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I've reloaded and fired about 7,000 rds of .45 ACP now, using 1,000 Wolf primers, 1,000 CCI Magnum, about 2,000 Winchester, 2,000 CCI, and I think I also used a 1,000 Remington.

I had quite a good number of misfires with the Wolfs, and concluded (rightly or not) this was due largely to a failure to seat them reliably. They're big, and I found it tough to properly seat them in my mixed brass. Not sure if this would even cause a problem, but it seems like it might, if the anvil is able to slide forward a bit. I dunno. In any case i decided not to load using Wolf primers any more. Maybe 20 or 30 misfires, I don't actually know. Most would fire on a second strike, some took 3 to 5 strikes to light up, some never did.

No misfires with the CCI Magnums or with the Remingtons that I'm sure of.

Lately, I've been running Winchesters, which seat well (and deep) in my brass. But, I'd also say I've had a dozen misfires where a second or third strike was needed to get 'em to go. Just today, firing 200 rds at the range, I had about 4 to 6 rds that took a second whack to light.

In no case have I seen any evidence of a light pin strike--they all look to be hammered good.

For this cartridge or for similar auto pistol cartridges or for anything that takes a Large Pistol sized primer, have folks seen anything they'd call a trend in terms of reliability? I had the impression CCI and Federal were 'the best', but I'm beginning to suspect Winchesters are maybe not so good. Is this more likely a problem of sloppy case prep or loading procedure rather than the supplies? [I know..."if you have to ask..."]
 

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Although I have never used any Wolf primers, I have used probably 120,000 of other brands including CCI, W-W, R-P, Federal, Mag Tech, Alcan, Dyn. Nobel and RWS and have never developed any negative opinions about any of them. I do know that dimensions can vary among brands and also among different lots or eras of the same brand. For example it used to seem that CCI's were harder and larger and more difficult to seat than the others. Nowadays I don't see much difference subjectively among them. I have had a few misfires over the years, mostly with belted rifle cartridges (but so few that I cannot condemn the primer manufacturer).

IF your gun is up to spec regarding mainspring tension, headspace and firing pin tip protrusion, and IF the primers have not been contaminated in some way, the most likely cause of your misfires is probably that some of them are not fully seated. I have used military .45 brass with smaller than normal primer pockets and it was necessary to use great deliberation when seating primers. Even then, some of them would not fully seat unless the primer pockets were reamed. So it could possibly be more of a brass problem than a primer problem.

With high primers the first firing pin strike will seat the primer or stress the anvil and the second will set it off. Also, the primer can be dented pretty deeply by the first strike, but the blow is nontheless cushioned when the primer is seated by the firing pin and there is not enough percussion to set off the primer. High primers do not always appear to be high; it is a matter of "feel" when seating each primer to ensure it is fully seated or identify a problem rounds.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Not uncommon to find Wolf ammo with dud primers in the dud ammo can at the gunrange. In fact, it probably represents 90% of the defective ammo in the container.
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I've not used any Wolf primers, but I have had my share of duds with Winchester large pistol primers in the 44 mag. It was suggested that the hammer strike wasn't strong enough, but I've never had ANY misfires with any other brand of primers.

RJ
 

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The only misfires I've ever had were Wolf factory ammunition in 7.62xCommie. When I put a light spring set in my GP I can only get Federals to go off, nothing else is 100% reliable with that.
 

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About 99.9% of the time when I have encountered primers that take 2 or 3 strikes to ignite, the problem is that they were not fully seated. It may well be that the Wolf primers are very slightly oversize and will require just a bit more seating pressure. The result of leaning on them a little more can be amazing
 

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The 45 ACP is a bit special, also. Almost all brass is actually shorter than the recommended trim length, which means they do not firmly headspace in the chamber. The extractor is the effective device holding the round against the breech.

If the extractor is worn or the spring weak, it is entirely possible for the entire round to move forward at the firing pin strike. That can easily prevent normal firing.
 

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I've used CCI exclusively. The only misfire I have had was with a factory (Remington) load that when disassembled I discovered the primer had no anvil!!!

I was a little nervous removing that primer but it came out cleanly.

Scruf
 

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I have used CCI and Winchester primers and have never had a problem. The only misfire I have seen was out at the gunsmiths shop the other week when a guy was out and had some reloads. He had one .22-250 round not go off, he thought it was ether from being old primers (20 years) or maybe contamination. Pin had fully engaged with the primer and should have fired. I believe he said it was a CCI primer.
 

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My experience is similar to Scruffy's post, 3 misfires in over 30 years of shooting every one was a Remington and all of the misfires were due to no anvil and powder in the primer.

Regards
Gene
 

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I guess I did have one misfire from another round, it was a Federal .223 that had no priming compound... mistakes do happen.
 

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I've found that pushing primers in the case with hand tools gives good feel when it comes to sensitizing a primer. Using the hand tool I found a few WLR's in new Starline cases went deep to sensitize after measuring 50 loads (460 S&W Mag) I found most primers to be in the .005-.007 in. deep range. a few went in .010 in. All these rounds fired.

Seems the tolerances between the different cases and primers vary enough that you should make sure you feel the primer bottom out firmly as if i useed a ram prime tool I may have had some duds.
 

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I will tell you about the issue with misfires I had, although I hate to. Under the advice of a reloader that I worked with, when I was buying my equipment, I purchased a Lee shell holder kit. I was told they would work with the RCBS hand primer, and they did, for a while. When the plastic the shell holder fits on got broke it, the holder did not fit as tight and it allowed the shell holder to slip up enough to not allow the primer to seat properly. 4 months into reloading I began having an issue of misfires. I bought two RCBS shell holders prior to purchasing another hand primer and my issue was resolved.
 

