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Which primers and why?

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by Dave Workman, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Dave Workman

    Dave Workman Western Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I traditionally use CCI primers for all of my rifle and handgun reloading exercises, although I have occasionally strayed and used Federal small pistol primers and Winchester or Remington primers when they were all I could get.

    Admittedly, I get pretty consistent results no matter what primers I use, though I prefer the CCI brand, maybe because it's what I used to get started in reloading about a hundred years ago (it seems!)

    But what's your preference and why?
     
  2. toolfan

    toolfan North Portland Member

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    I like the packaging of remington primers best, so I'm going to buy those as I run out of CCI.

    (Not stylistically, I just don't see why the box has to be so big. I've got a brick of CCI match pistol primers and each box is about as big as a brick of remington. Dumb.)
     
  3. Dave Workman

    Dave Workman Western Washington Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yeah, I know. What a PITA to store in my workshop.
     
  4. PBinWA

    PBinWA Clark County Well-Known Member

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    CCI and I think I have some Winchester or Remington - basically whatever Bi-Mart stocks is what I use. I'm big on convenience.
     
  5. JohnH

    JohnH Milwaukie Active Member

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    My preference is whatever is available and cheap!

    I too have not noticed that much difference in results from using:
    CCI
    Winchester
    Federal
    Remington
    Wolf

    When I started reloading I was getting a LOT of CCI through group buys so I grew up on that and had real good luck. During the Obama stupidity when primers were scarce I bought what I could find and tried them. They all seem to go bang and I have not had a problem using them in either my RCBS hand help priming tool or my Dillon 650.

    I know one person who shoots cowboy action with a REALLY light hammer spring and the only primers that work for him are Federal. I have also heard rumors that some Glocks may have a problem with Wolf primers but have no proof myself.

    I really like the CCI when using the RCBS hand held priming tool as the CCI primer tray fits inside the RCBS primer tray making it easy to transfer primers. (Helps that both these companies are owned by ATK)

    I also like the Wolf primers for the Dillon as almost every package of Wolf primers has the primers all correctly orientated so all you have to do is put in your primer flip tray and start filling your primers tubes. Plus they are still in neat little rows just like in the original package which makes it that much easy/faster to pick up.

    I also think the Federal packaging is a joke. I guess they want you to think you are getting something ‘extra’ when you buy their product!

    Even now that more primers are starting to show up there is still the pricing issue for me. I am not going to pay over $30 for a thousand primers just to get a brand name I like when I can get Wolf for $22 and get the same job done.
     
  6. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Working in a commercial loading environment here's my take on most of the common primers you come across:

    Wolf - The primer cups tend to be soft, and somewhat oversized. This leads to lots and lots of crushing when running through automated machines. I avoid these whenever possible

    CCI/ATK - These primers are real performers in most reloading equipment, the cups are tough, and usually properly sized. However, because the cups are harder, some people don't like these primers (namely cowboy shooters who diddle with the firing pin springs). For anything that reloads itself these primers are great.

    Winchester - Usually the second choice for the cowboy shooter crowd. I like them, and have been using them for years inerchangably with CCI. I did have one lot of large pistol primers where the cups were too soft. Given the shortages we've seen over the last few years, we had to really decide this was a problem before we called winchester and returned over 150K primers. Thankfully, they were able to get us some replacements fairly quickly.

    Remington - These are ok, don't like the packaging, and it perpetually confuses me why the 6-1/2 shouldn't be used for reloading .223 ammo. I guess the primers can't take that kind of pressure, so they recommend the 7-1/2. It is pretty rare to find these primers, so I stick to CCI and winchester whenever possible.

    Federal - Cowboy shooter's favorite primers. They are of the same vein as winchester/CCI, and have always performed for me. But usually get something of a premium, and I can't stand the over-sized packaging, makes them a pain in the *** to dump into the primer fillers.
     
  7. woody06

    woody06 Southern Oregon New Member

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    You should avoid the softer primers if you are loading for a semi-auto such as the M1, M1A, or any of the AR15 type rifles to reduce the chances of a slam fire. It doesn't happen often but if it does it can really ruin your day. I use CCI because of their harder cup. Cleaning primer pockets is also a good idea for semi-autos, and make sure primers are not protruding above the case.
     
  8. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    1) Precision loading where I'm trying for the very best out of a gun:

    I stick with Federal Gold Match (Benchrest) primers, in the 210GM for the Large Rifle, and 205GM for the Small Rifles.
    I found some years back from chronograph and target results, that a primer actually CAN make a significant difference in consistency and accuracy. The benchrest primers seem to also burn just slightly hotter than a standard, but not near a magnum.

    2) Workaday reloading (for .30-30's, old military guns, etc.) where economy is more the goal: CCI 200's.

    3) Blackpowder Cartridge loads: Federal 215 Magnum. Ignites the black very nearly as well as a duplex load without the fuss.
     
  9. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    To help prevent slam fires in my commie-guns I use CCI No. 34 and No. 41 and Wolf magnum primers.
     
  10. OR4X4

    OR4X4 Hour south of portland Member

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    I use CCI and winchester and have never had a misfire with either. I don't see a reason to change what works well enough for me, I'm not a benchrest guy.
     
