firing pin protrusion and function appears to be n ormal. These were all my handloads. I did not have any ("precious!" and expensive) factory loaded .45 with me, nor a different .45 handgun.

I noticed that the primers on these were flush with the case bottom, and not the few thousandths below flush that the reloading manuals recommend.

Possible or likely that this was the problem?

These were loaded in a Lee Classic Turret using the on press priming arm. There is no way that I can see to adjust priming depth.
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Old June 4, 2014, 09:57 PM   #2
William T. Watts
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Cup hardness varies with CCI being the hardest, Federal being the softest. My 1911 has been smithed when I was enrolled in TSJC Jr College Gunsmithing program in Trinidad Colorado, my instructor that taught the 1911 class wanted me to remove 3 coils from the hammer spring to lightened the trigger. I thought this might be a source of FTF issue later, as I recalled I did remove 1 coil only and it hasn't caused any problems. With that said if your using CCI primers you might try Federal, you might add a primer pocket uniformer to square up the primer pocket and cut to a uniform depth which may cure your problem. If your primer pockets haven't been uniformed your primer may not be seating fully to the bottom of the primer pocket, the firing pin may drive the primer a little deeper and some of the energy of the firing pin is lost.. William

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Old June 4, 2014, 10:14 PM   #3
lee n. field
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Primers, CCI, I think.

Brass is whatever motley assortment I've accumulated over the years.
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Old June 5, 2014, 06:41 AM   #4
Misssissippi Dave
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The hardest primers I have used have been CCI and Tula. With certain guns they have cause problems. Federal, as mentioned, sets off the easiest. Winchester and Remington seem to be in the middle. If you can find some Federal I suggest trying them. If not, try Winchester followed by Remington. S&B primer pockets are pretty tight and do need some effort to seat then all the way. As mentioned fixing the primer pockets will cure that problem fast.
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Old June 8, 2014, 05:30 PM   #5
lee n. field
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Primers are Winchester.

I think I see what may be going on.

I've been using a Lyman shellholder on the Classic Turret. (When I started reloading in the '90s, I bought a set of Lyman shell holders.) I suspect there may be a dimensional difference such that the case sitting in the Lyman shell holder is too high to prime reliably.

This is the only round I load on that press that uses large primers. I have not had this problem with anything else that I load (.38, 9mm, .40).
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Old June 8, 2014, 06:02 PM   #6
243winxb
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Shell holder are standard and interchangable. Try cleaning the firing pin channel. Low velocity of the firing pin is the cause of most misfires. I think you model also has a automatic firing pin safety that if not correct may slow the pin. Firing some factory ammo is a good idea. Trying a different brand of primer might not be a bad idea, as Win. has had problems with primers lately.
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Old June 9, 2014, 02:33 PM   #7
WESHOOT2
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I seat my primers .003--.005" below flush.
As specified.
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Old June 9, 2014, 02:42 PM   #8
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I think Weshoot2 is right. Especially if you've reloaded these several times and have yet to clean the primer pockets out. If that crud gets thick enough, it can cushion the primer some. So, every once in awhile it may be worth decapping separately and scraping them out. But more important, by seating shallow, you are asking your firing pin to finish seating the primer before the remaining energy can ignite the primer, and that's a recipe for failure to fire.

For reliability, primers should be a minimum of 0.002" below flush to a maximum of 0.006" below flush according to Olin's (Winchester) military primer specs. What you are actually trying to do is get an optimal amount of squeeze between the tip of the primer anvil and the inside of the cup preloading the primer mix. This is called setting the bridge (thickness of the amount of priming mix between those two pieces of metal). In practical terms, if you don't have a press that controls this, it just means seating hard. You can read about it here.
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Old June 9, 2014, 02:59 PM   #9
243winxb
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Primers: It Don't Go Bang

Primers: It Don't Go Bang http://riflemansjournal.blogspot.com...t-go-bang.html
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Old June 9, 2014, 03:56 PM   #10
lee n. field
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Lee's tech support emailed back. He doesn't think there'd be enough difference to matter.

In the past I have seen where shell holders, though interchangeable in the sense that cartridges fit and they fit in the slot in the ram , may have a different enough height to matter in priming.

Yesterday I loaded up 60 rounds, 20 each primed on the press, with a hand prime tool, and a ram prime die. Enough to run at least a magazine of each through my two .45s, to hopefully narrow down if it's a gun problem or an ammo/reloading problem.
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Old June 9, 2014, 07:34 PM   #11
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I highly recommend reading Hummer70's article on Primers: It Don't Go Bang, the link is provided above.

What Hummer shows is that the firearm industry has lost talent and technology knowledge through cost cutting. They are producing firearms with ignition systems that have insufficient energy to ignite primers that are on the high end of the insensitivity scale. This may be the problem, and if it is, you will need to use the most sensitive pistol primers on the market: Federal primers.

Allan Jones, of CCI, states that the most common reason for misfires is an improperly (high) seated primer. The anvil must be firmly seated and the primer cake pushed into the anvil.

