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Thread: Primer trouble

  1. #1

    Primer trouble

    I've had recent trouble with Winchester LR primers in my Contender in 35 Remington. On occasion they fail to fire. Re-trying them doesn't do it either. Haven't noticed that in any other gun with this lot of primers. But then, I may not have used this lot before either. Anyway, has anybody else noticed this.? Primers are relatively new, purchased in the past couple years. Stored cool dry area. Have not tried other brands of primers. Plan to do that but am asking others.
    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I kind of doubt if you're going to find exactly what you're asking for. First, we'd need the lot number and other pertinent manufacturing information, like date, of the primers in question, and then you'd need someone who had those exact primers and who has tried them extensively. I've fired many Win. LR primers over the years and have a nice stockpile of them, and have had no trouble with them. Your experience with them working in firearms other than your Contender would indicate to me that perhaps, as is most often the case, that particular firearm may need a new firing pin spring or a good cleaning of the firing pin channel. Sometimes owners will even discover a chipped or shortened firing pin due to wear. That's where I'd start, with a thorough inspection of the Contender's firing system and a good cleaning.

    I see that this is your 2nd post. Welcome to the CB Forum! Glad to have you join us.

  3. #3
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Don't know about the Contender but my Encore had the same problem and a new firing pin was the answer. Ariasaka99's wife put a lot of 45-70 rounds through it.
    Wayne the Shrink

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  4. #4
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    Is it putting a good dimple in the primer? What are you using to seat the primers?

  5. #5
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    Make sure the primers are seated at least .004" below flush so the anvil is correctly seated into the primer pellet. Some firearms are more forgiving of incomplete seating, but others require proper seating before they will set them off. Firing pins vary in length, amount of wear, etc. Springs vary in strength, too.

    Start with the easier possible solution and look at the seating depth, and if that's not it, then eliminate the other areas one at a time.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  6. #6
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    2 pictures would be helpful, *** pictures need to be sized under 200KB to be uploaded, VGA is good***
    1) the firing pin strike/dent on the primer
    2) an angled side view to show seating depth

    If the primer is fully seated and you have a light firing pin strike/mark
    clean thoroughly and try again----- no fire with a light strike
    try with a different brand primer---- still, no fire address the firing pin

    primer sticking out with a deep firing pin strike/mark
    seat a primer to propper depth and try again,



    I'm not recommending this but in a pinch, I have hammered the firing pin on a block of steel and gained enough length to set off the primers. do this at your own risk.

    the best solution is to buy a new firing pin.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I would suspect the gun before the primers. I had some that were 20 years old and they all worked.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man
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    I would suspect the gun is not closing all the way.

  9. #9
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    Do you have the correct firing pin selected on your gun?

    from Wikipedia
    The Contender frame has two firing pins, and a selector on the exposed hammer, to allow the shooter to choose between rimfire or centerfire firing pins, or to select a safety position from which neither firing pin can strike a primer. The initial baseline design of the Contender had no central safe position on the hammer, having only centerfire and rimfire firing pin positions, each being selectable through using a screwdriver.

    Three variants of the original Contender design were later developed, distinguished easily by the hammer design. The first variant has a push button selector on the hammer for choosing rimfire vs. centerfire, the second variant has a left-center-right toggle switch for selecting center fire-safe-rimfire firing pins, and the third variant has a horizontal bolt selection for choosing center fire-safe-rimfire firing pin positions. All three of these Contender variants have a cougar etched on the sides of the receiver, thereby easily distinguishing them from the later G2 Contender which has a smooth-sided receiver without an etched cougar. Some of the very earliest Contenders, those requiring a screwdriver to switch the firing pin between rimfire and centerfire, had smooth sides, without the cougar etched on the sides
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thompson/Center_Contender
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I have found some WSPM primers that failed to fired and when I pulled the primer and removed the anvil there was not any primer compound in the cup.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Primer trouble

    deleted, I misread the OP's post...oopsie
    Last edited by AZ Pete; 11-11-2020 at 05:06 PM.
    NRA Endowment Life Member

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Pete View Post
    I am curious, why use LP primers in a rifle case, they are not as tall as LR primers, which may be the problem.
    The OP is using Large Rifle Primers in his .35 Remington cases.

    Hope this helps.

    Fred
    After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn't do it. - William S. Burroughs.

  13. #13
    Boolit Grand Master Outpost75's Avatar
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    Contender is notorious for producing a light striker indent. Its firing pin energy is adequate for calibers using pistol primers, but is woefully inadequate to set off rifle primers which meet military all-fire vs. none-fire, drop ball sensitivity requirements for safe use in semi-automatic weapons, which the Winchester primer does.

    Primers need to be hit hard and and at high velocity to go bang! Primers are tested in a holding drop fixture in which a steel ball is released in free fall before striking the fixture. Testing is done with a 2 ounce steel ball dropped from a height of 20 inches which will give 40 inch-ounces of energy when it arrives at the fixture.

    A 20-ounce steel ball dropped from a height of 2 inches would give the same energy upon arriving at the fixture. So what is the difference? After all, isn’t forty inch ounces always equal to forty inch ounces? Well not exactly. Only problem is that you will not obtain ignition on the second scenario because the 20 ounce ball has not gained enough velocity prior to striking the test mechanism and the fixture did not obtain enough velocity to initiate ignition. Having only one without the other is useless.

