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Old February 20, 2010, 11:15 PM   #1
Prof Young
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A primer is a primer is a primer

Loaders:
I thought a primer is a primer is a primer. That the only think I needed to know as rifle or pistol, large or small, magnum or not. So today I'm shopping for supplies and find small pistol primers made by Remington and some are 1 and one half some are 5 and one half . . . I figured out from the charts that I needed the one and one half, but what the heck is the difference?
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Old February 21, 2010, 01:07 AM   #2
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A primer IS NOT a primer, IS NOT a primer, IS NOT a primer.

Unfortunately various brands have different characteristics. Some have thin metal cups vs thick metal cups in others; some have more power than other; some just make some loads shoot more accurately.

Also take the example of the Remington 6 1/2, it is listed as a small rifle primer. The problem is it was designed for low pressure rounds (22 Hornet) and cannot be shot safely in high pressuer rounds like the .223.

As for size here are three sights that have charts comparing primers:
http://www.lasc.us/primerchart.htm
http://www.realguns.com/loads/primertab.htm
http://www.lasc.us/primerchart.htm
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Old February 21, 2010, 01:08 AM   #3
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Perhaps the attached will help.

Cup thickness can also vary among manufacturers and primer types.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Primer cross reference chart.pdf (114.2 KB, 183 views)
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Old February 21, 2010, 07:22 AM   #4
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5 1/2 are thicker than 1 1/2 and are made for higher pressure rounds so the cup flows less into the firing pin hole.

That said, I use 5 1/2 all the time and occasionally get misfires with guns that have light hammer springs. I have read that 5 1/2 are best for .357 magnum and .40S&W but I generally just use for everything.

Despite that chart, 5 1/2 are not magnum primers.
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Old February 21, 2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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Prof Young,

As you can see from the information provided in the files linked to the posts above, there are a lot of things that should be considered when choosing a primer for a particular load in a particular cartridge. The people who write reloading manuals do take those things into account when they choose the primer(s) that they use to develop the data for their manuals. And, making other choices can definitely affect the waay the loads perform, and sometimes also your safety. That is why all load data from reputable sources lists the primers used to develop that data.

With the primer shortages we have these days, it is not unusual to not be able to find the primers that are listed in the data you have for other components that you can find. So, there is a lot of interest in "switching" primers. To do it safely, you need to learn what was provided in those links. And, even then, it is a matter of guess-work, to a large degree. We don't have tools to predict the changes in pressure that come with changing primers, Even QuickLOAD and the other computer programs available to handloaders do NOT have a way to predict that. Also, limited pressure-testing results have shown that primer switches can change peak pressures without giving clear warnings in chronographed velocities.

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Old February 21, 2010, 01:19 PM   #6
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If you'd like to keep it simple then I would say that a primer is a primer is a primer if:

--you aren't making max loads or over max loads
--you are loading handgun rounds for short distances where extreme accuracy is neither expected or even noticed.

If we are talking about .45 or .38 Special light plinking loads that don't push max pressure, then it doesn't make much difference if you change primers as often as your underwear.

If you are talking about precision rifle ammo and/or any loads that run the fine line of max pressure then swapping primers in and out can really attack your accuracy at the minimum, and put you in to over load territory in the worst case.
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Old February 21, 2010, 02:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
If you are talking about precision rifle ammo and/or any loads that run the fine line of max pressure then swapping primers in and out can really attack your accuracy at the minimum, and put you in to over load territory in the worst case.
Don't forget ball powders, and slower rifle powders.

Some don't do well, at all, unless a magnum primer is used.
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Old February 22, 2010, 08:31 AM   #8
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if it matters

If you just load for noise then primers don't matter :barf:

I test MY loads with different primers so I can determine best ballistic consistency and accuracy. Plus it matters when temperatures hover (well) below 0F.



WSPM primers are known to offer a potential 5K+ PSI..........
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Old February 22, 2010, 09:16 AM   #9
Sevens
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IF WPSM stands for Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers, then I'd like to know what the deal is... does Winchester simply no longer offer regular primers? Because their small pistol primers all say "for regular or magnum loads" and they don't offer a non-mag in small pistol.

Not sure how long it's been this way.
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Old February 22, 2010, 09:53 AM   #10
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oddly

I have primers on my shelf marked "Winchester Small Pistol Magnum".

