Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

nitro-express

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I was searching your forum for some info on loads for my 8mm (8x57 Sporter) and couldn't help but notice a plethora of posts on magnum vs standard primers. This seems to be more of a cognitive issue than it should be. The information on primers is usually fairly plentiful, consistent and fairly straight forward.

I'll start my take on this issue, if it is an issue:
- primers all cost about the same, so that is not a cost issue
- if there is a best primer for a particular load we'd want to use it
- not all primers are identical, some are made of different chemicals, some are made of harder metal, some are hotter, some fit tighter than others. So that may influence our decision.
- some shouldn't be stacked in an auto primer tube, that's an important issue.
- we all want reliable ammo, and sometimes the choice of primer is a factor
- we all want our ammo to be as accurate as possible, primers can be a factor in that too.
- magnum primers are not bad, they may not be the best choice in some instances but they are not bad. Neither are standard primers bad. So for argument sake lets assume there are no bad primers. There are instances where we may want to choose a different primer, a magnum vs a standard, a WLR vs a F210, a F10M vs a F210, a F215 vs a CCI250.
- we all have the basic human instinct that makes us want to defend our choices and opinion, it's in us all.

Now it's time for me to add my 0.02$ worth of personal experience with primers, brands and brisance level. My latest foray into the dark reaches of reloading was for a 8x57. The only case that was available was a Prvi and because I was using ball powder (H414) I choose a CCI 250, a good reliable consistent primer that should do the job. All did not go well, it was a bear to seat and sometimes it would shave a bit of brass going in. Now it's a fact that CCI primers are on the large side of the correct size, they are not bad, they are just slightly larger than some other brands. Therefore I switched to a Fed215 primer, kept the powder the same because I was still well below a max charge and I now have a load that is easy to load and works well. Do I believe that I need the brisance of a F215, no, but I also know that ignition in cold weather will not be a problem and accuracy probably won't change. When fired the primer pocket is easy to clean, the case interior is clean and the rifle barrel has very little powder residue. Perhaps I could have used a WLR or a 9 1/2 or another magnum primer brand and been fine too, but if you we to ask me what primer I'd recommend for a 8mm Prvi case and ball powder I would say my choice would be a F215.
The other challenge I experienced was with loading for my 223 using H335 and BLC-2 with a 40 gr Nosler. Accuracy was poor, cases were black and sooty on the outside, some primers were flattened and some looked normal. I tried WSR and 7 1/2BR to name a few, no joy. Then I remembered that my old Speer manual always recommends Magnum primers with ball powder. I bought some CCI 450 Magnum primers and voila, accurate reliable ammo.

Experience has shown me that the Speer recommendation is sound, and indeed if you use Magnum primers with ball powders you should have good reliable ammo. You may be ok with standard primers sometimes, even most times but not always.

I also had a 357 Mag that would only fire Winchester primers, the mainspring had been tuned very light and they were the only primer soft enough to fire reliably.

So why not just use magnum primers with every load. Good question and it appears logical. After all they cost the same and it can't hurt. No quite that simple, sometimes for certain reasons another primer choice is needed. Lets say we are using a 308 for 400 meter competition, my first choice would be a F210M, known for it's consistency with brisance approaching a magnum primer.

I suppose the point I'm trying to make is that most of us are not ballistic engineers, I know I'm not, and if someone asked me if they needed a magnum primer, I would say that perhaps you may. And then I'd add that changing primers can cause a change in pressure, making a previously safe load unsafe. Likewise if someone were to ask me if they could substitute a standard primer in their reloads I would reply perhaps, but they may experience hangfires, unreliable ignition or even detonation. I would hope that they were trying to correct an issue, like accuracy, not just wanting to change because the ran out of one kind of primer that had given them accurate reliable ammo in the past.

There may be something to the theory that you want to use just enough primer to get the job done, or maybe, if enough is good then too much should be just right. I do wonder, for many years Winchester maintained that their WLR had enough brisance for their powder (Ball), they now make a WLRM.

"Change is good Donkey" - Shrek
 

Teggy1

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

IMO, generally, magnum primers for large quantities of powder (Magnums), cartridges loaded with ball powder if/or possible use in extremely cold temperatures.

