View Full Version : Favorite primers?

05-14-2005, 11:01 PM
What are your favorite primers? or do you think they are all the same?

05-14-2005, 11:18 PM
Federal Gold Medal Match are the best I've used so far. Bought a brick of small & large rifle recently,,,, soon time for some more. Well worth the extra coupla' $'s per brick IMO.

05-14-2005, 11:23 PM
I shot Federals for years as my primary primers. I've switched over to Winchester. Why? Both are as readily available here. The determining factor is the size of the packaging. I hate the bulky Federal packaging. They take up way too much room, as I generally buy primers by the case. I know a lot of others have the same complaint about them. If they would go to a more efficient size package, I would go back to them, and I bet they would sell a lot more. I've shot some CCI over the years, with better results in some firearms than others. The seating problem kind of got me off of them, due to possibilities of irregular ignition.

05-14-2005, 11:34 PM
I buy whatever is cheapest. I have a minor stockpile of remingtons but use CCI's just as often. I'm pretty ambivalent about primers.

Bullshop Junior
05-15-2005, 01:16 AM
I use what ever dad gives me :-)! for my 223 I like the federal #205. that is the only primer that I have tryed that my 788 will not peirce. for the other primer I like CCI. I use to use winchester's in my 22 hornet, but got rid of them when I traded the hornet, becoese the 223 periced them. you may think that I am loading too hot, but it does it from no powder indoor pellet loads to, the full power loads.


05-15-2005, 03:10 AM
Daniel, I happen to be using mostly Winchester right now, because they are readily available and cheap at gun shows. My real favorite is CCI because when I started loading Win. and Rem. discouraged reloading and CCI was about all you could find easily. I can't tell any difference between WW and CCI except in my Dillon Square Deal progressive pistol loader. Dillon says correctly that CCI primers are oversize and out of round and won't work reliably in their machines.

05-15-2005, 06:18 AM
...........I use Winchester because they're comparatively inexpensive, and seem to do just fine. You can get a sleeve of 5K LRP at the gunshow for about $70.


Bass Ackward
05-15-2005, 08:10 AM
What are your favorite primers? or do you think they are all the same?


This is probably the biggest area for group improvement for cast and one of the least understood and practiced. Since a cast bullet is so easy to start down a bore, it offers very little friction, or resistance, to start out compared to jacketed. Here primer variance shows up the most. Primers remain my single biggest edge to producing ammunition to produce sub MOA cast loads. I believe this to be the cause of more people's fliers than actual bad bullets, because people will cull those. How do you cull a bad primer?

I test primers myself to test consistency, and then buy a big enough batch to tide me over for awhile. Because all brands of primers change in just a very short period of time. I read about a guy who tested two years ago after making a devise sorta similar to one of those strong man rigs at a carnival where you hit the pad with a mallet and try to ring the bell at the top. He measured how far up a scale it went. The farther up, the more powerful the primer. He went to this effort because he was (me too) shocked at how bad primers were then. In short, what he found was that any brand of pistol primer was drastically more consistent from shot to shot than any rifle. The best at the time were WLPs.

The best rifle primers at that time / batch were Remington 9 1/2s. Only 9 out of 100 were out of range. But .... when they were out, they were hotter than the normal operating range for 9 1/2M (magnum) primers. Everything else was a big drop off from there. And some were so bad statistically, you .... don't want to know and I can't remember accurately enough to say. One interesting thing to me was that virtually every brand went hot when they devieated. Only one went both ways. CCI.

The people most likely to see it show up in groups are ones shooting smaller case sizes for bore diameter. Or people trying to run super fast powders where .1 grain makes an enormous difference in pressure. Can anyone say 22 Hornet? Or people trying to push a mix as far as you can go for hunting. Seems that the best accuracy usually appears right before the mix fails. So when you get a bad primer, off the bullet goes.

But don't believe me, load up a favorite load with your favorite primers and load one with a known magnum primer. See what happens. Some loads will not see the difference, some will. Wouldn't you like to know which ones? The sad thing is cast bullets get the blame.

Who makes out the best? The guy that is shooting cast, like cast, at what are considered normal cast velocities with medium speed powders. And shooting a heavy for bore diameter bullet that offers maximum resistance. They will see the least amount of difference. Ever wonder why that 1500 - 1800 fps area really came about? Or shooting heavy for caliber bullets?

