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Old August 31, 2009, 12:56 PM   #1
Join Date: January 19, 2009
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Loose primers

How can you tell if primer is too loose and what does it effect if so? I'm using Lee Auto Primer and am starting to feel that some don't take nearly as much pressure to seat. When I seat one that seems loose should I discard brass and primer?
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Old August 31, 2009, 01:26 PM   #2
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My test if I suspect a primer is loose in the pocket is to rap the base of the shell HARD onto my hardwood bench. If the primer unseats, moves out of the pocket, I junk the case. There's no reason NOT to re-use the primer in another shell.

Firing the shell with a too loose primer will almost certainly result in the pressure leaking out around the outside of the primer cup. Not good for the boltface/recoil shield/slide.
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Old August 31, 2009, 01:32 PM   #3
Bud Helms
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I'll be interested in some of the experienced handloaders' answer to this one.

You should feel a firm sliding resistance as the lever comes down and it should be consistant from case to case. If I'm humming along and one all-of-a-sudden feels loose, like maybe a missed a primer on the pick up, I chunk it. You can feel it when a primer pocket is enlarged. If it feels loose in any way, be leery of it.

I seem to recall there is a way to check primer pockets for diameter, but I'm darned if I can remember a special tool for that. I don't believe I have ever done it. I have trashed a few pockets while reaming for uniform depth by cocking the reamer on the way in.
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Old August 31, 2009, 07:30 PM   #4
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It`s time

It`s time to back off da throttle a tad !!!
to move brass in modern day cases your in hi 50s-low 60s K pressures.
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Old August 31, 2009, 10:16 PM   #5
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I load hot for my 300 WBY

I encounter loose primers now because I can't find large Mag. Match 215M federals. I use them for my favorite loads. So you improvise.

Start with Remington then when a loose one is encountered place it aside, then use a CCI primer in it when you have enough to fiddle with. They (CCI) are larger in diameter than rem's and fit snugly shoot fine. I find that Weatherby Norma brass gets loose just as easily as the cheap stuff.

Primers and outside diameters of the cups are not all the same.

James Calhoon's site is good for info

When I can't find federal 215M primers the Std Winchester's do just fine and group similar.

I have shot 100+ barnes TTSX 180's trying to match my 215M loads...using TSX 180's

If they don't fit with a CCI Primer and are still too loose, toss them....
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Old August 31, 2009, 10:35 PM   #6
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Loose Primers

Loose primers can be caused by two criteria. 1) out-of-specification primers which is non-existent; 2) enlarged primer pockets caused by either very stout loads or careless reaming.

Loose primer pockets will cause gas leakage and/or vaporized brass to blow back through the action onto the shooter's face. It is not a pleasant situation - believe me. Not to mention the erosion that it causes to the bolt face.

Detection of loose primers is via 'feeling' the primers seat with your particular seater tool. Each tool provides a different feel. You can and will detect a loose primer immediately when you have seated thousands of primers.

Discard the cases that have loose primers. Do not try to resurrect them - there is no way to accomplish that. I shot a lot of long range competition with extremely stiff loads and sometimes I only got two loadings with new brass.

I hope that this information will help you.
Matt Dardas
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Old September 1, 2009, 12:38 AM   #7
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Discard the cases that have loose primers. Do not try to resurrect them - there is no way to accomplish that.
RCBS primer pocket swaging tool is meant to remove crimp from primer pockets. However, the cup shape on the end of the rod that enters the casing swages the brass of a too loose pocket back to the point where primers are tight again. I have done it with .22 Hornet cases and .308 Winchester, Federal cases. It does work.
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Old September 1, 2009, 09:35 AM   #8
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to move brass in modern day cases your in hi 50s-low 60s K pressures.

Are you saying that a modern case running in the low 60K psi is going to loosen primer pockets? Or are you saying to bring his load down to the Low 60's to eliminate loose primer pockets?

Do not try to resurrect them - there is no way to accomplish that.
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Last edited by steve4102; September 1, 2009 at 10:44 AM.
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Old September 1, 2009, 10:58 AM   #9
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Thanks for replies. I am using CCI primers and were not aware that any of my loads were on the hot side.
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Old September 1, 2009, 02:42 PM   #10
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I also use the Lee Auto Primer for all my primers and some do go in lighter than others I have never had problems with loose primers. But most of my loads are light to medium. But after priming a case I run my thumb across the primer to make sure they are tight and in all the way.
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