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I had a brick of CCI in a single shot 308 that would miss fire about 5 of 20 rounds. I put them away and dug them out for my AUTO 308 and had no issues at all with a lightened hammer spring. The wolf primers I heard are hard and in some rifles with a short pin may have trouble. So it may also be a mismatch primer / rifle thing.

AL
 

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Well, over the past 25 years I suppose I've loaded many tens of thousands of rounds using all sizes of boxer primers. What surprises me is how few misfires I've had in that time and quantity. I've had a couple that were my fault; I often use chemical case cleaners (Birchwood-Casey) and a couple of times my misfires were due to a damp spot in a case that I hadn't allow to dry thoroughly. This caused a small pocket of damp powder around the primer flash hole. The primer had gone off but the powder wouldn't light.

I find that using the hand priming tools, such as Lee (my favorite) and RCBS (a bit clunky and more difficult to use) as some others have mentioned gives you a better feel for the situation when seating primers. I've tried using the press-mounted RCBS device, and also a separate RCBS bench-mounted priming tool (obsolete design) and neither of these give you as much feel as the hand-held tools.

One other guy mentioned Lee shell holders not working out with the RCBS tool, and they aren't always directly compatible. The older Lee Universal Shell holders weren't bored out enough on the bottom to properly fit the RCBS plastic fixture in their hand-held tool. I've had to drill a few of the older Lee shell holders out to use them in the RCBS tool and after that they worked fine.

I've noticed that Lee shell holders have improved in precision over the past couple of decades and in some cases now are better than RCBS. For instance, Lee universal shell holders have a relief cut (kind of a step) just before the slot that receives the rim which makes it easier to insert a case.

Shell holders wear out, too, I've noticed. I start replacing them after 15 or 20 years. Even though they are made of hardened steel, like pouring water over a rock to wear it down, it's a slow process but it does occur. This comment also includes the proprietary Lee shell holders for their hand priming tool. Over the years, wear sets in (both shell holder and die cast housing of the tool itself), clearances get loose, and the next thing you know, you are getting high primers. You can do a workaround with the RCBS when your primers are too high my making a slightly longer seating rod out of some rod stock, but you can't do this as a practical matter with the Lee tool. Then again, you don't have to because if you send the worn-out tool back to Lee, they'll give you a replacement for free. They don't hold you to the "two year warranty" business.

So, back to the point. I've been very happy to have so few failures with primers considering the numbers, the relative complexity of such a small component, and the relatively low cost of the item. Sure, you don't want a misfire in a life or death situation, but I can't remember the last time I was attacked by a paper target.

Without starting a new thread (we've seen them on this subject before), I've decapped hundreds of live primers for reuse. These mostly come from somebody else's reloads that I've been given or bought at distressed prices at gun shows (I won't shoot somebody else's reloads) for salvage. Now the main issue I've had with these is, if they are pretty old the brass cup might lose its elasticity and won't seat with enough friction. These I discard. As to the ones that seat properly, these very, very rarely fail to go off, even after having been loaded, decapped, and loaded again. This is another thing that impresses me about this little component.
 

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Well, over the past 25 years I suppose I've loaded many tens of thousands of rounds using all sizes of boxer primers. What surprises me is how few misfires I've had in that time and quantity. I've had a couple that were my fault; I often use chemical case cleaners (Birchwood-Casey) and a couple of times my misfires were due to a damp spot in a case that I hadn't allowed to dry thoroughly. This caused a small pocket of damp powder around the primer flash hole. The primer had gone off but the powder wouldn't light.

I find that using the hand priming tools, such as Lee (my favorite) and RCBS (a bit clunky and more difficult to use) as some others have mentioned gives you a better feel for the situation when seating primers. I've tried using the press-mounted RCBS device, and also a separate RCBS bench-mounted priming tool (obsolete design) and neither of these give you as much feel as the hand-held tools.

One other guy mentioned Lee shell holders not working out with the RCBS tool, and they aren't always directly compatible. The older Lee Universal Shell holders weren't bored out enough on the bottom to properly fit the RCBS plastic fixture in their hand-held tool. I've had to drill a few of the older Lee shell holders out to use them in the RCBS tool and after that they worked fine.

I've noticed that Lee shell holders have improved in precision over the past couple of decades and in some cases now are better than RCBS. For instance, Lee universal shell holders have a relief cut (kind of a step) just before the slot that receives the rim which makes it easier to insert a case.

Shell holders wear out, too, I've noticed. I start replacing them after 15 or 20 years. Even though they are made of hardened steel, like pouring water over a rock to wear it down, it's a slow process but it does occur. This comment also includes the proprietary Lee shell holders for their hand priming tool. Over the years, wear sets in (both shell holder and die cast housing of the tool itself), clearances get loose, and the next thing you know, you are getting high primers. You can do a workaround with the RCBS when your primers are too high by making a slightly longer seating rod out of some rod stock, but you can't do this as a practical matter with the Lee tool. Then again, you don't have to because if you send the worn-out tool back to Lee, they'll give you a replacement for free. They don't hold you to the "two year warranty" business.

So, back to the point. I've been very happy to have so few failures with primers considering the numbers, the relative complexity of such a small component, and the relatively low cost of the item. Sure, you don't want a misfire in a life or death situation, but I can't remember the last time I was attacked by a paper target.

Without starting a new thread (we've seen them on this subject before), I've decapped hundreds of live primers for reuse. These mostly come from somebody else's reloads that I've been given or bought at distressed prices at gun shows (I won't shoot somebody else's reloads) for salvage. Now the main issue I've had with these is, if they are pretty old the brass cup might lose its elasticity and won't seat with enough friction. These I discard. As to the ones that seat properly, these very, very rarely fail to go off, even after having been loaded, decapped, and loaded again. This is another thing that impresses me about this little component.
 
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