I can't prove it, or likely be able to shoot the difference, but from what I have read, generally standard, or non magnum primers are more consistent.
 

armorpl8chikn

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I can't prove it, or likely be able to shoot the difference, but from what I have read, generally standard, or non magnum primers are more consistent. </div></div>

As is often the case in reloading two words apply here, "it depends". I have had to switch to magnum primers on certain loads in a 223 pistol with Varget to actually make them MORE consistent. I am thinking of switching to a magnum primer in place of the BR-2 in my 30-06 to see if it will smooth out my results with copious charges of 4831SC. If memory serves correct I saw a chart that listed the heat of certain primers. I am fairly certain taht the BR series of CCI primers are in the middle between standard and magnum. A dense charge of ball powder should always get a magnum primer. One can use magnum primers with ANY load as long as it was developed that way. I have even seen instances of magnum primers seemingly reducing pressure(I don't have a pressure barrel so its hard to prove), all other parts of the load being equal.
 

turbo54

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I don't have much to add - other than I've found Fed210, Fed210M, CCI LR and CCI BR2 to be wholly interchangable in my 308s. No effect on group size, no effect on POI at varying ranges. Maybe I just can't shoot the difference?

I don't use ball powder in rifles. I use magnum primers in "magnum" cartridges.

Refreshing to see a thoughtful first post from a new member, rather than the more typical "who has a good load dor a Remington 700 in 308" shit.
 

Beef82

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I haven't done as much experimenting as I like but I have noted certain powders reponding significantly better with certain primers. I couldn't say they respond the same at all charge weights, bullet weights, or in all rifles.
My advice would be once you have a load you can consistently shoot sub MOA, then experiment with primers as the only variable, to find the ideal for your combination.
 

Grumulkin

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Teggy1</div><div class="ubbcode-body">IMO, generally, magnum primers for large quantities of powder (Magnums), cartridges loaded with ball powder if/or possible use in extremely cold temperatures.

I can't prove it, or likely be able to shoot the difference, but from what I have read, generally standard, or non magnum primers are more consistent. </div></div>

I think what you say is generally true but...

I load IMR 4227 in a 357 Herret which isn't a large capacity case and the powder isn't a ball powder. Accuracy very noticibly improved with CCI 250 (large rifle magnum) primers with my load.
 

HANDYMAN

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

My only experience with Primer sensitivity is with my 175gr Garand Load and w846. I loaded some with standard primers and every now and then one would hangfire for just a split second before going bang. Just enough to put me outside the black score ring. When I used mag primers problem solved. Certain powders especially the medium burn rate ball powders get mag primers now.
 

bricktop

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

All of this is just my experience:

For Large Rifle: If you are in a position to use either magnum or standard (i.e. extruded powder in not extreme cold), use standard primers. It lets you use a larger powder charge, and in my experience, the closer to 100% fill rate of a charge, the more consistent it is (usually a better quality node around there). Lots of consistent standard LR primers (Fed 210M, CCI BR2, Wolf LR). I recommended the Wolf primer for consistency to a friend of mine who tried them with ball powder (thought he was using stick powder), and he had some ignition troubles on not very cold days. Wolf seems to have a low brisance, but is very consistent.

For Small Rifle: Use whatever series in the brand has the hardest/thickest cup, since we are usually loading for 223/5.56 and those pressures are higher than other smaller cartridges (at least just the 5.56 is, and the 223 can usually be pushed a little harder than book spec). There are quality and consistent magnum primers for SR, and the BR4s have a thicker cup. I usually run out of case room too, so the magnum will help get more velocity too if your running Varget in lapua 223 cases like me. Running Wolf standard primers now (cause I couldn't get the magnum right now, which AFAIK, have the same brisance as standard, just a harder cup), and have a load with Berger 70 VLD, AVG ~2900, SD 8 fps with a CZ527 varmint.

Helpful link: http://www.jamescalhoon.com/primers_and_pressure.php
 

nitro-express

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I checked the link above and something puzzled me. I checked some F215 and CCI250's and the dimensions are nearly the same. So why are the 250's hard to seat and the 215 work so well. I had to find out, I got out my eye loop and had a closer look, what a revelation. The CCI 250 has a sharp edge and poor outer chamfer. The 215 has a generous and even chamfer and the edge isn't as sharp. The Prvi case has a properly sized primer pocket but very little chamfer, I have an easy fix for that.

I feel a bit foolish, jumping to a solution and not analyzing the problem. Not the first time, me bad.

I do suggest that you look at a primer under magnification, quite a difference in construction and pellet.

Great site, thanks.
 

MitchAlsup

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

If you google up German Salazar, he makes a long and well though out argument that one wants the least powerful primer that is still capable of properly igniting the charge for best accuracy.
 

Greg Langelius *

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

For the 8x57, probably not. I use standard primers for my .30-'06 (7.62x63?), and they manage to generate what I would consider reliable ignition in the longer powder column.

For my Garand I use a WLR, which is purposely designed to effectvely ignite more stubbornly initiated ball powders. Always works. The Garand does not run well with higher pressures and does not need the magnum's tougher cup durability.