05-15-2005, 08:30 AM
My favorite depends on what I'm using them for, and I'm pretty strict about this.

If I'm loading one of my competition guns for IDPA or something similar, I go with ONLY Federals. Federals are the softest and eaisest to ignite. Most people who shoot competition with "tuned" guns will go with Federal for that reason. Especially if it is for my PC 625 where I have replaced the factory main spring with Wolf competition reduced weight springs. Here Federal is the only way to ensure good ignition.

The other time that I use only Federal is in my self-defense guns. I am more concerned about the gun going "BANG" when I pull the trigger than about anything else. When it comes to a gun that may be called upon to save my life or the life of one of my loved ones...I want the easiest primer available to ignite.

On the other hand, when I'm shooting a semi-auto military style rifle, I prefer CCI's. This is because CCI is on the opposite end of the scale from Federal.

Typically, CCI's are acknowledged to be the "hardest" primers on the domestic market.

Whether in a formal competition or just out plinking with my friends, I want to prevent "Slam-Fires" in my military style semi-autos. The best way (that I have found) to do this is to seat the primers down completly and to use CCI primers.

Those are the three situations where I am very particular about what primer I use.

05-15-2005, 11:50 AM
OEM primers when I can get them at 45.00 a sleeve. Fed 215 in the really big cases, Fed 210M if I'm looking to fine tune a load, Win 209 in shotgun. I've tried every brand over the years and match primers seem to produce more consistent ammo- just my 2 cents.

05-15-2005, 03:53 PM
I prefer winchester for pistol, and federal magnum match for large rifle where needed, otherwise federal match.


05-15-2005, 05:48 PM
I have used all brands except Rem. Just bought 20,000 CCI larg pistol.The CCi never gave a problem or misfire in my 1911's or Ruger BH.I keep some Fed #200 around for loading 2400 in the 357 cause thats what Alliant recommends in their handbook. I have some Win sp and lpm around too.
In the rifles it's all CCI . Have also tried RWS (like em) and Hirtenburger .Please bear in mind I dont load for sub moa nor do I compete
at this time. If a particular brand is called forI try to use that brand (ie Fed works better in some tuned pistols as noted in an earlier post and CCI does seem a little "harder") FWIW.

05-15-2005, 09:13 PM
Federal 150s in the .45acp loaded on a progressive. Winchesters for all other handguns. Federal 210ms or 215ms for large rifle, Remington 7 1/2s in the .223 AR . The only primers I've ever really had trouble with are CCIs, but I still use them in a pinch as I can get them by the 100 locally. BD

crazy mark
05-15-2005, 10:10 PM
CCI 34's and Rem 9 1/2's for my semi-auto milsurps and Win and CCI's for the rest of my loads. Too many slam fires in my MAS 49/56 with regular LR primers. The remington 9 1/2s don't seem to slam fire.

05-16-2005, 10:32 AM
For as long as I have memory, many cast bullet folks have felt like Remington 9.5 primers turn in the best groups in cases using the large rifle primers. Why?...because ((I am told) the Remington 9.5 has the lowest brisance of any primer on the market.

I use nothing but Remington 9.5 in large rifle primers. I am covinced from experience it is easier to find a good accurate load with these primers than any other. Can you get equal accuracy with other brands of primers? Most certainly! However, stretched over time and with many rifles, I find Remington 9.5s to suit my needs better than others.

For handgun loads I use nothing but Winchester, just for consistancy sake.

05-16-2005, 10:37 AM
Mostly Winchester primers here, due to their wide availability as noted by Buckshot. Another reason I favor them was related by C.E. Harris in American Riflemam some years back--the WW primers contain an aluminum oxide fuel element that enhances combustion with ball powders, and I use a LOT of ball powders.

