The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old April 21, 2017, 04:51 PM   #26
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,260
I think it's just confusing writing on Lee's part. I reread the second edition last year and did not find exactly what Mr. Guffey is referring to. However, there is an ambiguous element. It says:

Quote:
These sizes may be used With 100 in the tray ,
All CCI primers
Remington Large Pistol
Remington Small Pistol

Limit to only 20 primers in the tray of these types.
Winchester Large Pistol
Winchester Magnum Pistol {small, as their large Magnum and standard are the same}
Winchester Magnum Rifle

Only 10 primers should be loaded in the tray of
Winchester Large Rifle

Do not use Federal primers in a Lee Auto-Prime!


Any primer not listed above has not been tested, so you must assume they are unsafe.
Well, that last sentence can be read two ways. One is that Federal is excluded because it hasn't been tested, and that's why Lee warns against using them, while the other is that Federal primers have been tested, but found unsafe, which is why they are mentioned specifically, while other brands like Fiocchi, Unis, Wolf, TulAmmo, S&B, RWS, etc., are not mentioned anywhere in the book and are the ones that have actually not been tested and should be considered unsafe until Lee gets around to testing them.

The argument is about how easily different primers can be coaxed into experiencing a sympathetic explosion. This is where one primer going off causes enough others nearby to go off so that the whole lot finally goes up. There is also a difference in the brissance of the various priming mixes, with an explosion of 10 or 20 of some primers not tending to do as much damage as with some others, and some just not very prone to sympathetic explosion in a tray in the first place (CCI).

There is no mention I can find in either edition of Lee's book about Federal not donating primers for testing. That must have come from somewhere else. Instead, the reason Lee gives for warning people off Federal primers in his gear is that Federal uses the hydroxide of lead styphnate (aka, basic, or alkaline lead styphnate) as its sensitizer, while brands he recommends us lead styphnate with no hydroxide radical attached (aka, normal lead styphnate). Olin makes both forms of the explosive, and a primer maker can order whichever one he pleases from them. Here is Lee's argument against basic lead styphnate, from page 81 of the second edition of his book:

Quote:
To find out why some brands of primers explode violently, I talked to an expert; Dave Anderson, now retired from CCI. He told me primers are charged with one of two types of priming compound. One is called "basic" and the other is "normal". The primers that use "basic compound" must not be used in Lee priming tools because an accidental discharge is very violent. The "normal compound" is less violent and causes little damage to the tool. The user is easily protected with safety glasses. It is important to use only brands and quantities, as specified at the end of this chapter, in any tray type primer feeder…
If you then go to page 82, there is a photograph of a Lee accessory steel blast shield for a Load Master that is captioned as having been damaged by a tray full of Federal primers going off (that press uses a tray and slide feed priming mechanism). So, unless that shield came from a customer, apparently Federal has been tested by Lee or they wouldn't have that damaged part. The problem is just that the book isn't written in a way that makes this clear one way or the other.

On page 83, Lee says:

Quote:
…Federal brand primers must not be used with any Lee tray-type primer feeding device. A single exception; a primer explosion guard is available for the Lee Load-Master. Should you use primers other than as recommended a the end of this chapter {the list in the first quote in this post}, be sure that you feed them one at a time. I have never found Federal primers to be better or worse than other brands. So I avoid them only because they are dangerous in automatic feeders.
So it is a blanket condemnation of the use of basic lead styphnate primers in pretty much any automatic priming device, hand or press mounted. He recommends they not be used in any primer tube fed press (my oldest press, a Lyman Spar-T, has primer tubes, for example, but they don't have blast shields like Dillons do, so it would be more hazardous if there were a sympathetic ignition in the tube). He shows a picture of an Auto-prime II, press mounted, and says these primers are not safe there. He mentions that they are safe only in the Load Master with accessory blast shield added, and mentions that basic lead styphnate primers are fine to use if you do so one-at-a-time.

I would add that Federal is the only domestic primer I am aware of that is manufactured using basic lead styphnate. This is likely why they feature so prominently in Lee's comments.

