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In many of the reloading recipes they specify a certain primer. Is that because, perhaps, the powder needs a certain primer to ignite it? If you aren't shooting in competition--and especially given the prices these days--does the primer make that much of a difference?
 

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They list the primer so you know exactly what their load is. Make makes no difference, use what you can find but don't substitute pistol for rifle or visa versa. (there are exceptions in very small cases.)
 

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The Shadow
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It is for a few reasons, some of which come from old "wisdom" that honestly only applies to certain conditions/things.
General principles and broad over-view, Jack is correct; it really doesn't matter "Generally speaking".

For a specifics and nuances discussion.
In certain settings like: Large cases with low volume charges, using very old tech spherical powders. Then some things can be difficult to ignite reliably, without hang fires. Different brands have different compounds(basic, regular, DDNP), and different outputs. So the data lists the brands of components tested.

With reloading, when you change ANYTHING; you should start over with loads. But for typical cartridges in the 308 to 7mmRM size range, when using sane loadings with appropriate components(which is NOT pronounced "hold my beer and watch this velocity"). You aren't likely to run into any serious issues with a simple primer swap.

Cheers
 
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Yes, the old adage I remember was that if substituting something like a primer reduce your load 10%. Forgot if that was starting , maximum or both but if you are substituting anything I would stay far away from maximum.
 

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Part of the fun of reloading is experimentation ☺ I'll load four or more with the same bullets and powder charge in a specific caliber that I'm test loading. for accuracy and velocity . You'll find some powders just plain o don't like certain primers. You'll get noticeable velocity spikes and low velocity readings. CCI seams to agree with anything but federal is finicky
 

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Elk Whisperer (Super Moderator)
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I remember an Ace Reid cartoon where "Cookie" is serving beans to the crew and in the foreground some of the fellers are spitting fire, drinking water while "Cookie" says:

"Hope you like it boys, I ran out of black pepper so I used cayenne pepper instead."

From my experience primers do make a differnce. Changing primers from "regular" to "magnum" does make a difference. You can do it, but as stated earlier (Darrker and shawlerbrook) you should reduce your load by 10% ( at least) When changing primers in midstream if the load isn't at or near the maximum suggested in your manual, no, probably not as it's advisable to only change on thing at a time in searching for accuracy. It turns into a "What happens if" scenario and if you are at that questionable point, then yes, reduce by 10% and start over.

Primers seem to be a matter of preference. Jimboro say Federals are finicky and he trusts CCI. I'm on the other side of the fence and prefer Federals but I also have CCI's and Remingtons on my shelf just in case, so no, I'm not "married" to Federals, CCI's or Remingtons.

Working up a new load and don't have what's in the recipe? Start at the start and work up. Chances are youll find your load before you get to the maximum suggested load anyway.

Large rifle and large pistol primers are different in that the cup is is of a different height. The large pistol primer is shorter. Small rifle and small pistol are the same dimension so they can be interchanged in certain situations by an experienced reloader but it's not advised to do so. I have tried small rifle primers in a mild .357 Magnum load and all six went bang with no ill affects but I surely wouldn't go the other way or try it with a "close to the edge" load. If memory serves the 454 Casull is the only pistol cartridge that uses small rifle primers specifically, but there may be more by now.

Anyways follow what your manual says first, they may have tested a few and found what works best for that load combination.

RJ
 

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I was curious and did some tests with different primers last year (prior to lockdown). I have a load in 270 Win that really shoots lights out. 110 gr. Hornady Match bullet with 58 gr. H4831. This is the book minimum according to Hodgdon. I used CCI, CCI BR2, Winchester, CCI Magnum and some old Herter's primers I had. I know this was not a scientific test, but every single load shot less than 1" at 100 yds. (5 shot groups). The BR2 primers shot best at 0.41" and the CCI Magnum the worst at 0.82". Surprisingly, the `55 year old Herter's shot a 0.72. All the rest were between 0.5-0.8 inches.

I have quite a few of those bullets and may try and chronograph them with the different primers and see any differences they may produce.