05-16-2005, 10:43 AM
Charger, same experience here with Rem 9 1/2. I posted this on the old Shooters.com that I had run a whole bunch of identical except for primer rounds across the chrono. If I remember right it was my old standby 30-06 load of 180ish boolit, prolly the Ly 311291, and 21/IMR4227 for ~1650 fps. Winner for consistency, hands down, was the Rem 9 1/2. Again, if I premember fully, I tested CCI, CCI BR2, Win, Fed, Fed Match, and Rem, and maybe one or two others. I do remember that I was NOT impressed with the Fed Match, but it may just have been that particular lot. I now buy Rem 9 1/2 by one or two 5,000 count cases at a time. sundog

05-16-2005, 11:11 AM
I agree with Sundog about the Remington primers. Their lots seem to be extremely consistent from batch to batch, including the pistol primers. The other brands seem to vary somewhat between lots, but that is not all bad because you never know what might work mo'betta' for the SAME load. One CCI standard small pistol lot works so well with a specific load (12.5 N110/225646) in the bench gun that I don't switch it out. Yes, another primer might work better, but good enough is just good enough. ... felix

05-16-2005, 11:23 AM
Sundog...I am by nature a philosopher and creative kind of guy. My gifts do not lay in the area of science and technical stuff...but I had "studied a right smart amount" on this primer brisance issue and cast bullets. Now by studied, I do not mean research, I just mean thinking!

Brisance..as I understand it is the rate at which the primer releases 100% of it's energy. To talk about primers as some being "hotter" than others is not to talk about brisance. Brisance is about speed or rate of energy release, rather than tempreture or amount of energy.

Case bullets are easier to move down the barrel than those dreadful little yellow thingies. A slower primer will shove the bullet down the barrel as oppposed to throwing or spanking it down the barrel. This shove will result in less distortion to the bullet and hence better accuracy.

We all know the rate of powder energy relase, has allot to do with cast bullet accuracy. Fast pistol powders can give great accuracy at the low and mid-range section of cast bullet velocity. Try and get top end speed and accuracy goes to hell in handbasket. The bullet takes too big a whack on the base, the bullet accordians or other wise distors and accuracy suffers.

These slow machine gun powders we love, give great top end accuracy, because they shove the bullet down the barrel. When coupled with a slow primer, magic happens.

With a case (lightly compressed) full of WC872 and a Remington 9.5 primer cast bullet accuracy is a sure thing..if:

1) The bullet is an accurate design and a good fit in the thoat and barrel.
2) The alloy is of proper temper for the speed
3) A good lube is used
4) The case capacity is appropriate for use with this slow powder
5) Care and good tools are used in the loading process. Straight ammo is always a good thing.

When I add it all up, I feel that the above is why a low brisance primer contributes to cast bullet accuray in rifles.

Again..I am an technical dunce and those of you who know such things, may feel the need to straighten me out. Have at it..I am willing to learn.

Wayne Smith
05-16-2005, 02:47 PM
WC872 - is it appropriate for the larger straight cases, such as the .405 Win. and the 45-70?

Bass Ackward
05-16-2005, 03:22 PM
When I add it all up, I feel that the above is why a low brisance primer contributes to cast bullet accuray in rifles.

Again..I am an technical dunce and those of you who know such things, may feel the need to straighten me out. Have at it..I am willing to learn.


Hell not me. I had to go look it up. I don't speak French.

05-16-2005, 08:06 PM
WC872 - is it appropriate for the larger straight cases, such as the .405 Win. and the 45-70?

Wayne, I shoot that, and WC 860 in my .45-70, at 1100 fps., pushing a heavy Postell bullet. Quite accurate.

05-16-2005, 11:20 PM
I have noticed over the years that Remingtons always give me the best groups for hunting and target loads. I have tryed often to get the last bit out of a load with diff primers . But remington always seem to have the edge.
I almost never try anything else anymore.

I find it intresting that the 9.5 is used is non mag cases with such good results, I have only tryed this once .
Years ago when I was still fairly green and didnt know better, I had A 3030 TC.For weeks, I tryed to get a one hole group with it at 100 with 2400 and sierras( i was told by a old target shooter that 2400 wouldnt shoot well in the 3030, A challange!!).
I came clooose but no cigar. Untill I changed to mag primers, I finaly did it! but never tryed mag primers again in non mag cases. (DUH) Sometimes I cant see the forest for the trees!!!
I do rember a sharp rise in pressure, so for those who didnt know /dont forget to back off a bit when switching,,,,,,,, Buck

05-17-2005, 03:57 PM
I have found some situations where there are real differences:

Federal: easier to set off for a gun that hits light, the only brand that never gives high primers in Dillon Square Deal presses.

CCI-400: the only primer I have found that never leaks with my 7BR load of 18.0/4227/139-150 gr. bullets.