Take Mr. Guffey's advice to read this part of Lee's book. It starts on page 65 in the first edition and on page 80 in the second edition. This short leaflet from SAAMI about primers is also an informative read, and tends to support Mr. Lee's ideas about avoiding getting a lot of primers together. It explains sympathetic explosion.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old April 21, 2017, 05:15 PM   #27
Reloadron
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 8, 2016
Location: Cleveland, Ohio Suburbs
Posts: 651
Thank you Unclenick for both an informative and well written post on the subject matter. Makes sense when we look at the use of basic lead styphnate primers verse normal. Interesting stuff.

Thanks again for a real good clarification.
Ron
Reloadron is offline  
Old April 22, 2017, 09:50 AM   #28
F. Guffey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2008
Posts: 5,244
Unclenick, it was not my intentions to cause more work for you, I did know there is no way to motivate reloaders t read that are dependent on Google. And now? I guess I am going to dig out my Lee Modern Reloading book; but until then; Lee did not include the correction in a section of the book that had anything to do with primers. He included the part about not testing Federal primers in a section that had nothing to do with primers.

If I had the luxury of guessing I would guess he included the information on a page most reloaders would find very boring.

F. Guffey
F. Guffey is offline  
Old April 22, 2017, 09:55 AM   #29
Ben_Snow
Member
 
Join Date: January 24, 2017
Location: Ten Strikes, AZ
Posts: 71
I am currently using a Lee Autobench priming tool with Federal SPP...

Should I cease and desist? I switched from CCI to Federal due to the CCI FTF rate in one of my revolvers. While I don't want to switch back, I also don't want to create the conditions that could result in a major injury.
__________________
ten stike girls dont give a holler - long as you give them a dollar
Ben_Snow is offline  
Old April 22, 2017, 10:07 AM   #30
F. Guffey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2008
Posts: 5,244
change t to n

Ben=Snow, I personally know reloaders that will start sizing a case and then run into difficulties. I know one thing for sure about these reloaders; if the case started to stick it will get worst before things get better.

There is nothing about moving a primer through a primers system that is difficult and there is nothing that requires assistance from King Kong, but if something starts to become difficult or requires addition muscle; 'STOP!'

All that is required is thumb powder, my Lee is design for thumb operation, my RCBS has a grip design. When I use the Lee I turn it around and use the grip to seat. That could be a problem if a primer goes off because the thump grip tilts the primer tool away from the face of the user.

Again, I have made attempts at setting off primers, it is easier to set off primers by accident than by making a deliberate attempt.

F. Guffey

Last edited by F. Guffey; April 22, 2017 at 02:56 PM. Reason: add o
F. Guffey is offline  
Old April 23, 2017, 10:21 AM   #31
Reloader270
Member
 
Join Date: March 14, 2015
Location: South Africa
Posts: 72
If I had to choose between my Federal Primers and the Lee Auto Prime I will pick Federal Primers. Change the Auto Prime to something durable like RCBS.
Reloader270 is offline  
Old April 23, 2017, 10:31 AM   #32
Don Fischer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2017
Posts: 125
I got Richard Lee's book and seem to remember something about Federal primer's. Story I'd heard about it was that Richard Lee just doesn't like Federal for one reason or another and discourage's Federal use of anything. Stop and gice it a bit of though though. What is the difference in size of Federal large rifle, or any size primer, and anyone else's of the same size? Nothing! So if the thing will put in Winchester, Remington, CCI and any other primer, why won't Federal work also? They do. I have used my Lee primer to load Federal magnum primer's now and then and never the first problem! I like Lee tools, no problem but some time's I think Richard Lee is about a half bubble out of plumb!
Don Fischer is offline  
Old April 23, 2017, 05:27 PM   #33
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,260
Don,

If you read my last post you will see it has nothing to do with being able to seat a primer. It's about what happens if a primer accidentally goes off during seating (which happens occasionally; usually it turns sideways and gets crushed by the ram) with more of them next to it in the feed line.

In the book Mr. Lee says specifically that he gets accused of having a beef with Federal, but denies that and explains his actual opinion is that they are no better or worse than any other commercial primers, except that they are the only one using the more violently explosive hydroxide form of lead styphnate as their sensitizer. So this is not about how they seat or shoot, but rather what happens during a sympathetic explosion of a number of them caused by one going off accidentally.

Lee did have a big public argument in advertising with Sierra bullets, who claimed his original collet-type Factory Crimp die distorted Match bullets too much and should not be used with them. Lee argued back that it made rounds more accurate, so just try it and see. He finally settled it and thumbed his nose at Sierra by taking out an ad that said his die worked great and could be used with all bullets except Sierra.

