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Which Brand of Primer is Best?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by skydiver, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. skydiver

    skydiver Sandy,OR Well-Known Member

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    Which brand of primer is best in your experience?

    Definition of Best :
    1. Consistency
    2. Size (rumors say some brands are larger or smaller than others)
    3. Hardness (rumors say some brands are softer/harder than others)
    4. Reliability of ignition (duds)
    5. Heat (not magnum vs. standard. Rumors say some brands are hotter than others)
    6. This is for the category I didn't think of. :)

    Also...which brand of primer is the worst in your experience?
     
  2. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner You'll Never Know Well-Known Member

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    All of those things you have listed and.....The primers you find in stock for the rounds you reload! I use to buy CCI only, now, I buy what I find available!
     
    evltwn, sterzenbach, Nwcid and 3 others like this.
  3. skydiver

    skydiver Sandy,OR Well-Known Member

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  4. skydiver

    skydiver Sandy,OR Well-Known Member

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    I wonder if the rush in production with shortages lately will have any adverse effect on primers?
     
  5. Marine Airedale

    Marine Airedale Central Oregon Coast Member

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    I agree with Dunerunner! Except, I have always used Federal primers in my bolt action rifles having switched from CCI a couple of decades ago. Have always used the CCI Military primiers in the AR and the FAL. Luckily I have always purchased in bulk and only in the last couple of years ran out of small pistol primers and bought some Russian ones. They have performed well ... to my surprise.
     
  6. Otter

    Otter Oregon - mid Willamette Valley Active Member

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    I can't say with any conviction which is the "best". I will relate what I have discovered:

    Rem 7 1/2 have more flash (based on Internet video)
    Rem 7 1/2 seem to be slightly larger...at least the ones I got were more resistant to seating
    Federal 205 match seems to be the go to primer in shortrange benchrest
    Winchester small rifle primers tend to leave more residue in the primer pocket
    CCI 400 are more prone to being pierced than any other I have ever used
    Magnum primers tend to yield better accuracy with fine ball powders

    Overall I lean toward Federal primers, but will take whatever I can get in these times.
     
  7. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Purpose will dictate the "best" primer. There is no economy or benefit to researching primers when purpose and specification have not been determined.

    45 years of handloading have resulted in the following "preferences", if they might be called that:

    For generic and large-quantity handloading (I do no reloading: a term conotating high production above all else), I find CCI's a stalwart, as well as Winchester and Remington. (Standard Large Rifle, Small Rifle, Large Pistol, Small Pistol). I am not critical in these usages except in the case where I might suspect primer as a factor in velocity consistency or accuracy (and primers are among the last suspects).

    When I determine absolute precision is desired, I elect to upgrade to a Benchrest (Match) primer, such as Federal Gold Match, or CCI BR series. I find them in velocity studies to produce not only a slightly higher and more consistent velocity (and probably pressure, so beware) as compared to standard primers, but the seating of them in a hand-primer is felt to be more consistently "tight" or "firm". Never as volatile as a Magnum primer, I DID actually determine them to be of measurable advantage in my single-shot .25- 06, when I had exhausted all other component variables toward the search for peak performance. Never tested again to that degree, I rely on them in other projects of detail and quest for documentable increased performance.

    In my blackpowder guns of large case capacity (.45-70 and the like), I will always choose a Magnum primer, (and most likely of Match or Benchrest grade). A hot primer serves in this case (no pun intended) to ignite black powder instantly and completely.

    I almost never load Magnum primers in any other cartridges unless my experiments with Match grade primers show they are somehow not doing the job. Even when some books recommend Magnum primers, almost always another book will not give them mention even with the same load. Chronograph tests always tell the tale. Nearly NEVER do I load Magnum handgun primers. I tried to prove them necessary. I could not.

    Bottom line: given a choice (apart from current availability), I prefer the Federal line, and their Gold Match grade.

