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Old December 8, 2010, 02:17 PM   #1
lashlaroe
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Federal .45 ACP primer size difference?

I wasn't exactly sure where to post this, but it seemed best placed here in reloading, since at least one question relates to that.

I just came back from buying a couple extra boxes of Federal Champion .45 Auto in preparation for my first IDPA match. At home, I opened the boxes since the boxes were different sizes. So the loads were obviously from different production runs, no big deal for me, since I plan on getting back into reloading soon and bought these primarily for the brass.

What I found was this:






Notice how the primers are obviously different sizes between the two boxes of ammo? A rough comparison measurement (w/calipers, and obviously not the primer pocket size, but shows relative sizes) puts the one primer size around .210" and the other around .170", a .030" difference. You can even see it in the second picture.

These are supposedly the exact same load. ???

So the questions are:

1) Maybe this has been discussed elsewhere, but what's the deal here?

2) Should I expect these to act differently in my weapon, even though the specs on the boxes are exactly the same?

3) And obviously, I guess I'll have to buy two different sized primers when I get around to reloading these? What the heck...anyway?
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Old December 8, 2010, 02:27 PM   #2
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Winchester make Winclean NT (non-toxic????), which uses small pistol primers. I think it has to do with the lead-free primers they use. IIRC, the flash hole may be slightly enlarged???? As far as reloading goes, I throw those small primer 45 acp cases right in the trash can. I suggest you do the same. Will make your reloading life much easier.
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Old December 8, 2010, 02:37 PM   #3
lashlaroe
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Quote:
As far as reloading goes, I throw those small primer 45 acp cases right in the trash can. I suggest you do the same. Will make your reloading life much easier.
I can see what you mean, but certainly wish that I had thought to check the boxes out before purchase, since as mentioned, I bought these with reloading in mind. Otherwise I just as well would have bought the cheaper steel cased stuff.

I didn't give it any thought, since I was buying two boxes of the "exact same" fodder.
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Old December 8, 2010, 02:45 PM   #4
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Hopefully you can pick up as much .45 brass as you need at the range, it's the most common after 9mm and .40 S&W. I agree, the small primer versions are a pain. Shame on the companies that make them to torment us.
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Old December 8, 2010, 02:52 PM   #5
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What surprised me the most is that these were Federal. Same loading, etc.

Does anyone know if there's a specific trend towards the smaller primers?

I can't imagine that these were made in the same factory, as it seems counterintuitive to try and handle both types brass and primers in the same factory or machines.
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Old December 8, 2010, 03:02 PM   #6
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There's another thread on the Reloading forum here that deals with this same issue. The general consensus of reloaders posting in that thread seemed to be that it's fine to reload the .45acp small-primer cases, but you just have to be careful to keep them separated from the normal large-primer cases (especially when using a progressive press).

DD
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Old December 8, 2010, 03:03 PM   #7
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Not sure if they were made in the same factory or not. Probably will be a new trend... "Green" ammunition. This method doesn't put as much lead in the air...you know, the lead that is gonna kill us all!!!!!!!!!!! (<--- sarcasm) Seems like a decent idea for use in indoor ranges, but for reloaders it is a PITA!
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Old December 8, 2010, 03:39 PM   #8
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I've read arguements against small pistol primed 45 ACP cases on a couple other forums. What they boil down to is they get in with a batch of large pistol primer brass and stop up a progressive press. The user doesn't inspect the brass and dumps them all together. I also read an article in Handloader about the small vs large primed 45 ACP ammo. No difference to speak of, less than 100 fps lower velocities with small primers. I save the small primer brass in a different bucket and when I get enough, I'll load them up the same as I do my "standard" primed brass, no biggie...
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Old December 8, 2010, 03:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
...I also read an article in Handloader about the small vs large primed 45 ACP ammo. No difference to speak of, less than 100 fps lower velocities with small primers...
Then Federal must load them differently, since the fps and other load data on the boxes were identical.

I guess I'll have to search for that other thread on this forum that deals with this issue.

Thanks for the input guys!
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Old December 8, 2010, 04:11 PM   #10
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Ahhh...found the other thread in the Hogan's Alley Section.

There's a great post in it, by Jim Watson worth a look if this kinda stuff interests you:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...4&postcount=13

It looks as if the Federal small primer pockets are "blessed" with a "heavy military style primer crimp". I'm not sure what that means, but it likely means more work for the handloader, I'd guess.

After reading all this, it bothers me even more that this ammo is not marked as different in any way, at least not on the box that I purchased.
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Old December 8, 2010, 04:16 PM   #11
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Quote:
It looks as if the Federal small primer pockets are "blessed" with a "heavy military style primer crimp". I'm not sure what that means, but it likely means more work for the handloader, I'd guess.

