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Primer Weirdness

This is a discussion on Primer Weirdness within the Reloading forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I have been using CCI primers for over 30 years and never had a problem with ignition. I will side with the not fully seated ...


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Old February 8th, 2017, 11:26 AM   #16
 
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I have been using CCI primers for over 30 years and never had a problem with ignition.

I will side with the not fully seated theory.

regards, Rob



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Old February 8th, 2017, 12:24 PM   #17
 
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Me too on the not fully seated.

When I load single stage, I use an antique RCBS priming die. I have it set to just start to flatten the primer, the tool marks from the punch are visible on the primer. Never had a problem with any primer.

Also makes no difference if primer pockets are clean or not doing it this way.

A competitive pistol shooter 15 years my senior turned me on to doing it this way 45 years ago.
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Old February 8th, 2017, 12:25 PM   #18
 
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That's the classic sign of a primer not seated fully into the pocket.
The first hit drives it fully into the pocket , the next hit fires it.
Simple fix , seat all primers until they bottom out in the pocket, if the primer is below flush, It's OK , the correct depth is to the bottom....Trust me on this.
Gary
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Old February 8th, 2017, 12:31 PM   #19
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaguru View Post
<snip> I have it set to just start to flatten the primer, the tool marks from the punch are visible on the primer. Never had a problem with any primer.
Yikes, aren't you afraid of setting off the primer with that much pressure?  (Sorry, I'm a newbie loader so ........)


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Old February 8th, 2017, 08:51 PM   #20
 
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I'm going with the "Primer not seated" theory. Considering the batch of rounds I was firing that day had been loaded with my Square Deal B, that makes sense. I always had problems seating the primers with that press, so this theory definately equates.

This makes me even happier that I switched to the 550!

Thanks for all the comments.

Pam
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Old February 8th, 2017, 11:30 PM   #21
 
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The only problem I ever had with my 550b was this, I had to provide additional clearance between the catch box bracket and the handle in order to get enough travel to seat the primer completely. I did this by carving the little semi-circle in the catch box bracket a little deeper with my die grinder, no problems since.

My press was purchased in 1992 and I haven't really looked at any newer models of the 550b, so I don't know if this would apply in your case.

Pretty cool...ol' Blue since '92, and still chuggin' along...
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Old February 9th, 2017, 04:59 AM   #22
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pampurrs View Post


Yikes, aren't you afraid of setting off the primer with that much pressure?  (Sorry, I'm a newbie loader so ........)


Not in the least. It doesn't take much pressure to transfer the tool marks into the soft plated brass, and it is a "push" not a "slam".

I'm sure if there was a problem doing this my mentor and I would have found out many, many years ago.
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Old February 9th, 2017, 07:05 AM   #23
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Pampurrs, I agree, likely your primer was not fully seated. Your 550 with the long press arm will provide more seating pressure .... just don't go overboard and flatten the primers.

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Quote:
the primer either fires or it doesn't. So as long as you're getting 100% ignition with your firearm it doesn't really matter as long as it works. It's not as if the primer "sort of goes off" or "goes off half way"; it either goes bang or it doesn't.
I use to think the same thing until I did an aggressive primer test several years ago. I used Federal, CCI, Winchester, and Remington primers .... large and small, standard and magnum. Initially, I set out to prove which primers were the most sensitive and which were the least sensitive.

I use a S&W Mod 10 (38 Special) with Speer plastic cases, which use large primers and normal brass cases that use small primers. The strain screw, located at the lower front of the grip frame can be backed out to reduce hammer tension and firing pin energy.

During these tests, I found something interesting with all types and brands of primers .... I called it poof, pop, bang .... when hammer spring tension was set at factory tension (strain screw fully tightened) all primers would make a loud bang. However by backing off the stain screw, I could get the primers to pop and by backing off the strain screw a little more, the primers would make a poof sound. Of course when the strain screw was backed out too far ... the primers did not respond.

This peaked my interest so I broke out my chronograph and tested some actual 38 Special loads. When the strain screw was set to make a primer poof, it would detonate the powder but not in a uniform manner. The chronograph indicated a much lower and erratic velocity. The same thing happened when I increased the strain screw to the "pop" level. All loads ignited, velocities were higher than with the "poof" loads and were also a bit more uniform. Finally, I fired the same exact loads with the strain screw fully tight. All loads produce higher and much more uniform velocities. From that point on, I decided to leave the factory hammer springs in my guns and deal with a little harder trigger pull.