Joel
 

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RJ. You miss read my post. I said nothing about trusting CCI in fact I get the usual one out of a thousand no bang with them. When it comes to trusting in a primer im more of a remington guy...and never had a problem with WLR .. with that said most of my reloads use CCI 250 primers. Reason being is constant velocity. . My problem with federal primers seam to happen with IMR 4320 and H 380 . But that want be the fact with Different calibers
 

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Years back, had problems with Rem #9's blowing at the cup radius - ruined a couple bolt faces before ditching the remainder of the brick. Recently had problems with a brick of WLR's std primers not ignition while having perfect firing pin hits - 4 in a row. Never experienced the slightest problems with CCI"s or Federals of any type.
 

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-does the primer make that much of a difference?
It can.

But if you're loading for an iron sighted .30-30, it's not likely you can find an accuracy difference, and probably even the pressure difference will be pretty transparent, assuming you're not swapping Magnums for Standards. Most "hunting rifles" off the store display rack, probably not. Honestly, most shooters probably not. It's a good idea to back off on a load at or near the top of the recipe range, but a medium load, probably not.

If you are a regular at the range, and you shoot from a decent bench rig on a frequent basis, maybe some club shoots a few times a year, stuff like offhand matches, ?? You will likely see some differences comparing primers on occasion, especially with a good varmint rig. But not always.

I use mostly CCI and Winchester primers myself, but these days if I spotted a couple thousand Remington of Federal primers, I wouldn't pass them up.
 

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I've looked at several articles publishing primer tests and concluded lowering powder charge 5% for a primer change is probably enough. Especially if you are not near a sticky bolt lift maximum.
 
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Jimboro, I took "CCI agrees with everything" to mean you liked them over Federals, maybe "trust" was misinterpreted, my bad.

RJ
 
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I'll use any primers I can get for know .☺
I was just speaking from my experience.
But I do get some crazy velocity spikes with fed 210 and a large charge of 1680 in the 444 with 300 gr. Bullets . . And I'm talking over 100fps. Scary..
My bad RJ ..☺
 

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My problem with federal primers {seems} to happen with IMR 4320 and H 380 . But that want be the fact with Different calibers
H380 is canister grade WC852, the same powder adopted by Lake City for 30-06 M2 ball. It is one of the St. Marks ignition problem powders for which CCI changed their magnum primer design in 1989. Like a lot of older military ball formulations, the deterrent coating at the surface is very thick, so it needs very hot sparks and a sustained flame for ignition consistency. So I think you are just seeing somewhat expected ignition irregularity with it using the 210, and your use of the 250 is the cure.

I'm a little surprised by the IMR 4320 behaving that way unless you are using it with lower case fill. The old 30-06 National Match load from Lake City used IMR4895 with an 80-83% loading density charge, and despite the military primer making a magnum primer level of gas, I could get an 80 fps difference in velocity from it out of a 24" barrel (Garand or Springfield '03) just by letting the powder fall back over the primer or forward over the bullet before slowly bringing the gun level to fire it. I would expect the same from 4320. It would be worth a demo test, except IMR has now discontinued 4320, so I don't expect to find any and I don't want to put work into developing loads for it now that it is an orphan.
 
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Thank you Unclenick great info ...and I agree IMR 4895 is the powder for my 30-06 Remington woodsmonster ... and thanks for the heads up on the 4320. I'm on my last lb.
 

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I'll use any primers I can get for know .☺
I was just speaking from my experience.
But I do get some crazy velocity spikes with fed 210 and a large charge of 1680 in the 444 with 300 gr. Bullets . . And I'm talking over 100fps. Scary..
My bad RJ ..☺
I use pretty much anything I can find now too. The last small pistol I found was Tula. Never used them before.
 

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They list the primer so you know exactly what their load is. Make makes no difference, use what you can find but don't substitute pistol for rifle or visa versa. (there are exceptions in very small cases.)

I came across some real vintage primers. CCI from the late 40's to early 50's. (large rifle)They must have been stored properly, because they worked just fine.
I still have a few boxes from another maker, unopened. (collector's items)

Here in Ca. reloading supplies are as elusive as bigfoot. No primers, no projectiles. Powder? You gotta know a guy, who knows a guy.
Never seen ranges so devoid of used brass.
 

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I've always found the brands of primers to be interchangeable; for ordinary purposes I can't tell the difference.
But I don't swap magnum for std, nor rifle for pistol.
 
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It depends on the round and the load. No single truths here. Check out the article on primers I linked to in Post #14.
 
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