Mysteries And Misconceptions Of The All-Important Primer by Allan Jones , Shooting Times, January 4th, 2011

http://www.shootingtimes.com/2011/01...#ixzz34BxEBqS4
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Old June 10, 2014, 11:23 AM   #12
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I used to seat by depth, aiming for .003" - 005" below flush. Started having ignition problems with a new GP100 and Tula primers. Reset my ram prime to seat by feel. Now some primers will go as deep as .010" below flush when seated by feel, but they all fire.
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Old June 10, 2014, 03:06 PM   #13
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I also use the Ram Prime with my Hand Press. Just seat until you feel good resistance. If one is dead flush I give it another push so it is below. Thousands and thousands fired with no FTF, except when I stupidly used Wolf.
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Old June 10, 2014, 06:50 PM   #14
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Had a similar issue. Fully seating cleared up the problem. Thread here:http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=536492
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Old June 11, 2014, 04:47 PM   #15
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Agree with the above. Sounds like Hammerhead has some out-of-spec primers from Tula, though their spec is not required by any magic law to be the same as Olin's.

The statement by Lee that flush is OK is gross over-generalization. He can't know your particular gun's mainspring strength or its firing pin protrusion. Hummer90 is a former Aberdeen Proving Grounds Test Director and Accident Investigator, and knows what he's talking about in this regard.
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Old June 12, 2014, 11:13 AM   #16
lee n. field
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Quote:
The statement by Lee that flush is OK is gross over-generalization.
I've looked over my posts in this thread to see where I might have implied that. Not seeing it.

It's been my practice since the late '90s when I started has been to seat a few thousandths below flush, like the Lyman manual I learned from recommends.

Back when my Lyman ram prime die was my only priming tool, I did, once, run into a situation where there was enough dimensional difference vertically between a Lyman and (IIRC) an RCBS shell holder to make a difference. I have a set of Lee shellholders on order, in case that's what's going on here.


------------edit to add------------

OK, I see my error. Lee the company, not "lee n. field" the interwebz psuedonym.

This is exactly what Lee TS said:

Quote:
Really don't know, if the primer cup on the primer arm fits freely in
your shell holder it should work. If not that may be your problem.
Thanks,

Dave
Tech Service
Lee Precision
4275 Highway U
Hartford, WI 53027
phone: (262)673-3075

On 6/9/2014 1:07 PM, Lee Precision, Inc. wrote:
> Steph @ Lee Precision updated #NPP-286-31896
> --------------------------------------------
>
> Status: Dave (was: Open)
> Staff (Owner): Dave @ Lee Precision (was: -- Unassigned --)
>
> possible priming issue with Lee Classic Turret on press priming using
> non-Lee shell holder
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Ticket ID: NPP-286-31896
> URL:
> http://www.leeprecision.net/support/...ket/View/94457
> Full Name:
> Email:
> Creator: User
> Department: CustomerService
> Staff (Owner): Dave @ Lee Precision
> Type: Issue
> Status: Dave
> Priority: Normal
> SLA: Default 12 Hours Plan
> Template Group: Default
> Created: 08 June 2014 05:29 PM
> Updated: 08 June 2014 05:29 PM
> Due: 11 June 2014 07:07 AM (1d 19h 0m)
> Resolution Due: 17 June 2014 09:07 AM (7d 21h 0m)
>
>
> I am using a Lee Classic Turret Press. With .45 ACP loaded on this
> press I have been seeing some light strike failures to fire. Primers
> seem to be seating high -- flush or slightly over flush. This is the
> only cartridge I load on this press that uses large primers.
> Everything else I load uses small primers and ignites reliably.
>
> I have been using a Lyman shell holder. It occurred to me that this
> might possibly be part of the problem. Do you know if there is enough
> vertical dimensional difference between Lee's and Lyman's .45ACP shell
> holder, to possibly account for the primer seating depth?
>
> (Yes, I know that this is only one of the things I need to be looking
> at to properly troubleshoot this problem.)
>
> Thank you for you attention to this.
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Old June 12, 2014, 03:50 PM   #17
WESHOOT2
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Dillon 650 or by hand

LEE sucks.

Tula primers are suspect.

Below flush, .003--.005" ensures firing.
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Old June 15, 2014, 07:14 PM   #18
lee n. field
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Quote:
Tula primers are suspect.

Below flush, .003--.005" ensures firing.
Ran through my test rounds today. Factory Winchester white box, and rounds primed with RCBS ram prime, below flush, worked properly with the Bersa and my other .45. Others were spotty with both guns.

So, I definitely need to look into the priming.

