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Thread: Alcan primers

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy acemedic13's Avatar
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    Alcan primers

    Anybody ever heard of/use Alcan primers? I just ran into a LOT of them. Somebody obviously sold all their reloading stuff or an estate sale occured. I went in and bought a massive box of odds and ends (the whole she-bang).

    The box had a lot of curious stuff in it. Those primers, and some powder labeled bc-2 in a pink(might have been red in the day) can. Bullseye in the old squat cans and some unique in the old paper can. Any info would be great. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

    Johnch's Avatar
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    Many moons ago I used up the last of the Alcan primers
    IMO if properly stored
    They should be fine
    Just start a little low
    As I don't remember if they were a hot or mild primer

    As for the powder
    Same as the primers
    IMO if properly stored
    They should be fine

    Are you sure the one powder isn't BLC-2 instead of BC-2 ?

    John
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  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy acemedic13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnch View Post
    Many moons ago I used up the last of the Alcan primers
    IMO if properly stored
    They should be fine
    Just start a little low
    As I don't remember if they were a hot or mild primer

    As for the powder
    Same as the primers
    IMO if properly stored
    They should be fine

    Are you sure the one powder isn't BLC-2 instead of BC-2 ?

    John
    It was blc-2. I typoed that. Thanks for the info and the time for the post. I will heed the warning. Joel.....

  4. #4
    Boolit Buddy


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    i too fell into some alcan large pistol primers. The packages appear to have been kept in an ammo can. They look like new. Tried some in my .45 auto and they were no different from my winchesters...

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

    Pepe Ray's Avatar
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    IIRC:
    Alcan's cups are slightly softer than most. Deformation shows up mostly when the pressures get near the top.
    Pepe Ray
    The way is ONLY through HIM.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Ray View Post
    IIRC:
    Alcan's cups are slightly softer than most. Deformation shows up mostly when the pressures get near the top.
    Pepe Ray
    Sounds like some old Herter's primers my Dad is using up and trying to get me to help. Very soft - the "ram" in an auto-prime flattens them out a good bit upon seating them. They seem to be a bit on the mild side as well.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    hiram's Avatar
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    alcan

    I have Alcan primers I inhereited from my father. If memory seves me correctly, I think Alcan was a S&W product. not sure--I have to look at the box. If you want to know, reply and I'll open the primer vault.
    Rich or poor, it's good to have money.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Sometime during the mid seventies I made a buy on Alcan Primers. There must have been seven or eight thousand small pistol and a couple thousand each of large pistol and large rifle primers. My 1911's gobbled up the LP,s in a couple months while the SP primers lasted until the early 1980s. Several years ago I found the final 100 Large Rifle primers lurking in a dark corner and used them. I found them to be very satisfatory and was sorry to see them go out of business. As Pepe Ray said, the cups were soft and every one that I loaded had the imprint of the machining marks from the primer seater on them. During the late seventies I had a tuneup and trigger job performed on my S&W Model 60 while using Alcan primed hadloads. It shot great! When I ran out of Alcan I switched to my old standby, CCI primers and got at least one misfire out of each chamber full. Those primers were hard and showed shallow firing pin indents. I finally installed a new factory mainspring and that partially cured the problem. A switch to Federal primers finally cured the problem and I have stuck with them or Winchester ever since. "IF" they have been stored properly the Alcans should be perfectly okay. Try them and see. Even if they work okay I would not personally use them for personal protection loads or for use against animals that bite back. Alcan made very good primers but since these must be thirty five or forty years old and stored under unknown conditions I would reserve these for practice and plinking loads. Hope this helps. Neil

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy acemedic13's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback guys. I will definately only use them for breaking paper.

    I appreciate the offer to open the vault Hiram. If you get to it anytime soon, drop me a line on what you find out. I will shoot these suckers first, and save my good ,new primer stash for a rainy day. Take care all. Joel

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I picked up 5k at $10 per k about 2 years ago. They were a company that was some how affiliated with smith and wesson. I did notice that the cups seem to be a mite bit softer. I'm using them up in my .45 ACP
    Some where between here and there.....

