Misfired Primers


Well-Known Member
Aug 23, 2009
Something got me puzzled at the range today, it was nice sunny day about 40 F no wind, during my shooting session I got 3 rounds which failed to fire and 2 which fired on the second or 3rd strike, for all of this rounds which I fired today I used Winchester Large Rifle primers which I had used for a few months now but never had misfires like I had today. Another thing I used 2 different riffles one for .308 win another for 270 win and misfires happened on both. Something is not right it almost like I got my rifles jinxed :cool:
Not just you. I had some WLR's I just recently bought do the same thing to me while working up a load for a friend in a 30-06. Plus I have had a few pierce in my 22-250 with a proven load that is not over pressure. I think they might have had an issure with a varrying skin thickness. As soon as I use these up I am done with them. And I have used them for years.

Not sure how you cleaned them. Did you tumble them in media? maybe some media was stuck down inside the cases. Doubt it's something like a weakened spring especially since you used 2 different guns. Let us know what you found.
A friend of mine had this same thing happen recently and they were Winchester primers as well. He now only uses them for fouling shots and break in stuff.
The only difference in my recent loads, I used George & Roys custom primer sealant and I used it on the sides of the primer pockets I thought I'll get better seal this way, it could have gone on the primer itself, I'm going to pull bullets out of the cases now and inspect them.
Just pulled the bullet out and got all of the powder out there is on grain of powder stuck in the flash hole, but primer never fired

In the second case it's fresh virgin brass nothing in the flash hole and primer never ignited, however all of them had deep punch marks...
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Sounds to me like Winchester is having some problems with their production line somewhere or even QA maybe. I would probably throw out all the primers from that lot# and buy another batch if all your loads are worked up with those primers. if switching brands isnt a big deal to you I would just switch to whatever you can find. I use federalsand have never had a misfire that I can remember

I been developing my loads on WLP since federal and CCI were gone missing last year, I probably have another 500 primers left, this is the first time they behave like this looks like 5 (3) misfires out of 500 so far... Just doesn't feel right when I pull my trigger and silence follows...
Well I certainly understand your dalima. you have to use what you can get. I was fortunate enough to run into a bunch of federals before I ran out. I have noticed though that CCI primers are easy to come by around here. I guess its a position only you can decide whats right for you.

Primers. Thanks for letting us know. You might want to call Winchester to at least let them know..they may be willing to pay to have them shipped back so they can figure out what they need to do to fix. At the very least they should make good on new primers.
I doubt it's a primer problem.
Not because it isn't possible, but because it's least likely.

Primer ignition is a tricky thing. It's more about impact speed, than impact force.
If primers aren't seated to a preloaded condition(crush), they'll seat further on impact
-slowing relative impact speed.
If your pin spring weakens enough in cold temps, or the internal(to bolt) grease thickens, drag can slow impact.

Yesterday turned sad for me when I discovered my firing pin catch had loosened, causing occasional misfires. Like you, the problem was intermittant, and re-firing would eventually set em off. The dimples left on mis-fired primers were plenty deep, but my pin was not pulled back normal distance, and that mean't slower strikes at these temps. A clue to this discovery was that mis-firing occurred only when the GUN got cold enough (I kept my ammo warm).
Anyway, I reassembled the bolt, locktite & a couple mods to prevent future failures,, back to the range and find velocities higher, gun out of tune, a weeks worth of seriously cold load developement invalidated...

Check your bolts
So when I fired more then 50 rounds and got 5 misfires my bolt wasn't functioning correctly, but the next round would fire, because of the spring in the bolt weakens because of the cold weather... Thank you, this is very interesting theory but I shot this riffles in the colder temperature before and misfires never occurred, however I did disassemble bolts at the end of the regular season and I cleaned and oiled spring and striker thoroughly, could be this extra oil in the bolt slow it down, I used Hoppe's 9 spray to lubricate it. Here is a picture of the primers which misfired, I also put few unfired ones.



I think the blue stuff got on the primers, that's primer sealant I used and I think it somehow cripple them, some chemical reaction I guess... Another theory and I'm not using primer seal next time....
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Why were you using primer sealant? Are you going to reload some additional rounds using the same primer lot w/o sealant and see what happens? Not that it would be completely conclusive but if all goes ok then maybe it was the sealant. If you continue to have misfires then you've at least eliminated sealant. Keep us posted on what you eventually conclude.
Why were you using primer sealant?

Well I thought since I bought it and didn't use it why not give it a try, it suposed to keep moister out even if I drop them in the water :)

Yes I will try to load more but not sure if I'll be able to try them any time soon, my range will be closed till spring... have to find place to test them...
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