It's complicated by the fact that I discovered, a couple days ago, a hammer/sear problem with the Bersa. I can push off the cocked hammer with my thumb, so that it falls off the sear. So, that needs itself to get worked on.
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Old June 16, 2014, 07:54 AM   #19
green_MTman
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i prime by feel and seat slightly bellow flush,dont know the exact distance below flush but it works.never have misfires


federal primers are always a good choice
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Old June 16, 2014, 11:03 AM   #20
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During all my years of reloading, since 1967, I never had a ftf from primer seating. I always used a bench press and put them in with authority. In the last couple of years I have used a hand priming tool and have experienced several primer failures. It truely makes a lot of difference. Another issue observed is high primer which will take a revolver out of the fight. Do to be safe, seat all primers on the pocket bottom and make sure you're getting a good primer strike.
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Old June 18, 2014, 07:23 AM   #21
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Lee n. field,

When reread, I found I had read your report of Lee's response too quickly, and took it to mean they were claiming flush primers were OK when they actually meant the Lyman shell holder should be OK. Sorry about that.

Note that while seating below flush is the common measure, primer pockets have a tolerance of about ±0.001" in depth, plus the primers themselves have a tolerance in height that includes the anvil feet. If you want to double-check your results, you can measure the depth of your primer pockets and the height of your primers, subtract the latter from the former and add 0.002" for small primers and 0.003" for large primers (Federal's recommendation) to get the total number of thousandths below flush that is ideal for that particular case and primer. In other words, the primer anvil feet touch down on the bottom of the primer pocket, then you compress it by 0.002" or 0.003", depending on primer size. That exact figure is useful to know for precision rifle shooting with depth uniformed primer pockets that may need to be a thousandth or two deeper than commercial standards. But it doesn't hurt even the handgun loader to at least work out the average for their brass and primer lots, and to see their average result meets that computed average, ±0.001". Manufacturers don't do any more than that, and it works for them.

Tula primer cups are similar to CCI cups during the 1980's, before CCI revamped their process to remove cup burrs. They can seat with significant extra resistance, making them more likely to be left high, even when seating force seemed more than adequate. My Dillon Square Deal, which is my permanent .45 ACP press, couldn't seat 1980's CCI primers and can't seat Tula primers reliably. But both Slamfire and I have noted in the past that their rifle primers frequently produce the lowest velocity extreme spreads we can get, beating even Federal match primers in many instances in .308 and .30-06 and .223. So they are worth experimenting with if you can seat them correctly.
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Last edited by Unclenick; June 18, 2014 at 07:28 AM.
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Old June 19, 2014, 06:43 PM   #22
lee n. field
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Quote:
Note that while seating below flush is the common measure, primer pockets have a tolerance of about ±0.001" in depth, plus the primers themselves have a tolerance in height that includes the anvil feet. If you want to double-check your results, you can measure the depth of your primer pockets and the height of your primers, subtract the latter from the former and add 0.002" for small primers and 0.003" for large primers (Federal's recommendation) to get the total number of thousandths below flush that is ideal for that particular case and primer. In other words, the primer anvil feet touch down on the bottom of the primer pocket, then you compress it by 0.002" or 0.003", depending on primer size. That exact figure is useful to know for precision rifle shooting with depth uniformed primer pockets that may need to be a thousandth or two deeper than commercial standards. But it doesn't hurt even the handgun loader to at least work out the average for their brass and primer lots, and to see their average result meets that computed average, ±0.001". Manufacturers don't do any more than that, and it works for them.

Tula primer cups are similar to CCI cups during the 1980's, before CCI revamped their process to remove cup burrs. They can seat with significant extra resistance, making them more likely to be left high, even when seating force seemed more than adequate. My Dillon Square Deal, which is my permanent .45 ACP press, couldn't seat 1980's CCI primers and can't seat Tula primers reliably. But both Slamfire and I have noted in the past that their rifle primers frequently produce the lowest velocity extreme spreads we can get, beating even Federal match primers in many instances in .308 and .30-06 and .223. So they are worth experimenting with if you can seat them correctly.
I honestly think I'm down to something like this.

I got a Lee shell holder. It's essentially identical to the Lyman I was using. And, I realized I was thinking about it wrong. With no case in the shell holder, the ram bottoms out when the shell holder hits the priming arm, which is a quarter inch or so below where it stops when a cartridge is present and the priming arm cup hits it.

I've measured a small sample so far. Primer pockets do show variance. Primers themselves (Winchester in this case, which I am rapidly running out of), much less variance.

And, I'm still seating to flush, with a ram prime die able to push it a few thousanths below flush.

Possibly a leverage issue, what with the priming being done at the bottom of the ram travel?
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Old June 19, 2014, 08:05 PM   #23
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Seat them till they hit bottom of pocket. Don't worry about measurements or how deep they are seated. I prime off press with a hand held primer tool so I can feel when they bottom out . With a press I couldn't fell this as well and with the compound linkage , at times, would crush a primers.
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Old June 19, 2014, 08:44 PM   #24
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Curious if it does it on both the pistol and rifle primers? On your Lee press, is the bar the primer rides pushed down or worn? Is the primer arm notch worn?
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Old June 20, 2014, 06:23 PM   #25
lee n. field
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The press is about a year and a half old. I have not loaded anything but pistol rounds on it (.38, 9mm, .40, & .45 ACP). .45 ACP is the only round that uses large primers. The priming arm does not look bent, worn or damaged.
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