After reading all this, it bothers me even more that this ammo is not marked as different in any way, at least not on the box that I purchased.
I understand your frustration but you must also understand that factory ammo is not built to be reloaded. They don't care if you can reload it or not. If you want to be sure of having usable components then you have to buy bare components. The company can not reasonably be expected to print on the box "By the Way, if you intend to reload these cases then don't buy this box."


You're correct that a military primer crimp will mean more work for you. I've read that some decapping dies can handle the military primer without any extra work and some can't. I never paid any attention to which. There is also a tool for removing the crimp, though I also never paid any attention to it or how it's used.
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Old December 8, 2010, 04:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
The company can not reasonably be expected to print on the box "By the Way, if you intend to reload these cases then don't buy this box."
Ha, ha, ha...good point. It was just my reaction after discovering them.

And in my defense, I haven't reloaded in probably 15 years, due to any number of reasons. Now, since I plan on "rediscovering" the joy of shooting sports, I know that reloading will be in my future. As such, I haven't developed and honed my scavenging skills like many of you here have. I guess you could say, I'm a re-newbie.
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Old December 8, 2010, 04:45 PM   #13
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I only "scavage" brass from MidWayUsa. I like to know the history of what's holding 40,000-60,000 psi away from my face.
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Old December 8, 2010, 05:03 PM   #14
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I just "found" some of these in my range pick-ups.
They deprimed just as easily as the rest.
Personally, the trash can is a good place but my Scottish heritage just won't let me.
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Old December 8, 2010, 05:24 PM   #15
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The company can not reasonably be expected to print on the box "By the Way, if you intend to reload these cases then don't buy this box."
True, however may ammo vendors are quick to note what ammo is re-loadable and what isn't. The arsenals may not care if their product is re-loadable, but the end users have definite opinions. How many readers of this thread will be thinking, I won't be getting any Fed WM5233's because they're a primer carp-shoot.

IMHO, if they are going to make a significantly change in a product's specs (like a new type of primer), then the packaging should be so marked. Just suffixing the item number would have alerted the OP that something was different.

I'm offended when all of a sudden a familiar pound container has only 14-oz of product. I fell just as ripped-off if it's gun powder or coffee. They are quick to label their containers with: New and Improved. But, I've never seen: Same Price - Less Product.
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Old December 8, 2010, 05:45 PM   #16
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Thanks zippy13, for expressing my feelings maybe better than I did, lol.


Quote:
I only "scavage" brass from MidWayUsa. I like to know the history of what's holding 40,000-60,000 psi away from my face.
That's true for me when it comes to magnum or hot loads, but I have no problem reloading found brass for most of my target poppers and soft loads intended for IDPA or similar. These will not approach such high pressures and a proper check of all your brass after cleaning will weed out splits, cracks, and other potential problem stock. YMMV
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Old December 8, 2010, 05:51 PM   #17
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I note that the OP's small primer Federal is not headstamped or box labeled NT or lead free. I have heard of CCI Blazer Brass with small primers and no NT marking, too.

I wonder if this is the start of a trend towards small primer .45s no matter the mix. Or a trend to "unleaded" without saying so. Either way would save them a few cents a box for standardization. That would let them use the same primers for 9mm, .38, .40, and .45; whether styphnate or Dinol.

Hell on us for years and years of changeover, though.
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Old December 9, 2010, 01:26 PM   #18
lashlaroe
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That is a good question, Jim. One I was also beating the around the bushes for.
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Old May 12, 2012, 08:20 AM   #19
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I found something the photo that helps, I think

Looking at the picture, the small primer version headstamp is .FEDERAL. and the large primer version is simply FEDERAL. Seems to hold true for what I have in my pending reloads bags, and a visual check of the stamp is a bit easier then clearing a progressive, or eyeballing the size.
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Old May 12, 2012, 12:48 PM   #20
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Good eye, Tragono.
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Old May 12, 2012, 02:49 PM   #21
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In the FWIW dwpartment - I've had no issues reloading the small primer Fed cases....
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Old May 12, 2012, 03:17 PM   #22
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In the FWIW dwpartment - I've had no issues reloading the small primer Fed cases....
Yes, but now you've got to sort by primer size... what a bother. Life was simpler when all .45 Autos were large primers. Who knows, in time the large primer may be phased out.
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Old May 14, 2012, 04:55 PM   #23
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If all 45 ACP were small primer, it sure would make caliber change-overs in my Dillon 650 easier from 9mm. For that reason, I know of people who are buying them up specifically, and paying $30+ extra per 1000 for sorted small primer 45 brass.
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Old May 14, 2012, 05:13 PM   #24
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Who shoots 9mm anyway? . I load .44 on up. So far I've haven't had to 'deal' with the small primer issue as most of my brass is Starline.... But if I do run onto the small pocket .45ACP cases, I'll toss them. I mean why change the 'standard' now after how many many years of .45 ACP production.....
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Old May 14, 2012, 05:49 PM   #25
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I suspect we're going to see more and more small primer brass. Just an added step to the inspection process.

Don't want 'em? I'll take 'em.
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