    The industry firmly establishes the All Fire Drop Height. That is the lowest height the ball can be dropped and obtain 100% ignition reliability. In testing primers they reduce the height the ball is released an inch at a time until they achieve what is termed the All-No Fire Drop Height. Then, they replace the primer receptacle with a “copper” receptacle. The “C” size copper used by the government is a .225”x.400” annealed copper cylinder. Olin is the sole-source. The last some I bought any, about 20 years ago, the minimum order was 1000 coppers and they cost about a dollar apiece, due to their special metallurgical requirements.

    The copper cylinder is inserted into a fixture which specific for each caliber, so that the striker indent actually produced by the firearm can be compared to the standard. You may have seen one at a gun show and did not know what you were looking at. The copper holder looks exactly like a headspace gage, but has a flat bottomed hole in the bottom (where you would look for a primer in a loaded round) about 3/8” deep. A smaller diameter hole, about .080” is drilled all the way through to push the copper back out (from the front) for bench inspection gage measurement of the indent.

    The copper is placed so as to receive the energy departed by the striker nose and the ball is dropped at the same height they experienced the all no fire condition. They may take 3 to ten samples. After removing the coppers they are placed on the anvil of a bench inspection gage rigged with a sharp pointed stylus that will find the bottom of the indent without touching the sides. The indent depths are measured in thousandths of a inch and averaged. For pistol primers used for 9mm M882 ammunition the All No Fire Indent (ON COPPER) is .007” Whereas the All Fire Drop Height will exhibit .012” indent (ON COPPER). For 5.56mm M855 the All No Fire Indent is 0.012" (ON COPPER) and the All Fire Drop Height is 0.020" (ON COPPER).

    The government requirement for the 1903, M1, M14 rifle and M4 carbine is .020” indent on a copper. The Contender and many civilian sporting rifles fail to achieve more than 0.015-0.016" which is only 0.003-0.004" more than the All No Fire indent, so you can fully expect a high percentage of misfires when using military grade rifle primers.

    Debris in the action which impedes hammer velocity, crud in the firing pin channel, inadequate driven protrusion of the firing pin, or an off-center hit on the primer deviating more than one half the diameter of the striker point are also contributing factors to misfires. I have seen all these conditions occur in Contender frames, sometimes even all at once. No wonder they don't go bang~!
    Last edited by Outpost75; 11-10-2020 at 01:15 PM.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Grand Master
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    My observations - I have had problems with Winchester primers (and their powders) in ANY gun over the years. I used my last tray a year ago and use CCI mainly now. Good luck finding any! But check your pin adjustment as mentioned to compensate for W primers not being 100% up to snuff.

  15. #15
    Thanks for all the replies. Some good points. Will do some cleaning and trying. I was curious if there was any theory or news that in the rush to supply primers, manufacturing failed to get priming compound on occasion. Likewise when a rimfire fails to fire due to lack of priming, in my opinion.

  16. #16
    Boolit Mold
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    So primers are still live?
    Weak spring
    Worn or cruddy firing pin/channel
    Primer seating depth

    Aint had more than a rare dud with winchester. Storing them in a high humidity environment can increase duds in time.
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  17. #17
    Boolit Man AABEN's Avatar
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    I have used Winchester primers for years I by them by the case and NEVER had any trouble with them S L SM LM I load over 3000 round one year and no trouble

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    I can't speak to the cause, but I've been seeing the same thing with a brick of WSP I picked up last fall. I've been using CCI since I started shooting 9mm 3-4 yrs ago. I loaded and shot thousands with CCI and don't recall a single dud primer. With the WSP I seem to get 1 or 2 duds every outing with 200-300 rounds shot. I'm loading the same load on the same press with the same primer tool. The primers look like they're getting hit solidly by the firing pin, and they fire with a second pass through the gun. Is the primer tool seating differently than it was last year? Since I'm not seeing the problem with small rifle primers through the same tool I doubt it. I shoot multiple pistols and it happens with all of them. I store all my primers in the same small ammo can, and it's only the WSP that seem to have issues. I only shoot 9mm using SP primers. They aren't old primers, at least to me, since they're some of the newest bricks in the closet.

    I don't mind the occasional dud. At least I have primers to be duds. And I'm punching holes in paper, not using them for self defense. The silver lining is that it's a good flinch check when they do show up.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    I purchased 10,000 Winchester Large Pistol primers a few years ago. Only use LP for my 1911s and 45 Colt. Although they were advertised as “Large Pistol” the boxes all say “Large Pistol Primer for Standard AND Magnum Loads”. I thought that was pretty unusual given that everything I’ve read indicates magnum primer cups are made of thicker material in order to withstand the higher pressure of magnum loads. I can’t recall any failures in the 7,000 + I’ve used so far. I just chalked the “and Magnum Loads” up to a marketing ploy.
    They do flip right side up better than any other primers I’ve used. Maybe the cup is heavier material.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    Have heard of people having primer strike problems with Contenders and the issue was the added weight of a hammer spur. That said, I have one on my G2 and never had a problem. Another thought is that the Contender is better with rimmed cartridges like the 30 30 family rather than the rimless 35 Remington.

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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