BTW, my tests also concluded CCI primers were the least sensitive with CCI magnum primers being the least sensitive of all ..... least sensitive meaning they need a harder firing pin strike to detonate. Federal standard primers were the most sensitive in both large and small. Another myth was uncovered when I deprimed spent cases and measured the thickness of the cup. All brands ... standard or magnum were virtually identical at .016" +or- .001". I do suspect the brass for standard cups were probably annealed to make them softer because the dents were more pronounced in standard primers versus magnum primers. Keep in mind, the primer must contain generated chamber pressure so a thinner cup is not a good solution. Fact is .... small standard primers are subjected to the widest range of pressures. From 17.5k psi for a 38 Special to 35 k psi for a 9mm or 40 S&W. This is why using a spent primer to try to judge chamber pressure is a bad idea. For a 38 Special, by the time you see excessive pressure signs in the primer, you are probably at double the SAAMI pressure rating.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 06:41 PM   #24
 
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Well I concur that the primer in question was not seated properly, rather than the theory that the CCI primer failed. I'm far from expert enough on the subject to be able to draw such a conclusion, so I go by the consensus of those who know a lot more than me.

With that said......

I went to the Dillon store today to replenish my powder and primers, and was told that they are completely out of CCI primers. I ended up with a box of Winchester primers instead. These are gold colored instead of the silver color of the CCI primers. I doubt that the color makes any material difference. In any case, I am now about to experience Winchester primers, not because I chose to switch, but because of availability.

I will continue to believe that the primer on the subject round was not seated fully, and had nothing to do with the brand of primer. But then I could be wrong.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 07:09 PM   #25
 
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Pampurrs, I think I've used every type of commercially made small pistol primer available and the Winchester small pistol primer [WSP] works beautifully.
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Old February 15th, 2017, 07:21 PM   #26
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassMan View Post
I doubt that any degree of firing pin force would have any effect on the degree of primer detonation.
What? That's just nuts. So you're saying that if there is a huge variation in the force applied to the primer in different firearms, it will make no difference in primer detonation??

All of those with experience with firearms that have had misfires due to "light hits" (me included) will disagree.

And from what I have repeatedly read from multiple sources over many years, CCI primers are the brand that takes the MOST force to reliably ignite. Perhaps their silver color is due to nickle plating that makes their surface just a bit harder (regardless of their thickness)?
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Old February 15th, 2017, 07:40 PM   #27
 
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I have to agree with BassMan, either it goes off or it doesn't.
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Old February 16th, 2017, 05:02 AM   #28
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BassMan View Post

.....

Assuming the brass is only worked enough to form the primer, it should exhibit the same degree of work hardening.

Assuming the brass is 80 percent copper and 20 percent zinc the alloy hardness should be the same.

If some primers having the same cup thickness are "harder" than others I never have seen it. In this situation the discussion is about why a LCR failed to fire (small pistol primers).

.....
Like others who have commented, I haven't personally seen that one brand of primer is "harder" than others, but I also don't use reduced power hammer/striker springs in my firearms.

However, the "assumptions" quoted above may not be correct. The manufacturers may use slightly different processes which have a significant impact on brass hardness. Also, there are many different compositions of "brass", all of which have different physical properties (including malleability, work hardening, etc).

It would be interesting to know if the CCI military primers, which are designed to be harder to ignite (I use them when loading for my AR, Garland and M1A), have different cup thickness from the corresponding "regular" rifle primers.



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Old February 16th, 2017, 06:53 AM   #29
 
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I've had some SP seating problems with Winchester brass in 9mm especially and had a failure to fire experience just like Pam. I'm considering getting a primer chamfering tool to remove burrs/crimping deformities in the primer pocket. My primer pockets come out shiny clean with my wet tumbler so I know the problem isn't dirt.

Anyone else use a primer chamfering tool?
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Old February 16th, 2017, 10:31 AM   #30
 
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I'm one of those old dogs who still uses the little hand-operated priming tools like the ones made by LEE. As they advertise, it is possible to "feel" the primer into the pocket with these tools, and it's readily apparent when you have bottomed out a primer. Once you develop the "feel" priming is a breeze, and will invariably produce a seated primer that can easily pass the "slightly below flush" feel with your thumb as you remove the case from the tool.

I know some folks don't like the little tools, and the big presses are another animal altogether, but I'm a happy camper with my LEE tool. Admittedly this is not the fastest way to prime, but I usually load in 50-round batches so it's no handicap for me.

All JMHO, of course.

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