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Thread: Federal's new primer technology

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    Federal's new primer technology

    I know you guys understand how primers work, so you can quickly read through the standard stuff & check out the comments about Federals new Catalyst primer technology the company in converting over to. I use Federal large pistol primers for BPCR so it caught my interest.

    https://www.outdoorlife.com/cartridg...MPID=ene070218

    Wayne
    NRA Life (Benefactor & President's Council) Member, TSRA Life Member, NSSF member, Author/Publisher of the Browning BPCR book.
    http://www.texas-mac.com

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I wonder if the new primer with "less pressure" will be the kind of "soft" primer us BP shooters think is responsible for the better accuracy we get with pistol primers and some large rifle primers like CCI-200
    Chill Wills

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Will have to pick some up and test them. If Federal is actually going to use them in all their loads it does sound promising. But then every "new " idea is touted as better and an improvement over existing.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    Well lets just say that ball powder still needs a torch not a match!

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    I rarely shoot ball powder in my BPCR rifles. This primer chemistry is above my pay grade. I doubt the new Federal primers will make much difference that we can see on the target but you never know.
    I doubt it mostly because the change is driven by the need to be GREEN and not make a better primer. But, I will be trying them to see what they can do.
    Always hopeful!
    Shelf life?
    Chill Wills

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Years ago, in reading about how 22rf is made, it stated fine ground glass was part of the priming mix.
    This is not what is shown in the link Texasmac provided for centerfire primers; either old or new.

    This might have nothing to do with anything, but was an interesting difference.
    Chill Wills

  7. #7
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    ho-hum..............

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    One of the residues will be aluminium oxide,a well known abrasive used commercially in grinding wheels and coated sheets.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Now THAT sounds just wonderful.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chill Wills View Post
    I rarely shoot ball powder in my BPCR rifles. This primer chemistry is above my pay grade. I doubt the new Federal primers will make much difference that we can see on the target but you never know.
    I doubt it mostly because the change is driven by the need to be GREEN and not make a better primer. But, I will be trying them to see what they can do.
    Always hopeful!
    Shelf life?
    Sounds like I should buy up some old stock before they mess em up!
    Have found the whole primer debate interesting - when I first got interested in BPC many moons ago - all the guru wisdom was pushing the Fereral Magnum primers - yup I fell for it - still got a few hundred in the back of my components storage. It didnt make a lot of sense at the time ----but ----the fellers that know are tellin this story so we better try it. So its morphed from that to pistol primers -- to small primers in the 45/70 ????????

  11. #11
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    US Military primer mix and also Winchester commercial primers have had powdered aluminum fuel to aid low-temperature ignition of Ball powders since the 1950s. This is nothing new.

    The product of an efficient primer is HEAT, not explosive force. The powdered aluminum fuel works by scattering hot, incandecent particles throughout the powder charge to aid ignition. All 5.56mm military ammunition loaded with Ball powder has been that way from the git-go. As has all 7.62mm. As well as most cal. .30, cal. .50 and 20mm cannon ammunition loaded after the transition from corrosive to noncorrosive primers.

    All US military primers after about 1953 have had aluminum fuel.
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  12. #12
    Boolit Master
    Traffer's Avatar
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    I hope this new primer is easier to make. I wonder where you get bismuth oxide? Nitrocellulose is probably hard to come by also. Have to wait and see what Marshall says about this.
    AKA hans.pcguy

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Newboy's Avatar
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    Cerrosafe is a bismuth alloy, I believe.

    Not a chemist, but nitrocellulose is gun cotton. Dip cotton in nitric acid. Voila!



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  14. #14
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traffer View Post
    I hope this new primer is easier to make. I wonder where you get bismuth oxide? Nitrocellulose is probably hard to come by also. Have to wait and see what Marshall says about this.
    @All,

    The chemistry in this primer is not all that complicated. The aluminum and bismuth oxide form a type of thermite. The real trick is the aluminum and bismuth oxide must be very fine particles, perhaps even "nano" particles. And the nitrocellulose is just fine particles of gunpowder. In the past, the commercial primer manufacturers could buy a product called "Hercules fines" (probably a byproduct of cleaning the gunpowder machines and containers). It may still be available under that name. This or something like it is what they are likely using. In the firing of the primer, the aluminum reduces the bismuth oxide to molten globs of bismuth metal and the aluminum forms hot aluminum oxide slag. These hot particles are what will ignite the gun powder. There is no need to worry about the abrasive qualities of aluminum oxide as the particle size will be so small that if it has any effect on your barrel, it will be to polish it rather than to abrade it.

