Primers: Std. vs. Magnum

Rich Coyle

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Aug 14, 2013
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Grants Pass, Oregon
Savage 26” heavy barrel .223



Here are some loads with Varget and JLK 65 grain VLD's and different primers.

The powder charge of 27.5 grains usually produced velocities in the low 3200s in this 26" heavy barrel Savage .223. The primers used are as follows: Federal 205 and 205 M, Remington 7 1/2 Bench Rests, CCI BR 4 and 450 magnum and Winchester WSR. All groups used five shots at 100 yards.

Federal's 205 made three groups. They measured .519" @ 3220 fps, .962" @ 3224 and 1.216" @ 3210". The 1.216" group had a couple of fliers. They averaged .899" @ 3218 fps.

The 205 M from Federal is a match primer. There are records for four groups. They show groups of .709" @ 3224 fps, .726" @ 3224 fps, .644" @ 3224 fps, .757" @ 3227 fps. Their four group average was .709" @ 3225 fps. This primer produced the most consistent velocities that I have seen in any firearm.
Consistent velocities did not translate into the best accuracy, though.

The four Remington 7 1/2 Bench Rest primer's groups measured .744" @ 3211 fps, .682" @ 3211 fps, .676" @ 3224 fps and .682" 3223 fps and averaged .696" @ 3217 fps.

Winchester's WSR primers worked as follows: .582" @ 3220 fps, .399" @ 3249 fps, .830" @ 3219 fps and .812" @ 3219 fps. The average for WSR is .656" @ 3227 fps. All of the WSR primers were pierced by the firing pin.

The next primer is the CCI 450 magnum. It produced .684" @ 3200 fps, .546" @ 3207 fps, .711" @ 3234 fps, .544" @ 3219 fps, .806" @ 3191 fps and .525" @ 3218 fps. The average for the magnum primer was .636" @ 3211 fps.

The last one tried was another bench rest primer. It is the BR 4. We saved the best for last. The groups measured .492" @ 3245 fps, .477" @ 3250 fps, .441" @ 3245 fps, .452" @ 3232 and .460" @ 3229 fps. Its phenomenal five groups average is .464" @ 3240 fps. It also produced the highest velocities.

With the same rifle using the same powder firing the same bullets groups with the "best" primer are half the size of the worst groups.

When I tried the 52 grain JLK's I tried only two primers: the Remington match and the standard CCI. After eight groups of five shots with each primer the standard primer's groups were about 3/16" smaller on the average than the match primers.
 

Zorack

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Nov 16, 2016
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I know with my dads 6.5CM between the 450 and BR-4 primers the Barnes lrx load liked one primer and the 140hb berger liked the other primer. I'd have to look in my book to see which one used which primer.
 

Bob Wright

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Jan 23, 2018
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Litchfield Park, Az.
My 280AI responded well to Fed mag primers with Re23 powder (stick). Final results including neck turning and getting rid of a donut issue, I managed 3100 +/- 2 fps over Labradar. Just depends on your testing.
 

Starlite

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Dec 8, 2019
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New Brunswick Canada
I know with my dads 6.5CM between the 450 and BR-4 primers the Barnes lrx load liked one primer and the 140hb berger liked the other primer. I'd have to look in my book to see which one used which primer.
My 6.5 with the140 hytgt worked best with varget and CCI BR2 at a COL of 2.8535”
 

Starlite

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Dec 8, 2019
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New Brunswick Canada
OP,
I know this is somewhat off topic, but I feel it’s worth mentioning Again. As you can see we all have our own special setup. If you have the time and the means then just start trying things. I’ve even used pistol primers in the past. However I’m not condoning this. You should only load after careful studies and advice from an actual experienced person. That old military method of see one, do one, teach one is not the safe path of a Reloader.
 

remingtonman_25_06

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Hermiston, Oregon
Never used anything other than the 400s in my 222 and 223. Never had any issues piercing the 400s primer running the 40g VMAX at 3800 with benchmark in the 223. I dont see a need to use the 450 in them honestly...
 

freddiej

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Aug 10, 2010
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577
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Carson City, NV
I have a 17 Rem, the 7.5 Remington primers are BR/thick cup primers. if I did not use them for my 17 rem the primer cups would rupture ever single time. this is a special situation that the thick cup primers were made for.
as to the original question, 400 vs. 450's I have yet to see a cup difference in the standard and the magnum CCI small rifle primers. Since my reloading room is next to my office I just measured the cups on CCI 400's and 450's. they both came out to be 0.014" so no difference in cups.
the reason I would pick magnum over standard primers is the type of powder I was using and the volume. I have found taht ball powder ignites better with magnum primers and extruded ignites well with either so I use standard primers. trying to ignite a lot of powder means I use a magnum primer.
 

basinman

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Jan 9, 2014
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Butte La Rose, LA
I use CCI magnum primers for all loads. They ignite ball powders better than standard primers. Just work your loads up because you may reach max load with less powder on some of your loads. When I first started reloading rifle cartridges years ago, I read and used the Speer manual and all of the loads called for magnum primers. I just stuck with this over the years.
 

Starlite

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Dec 8, 2019
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New Brunswick Canada
Never used anything other than the 400s in my 222 and 223. Never had any issues piercing the 400s primer running the 40g VMAX at 3800 with benchmark in the 223. I dont see a need to use the 450 in them honestly...
Wow. 3800FPS with that 40gr VMAX. Impressive. Best I’ve done with my Remington 700 VLS with the 26” heavy barrel is 2695FPS (26.9 gr BM, IVI Brass, CCI450 with 40gr Berger FBHP) maybe that VMAX would get me to 3800. Not all that important I guess. I’ve got .455 MOA @200M. This cartwheels youtes just fine.
 

Arapaho

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Nov 2, 2019
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Burlington, NC
I have tried them all in my 6.5x47s (two totally different rifles and barrel manufacturers. BR4 works best, hands down. Not even a fair comparison out to 1000 yards in either of mine. Trust me, for the extra cost of the CCI BR4, it kind of sucks to buy a case of primers that are top dollar but I do because of the difference.
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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I had had great success with CCI BR4’s in both my 6.5x47’s using H4350 and 223’s using Varget. SD’s rarely run higher then 5 in my rifles.
 

montana west

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Mar 10, 2020
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stryker montana
after 50 years of reloading I perfer federal primers.2 CCI 3 winchester.. In my Big 5 rifle I will only use federal 215 primers...thas being a 416 Taylor the same as the 415 ruger with 74.o grain R 15 at 2415 fps a barnes .049 400 grain bullet the toughest bullet in the world.
 

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