    But I keep a healthy supply of CCI Standards on hand for when I don't think I need (or would notice) the absolute best.
     
    orygun and (deleted member) like this.
  8. orygun

    orygun West Linn Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I like what Spitpatch says and I think he must have more time on his hands than most folks. :laugh: I've loaded many 41 and 357 Mags and never used Magnum primers in them. Mostly Federal large and small pistol primers and they have done a great job with full loads of H110, W296 and BlueDot.
    500 S&W Mag was a different story.... Magnum pistol primers only. Didn't care what brand. The thing had soooo much power and I only plinked with it, so I couldn't tell any difference.
    But in the last couple of years I have started using Magnum Rifle primers (Winchester) in my 30-06. I use a heavy, 100%+ charge of RL22 and the Standard Deviation and FPS smoothed out when I switched to magnum primers, not to mention the velocity increase with no noticeable pressure signs.
    I've used Federal (including Match Large Pistol), Winchester, and CCI for years. Remington only in the last few years. Anyway, except when jumping to magnum primers, I've not noticed any difference worth talking about. I'm much more picky about the loads I make for hunting and since I started loading with the Win Mag LR, I've noticed consistency and velocity I've never had before. I'm too happy to experiment any further.
     
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  9. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I prefer CCI bench rest primers in my rifle handloads, mainly because they seem to leave less residue in the primer pocket after firing and give good consistency in velocity. I like Federal primers also, but will go with CCI BR when available simply because the packaging isn't so rediculously oversized and fits in my reloading area more compactly. This packaging thing is kinda dumb I know, but I can fit almost 3 bricks (1000 count) of CCI in the space of one brick of Federal.

    I won't use Winchester primers at all if I can help it because they are the dirtiest ones I have ever used.
     
  10. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    Starline .500 brass takes large rifle.

    I used to only ever use CCI.. no complaints.
    Over a year ago, accidentally just before Sandy Hook, I decided to stock up on Tulammo small rifle ($17/k).. I've been using them in small rifle and all my small primer handguns with no problems.. there are some sparks that come out with some handgun loads sometimes but the loads/primers work well for me.
     
  11. HotRod61

    HotRod61 Happy Valley Active Member

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    I'm not sure I use the best, but I use Winchester large rifle and magnum too when given a choice. Most of the time I don't have a choice so whatever is available is great........HotRod
     
  12. skydiver

    skydiver Sandy,OR Well-Known Member

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    I went to Shot Show this year. Heard a major powder company say that primers would show up in quantity before powder. The reason being much of our powder supply come from overseas and those shipments have been cut back. That's already the case now if you check around the internet for supplies.
     
  13. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    Rumors Schmumors--experience is the best teacher as far as primers go--especially if you are talking about primers used in handguns or standard factory hunting/plinking rifles. Unless you are going to shoot benchrest rifles and/or F-Class and/or long distance varmint hunting--this includes sniping, the primer is not going to figure much, if at all, in your groups sizes.

    So, without regard to shotgun primers, what concerns us most in the general use of standard primers may be said to be reliability. I have shot all the brands of american made boxer primers and some of the foreign ones as well in various loads over 45 years.
    I keep records. Maybe I am overzealous, but I keep records of what cartridge used what powder primer bullet brass in what temperature humidity and on and on ad infinitum (ad nauseum?) for every shooting session since 1971, which was when I was able to spend that amount of time shooting and writing it down. Most of my records deal with benchrest cartridges and rifles, but I did keep basic records of all the others, especially noting any odd results. Failure to fire or odd reports (sounds) coupled with a flier would come under that heading. ]
    I have had primer failures with all brands in all grades (small rifle large rifle match etc..) at various times. I was asked some years ago the same Q and replied in the same way--except that there is now a new primer on my library Tul Ammo. I do inspect every cartridge that malfunctions to the best of my limited ability. I have long ago learned to be sure that all primers are seated down to contact the pocket.

