Fed Brass vs. Win. Brass & Lee Auto-Prime


Feb 12, 2003
1. I am reloading 308 rounds for my FN SPR. I plan to start out with 44.0 gr of Varget (working up to the 47 gr in the manual), w/168 g SMK's and Fed 210M primers. The Hodgdon reloading manual specifically lists Winchester Brass. Is it possible that the substitution will have an adverse effect on my rifle if I substitute Federal GMM brass and still work up to the max load? (Are there differences in the "memory" or elasticity of the brass that could potentially result in higher than nominal chamber pressures?)Why do they specify the type/brand of brass?
2. The manual for the Lee Auto-Prime says not to use the Fed210M primers for safety reasons (acidental discharge is sufficient to cause serious injury...). Does anyone on this forum use the Lee Auto-Prime to seat Federal 210M primers?


Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2007
Wilmington NC

I have the lee system and never had a problem, but I switched over to the RCBS hand priming tool (like the lee) system, just for safety sake. Still cheap and easy to use. buy the RCBS and no worries.


[ 03-20-2003: Message edited by: BountyHunter ]


Well-Known Member
Jan 6, 2002
Nashville, TN

Might I suggest you start off developing with a 175SMK, not the 168's.

In regards to brass. Winchester brass is lighter than Federal, or was when I was using it. This translates into more case capacity. The federal brass is soft, and generally will not get as many loadings. For domestic brass, I prefer winchester.

If I had Federal on had I'd starting by dropping the starting load back .3gr or so, but 44gr Varget and a 168/175 is a pussycat load and you should have no problems.

If you're concerned with 210M's, I've had GREAT results with a winch case and WLR standard primer.



Well-Known Member
Jul 27, 2001
I have uses the Lee hand primer with Fed 215M primers and have not had any problems. Not sure why there is this warning on certain brands.

I have used the Fed Gold Medal and Win brass. Found both to be very good. Brass life with both were similar. Treat each brand as a new load, internal volumes are different. Chances are the best load will vary 0.5 to 1.0gr between brands.

If concerned about the Fed primers, I can suggest the CCI BR2 primers. Have used them for years and they work very well.

I really like the Hornady poly tip bullets and would recommend the 155gr AMax and the 165gr SST. Have taken the Amax to 1450 yds accurately with my 308- stump shooting.

I have found these bullets to fly flatter then conventional match hollow points from Nosler, Sierra of equal or heavier weight.

Good luck...



Well-Known Member
May 8, 2001
South Windham, CT - in Moo-Cow country
The warning about Fed primers is because they have the softest metal cups in the business. What looks like high pressure with Federal, is nothing with Win, or CCI.

Also... it has been my experience that Win cases weigh 175 grains fairly consistantly... but one batch of Fed gold match brass I bought, ranged from 176 down to 155, and spread all over the place... that was my last batch of Fed brass.


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