Rem 7 1/2: The primer of choice for Merrill and XL pistols that use small primers. They have a problem with primers extruding into the firing pin hole and tieing up these break-open guns.

Other than that, I have no preference other than price and availability. The Federal packaging doesn't bother me.

05-17-2005, 05:57 PM
fourarmed, Dillon recommends Win. or Fed. primers in Square Deal machines. Since I changed from CCI to Winchester, primers are never seated sideways or upside down, nor are there any high ones. If you don't mind the Federal packaging, you must have one of Dillon's kingsize flippers.

buck1, I have done little comparison testing, but shoot mostly Win. LRM or CCI 250 LRM primers in cast loads. This on the wild guess that a Magnum primer will more surely find the small powder charges wherever they may lurk in the case. In the little competitiion that I participate in, flyers almost never happen. Magnum primers, scaled boolits, blind luck? Dunno, but I'm afraid to change anything now.

MT Gianni
05-17-2005, 08:32 PM
I sized and deburred then primed some Lake city 69 06 cases last night. I primed with cci 200 yellow box for the first 100 then did the last 10 with an old green box of 200's. The effort to seat was much harder on the green box making me think that RCBS has improved the out of round problems that existed earlier.
Small bore shooters say CCI's target 22 ammo is just literally pit run of a consequetive lot. I think the samre of their match primers and find myself buying Winchester or Remington when available. Gianni.

05-18-2005, 12:01 PM
Curmudgeon, I've been using FC in the SDB for so long that I don't remember if I ever tried WW. Seems odd that I didn't, since I use them for other things. I know I tried CCI and Remington, and had as much as 10% high primers. The only reason I keep CCI is for the 7BR and for the heavy H-110 loads I used to shoot in my Dan Wesson silhouette revolver. The 400s seal better in the 7BR and the 250s are a bit hotter than any other large Pistol magnum cap. At any rate, they gave higher velocity for that application.

Oh yes, I keep a small bowl on the bench to dump the Federal primers into, then transfer them to the flip tray. It is definitely an aggravation otherwise.

Hang Fire
05-19-2005, 07:22 PM
Cayoot Boolit Bub:

"Typically, CCI's are acknowledged to be the "hardest" primers on the domestic market."

Which is why they are all I use in my Garrand.

05-19-2005, 07:43 PM
Here is what C.E. Harris said in reloading the 223 for match work in a AR15: Military 5.56 primers have a cup thickness of .024, compared to .020 or so for standard small rifle primers. Federal 205 and 205M, Remington 7 1/2, and Winchester WSR now have cups of about the same thickness as the military primers, and are best to use with loading the 223. Some older CCI primers used plated steel cups that in my experience are less ductile and more likely to puncture under adverse conditions. Overall, the Winchester WSR is my choice since it is most like the military primer, even to the aluminum metallic fuel added added to the mix to aid in the ignition of balls powders most often used to reload this cartridge.

Just recently CCI just came out with what they call military primers, why, if their primers were already the hardest on the market? Maybe those old steel ones Harris talked of is where they got the notion CCI's were harder.


Iron River Red
05-20-2005, 09:57 PM
I'll say my favorite is the CCI #35.

Seriously, I am almost convinced that the magnum primers and others are about a wash.

I have yet to find a test sufficient to convince me the primer can really make a noticeable difference anymore.

Years back I felt there was a significant difference, but now I think lean manufacturing has just made them generic in a sense.

Anyone else think the primer has become the result of corporate tampering to increase margins? I think they are just keeping the boxes and numbering to keep the brand loyal crowd and the recipe has become almost universal...

Of course, I'm a bit of a pessimist about some things.

05-21-2005, 11:39 PM
For cast boolits, I use RWS and Remington in most of my loads.

Lloyd Smale
05-22-2005, 07:07 AM
for handguns fed std because they go off every time even with a light hammer fall.

05-22-2005, 07:30 AM
Can anybody tell me what the difference between the Remington "Bench Rest" primers and the standard is? One of the local gunshop owners doesn't stock the Rems because nobody bought them, and the other I frequent has a lone box of the small rifle BR's on the shelf. I'm running low on my Fed GM205M's , and will probably grab the Rems next time I go in, just curious as to what the classification means.
Also I notice Federal "Champion" is making an appearance, new packaging of the same product?