    So then --in my experience the number of fail to fire incidents in all guns I shoot that could be traced back to primer failure over the years by brand:
    Federal--my fav and most used primer in ALL cartridges over 37000 loadings---4
    Remington-- I have used appx 5750 in all cartridges--4
    Winchester-used appx 9000- 9
    CCI - used appx 1300 - 19
    Tul Ammo used less than 1500 -20

    Some of the numbers are appx since I have not totaled failures since I was asked to in 2009. The Tul Ammo data is exact since I only bought 2000 of their primers during the last shortage and stopped using them when I saw so many failures--unless I run out of other primers I do not use them........I had a lot of failures of CCI BR primers in matches early in my "career" such as it is-- and that has prejudiced me against them ever since and that is why I do not have a lot of them to compare to the Federals which are the walk away fav in the BR equipment lists especially point blank....

    All this info means ???--it's my experience--other people have had other experiences--the thing that got me to go back through all the records in 2009 was the post on another forum from someone who was as anal retentive as me who had a lot of remington and federal fail to fire experiences................I think--if you want to be sure it fires and fires right --use match primers of whatever brand you choose--there can be a case made for the milder federal 205GM when used in certain BR loads in which it is alleged that the lighter primer ignition results in less muzzle whip due to less vibration in the chamber.
     
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  14. SinisterSouthpaw

    SinisterSouthpaw SW WA Active Member

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    For some reason my spellchecker has decided to combine words I check with random words from the same post-- this leaves me appearing to have typed words like bullehgkljasdh and projectkjhhg...... I had originally meant to include in the post the fact that I have never kept records of fireforming loads and never noted any failures when shooting those loads. Over the years these loads have been primed for the most part by Federal standard grade primers until the first Obama scare panic buying idiocy when I just happened to be running low on those primers and was forced to buy 4000 Magtech small rifle primers for plinking and fireforming loads. Looking back over my records, such as they are for these loads, I can find no failures in either primer when loading for the stated application. I am not the sort of person to suffer fools or bad primers lightly and would have made notes--probably in red pen/pencil if I had experiences such failures.

    Also I had meant to mention that if and when I find a load that appears to have two or even three nodes, I note that--continue using it and keep no further records of it until and unless I feel the need to move from one node to another or if the components--usually the powder-- no longer yield the same results and the nodes have changed or disappeared. Mainly these situations occur in BR rifle loads-- in order to prompt me to move off a preferred and therefore non-recorded handgun load, the grouping would have had to have changed radically, as I am not shooting handgun matches, or claim any great skill in that area....other than being able to recognize when my average groups become rotten groups.
     
  15. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf SE Portland Well-Known Member

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    I've never had a misfire with standard CCI primers.. at least 200,000 with the majority being small pistol. I've actually never had a misfire with any primer I've used (yet.. knock on wood) but have only used about 10,000 Tulammo and about that with all others combined.
     
  16. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I like CCI and winchester... winchester generally is the better of the two. My reasons for saying this: CCI tends to be a little on the larger side for the primer you've got, however I like that the CCI's are nickel plated which prevents them from oxidizing, wish I could say the same for winchester. I tend to avoid federal, as they're quite soft and frequently get smashed by the machinery, same with remington. Don't even get me started on the russian primers.
     
  17. ripcity

    ripcity Milwaukie Active Member

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    What's so bad with russian primers? Are they good for a recreational shooter, such as myself?
     
  18. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    They're really soft, they're usually not round and create too many headaches for me to even contemplate using. Even when I'm loading for mysel load in quantity, either with a dillon, camdex, or ammoload machine, anything that doesn't flawlessly feed through the primer fillers and feeding sections is worse than having no primers.

    If you're hand loading, using one of the common hand or bench priming systems you're probably fine, as clearing a jam on one of those is easy. For me, jams are time consuming, frustrating, and at times dangerous.
     
  19. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    Also Federal are softer primers.
     
  20. xlsbob

    xlsbob coos county Platinum Supporter Platinum Supporter

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    I use CCI for almost everything with Winchester as my second choice when I cant find CCI. Haven't got around to trying the Russian ones yet.