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Lets Talk Primers

 
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2010, 11:24 AM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

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Originally Posted by Firecat View Post
There are no right or wrong answers here, but all comments are welcome. I am sure that we all have our own thoughts on the matter and that is what I am after. - Firecat
Firecat,
Actually, there are right and wrong answers here, they just don't come down to brand preference or opinion. Unfortunately, there's no SINGLE "right" answer.

The answer is, yes, primers can (and usually do) make a significant difference in long-range accuracy. While one brand may perform a bit better than others in a given rifle, it doesn't end there; there's differences between lots from the same manufacturer as well. In other words, this lot number of CCI BR-4s will perform better than that lot of CCI BR-4s. All this comes down to a matter of of testing, and there's really no way around that. All this primer selection is fairly well known among Long Range competitive shooters, and we tend to devote a fair amount of energy to it as a result. Most hunters, at least in my observation, tend to be a bit less concerned about primers. Good to see the topic getting some attention. As Sam Wilson once said, "you don't 'know' what you 'think'; you only 'know' what you MEASURE!" Performance and accuracy can be measured with regards to primers, and it's time well spent.

Kevin Thomas
Lapua USA
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  #16  
Old 12-07-2010, 12:18 PM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

Kevin, I appreciate your comments a great deal. Are there any articles that you are aware of on the topic of primers? I would agree with you that hunters do not seem to be as concerned generally. At least this is my experience having talked to many reloaders who mainly do so for hunting. I am always interested in how things work and finding a better way if one is available. Have you ever noticed any trends when testing different primers that you would think of value to someone else?

For those of you using Federal primers. Do you prefer the regular 210's and 215's or do you prefer the match 210's and 215's? Why?
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  #17  
Old 12-07-2010, 12:28 PM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

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Originally Posted by Firecat View Post
For those of you using Federal primers. Do you prefer the regular 210's and 215's or do you prefer the match 210's and 215's? Why?
I haven't really shot enough of the 210M's yet to really get a feel for which is better or if there is really a difference. I think I noticed a bit of a group size difference, but not enough to really draw a conclusion yet.

Tank
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  #18  
Old 12-07-2010, 12:29 PM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

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Originally Posted by B23 View Post
What do you all think about using Mag, 215's and the like, primers when using slow burning powders like Retumbo in 06 size cases?

A good example is the 6.5-06 or 6.5-06AI. I've read where alot of guys are using Retumbo in these when loading the 140gr bullets. Are Mag. primers necessary with this combo or would 210's be a better choice????
I use std primers in my 6.5 Sherman with retumbo and get great accuracy and velocity. The reason you get higher velocities with magnum primers is simply because you are raising pressures just as you would by adding more powder.In my opinion, the only good reason to use a magnum primer in an '06 sized case is if during testing of both, you find the magnum gives better accuracy overall. Simply changing the primer is not a FAIR evaluation because of the increased pressure i.e. (increasing the load by 1 gr. of powder might accomplish the same thing. My experience........Rich
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  #19  
Old 12-07-2010, 01:25 PM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

Firecat,
Some of the more extensive tests that I've seen done on this topic have been posted over on 6mmBR.com, since they're more competition oriented. German Salazar has done some and written them up beautifully, as he usually does. Some years back, there was also a series of tests done by Bob Jensen (Jensen's Custom ammo; he loaded the ammo for the '92 Palma Matches fired at Raton that year) using a series of photos (essentially, spark photography) of primers detonating against a grid paper backdrop. This allowed you to actually see/measure the varying degrees of brisance between various primers, and the difference is tremendous. I recall that he also chambered up a centerfire rifle action in the format of what became a very high dollar BB gun; a case modified to be loaded with a standard .177" steel BB, with a very short "barrel" that allowed him to chronograph the BBs with the primers being the only variable. Very interesting results in terms of SDs and ESs denoting the consistency of each of the various makes of primers.