05-22-2005, 11:13 PM

Remington made the 7 1/2 for the small primer pockets of .308 basic bench rest cases that were popular a few years back. Standard SR primers didn't work well in the large case with spherical powder. The 7 1/2 is actually a small rifle magnum primer.

Another feature is that the 7 1/2 is military spec. According to the NRA, these have the thick, hard cup and are the exact same primer that Remington uses in their military contract ammo.

BTW, the Remington 9 1/2 LR primer is also military spec. It's the only primer I will use in my Garand.

Bullshop Junior
05-23-2005, 12:32 AM
Can anybody tell me what the difference between the Remington "Bench Rest" primers and the standard is? One of the local gunshop owners doesn't stock the Rems because nobody bought them, and the other I frequent has a lone box of the small rifle BR's on the shelf. I'm running low on my Fed GM205M's , and will probably grab the Rems next time I go in, just curious as to what the classification means.
Also I notice Federal "Champion" is making an appearance, new packaging of the same product?

My dad told me that the bench rest are closer in weight then the regular. like maybe the bench rest are in 10ths of a grain, were the regular might be 1/2 of a grain. that is all I can say

05-23-2005, 04:46 PM
Has anyone tried the Magtech primers?

Beau Cassidy
05-23-2005, 08:56 PM
I generally use CCI but generally don't have a preference unless it is for rifle or magnum pistol ammo. Then it's usually Federal or Winchester. The CCI magnum pistol primers seem TOO hot if there is such a thing. I did have a friend buy 5K Remington 9 1/2 primers. They were all just a tad bit smaller than the regular size large rifle primer and would occasionally fall out after loading! Not sure what he did with all of them.


05-25-2005, 07:18 PM
Thanks for all the replies. I wound up buying a case of winchester large pistol to try. I have been using CCI. I will try some Federals next just to see if I see a difference. I`ll let you know if I see any.

Iron River Red
05-25-2005, 08:44 PM
I have to say my personal favorite is the venerable CCI #35.

After reading the above posts, I'm looking seriously at giving Federal primers a try in my pistol cases since they are supposed to be softer and I want to go to lighter springs.

Any one else shooting CCI #35's?

Marlin Junky
08-27-2007, 09:21 PM
I was doing some searches of this board on primer related posts because I've been wondering what size charges in .35 bores should be lit by magnum primers and I ran across this thread. After reading most the posts on page one, I ran across the following and though it might interest some:


Somewhere in recent memory, I also read that all the primer manufacturers use practically the same mixture except for Federal who uses a slightly more sensitive mixture... perhaps a bit more aluminum silicate. Aluminum oxide is not considered flammable.


08-28-2007, 05:11 AM
I have Federal LR LP SP and Magnum, Winchester LR, Remington LR SR and Magnum, CCI LR and sundry RWS and Fiocchi Berdans.

My primer of choice over the years for rifle has been Remington as they just work.

I like Federal Magnum in compressed BP rounds, seems to have the longest burn time to move apart the BP to help it ignite at once.

I've been using Federal LP primers with some success in Cast Boolit rifle loads with Pistol Powders up to say 2400 burning rate. N110 prefers rifle primers.

In a lot of loads I find that primers make no difference but in the loads that they do then it is very noticable and you need to develop them around different primers.

My least favourite is CCI as they are a real pain to seat, go bang fine but too many cases don't like their fit.

I've got 1K each of Magtech and Prvi Partizan on order to try, I've used Magtech years ago in pistol and they worked good.

Cabine Tree did this primer test:


09-02-2007, 08:40 PM
Winchester. Not because of brand but because everybody sells them. Usually CCI are available at a couple of places but the few places who do sell CCI sell out of those first.

09-02-2007, 09:13 PM
I shoot winchester. When i started handloading I bought several hundred remington primers. I had a couple misfires with them. A loading mentor of mine put me on to Winchester primers. I am still waiting for my first misfire. "Just over 10 years"

09-02-2007, 11:47 PM
These days my favorite is whatever I can find.


09-08-2007, 02:07 AM
These days my favorite is whatever I can find.


I hear ya Buddy! And winter is coming so all those competition shooters and matches are starting so it's only going to get worse with them being back-ordered again. Plus hunting season is coming so it's going to be tough again for a little while. I hope not, but...