    Regarding where to get bismuth oxide, eBay is your friend.

    Finally, for Chill Wills, ground glass has been a staple of rimfire primer compounds for a very long time. It is sometimes present at up to ~50% of the mix. Its purpose is to provide friction which improves the sensitivity and reliability of the primer. There are a few rimfire primer compounds without glass, but they are not as reliable. Rimfire ammunition already has a fairly high rate of misfires, you don't want to make things worse.

    Marshall

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy glockfan's Avatar
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    the current primer technology involve lead styphnate in the order of 40% of the primer material .their ''new'' one ditch this ''''propellant''' in favor of nitrocellulose in the order of 20% of the total amount of the compound ; they added bismuth oxide to replace barium nitrate (a metal , which role is to absorb the primer's propellant energy ,then getting extremely hot so it ignite the powder in milliseconds) . it seems like one of the effect of their new compound, is it produce less pressures and gases, and it doesn't degrade the powder like the ''old''' technology''' does.

    one of the advantage of what they call'''catalyst''', is that there's no lead dust when dry tumbling our brass.

    when the anvil is crushed into the propellant to instill ignition, , the hot metal (bismuth oxyde) make it's way to reach the powder ; seems like bismuth oxyde gets hotter than barium nitrate ,then the ignition of the powder is faster.

    at least, it's what is claimed by federal. their new primers is already in use in the issued ammo of some LEA's (again this is what is claimed by federal).

    this is good news if anything. i prefer dry tumbling,and the dust emanating from lead styphnate is well......silly lol.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy
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    @glockfan,

    A correction to your terminology. Lead styphnate serves the role of an "initiator" in modern primers and not as a "propellant". Barium nitrate is an oxidizer that reacts with any fuels present in the primer mixture. Bismuth oxide is also an oxidizer, but is specifically added as part of the aluminum/bismuth oxide thermite mixture. The thermite is ignited by frictional heat that is generated as particles slide past one another when the mixture is crushed by the firing pin. Thermites are not normally this easy to ignite (e.g. iron oxide/aluminum thermite requires a burning piece of magnesium to ignite). Due to the very fine particle size (in the nano range) of the aluminum and bismuth oxide, the ignition energy is reduced to the point that a firing pin strike is adequate to set it off. I think the nitrocellulose is added to generate gas (just like the propellant does in the cartridge) which helps propel the incandescent particles of bismuth metal and aluminum oxide through the flash hole and into the case (Outpost75 has a good grasp of this functioning). I suspect that in the absence of nitrocellulose, not enough incandescent particles are ejected into the case to give reliable ignition. Finally, as several folks have noted the main purpose of this new primer is to be heavy metal free.

    Marshall

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy
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    I wonder what the shelf life of the new primer chemistry will be?

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marshall View Post
    @All,

    Finally, for Chill Wills, ground glass has been a staple of rimfire primer compounds for a very long time. It is sometimes present at up to ~50% of the mix. Its purpose is to provide friction which improves the sensitivity and reliability of the primer. There are a few rimfire primer compounds without glass, but they are not as reliable. Rimfire ammunition already has a fairly high rate of misfires, you don't want to make things worse.

    Marshall
    Marshall, It sounds like you have a bit more than a casual background relating to this or maybe just chemistry. Back before dirt, I made my living putting out fire, not starting them. We taught basic fire chemistry and that is where my formal education on the subject ends .
    So, maybe you know this piece of trivia.
    You stated above, "There are a few rimfire primer compounds without glass". If you know..... Is Eley match products one of them? I shoot a lot a of it and find a few a few Failure to Fire in a case of Eley, which is a few more than with some other match brands. It is rarely a big deal in match shooting.
    Chill Wills

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    I'm not familiar with the chemical differences between these new Federal primers and the Winchester or government mix, but the Winchester mix dates to the 1930s and I am still using .38 Special and .45 ACP WRA ammunition which is pre-WW2 and .30 M1 carbine ammunition from the WW2 period. I have old Winchester primers in wooden trays with the New Haven, CT address on them which are still sure-fire.

    The performance difference between "basic" vs. "normal" lead styphnate is not important, as this was done by Federal only to avoid patent infringment, and to optmize crystalline structure for wet process vs. dry charging, a manufacturing safety advantage.
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  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy 59sharps's Avatar
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    I checked with federal unfortunately they are only avalable in loaded ammo. So we maybe waiting awhile .
    14th VA. CAV.
    N_SSA

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check