I deal with potential slamfire issues by being diligent about primer seating and by never loading the rifle in a manner that circumvents the Garand's crucial specified loading techniques (i.e. Every round must be stripped from the mag well. Hand feeding directly into the chamber and releasing the bolt to slam freely into battery is a deliberate invitation to a slamfire). IMHO, slamfires are at least as much an issue of operator mishandling as they are one of ammunition specs.

I would consider magnum primers if I felt that higher pressures warrented using a more durable primer cup, or some factor (like a very (very) long powder column, or colder temperature extremes) was interfering with reliable ignition.

Without such factors, employing magnum primers seems frivolous to me.

Let the tool fit the work...

Greg
 

MALLARD

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

i havn't done enough meddling to know about how mag vs. standard primers ultimatly pan out but , If your using a slow powder , or an overbore cartridge with a slow powder , chances are you might need a mag primer. in my .260 powders 4350,hybridv and n560 all saw improvements when i switch from standard to mag ( i tested cci200,br2,cci mag, fed mag match) , but i have only tested in one caliber , so i can't comment on how a .223 will be affected , maybe if i got my hands on some .223 mag primers i would try them out. ( though , i tested some standard CCI primers vs the BR ones, br4 i think ? , the br ones were better but , nothing speical)

I didnt notice any <span style="font-weight: bold">significant increase </span>in pressure or velocity when i switched to mag primers , I measured all this crap on my pressure trace machine and CED chrony.

the benifits of mag primers were small, the PTII results showed improvement but , my 260 was shooting 7 shot 1/2inch groups at 200y with non mag primers and my ES/SD was ok , so it might not be a big deal in the end

 

LR-WSM

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I was taught that high density loads such as those achieved with ball powders get magnum primers, (less air space). Those loads that use extruded powders get the standard primers due to low density ("ie" more air space)ease of ignition.

I guess that this rule that I was taught early on would apply more to 100 percent case fill than not.
 

nitro-express

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

Read the Salazar articles on primers, thanks for pointing them out.
 

nitro-express

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

Just in case the link above disappears some day here is the excerpt that applies to my application.

"Magnum Primers: Use As Directed
Most primer makers offer a standard and a Magnum primer in each size and application. The Magnum primer offers more power for challenging ignition scenarios. A large-capacity case, a heavily deterred propellant, or extremely cold weather (less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit) typically makes the Magnum primer desirable.

There are two ways to make a Magnum primer—either use more of the standard chemical mix to provide a longer-burning flame or change the mix to one with more aggressive burn characteristics. Prior to 1989, CCI used the first option in Magnum Rifle primers. After that, we switched to a mix optimized for spherical propellants that produced a 24-percent increase in flame temperature and a 16-percent boost in gas volume.

Literature from some propellant manufactures often says that their products do not require Magnum primers. This is perceived as a good thing because Magnum primers are made in smaller quantities and require more chemicals; therefore, they are more expensive. However, I had to take a different view, one based on real-world issues.

We tested loads at both maximum normal pressures and at the starting loads (some labs calculate start loads—we shot them). Standard primers caused no ignition issues at the max load but posted higher extreme variations in pressure and velocity in the lower pressure regimes of the start loads. In extreme cases, the start loads produced short delayed firings—probably in the range of 20 to 40 milliseconds but detectible to an experienced ballistician. Switching that propellant to a Magnum primer smoothed out the performance across the useful range of charge weights and completely eliminated the delays.

If I’ve recommended a Magnum primer in reloading data I’ve developed, it’s because my lab results show it’s needed."
 

81Z4ME

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I've used Win 748 and 760 (went back to IMR powders) without using magnum primers. Didn't have any issues in the .308 except poor accuracy with those powders.

We're still using H335 in the .223's and my son has switched over to that powder for all his .223 reloads. It gave him the smallest groups of the 5 powders he tested. We use standard small rifle primers for H335 as well.

Not sure where the CCI military type primers stand between standard and magnum primers but I've used them with IMR 4895 in my M1 Garand with no issues.

Some reading suggests that magnum primers will raise the pressure vs. standard primers.
 

Teggy1

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

I am using standard primers behind H335 as well. Great groups with 55 grn. Vmax's. I had one delayed ignition last winter (coyote hunting), but most rounds were shot on p-dog trip in the spring. When it comes time to restock primer pile, I am going to re-develope my load with CCI 450's.
 

jasonZ

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Re: Magnum Primers: Do I want them, do I need them.

Using f210's behind accurate 2520 in 308 and haven't had any troubles with igniting so far.46gr in behind 168 SMK's. I've thought about playing with some rem 9.5 magnums but havent got around to that yet. Shooting through a bolt gun. I've got some left over primers that I used for my 7mag. Might have to tamper some.