Perhaps you are thinking of Winchester's Large Pistol primers?
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Old February 22, 2010, 10:20 AM   #11
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Quote:
IF WPSM stands for Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers, then I'd like to know what the deal is... does Winchester simply no longer offer regular primers? Because their small pistol primers all say "for regular or magnum loads" and they don't offer a non-mag in small pistol.

Not sure how long it's been this way.
Winchester makes magnum and std in some primer sizes.

This is a good question and I have asked this myself. The hornady book for the 460 Mag recommends WLR and this is a magnum load, other books have loads recommending WLRM.

I would imagine it depends upon several factors---Bullet weight, kind and amount of powder, and temperature.

See>>>FrankenMauser's Comment he did a better job of describing this.
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Old February 22, 2010, 01:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
IF WPSM stands for Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers, then I'd like to know what the deal is... does Winchester simply no longer offer regular primers? Because their small pistol primers all say "for regular or magnum loads" and they don't offer a non-mag in small pistol.

Not sure how long it's been this way.
Winchester still offers Standard "WSP" primers. They say "for regular and magnum loads" because many 'magnum' pistol loads don't require magnum primers.

Just to clarify:
Quote:
and they don't offer a non-mag in small pistol.
Yes, they do.


From their own website: Winchester Primers

Code:
W209	#209	        Shotgun Shells
WLP	#7 - 111	Large Regular Pistol
WLR	#8-1/2 - 120	Large Rifle
WLRM	#8-1/2M - 120	Large Rifle Magnum
WSP	#1-1/2 - 108	Small Regular Pistol ****
WSPM	#1-1/2 - 108	Small Magnum Pistol
WSR	#6-1/2 - 116	Small Rifle
You may notice two absences here: Small Rifle Magnum. And, Large Pistol Magnum ("WLPM"); which WESHOOT2 referenced. I don't know the reason Winchester discontinued the LPMs; but it probably has to do with the fact that the Standard version was plenty hot, and had the same cup thickness as the Magnum.
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Old February 22, 2010, 01:53 PM   #13
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I've loaded for .44 magnum for 22 years and in that time Winchester never had LP Magnum, only WLP for both regular and magnum large pistol. I still have some of the old white box WLP sleeves from back then. It seemed to light off 24 gr of W296 just fine.
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Old February 22, 2010, 02:17 PM   #14
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Here is a link that shows some of the differences of primers. They are different.
http://www.6mmbr.com/PrimerPix.html
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Old February 22, 2010, 02:48 PM   #15
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Switching from Fed pistol primers to WLP, my velocities went up 50 fps.

There are differences.

Darn brass WSR primers pierce at loads that never bothered the old nickle plated WSR.
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Old February 22, 2010, 02:53 PM   #16
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This is from memory and it could be wrong,but seems like CCI warned that their small magnum pistol primer was designed quite hot for the 357 maximum cartridge.
For example,if a person substituted that primer into a small capacity case like a 40 S+W,some tired brass,some unsupported chamber,a peaky powder...
A whole lot of little things can add up.
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Old February 22, 2010, 10:17 PM   #17
Prof Young
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A primer is . . .

Loaders:
Thanks for all the useful information. I can see there is a higher level to this reloading thing than I've aspired to. I mostly reload because I like to hunt and shoot my 44 mag and it is just a lot cheaper to reload my own. Plus even when I hunt the shot isn't much more than 40 yards. I am trying to get better groups out of my 223, with a heavier bullet (68 gr) so I'm paying more attention to those loads. Hope to coyote hunt with it, but even then I don't think the shots are going to be more than 100 yards.
Anyway thanks for all the help.
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Old February 23, 2010, 02:27 AM   #18
HiBC
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Everybody has to start somewhere.

I highly recommend getting at least one good reloading manual.I prefer 2 or more.Really read them.Read about the process,the cautions.Go to the mfgr's sites .Dig for info.
I promise,if you do that,you will learn that a primer is not just a primer.
And,you will learn that just because a bullet is a 180 gr 30 cal bullet,that does not mean a Sierra or a Hornady gives the same pressure as a Nosler.
Military brass is different than comercial brass,etc.

Unil you gain considerable experience,just follow the recipes,guidelines and safety rules.You will have fun,be safe,and make good ammo.

Handloader magazine is a good subscription.
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