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Old April 15, 2010, 01:46 PM   #1
Join Date: April 2, 2010
Location: Tualatin, OR
Posts: 30
Loaded my first set & Newbie Questions

I got my Lock & Load Kit and loaded my first batch of .40 S&W after going extremely SLLLOOOOOOWWW and checking everything multiple times. I chose the pistol rounds first to get used to the process and it seemed a "simpler" process to get my feet wet. I used CCI 500 primers (all I could find) and Bullseye (because I found a load that had specifically used CCI primers), and varied the charges from 5.0 to 5.5 grains. I cant wait to try them out this weekend but the pucker factor will be there for the first shot of each batch.
Which leads to a few questions for my next project (7mm Rem Mag and .338 Win Mag) that I'm sure are boneheaded and asked a few times, so forgive me in advance.
If I find a load that used a particular brand of primer, do I have to use that primer or are brands interchangeable?

I kind of get the feeling that Powders and Primers are like Presses, Guns, and bullets, each has a loyal following; but I'm going to ask the question anyway:
Which are the superior brand of primers and powders? I would like to use the same powder for both rifle loads and Barnes has IMR 4831 listed for of couple of bullets in each Caliber, but I'm open to other brands as well

Do I need to seal the primers or do anything to the load when I'm finished to make sure it goes bang when I pull the trigger. In Oregon I hunt in varied climates; from 85 degree Deer Opening Day, Pouring Rain and Windstorms; to Elk season in sub freezing blizzards.

I'm pretty cautious and anal (which is probably a good thing for this hobby), and I love precision and accuracy. My main goal is to find the recipe to make my hunting rounds as accurate as possible; and shoot more accurate pistol rounds, more.
Thanks Again,
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Old April 15, 2010, 02:15 PM   #2
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Join Date: September 22, 2008
Location: East of the Crest, Oregon
Posts: 182
I have used many different brands of primers and they all went bang. I would imagine that you would want to retest a load if you wind up using a different primer but I would not expect wildly different results.
As far as powders go, I have never tried 4831 but I intend to shortly. I have had excellent luck with the Reloader series. They seem pretty versatile and accurate.
Also, I am sure we hunt some of the same areas/conditions and I have never had a single problem with my reloads resisting the weather. One thing you may want to make sure of is that you choose a powder that is fairly consistent across a wide variety of temeratures.
Be safe and enjoy...

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Old April 15, 2010, 03:26 PM   #3
Join Date: April 2, 2010
Location: Tualatin, OR
Posts: 30
Thanks Gar for the response. Please Keep the responses coming as I would like to soak up a fraction of the knowledge base here.
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Old April 15, 2010, 10:26 PM   #4
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Join Date: July 28, 2007
Location: Central Ohio
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There is nothing in this game with as much loyalty as press color!

Here's the quick rundown on primers -- not gospel mind you, just how I see it. It doesn't matter who's primer you use, pick one that you know you can get and marry yourself to it. The load data may call for a magnum primer and you should follow that advice, but no published load data calls for a specific brand. They include the information because it is relevant, not because you necessarily must replicate every facet of it. Some published sources will also denote the ambient temperature and the headstamp of brass they used but nobody expects or even asks you to follow that information to the letter. Same thing with primers.

When it comes to primers, you don't ever want to toss in a new primer brand directly in to a load that you've already worked safely to get to. When you being loading 7mm Mag for the first time, you'll read up on published loads -- let say one of them calls for 56.0 grains of SuperThunder 4446 powder. Obviously, you will make your first loads with something like 50.0 grains of SuperThunder 4446, correct? Then you'll make some more with 51.5 grains of ST-4446. Then 52.5 grains... etc etc. You may find your best accuracy at 55.2 grains of ST-4446.

So now you have your pet load with 7mm Mag using your favorite bullet and 55.2 grains of ST-4446. This is where you will not ever simply throw in a completely new primer because you found them on sale or a buddy gave 'em to you. If you do find yourself with UltraSnappy brand large rifle primers and you want to use them in place of your CCI primers, that's okay -- but you start OVER at 50,0 grains of ST-4446 to do it.

If you don't heed that (generations old) advice, then you put yourself at risk for making a horrendous error. What might have been a great load returning fine accuracy with 55.2 grains and a CCI primer might turn in to a blown case or a pierced primer with gas flow if it's lit off with an UltraSnappy primer.

That's how to safely use a primer and that's why you want to pick one you can get and fall in love with it. Me, when I was 17 years old, I went in to the gun store and asked for some small pistol primers. They handed me a brick of CCI and 22 years later and my cache is full of CCI primers and not much of anything else.

You do not need to seal primers for any purpose and your handloads will probably be perfectly good if stored normally even after 20 or 50 years. But if you are going to be using handloads across HUGE swings of outside temperatures, there are two things (that I can think of!) worth mentioning.

First is to do all your load development in the hottest weather you'll use. If you develop a load that is running the ragged edge of pressure on a 65 degree day and then a month later take it in to the desert and light one off at 98 degrees, you may be sifting through broken rifle parts and looking for your eyeball.

Next is that some powders are marketed as "extreme use" which are designed to work better and more consistently even in extreme temperatures with less swing in performance due to the ambient temps of where you'll be shooting. I know that Hodgdon has a line of powders that are marketed as such, so you might consider looking in to them.

Hope this helps!
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 April 15, 2010, 10:55 PM   #5
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Join Date: August 31, 2009
Location: New Mexico
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Only one caveat to add here: shotgun reloading. Use EXACTLY what is listed in the manual. Same hull, same primer, same powder, same wads. There is NOTHING that should be changed or substituted here. Pistol and rifle, however, are different and you can interchange primers, powder, and bullets. I would suggest that whenever you change any component, reduce your load by 10% and work your way back up, checking for pressure signs. Also it's a very good idea to get yourself a chronograph if you are serious about reloading. They are not very expensive any more and well worth the cost.
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