That cracked me up.

As with many things, the truth lay somewhere in between. You can over-distort a bullet for long range purposes, but still have it work great or even better that without the crimp at shorter ranges. It depends what powder and primer you are using, with the accuracy improvement observed mainly with slower, harder to ignite powders in doses that don't have great case fill and that therefore benefit from increased start pressure. Sometimes switching to a magnum primer does the same thing, though. You can slightly distort a bullet and have it make no practical difference for most purposes, including service rifle match shooting out to 600 yards, and if you don't over-tighten the Lee die, that happy compromise can be achieved some of the time. I prefer just using a more appropriate powder, even if it costs me a hundred feet per second, or whatever, but that's just me.


Ben,

You can load them one-at-a-time just fine, according to Mr. Lee. I loaded them for a long time in an Auto-prime by the tray-full because I had followed the time-honored American male custom of not reading the directions when I got it. "For", as Pope said, "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" (but then often seem to have the blind luck of the innocent). So, having become aware of Mr. Lee's warning later, I elected to cease and desist. Lee also thinks it is a bad idea to put the basic (as in acid and base) lead styphnate primers in any tube-fed priming mechanism, but I have not ceased and desisted in that arena and still use them in my Dillon presses. I do wear safety glasses when handling primers of any kind, at a minimum. We had a thread on spontaneous primer ignitions and photos of Dillon primer feed tubes ripped open, in particular. You have to keep the pickup and feed tubes clean and free of all primer dust, as that seems to be the source of the problem. It's a good idea to wear a leather glove on the hand that holds the tube over the feed drop, just in case.


Mr. Guffey,

If you find where Lee said that about the samples, I'd be interested to read it. I re-read the Second Edition all the way through except that I did not review every single page of load data, so it's possible I missed it somehow. However, Lee's photo of the bent blast shield (professional photo on white background) and his comment that he didn't find Federal primers any better or worse than others except for the basic lead styphnate issue, certainly suggests he has tested at least some. I just have no clue how many.

I've certainly found Federal standard primers to usually produce lower SD's than other domestic brands, which is why I continue to use them (that and the fact I stocked up on them at one point and still have about 10,000 of each size to use up). As to Lee's criteria for them not being any better or worse than others, that remains a mystery. In 100 or even 200 yard tests, the lower SD's don't really get you much if you aren't a champion class benchrest competitor shooting groups in the ones pretty regularly.

And I've found even more consistent primers than Federal's since that time in the form of the confoundingly cheap but super consistent Russian primers made in Tula, Russia. They are made with normal lead styphnate. They are a pain to seat, with their rough burred cup edges, but the low velocity SD's are impressive. The Russians do like their competitive target shooting. Even high schools there have ranges and full-time coaches and armorers, so they are motivated to produce ammunition components to match.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Old April 24, 2017, 09:13 AM   #34
F. Guffey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 18, 2008
Posts: 5,244
Unclenick, R. Lee did a 'thank you' page in his book, He thanked all of the manufacturers for their help, support and contributions, he thanked all of them except Federal.

F. Guffey
F. Guffey is offline  
Old April 24, 2017, 09:57 AM   #35
Unclenick
Staff
 
Join Date: March 4, 2005
Location: Ohio
Posts: 13,260
Thanks for following up.

I see the thank you on page 10 of the First Edition. The First Edition just says "Special thanks to:" followed by some brand names. But in the Second Edition this thank you gets more specific and was moved to page 4, where it says: "Special thanks to the powder suppliers. Without their help and co-operation, this book would not have been possible." and repeats the same company names as were on page 10 of the First Edition, adding the makers of Vectan and Ramshot powders to the list. Federal, Remington and CCI are not listed in either edition.

So, I infer Lee got load data help from the powder companies, who all publish load data and who all have pressure test equipment to confirm data on. I don't know if he also got free powder from them or not. The absence of primer company names suggests to me that he got no free primers from anybody.
__________________
Gunsite Orange Hat Family Member
CMP Certified GSM Master Instructor
NRA Certified Rifle Instructor
NRA Benefactor Member
Unclenick is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2016 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.08710 seconds with 9 queries