That said, I should caution, primers change. Manufacturers make adjustments to their compounds, their cup thicknesses, anvil designs, etc.. These tests should give you some inkling of just how much difference there is between the various makes, but I wouldn't assume that the primers today are exactly the same as what the results that these tests show. As a general rule, you want a primer that's capable of giving complete ignition, and no more. The less violence or shattering effect (brisance) that a primer generates, the better it is for accuracy. Balancing that, the primer has to be capable of reliably igniting that powder charge, or we get hangfires, poor accuracy and other annoyances. The 215s are probably the most violent primers out there, but for a very large case stuffed with a big dose of slow burning powder, they're still the go-to choice for priming. I just wouldn't use them for a 308 Match gun, since they'd be out of place there. Regardless of the combination we're talking about though, it pays to do some work to isolate a good primer/load combination. It may not make the slightest bit of difference at 200 yards, but it certainly will at five times that distance.

As far as the Fed 210s and 215s, I use both, but as I said, they both have their place. Ditto for most others. One other thing I'd stress here is, don't get too married to a single primer. Some years back, most of us Service Rifle shooters were using the same make of primer, and all of us were quite satisfied. Then we all suddenly started having major pressure problems, or pressure signs, anyway. No other changes in the loads, but we all suddenly started blowing primers. Pressure testing showed that our loads were still within the boundries, so the change was in the primer itself. Turns out the manufacturer decided to increase sensitivity of their primers (which none of us had problems with!), by thinning the cup ever so slightly. The result was a major problem for us, and this community left them in droves. Today, they're now a very minor player in this particular competitive community, and you rarely see them being used these days by Service Rifle shooters. My point is, things change, and you should never take these things for granted.
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  #20  
Old 12-07-2010, 01:39 PM
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Re: Lets Talk Primers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Thomas View Post
Firecat,
Some of the more extensive tests that I've seen done on this topic have been posted over on 6mmBR.com, since they're more competition oriented. German Salazar has done some and written them up beautifully, as he usually does. Some years back, there was also a series of tests done by Bob Jensen (Jensen's Custom ammo; he loaded the ammo for the '92 Palma Matches fired at Raton that year) using a series of photos (essentially, spark photography) of primers detonating against a grid paper backdrop. This allowed you to actually see/measure the varying degrees of brisance between various primers, and the difference is tremendous. I recall that he also chambered up a centerfire rifle action in the format of what became a very high dollar BB gun; a case modified to be loaded with a standard .177" steel BB, with a very short "barrel" that allowed him to chronograph the BBs with the primers being the only variable. Very interesting results in terms of SDs and ESs denoting the consistency of each of the various makes of primers.

That said, I should caution, primers change. Manufacturers make adjustments to their compounds, their cup thicknesses, anvil designs, etc.. These tests should give you some inkling of just how much difference there is between the various makes, but I wouldn't assume that the primers today are exactly the same as what the results that these tests show. As a general rule, you want a primer that's capable of giving complete ignition, and no more. The less violence or shattering effect (brisance) that a primer generates, the better it is for accuracy. Balancing that, the primer has to be capable of reliably igniting that powder charge, or we get hangfires, poor accuracy and other annoyances. The 215s are probably the most violent primers out there, but for a very large case stuffed with a big dose of slow burning powder, they're still the go-to choice for priming. I just wouldn't use them for a 308 Match gun, since they'd be out of place there. Regardless of the combination we're talking about though, it pays to do some work to isolate a good primer/load combination. It may not make the slightest bit of difference at 200 yards, but it certainly will at five times that distance.

As far as the Fed 210s and 215s, I use both, but as I said, they both have their place. Ditto for most others. One other thing I'd stress here is, don't get too married to a single primer. Some years back, most of us Service Rifle shooters were using the same make of primer, and all of us were quite satisfied. Then we all suddenly started having major pressure problems, or pressure signs, anyway. No other changes in the loads, but we all suddenly started blowing primers. Pressure testing showed that our loads were still within the boundries, so the change was in the primer itself. Turns out the manufacturer decided to increase sensitivity of their primers (which none of us had problems with!), by thinning the cup ever so slightly. The result was a major problem for us, and this community left them in droves. Today, they're now a very minor player in this particular competitive community, and you rarely see them being used these days by Service Rifle shooters. My point is, things change, and you should never take these things for granted.
Great post Kevin! What an innovative idea with the BB gun!.....Rich
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  #21  
Old 12-07-2010, 01:58 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
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Posts: 399
Re: Lets Talk Primers

Kevin, that is an excellent write up. I will check over at 6mmbr.com. There may be quite a few on this site that would benefit from similar technical articles. I being one of them. Would you be willing to put something together for this website with Len's supervision/approval of course?
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