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Old January 5, 2017, 07:35 PM   #1
Radny97
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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.
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Old January 6, 2017, 02:18 AM   #5
Radny97
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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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Old January 22, 2017, 07:16 PM   #13
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This is a charter Arms hammerless revolver that is in my carry rotation.
Call Charter Arms and have them send you a new mainspring. In fact, ask for two. I am going to say it is poor practice to have a self defense weapon with unreliable ignition. A weak ignition system will not reliably ignite a less sensitive primer, or will be marginal in cold weather. Incidentally, primers vary by sensitivity within a lot. Federal primers may be on the average more sensitive, but, don't count on all of them being at or below average sensitivity. And, don't count on all Federal ammunition having Federal primers. If Federal gets a deal on primers made by an outside source, at a price less than what it costs them to make primers inhouse, they will buy the cheaper primer. All corporations have "make/buy" decisions, and if you are working in a Division whose products are more expensive than a rival, don't expect your employment prospects to be long term.

Get new mainsprings from the source. This is whom to call:

(203) 922-1469
18 Brewster Lane, Shelton, Connecticut 06484.
Phone: Toll free (866)-769-4867.
Fax : (203) 922-1469.
Diane "Dee" Ecker, Customer Service Manager.

https://charterfirearms.com/pages/contact-us
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Old January 22, 2017, 09:36 PM   #14
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Federal primers contain some Nitroglycerin.

Check the primers MSDS.
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Old January 23, 2017, 10:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Federal primers contain some Nitroglycerin.

Check the primers MSDS.
So what? So does gunpowder. Modern single based smokeless powders contain Nitrocellulose. Double based powders contain Nitroglycerin and Nitrocellulose.

So what?
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Old January 23, 2017, 10:51 AM   #16
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My club conducts a women's Firearm Safety and SD course every winter. In trying to make safety and SD available to everyone, we don't charge for the class and we furnish the ammo. Of course, to keep cost down we reload the ammo, the bullets are cast from recycled lead from our indoor range.

Many of these women are of limited means and for that reason the little Charter Arms Revolvers are quite popular.

I like and use exclusively Winchester Primers. I've run across several of these Charter arms revolvers that have light hammer strikes. Each time one fails to fire, I fire the round in my Smith 642, they always go off.

I switched to Fed. Primers and a lot of the "light hammer" FTF problems are eliminated.

These women aren't reloaders, I cant imagine them going to gun store asking what factory ammo uses Federal or any other primers. Its just not gonna happen. Nor do they have the fund to buy a Smith or other revolver to insure consistent primer ignition. Yet, they need and deserve a reliable SD revolver.

I've contacted gun smith and Charter arms dealers about the problem and was told (I don't own a charter so this is based on what I was told) that Charter Arms are lubed at the factory, the lube they use tends to harden, making the gun sluggish.

So when run into the problem I take the revolver apart and clean it, then re-lube with RemsOil. That helps some.

I found a better option, is to take the spring off the spring guide and add a couple small washers to compress the spring. This works.

I know Wolf and others make after market springs but remember these people don't have a lot of money and any savings they can get, goes to feed their children.

Just because these ladies are of modest means, I believe they deserve a SD revolver that is affordable and dependable.

My opinion is, if you have light primer FTF, fix the problem, you never know what primers you are going to end up with in factory ammo.

This is not a slam on Charter Arms, for the money they are good little revolvers. But they can be made better as in more reliable, at little or no cost.
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Old January 23, 2017, 10:59 AM   #17
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A self defense gun should fir any normal factory load ammo. If it doesn't repair it or get rid of it. Save the modified guns for play.
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Old January 23, 2017, 11:02 AM   #18
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If Federal gets a deal on primers made by an outside source, at a price less than what it costs them to make primers inhouse, they will buy the cheaper primer.
Is it possible to get such a deal on outside primer cheaper that what Federal can make on their own? Do you have a link to a site that states that has ever happened? Ask'en for a skeptical friend.
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Old January 23, 2017, 12:32 PM   #19
243winxb
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Quote:
[QUOTEQuote:
Federal primers contain some Nitroglycerin.

Check the primers MSDS.
So what? So does gunpowder. Modern single based smokeless powders contain Nitrocellulose. Double based powders contain Nitroglycerin and Nitrocellulose.

So what?
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It relates to primer selectivity . Other brands of primers dont use Nitro.

Last edited by 243winxb; January 23, 2017 at 01:11 PM.
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Old January 23, 2017, 08:48 PM   #20
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A self defense gun should fire any normal factory load ammo. If it doesn't repair it or get rid of it. Save the modified guns for play.
I strongly agree with the above statement that any self defense gun should fire all commercial ammunition.

Kraigwy, I strongly respect what you are doing to provide affordable training to people who need it. And it sounds like you have put careful thought into making reliable repairs to those guns that need it. But part of me still feels that any gun which has misfires should be returned to the manufacturer for repair. If the manufacturer does not have to spend the time and costs to repair these guns, then they are not motivated to permanently resolve the issue.

Still, I understand that even if the manufacturer pays all shipping, that your clients probably cannot afford to be without their revolvers for extended periods. So I can see that the repairs you are making are probably the right thing to do. But I am still troubled by the whole situation.
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Old January 24, 2017, 10:28 AM   #21
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Quote:

Quote:
If Federal gets a deal on primers made by an outside source, at a price less than what it costs them to make primers inhouse, they will buy the cheaper primer.
Is it possible to get such a deal on outside primer cheaper that what Federal can make on their own? Do you have a link to a site that states that has ever happened? Ask'en for a skeptical friend.
Corporations exist to maximize profits now. As such, profit always trumps loyalty. You would not be asking this if your job had been outsourced to a lower cost vendor. Literally millions of people have had this happen to them, as Corporate determines that a division is not as profitable as it used to be, or that it will not be as profitable due to market place competition.

Corporations don't tell anyone who does not have a need to know what they are doing, or from who they are buying components. I don't work for ATK but I know that for every purchase Corporations make, they examine the marketplace and determine just who is the low bidder. ATK Commercial ammunition revenue was around $5.0 Billion in 2014, if your friend has a couple of hundreds of billions of dollars in loose change, he ought to buy the company to satisfy his curiosity. Once he owns the company he can go over every purchase order to his heart's content.
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