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiram View Post
    I have Alcan primers I inhereited from my father. If memory seves me correctly, I think Alcan was a S&W product. not sure--I have to look at the box. If you want to know, reply and I'll open the primer vault.
    I purchased a couple hundred LP several months back from a local shop. From all I could find out Alcan was sold under the S&W logo, not as a part of S&W. It is a European, can't remember what country now, and were supposed to be very good primers and powders they produced. Think they stopped manufacturing in the late 60's or early 70's. They are in a white box with a large blue and red band across the top marked S&W in the blue and ALCAN in the red They are also marked as MAX-FIRE LARGE PISTOL PRIMERS. The info I have is that they should be treated as mag primers. Haven't used any yet but I will treat them as mag primers with a reduced charge. I paid $2.50 per hundred for mine a few months back.
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Rocky Raab's Avatar
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    Alcan primers and powders were the products of a guy who took umbrage at the then-current policy among ammo makers of not providing components for reloaders. He opened up shop by importing primers and powders (all shotgun at first) made by Bofors of Sweden. He operated out of Alton, Illinois.

    When I was a 12-year-old trapshooter living 20 miles from there, my Dad and I made many trips, coming home with literally a pickup truck load of shot, powder and primers. Later, as mentioned, Alcan went into a marketing/distribution contract with Smith& Wesson. I have powder cans with the S&W label on them in my collection.

    They eventually added rifle and handgun primers to their stock, but not rifle powders. When the Bofors plant burned down and was not rebuilt, that was the end of Alcan.

    I think I have that story straight, unless someone can offer correction.

    The primers themselves are considered to be quite hot, with soft cups. Don't substitute them blindly without reducing your regular load first.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy Huntducks's Avatar
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    Talking

    I bought a slug of SP & LP Alcans and Herters 25 years ago paid like $2/1000 they work just fine punching paper and cans.

    I did notice the Herters LP have some strange looking cup (metal)on them that does not fit all brass the Alcan SP fit all 38 brass that I have.

    When my FIL passed away I got about 15000 > 209 shotshell I use these in my what I call my sh!! shells 1oz reclaimed shot cheap wads an old 16lb can of Red dot at 1100fps clays and cans don't know the diff.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
    hiram's Avatar
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    I found the Alcan small p primers, and yes, the S&W logo is on the boxes.
    Rich or poor, it's good to have money.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master



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    I've still got eight hundred of a box of a thousand Alcan Large Rifle "Max Fire" primers. Box is yellow red and blue and S&W doesn't appear anywhere on the box.
    Marty-hiding out in the hills.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy Hurricane's Avatar
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    BL-C(2) is a Hodgdon Powder Co. rifle powder. Hodgdon has loading data for his powders on line at www.hodgdon.com. BL-C(2) has a burn rate very close to Winchester 748. It will be a good powder for a wide variety of rifle cartridges.

  17. #17
    Boolit Buddy acemedic13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpmarty View Post
    I've still got eight hundred of a box of a thousand Alcan Large Rifle "Max Fire" primers. Box is yellow red and blue and S&W doesn't appear anywhere on the box.
    S&W is not on any of mine. Thanks for sharing the stories guys. Interesting to learn all the in's and outs of this stuff. Joel

  18. #18
    Boolit Master in Heaven's Range
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    Rocky Raab is pretty close on the history, if I recall.

    Huntducks: What species of duck is that in your avatar? I've never seen an antlered duck. Is that a Jack-a-Duck? Big sumb!tc#.

    Regards,

    Stew
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  19. #19
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    AZStew, don't you know what that is? That's one of those Southern California Antlered Mud Hens, they corded off something like 400,000 acres of prime real estate to preserve them and they feed them on Obama's promises, that's how they get so big!

    Gear

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by acemedic13 View Post
    S&W is not on any of mine. Thanks for sharing the stories guys. Interesting to learn all the in's and outs of this stuff. Joel
    According to Rocky's history those must be some pretty old primers. I am pretty sure Alcan, once starting to market with S&W, did up until their demise. Which I am pretty sure was the late 60's or very early 70's. Yours and Martys has to pre date that hookup if neither have the S&W logo. If they look good you should have no problems with them though.
    Treat them as mag primers for starts.
    If a man has nothing greater to believe in than himself, he is a very lonely man.

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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