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Old January 5, 2017, 07:35 PM   #1
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Federal primers?

Does anyone know what other ammo manufacturers use federal primers? I have a carry revolver in 38 special with a bobbed hammer that gets light strikes with harder primers (like CCI primers). I have done a lot to reduce the light strike problems (replaced the crane and cleaned the firing pin assembly, polished internals--unfortunately there are no replacement hammer springs on the market that I can find) but still have problems so I have decided to just go with a defensive load that uses federal primers because they are the softest and reliably work in this revolver. (I don't presently roll my own ammo, though I have in the past and will in the future.)
Unfortunately the defensive loads manufactured by federal (Hydra shok ) in 38 caliber leave something to be desired, so I was wondering if any other manufacturers of defensive loads use federal primers.

Last edited by Radny97; January 6, 2017 at 12:13 AM.
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Old January 5, 2017, 10:10 PM   #2
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It sounds like you don't reload.... What make and model of revolver is it? Are you getting misfires with some brands of ammo but none with Federal? If you are counting on that revolver for defense, I would think you would want it to be more reliable with any good brand of ammo. If you need to get your ammo exactly right, that's an excellent reason to take up reloading. Still, you need to either make your gun reliable, or replace it with something that won't let you down when you are betting your life on it.
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Old January 6, 2017, 12:12 AM   #3
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I have reloaded in the past and will again in the future but right now I'm stretched pretty thin with a demanding job and five young kids to feed, so reloading is taking a time out for the time being.
This is a charter Arms hammerless revolver that is in my carry rotation. I almost got rid of it due to light primer strikes and then realized I was having an ammo problem with some bulk ammo i bought and other guns of mine were having light strikes too, but not nearly as much as the charter. But it did make me more concerned about reliability for this gun. However I bought some federal ammo because I know federal has soft primers and ran a couple hundred rounds through it with zero problems, so I feel confident enough in this gun to carry as long as I'm shooting federal primers.
But I do feel that federal hydra shoks for snubbies are not ideal (they're great in semi-autos) so I was wondering what other defensive ammo makers use federal primers. Googling has not yielded much helpful information.
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Old January 6, 2017, 01:52 AM   #4
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I admit that I am not familiar with Charter revolver guts... but my instinct is to make that revolver hit HARDER. If the hammer spring is a leaf spring and a strain screw (like S&W) then find a way to shim that strain screw and make the leaf spring hit harder. If it's a coil spring, do the same thing -- experiment with a strategically placed washer to compress the spring a bit.

Using a revolver for defense that is suspect is a BAD idea, and you've already said that it is in the "carry rotation" which means it isn't your only option in carry.

I think the premise of chasing ammo that it will "hopefully" discharge for defense is a bad idea. We know that you are worth more than that.
Attention Brass rats and other reloaders: I really need .327 Federal Magnum brass, no lot size too small. Tell me what caliber you need and I'll see what I have to swap. PM me and we'll discuss.
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Old January 6, 2017, 02:18 AM   #5
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It's a good point. I just like the size of the dang thing so much for pocket carry (smaller than j-frame or LCR) that I would like to make it work if possible. Plus I like project guns anyway. On your advice I'm taking it out of the carry rotation until this problem is solved to the point I have complete confidence with the gun and ammo combination.
It's a coil hammer spring and there doesn't appear to be after market extra power springs with either Numrich or Brownells. Shimming is a good idea and would have been my next step but since I got 100% ignition with about 200 rounds of federal ammo I figured I would go with that route if I could find a decent defensive load that only uses federal primers.
Which gets back to the original question. Anyone know of a manufacturer other than federal that uses federal primers only in their ammunition?
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Old January 6, 2017, 03:00 AM   #6
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Sorry, I can only say that Federal ammo probably uses their own primers. I felt that your particular situation needed to be addressed even if I don't have an answer for the primers.
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Old January 6, 2017, 04:49 AM   #7
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Try to find WOLF SPRINGS on line. They should have a replacement for you.
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Old January 6, 2017, 08:32 AM   #8
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Federal primers, at least the ones available to reloaders, are generally softer than other makes in my experience. The Wolf springs solution seems like a good idea though. Rod
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Old January 7, 2017, 07:24 PM   #9
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Have you tried contacting Charter about it? They will do service on any Charter revolver, even from the old factories (though it may cost you a nominal fee if not still under warranty). I know you said money is tight, but I think a $50-60 trip to the factory may be worth it to ensure that there are no light strike possibilities with any major brand.

I unfortunately don't know of any ammo other than Federal that for sure uses Federal primers, but I'd bet if you call/email places like Georgia Arms, Underwood, or the like, they can tell you if they use Federal primers for their ammo. Although I think it likely that they use whatever they can get in bulk for a decent price at the time.
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Old January 10, 2017, 09:06 AM   #10
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I would have the gun fixed by a gunsmith. The light primer sounds like someone did a trigger job on the gun. A lot of competition guys used reloads or Federal ammo due to the lighter springs only being able to consistently crush them enough to fire.

Return to stock springs should fix the problem. Just note the trigger will be a more heavy double action pull.
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Old January 10, 2017, 05:37 PM   #11
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Federal primers, at least the ones available to reloaders, are generally softer than other makes in my experience.
Or is it that Federals are more sensitive? Lee in his "Modern Reloading" (first version I believe), recommended that Federal primers not be used in his automatic primer feeders inasmuch as when they exploded in the primer feeding mechanisms, the were too destructive compared to the other brands of primers. That, as I remember sparked the controversy in which Lee was accused of being biased against Federal primers. However, as he explained it, there are two types of primer compounds, standard and normal (I don't remember which is which), but Federal uses the more explosive of the two and the more sensitive. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old January 19, 2017, 10:38 PM   #12
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The best thing about a revolver is it's reliability Personally, any revolver that is ammo sensitive would not make the self defense cut in my house regardless of what it liked.
IMHO, You need to get the gun 100% with all ammo or get a different gun.
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