Author Topic: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me  (Read 231 times)

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Offline M1A4ME

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Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« on: February 01, 2019, 07:10:40 AM »
Always primer questions on the internet forums, always.  Some of the "facts" and advice seem to be absolutely contradictory.  I have my own opinions but have never experimented to see what happens - with my particular fire arms which are most like different than someone else's.

Anyway, some of what we all read:
1.  Failure to fire - primers may not be seated deep enough. 
2.  Failure to fire on the first strike of the firing pin but will fire the second time - primers not seat deep enough and the first strike seated the primer deep enough to allow the firing pin to set the primer off on the second strike.
3.  Slam fire - primer not seated deep enough and that allowed the firing pin to set the primer off when the bolt closed (or the primer was set off by hitting the breech face or some metal surface during feeding/chambering)

I just can't see these three all being true - all of the time.  Something else is going on.

As I said, I have my own ideas.  I'm curious what others think and what evidence they've seen over their years of reloading and shooting.

Thanks for your time, thoughts, opinions.
Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.

Offline cdhbrad

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Re: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 09:27:22 AM »
When I first began loading 9mm, about 5 years ago, I had #1 and #2 occur, never #3 because I was not applying enough pressure to properly seat the primers.  They would always fire on the second strike.  No real personal safety issue as it was strictly range ammo.  Since then, I fully seat every primer and I have not had either happen in years even in the CGW prepped CZs I have with light springs.  Never had any of this occur with .45ACP.   

Offline ReloaderFred

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Re: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 11:11:57 AM »
Primer seating is critical, and if not done right, you'll have problems.  It's kind of like trying to start your car without any spark plugs.

Extremely dirty primer pockets can also cause problems, however a lot of people never clean their primer pockets and don't have an issue.  On the other hand, others clean them religiously, and don't have a problem.  If you load the same brass over and over, at some point the residue buildup is going to get to the point that it can cause a problem.  Been there, done that.

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

Offline Wobbly

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Re: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2019, 02:52:26 PM »
If you load the same brass over and over, at some point the residue buildup is going to get to the point that it can cause a problem.  Been there, done that.

• So Fred, are you saying we should be doing a better job of brass tumbling.... at least to the extent that the primer pocket gets cleaned ?

• I know you load probably as much ammo on anyone. What's your brass cleaning process like ? I'm tumbling "primer-in" and simply trying to run loads that I know burn super clean. It's never been an issue.

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Offline ReloaderFred

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Re: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2019, 03:55:54 PM »
My process is probably more involved than most.  I don't sort by headstamp, but I do by caliber, and I tumble my brass by caliber.  I have four tumblers, two Ultra-Vibe UV-18's, an Ultra-vibe UV-45 and a small Berry's.  Three of the tumblers have 20-40 ground corncob, with Berry's Brass Polish, and one of the UV-18's has plain 20-40 cob with a small amount of car polish mixed in.

For the most part, I tumble with the primers in place, and after the first tumbling, they're then run through the plain corncob with car polish, which tends to remove tumbler residue and impart enough wax to inhibit tarnishing.  It won't stop tarnishing, but it slows it down quite a bit.

Then I size and deprime my brass and clean the primer pockets.  I made a tool from a yard sale drill motor which really speeds up the pocket cleaning, and I can clean 1,000 pockets in about an hour.  I store my brass in large batches, mostly in 8 pound powder jugs with a front top cut out, leaving the handle.  About 2,500 rounds of .38 brass will fit in a Bullseye jug.  Since I load for 32 different calibers at this time, I have brass stashed everywhere, I'm afraid.

When I'm ready to load, I normally prime the brass in batches of 1,000.  For this, I use either the RCBS, or Lyman, Ram Prime on one of my Rockchucker presses.  This allows for precise primer seating, and nothing else is going on while the primer is being seated, so it's much easier to pay attention to each individual primer and case.

For a lot of my calibers, the primed brass is loaded on my Hornady LnL progressive press.  Loading primed brass allows me to have a belling die in the #1 position, the powder measure in the #2 position, an RCBS Lock Out Die installed in the #3 position, so if a powder drop is light, heavy or missing, the Lock Out Die will stop the press from moving until the charge is corrected, or the offending case is removed.  The #4 position seats the bullet and the #5 position applies the crimp.  The loaded round is automatically ejected from the #5 position.

For short runs of special ammunition, I load the aforementioned primed brass on either one of my Hollywood Senior presses, or more likely on one of the RCBS Rockchucker presses.

At the current time, I have 3,000 .38 Special cases primed and ready to load.  They would have been loaded, but while in Las Vegas at the SHOT Show, someone dumped a nasty bug on me, and I've been sick.  I also hurt my back lifting a lathe onto my bench, and I don't heal as fast as I used to, so when these issues are taken care of, I'll load those primed cases over a period of probably two days, depending on interruptions, etc.

My process is certainly not for everyone, and I'd never advocate that my way is the only way.  It's a process that I've developed for ME over the 56 years I've been reloading.  I don't have primer problems, period.  My round count is somewhere over 800,000 rounds of loaded ammunition at this time, but I don't want to take the time to go back through records and tally them all up.

On another note, I ordered a Springfield XDm in 10mm at the show, along with one of the slick little Ruger PC 9mm Carbines.  I opted for the 5.25" Match model on the Springfield, since I have other 10mm handguns for carry purposes, should I choose to carry that caliber.  The PC Carbine has an included insert that allows for the use of Glock magazines, and while I'm certainly no fan of the Glock, after being forced to carry a G-22 for the last year and a half before I retired, it does allow for some options for increased magazine capacity.  MagPul is making some slick 27 round Glock 9mm magazines that sell for $19.99, and I ordered 4 of them before I left for the show, so they were here when I got back home.  It makes for a more compact package than my 9mm AR, which uses 32 round Sten gun magazines.  My Beretta CX4 Carbine is limited by the magazine availability, and it has one of the worst triggers I've ever encountered on a rifle.

I haven't left the house since getting home from Vegas, but I intend to wring out these new additions next week. 

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

Offline M1A4ME

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Re: Primers, the inconsistencies just bug me
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2019, 10:07:14 PM »
Me again.

2.  Failure to fire on the first strike of the firing pin but will fire the second time - primers not seat deep enough and the first strike seated the primer deep enough to allow the firing pin to set the primer off on the second strike.

I can see this happening (see it, agree with, what ever).  The cup (when the firing pin strikes it) had has to smack the priming compound against the bottom of the anvil hard enough to set the priming compound off.  If the anvil is not up against the top of the primer pocket the impact will be lessened.  I think the anvil may come loose and raise up.  I've popped anvils out of primer cups before (brand new fresh out of the box primers back when I was fighting that failure to fire issue on the M&P) and they're not hard to remove.  The second time the firing pin/striker hits it the legs on the anvil might be against the top of the primer pocket and that time it goes bang.  I'm not to the point where I believe a firing pin tip smacking the center of a primer can seat the primer cup fully into the priming pocket.  I've primed too many with a Lee hand priming tool to believe the tip of firing pin can easily do what the priming ram in the hand primer tool struggles to do (at times).

3.  Slam fire - primer not seated deep enough and that allowed the firing pin to set the primer off when the bolt closed (or the primer was set off by hitting the breech face or some metal surface during feeding/chambering).

If a firing pin getting a healthy full powered strike on a not very well seated primer doesn't set the primer off how does a light tap from a firing pin tip (that barely leaves a mark - you've seen these if you've got an AR15, M1A, M1 Garand rifle) will set that same not fully seated primer off.




Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.  So, if you see me walking the dogs with my SIG 556R, its okay.