  11. BillM

    BillM Amity OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    About the only thing I reload for any more in quantity is competition loads--primarily USPSA, with some Steel Challenge and Icore. Between all calibers
    I go through around 20,000 per year.

    45 auto--whatever. Lately it's been Remington and Winchester LP.

    9mm minor and major, 40 S&W minor and major--Winchester SPM. No
    problems using the magnum primers for everything.

    Revolvers--45 ACP and 38 special. Federal. Softest of the bunch, they are
    the only brand 100% reliable with the reduced springs in the match revo's.
     
  12. rodell

    rodell Newcastle, WA Active Member

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    I got another shipment of CCI's, and, the primer pocket in the packaging allows me to load my pickup tube directly without flipping or handling them in any way. Really nice.

    I pretty much stick with CCI's and Federal, switched from Remington years ago. I've never tried Wolf.
     
  13. dennisf

    dennisf Battleground, Wa Member

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    I prefer CCI because I have not ever had a problem with them. I trade out others for the CCI. I am still using primers purchased for $12.70 per K in pistol and rifle. Some boxes are the old blue and white boxes.
    I have managed to stick a couple of primers while priming by hand for the pistol. I picked up some S&B brass marked 9x19 and it is trouble to reload. When I stuck the primer, I broke everything down and put it under water overnight. The next day, wearing a faceshield and glasses, I pushed the primer out and took it to the anvil. When I have a suspect primer, I whack it to make sure it is dead for recycling the brass. This one was still hot after sitting in water over night. What fluid works best to kill a rogue primer?
     
  14. Spitpatch

    Spitpatch Forest Grove, Oregon Well-Known Member

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    In my understanding, oil is the primer killer, par excellance. Kerosene might work better, but you're literally playing with fire.

    As for old primer experience, I took in some estate-sale primers a while back, and realized soon enough they'd blow out of one corner of themselves in the primer pocket of the brass. Etched the bolt face of my new M700. New experience for me. I tossed them in the backyard burn pile while in white-hot ingition of the wood there. Anti-climactic experience: sounded like twelve eight year-olds with roll-cap guns.

    For one or just a few primers? Smack 'em wid a hammer. Done deal. Wear safety glasses, don't try this at home, and understand this activity performed by professionals. Drive Safely, no charge for this service.
     
  15. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The standard method for this is soaking in oil. Most primers especially CCI (made by ATK, who also runs the LC arsenal) are waterproofed, so you need something which will bypass the layers and deactivate them. This usually seems to work just fine, you can use hoppes or your favorite gun lube. (btw, hoppes is mostly kerosine, so Spitpatch isn't far off.

    Frankly, I never cared, primers going off arn't all that energetic. While it's not recommended, I usually just decap rounds with messed up primers. I have never had one go off, but I'm at least conscious of what I'm doing to make sure if one does go off I won't be hurt.
     
  16. Driften

    Driften Issaquah, WA New Member

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    I have used Winchester for years in 45 Colt cowboy loads. They have always worked well for me. I have no experience with any other brands.
     
  17. therifleman

    therifleman kennewick Member

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    Load all of them and compare which one shoots the best groups. you are going to find a lot of difference from one to another. My 308 savage 10fphsp will show as much as 2inches different impact point just from changing primers.
     
  18. herdingcats

    herdingcats Des Moines, WA Member

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    I'm reviving an old thread here, but I thought it was worth mentioning that Remington SP primers seem to be sized smaller than other SP primers (I'm referring to the cylindrical outside diameter here). I have never measured them to support this claim, but I can tell you they are the ONLY SP primer I have ever had fall right out of a case. In a sample of 5,000 primers I had this happen about 10+ times. When I loaded those same cases (I kept track of them) with Winchester SP primers, they seated just fine. Just to be sure, I kept track of them at the range and inspected the cases after the fact... again, they were just fine. In other words, the issue was not the cases.

    I would also note here that I've had many a Remington SP primer turn in my Dillon 650 press such that they end up crushed during the seating process. Here again, it seemed that they were able to do this because they sit a little more loosely in the Rotary Primer Disc. Last, I would also add that while I've had every type of SP primer turn and get crushed, only the Remington SP primers give almost zero resistance. You can clearly tell when a CCI or a Winchester is getting crushed (they're harder, seemingly better material, so there is resistance to getting crushed). With Remington, they are so soft (thin?) that they just buckle under the slightest pressure.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not buying any more Remington primers - especially not the SP variety. I now stick with CCI and Winchester.
     
  19. deadshot2

    deadshot2 NW Quadrant WA State Well-Known Member

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    I quit using the Remington Primers (all of them) back in the 80's. The only ones I buy now are CCI BR-2's for Benchrest quality loads or Wolf LRP, SRP, SPP, and the .223 Primers. Recently compared some Wolf LRP's against the BR-2's and found group sizes were no more than a few thousandths larger. With the Wolf prices averaging around $20 per thousand I sure like them. I don't seem to have all the problems others claim with the Wolf primers. They go bang just like the others and seat just as well on my equipment as everything else.
     
  20. gunfreak

    gunfreak Boise Well-Known Member

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    I recently bought some winchester primers and noticed that they don't go in the primer pocket as easily as CCI. Maybe because the CCI are nickeled.
    Other than that never had reliability issues.