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Old January 22, 2012, 06:32 PM   #1
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I've been reloading for over 20 years and am completely self taught. All I know I've read or found out by trial & error and I have a question that strikes me now and then.
Does the brand of primer really make any difference? Do the different brands have different levels of performance or can you substitute them. I've mostly used CCI but have tried others, really depending on price. I don't often drag out my chrono so I don't have a clue.
Just wondering while I'm reloading some 45's. Anybody out there know?
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Old January 22, 2012, 06:35 PM   #2
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See here....

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Old January 22, 2012, 06:42 PM   #3
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Thanks MEHAVEY, that's unbelievable. I'll have to be more careful in the future when I change brands, especially with the Mag rifle loadings.
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Old January 22, 2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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Different Component=Different Pressure

The link from Mehavey about covers it.
The numbers suggest to me one can get into trouble by relying on chronographed velocity to gauge pressures.
Pick a primer for the type of firearem your using, mag or standard, use a starting load and work up.
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Old January 22, 2012, 07:08 PM   #5
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Sorry, but for me that was too much info. I'm like you, self taught and doing just fine after 20 something years. I'm just banging away at paper targets (we may have crossed paths at the Garland shooting range) and shoot a lot. I load using the Lee powder dippers so I know not every round is exactly the same but they still go bang and I hit the bullseye enough for me. Remember during the great primer shortage we used what ever we could get? I loaded thousands of 9mm using small rifle primers and I read that a lot of people that shoot competition always did that as standard practice. Just keep your loads safe and shoot straight, you'll be fine.
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Old January 23, 2012, 02:18 AM   #6
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For Pistols: Depends on your load and your pistol or revolver.

If you have or want to have a nice light trigger with a DA pistol or revolver, DA/SA or striker fired pistol then primers matter a lot. FED requires the lightest firing pin strike, WIN or MAgTech come next, Federal, then CCI followed by Wolf/Tula etc.

Primers can affect some powders burn rate. Fed primers tend to give a little faster velocities over a chrono depending on the powder. Magnum primers will squeeze a little more velocity out of a slow powder's hot load.

For plinking with a stock gun, not so much difference as long as they they all go bang.
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Old January 23, 2012, 10:29 AM   #7
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The numbers suggest to me one can get into trouble by relying on chronographed velocity to gauge pressures. If the relationship between pressure and velocity when adjusting charge is about 3:1 (but can be less), how can one expect charge adjustments to correct for component substitutions which can cause pressure and velocity to move in the ratio of 6:1, 10:1, or more?

Well yes, but what else do you have?

The slope of the pressure curve is exponential so you would expect big differences in pressures for small differences in velocity.

In all your data the higher pressure round produced the most velocity. At least I hope I did not over look something.

Back to the “what else you have”; primers lie, case expansion is pretty bogus, and velocities are just a guide, in my opinion. But they are a better guide than the physical signs of primer flattening.

Without a pressure gage, just what are you supposed to do short of blowing primers?

Primers are a big unknown for the shooting community. It is slowly being recognized that there are primers of different sensitivity but it has taken a lot of slamfire reports to get there. What we don’t know is the primer composition used, and how much those vary per lot to lot and how that effects energy and pressure. Here is a chart from a government report and they were varying composition, for what purpose, I don’t remember. Primers are not all the same and they are not all the same from lot to lot, and I believe the pressure results you see will be totally shuffled if the same brands were used, but different lots.

I have been told powder manufacturers blend their products to an industry standard of 10%. I have no idea of the tolerances on primers.

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Old January 23, 2012, 12:33 PM   #8
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Another difference you may find is the hardness of the metal cup effecting ignition.

I used CCI #550's in a revolver & it would misfire in about 1 out of 8~10 rounds. The pistol had not misfired in years with other brands. I swapped to Winchester & the problem was cured instantly.
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Old January 24, 2012, 09:10 PM   #9
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I just did a post on some primer test I ran and won`t re post the whole thing again here. BUT, short version is sometimes. I think it has to do with the powder case size and barrel lenth. With some powder there was no difference. With others there was a great deal and with 1 load I started showing presure signs with standard primers lond beforeI saw presure with mag. primers. I have found the smae with accuracy, some times no difference and others a great deal.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:08 AM   #10
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With standard pistol primers I have notice a difference only with how hard they are. When shooting pistols with worn hammer springs or lighter then the factory standard, hard primers tend to need a second strike to go off. CCI primers are some of the hardest I have come across. About as hard as rifle primers. Federal seem to be the softest and Winchester a close second to the Federal in softness. Remington seem to be between Winchester and CCI. I don't load on the hot side so I'm not worried that much about going to an over pressure problem when I switch primers. I use small pistol primers most of the time and consider the ones mentioned here pretty much the same except hardness. If I was needing very accurate loads for competition I might want to stick with a given lot number on primers and powder to keep things consistant.
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Old January 26, 2012, 09:46 PM   #11
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Primer brand doesn't matter one little bit.... Unless it does.....

Basically, most of the time, the brand of primer wont make a difference, assuming you develop the load using the primer.

Ive never experienced it, but I have read about people being unable to get a good load developed, which was solved with only a primer change, and even guns that consistently do better with one brand of primers over another.... You probably dont hear about it much because someone is more likley to try another powder than another brand of primer, I know I would change powder before primers..... i use CCI for everything...

Never substitute one primer for another without going down 10% on the charge and working back up, but other than that, use what works... If it works, use it, if it doesn't, try something else....
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Old January 27, 2012, 08:20 PM   #12
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Here some test on primers result bottom of page
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Old January 27, 2012, 09:07 PM   #13
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In response to the OP, this has generated a lot of very interesting info, that might be useful to those who engage in benchrest or long range accuracy shooting.

For your .45 reloading, I think the best primer is the cheapest you can find that goes bang consistently in your gun. Pressure isn't really a concern.
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