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Old July 14, 2009, 08:14 AM   #1
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Primer burn rates

OK, like I said before, I am loading..(slowly) .223. I didn't think I need much help in doing so but I appreciate all the help I can get.
Now...I experimented. I saw no harm in doing what I am about to say, and it worked very well.

I have a box (1K) of CCI small pistol primers. It seems they are the same size as the small rifle primers.
I loaded a lite .223 load using one of these primers and wanted to see if it would work.
I fired it and it worked well. I found no difference in the regular load with small rifle primers.
Ok, I know the burn rates are different but can they be used just for plinking? no serious shooting? or is there something I am missing here that I am not aware of.

I don't see any damage that can be done other than the shell not firing or the round getting stuck in the bore.
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Old July 14, 2009, 11:17 AM   #2
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Primers are not measured in "burn rate", but by their "Brisance".
Brisance - is a measure of the rapidity with which an explosive develops its maximum pressure

Here are the results of a test done to determine the brisance of primers. The testing was apparently done with a home made ballistic pendulum, which left a lot to be desired. So, don’t take this as gospel but as a rough indicator. It does show there are great differences in primers

RIfle Primers
Brand/type_________Power Average___Range____Std. Dev
1... Fed Match GM215M___6.12______ 5.23-6.8_____.351
2... Federal 215 LRM _____5.69______ 5.2-6.5 _____.4437
3... CCI 250 LRM_________5.66______ 4.5-7.4_____ .4832
4... Winchester WLRM____ 5.45______ 5.1-6.0 _____.2046
5... Remington 9 1/2M LR _ 5.09 _____ 3.5-6.75 ____.6641
6... Winchester WLR _____ 4.8 ______ 4.1-6.0 _____.4300
7... Remington 9 1/2 LR __ 4.75 _____ 3.7-6.25 ____.5679
8... Fed Match GM210M __ 4.64 _____4.0-5.6 ____ .3296
9... Federal 210 LR ______ 4.62_____ 3.7-5.5 ____.3997
10.. CCI BR2 ____________4.37_____ 4.0-5.0 ____ .2460
11.. CCI 200 LR __________4.28 ____ 3.8-4.8 ____ .3218
12.. KVB 7 LR Russian_____ 4.27 ____3.8-4.8 ____ .2213
13.. Rem 91/2 (30 yrs old)_ 4.16 ____ 3.8-4.8 ____.3427

Pistol Primers
14 Rem LP ___________4.47_______ 3.2-5.6 _______.5171
15 KVB 45 LP Russian __3.89 _______3.3-4.2 _______ .2232
16 CCI 300 LP________ 3.18_______ 2.7-3.5 _______ .2406
17 Federal 150 LP _____3.11 _______2.6-3.5 _______.2090
18 Fed Match GM150M_ 3.05 _______ 2.6-3.7 ______ .2299
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Old July 14, 2009, 11:27 AM   #3
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+1 Shoney

The labels are there for your protection and your firearms continued service. When it says Small Pistol, it's for small cases and small charges. Even small rifle cases have 2-3 times the capacity of small pistol.
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Old July 14, 2009, 11:46 AM   #4
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SHONEY... very interesting comparision... care to share where the data came from, & if there was any more of it ???

to the OP... my only concern, is softness of the pistol primer compared to the rifle primer... semi autos are more prone to slam fires with a softer primer, & you are likely to see more pressure evidence & the pistol primer may actually be the weak link in containing even normal rifle cartridge pressures... ( just like a difference in heat, there are also differences in the softness of the primer cup ) I do use pistol primers in low pressure cartridges like the 22 Hornet, but personally would not use them in even a bolt action 223...
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:10 PM   #5
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"I don't see any damage that can be done other than the shell not firing or the round getting stuck in the bore."

How about a wrecked gun from high pressure gas venting directly into the action? And possibly a wrecked shooter?

Pistol primers generally have a thinner, weaker construction of the main priming cup, the part you see when the primer is seated in the round.

This is because pistol rounds generally don't generate the kind of pressures for the duration that rifle rounds do, and handguns generally don't have as strong a spring set to drive the firing pin or striker.

Using a pistol primer where a rifle primer should be used can result in the pressure rupturing the primer, allowing hot, high pressure gas right back into the action, which is normally right next to your face.

Not a good idea.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:45 PM   #6
Dave P
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Shoney Data

As I recall it, for target rifle accuracy, you want a "mild" primer with each primer having similar energy levels.

Per your chart, I would focus in on the CCI BR2 primers as being mild and having a low SD. (Assuming the Russian primers are not available).

And now I see the WIN LR Mag primers also have a very small SD.
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Old July 14, 2009, 12:54 PM   #7
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Mike has it right. Pistol primers are not mechanically strong enough to be used in a rifle for anything but loads reduced to pistol pressure levels or below. If you look at very high pressure super magnum revolver cartridges that run at rifle pressures, you find the cases are often marked with an "R" for rifle primer, which is what they want you to use in them.

Below is an illustration from a James Calhoun article in the October 1995 edition of Varmint Hunter Magazine. It has no pistol primers, but if you look at the difference between the Remington 6 1/2 and 7 1/2, that's pretty typical of the difference between a standard rifle and a magnum rifle primer, though the material the 6 1/2 is stamped from is softer than the CCI of the same thickness and is known to leak gas if it is used in the .223. Pistol primers can be even thinner, though not by a lot.

Brissance is not primer gas push, as the pendulum device measures, but rather is litterally the explosive's shattering ability. It is measured by firing a standardized quantity of the explosive under test into graded silica sand, then sifting it to find how many grains the explosion broke down to smaller sizes?

The primer's push, on the other hand, is due to a combination of burning speed and total gas volume. Primers have both sensitizing high brissance material and fuel to make and sustain flame. Thus you can have a low sensitizing mix to high fuel mix ratio and wind up with lower total primer brissance but higher gas volume and push on the pendulum.

That pendulum information, incidentally, does not rank the primers proportionally. I had some e-mail correspondence with the author, who is considering doing some updated firing at some point, but hasn't got around to it. The problem with the listed information is the scale on the device used is in fixed increments of degrees of rotation. We all know, from pushing swings as kids, that the higher it swings the harder it is to push because you are working more directly against gravity. Same for that device, so the weaker primers get exaggerated numbers. To get the actual force, the numbers he measured need to be multiplied by the sine of the angle of rotation on the dial. Since the dial has 8 major divisions, and 90/8 = 11.25, just take the existing number, multiply by 11.25, take the sine of the resulting angle, then and go back and multiply that sine by the original number by it.

BTW, if your impressed by the consistency of the Russian KVB primer, KVB is who makes OEM primers for sale under the Wolf brand in this country.
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Last edited by Unclenick; July 14, 2009 at 01:11 PM.
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Old July 14, 2009, 01:07 PM   #8
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These types of threads are the best ones on this forum. In an ideal world we could all just buy exactly the primer that the load calls for. With today's primer situation though we don't always have access to what we want, so the temptation is there to "substitute". I know I have become very dependent on a couple of the employees at the sporting goods stores where I buy all my primers and powders. They are very experienced and I usually trust them if they tell me I can try something. But then, even they don't everything, so it's nice to have numerous sources to learn from. Thanks guys.
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