Primer question

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by .308 shooter, Aug 15, 2008.

  1. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter Member

    May 3, 2008
    As stated in previous posts, I'm a complete newbie to reloading. I'm taking everyone's advice and going extremely slow and reading the manuals first. I've read the Speers manual up to the point where it goes over the step to actually reload. I just purchased Hornady A-Max 168 grain bullets, Varget Powder, primers and the Hornady reloading manual today. I called the shop and told him what I needed and to have it ready as I needed to pick it up at lunch and did have time to doddle in the shop.

    He gave me CCI Magnum primers. I trusted him to get me what I needed. However, I'm double and triple checking everything now. The hornady manual lists the Primer as Federal 210. I called the store owner and he said that Federal 210 primers were magnum primers and the CCI magnums were correct. Are they magnum primers or not? My guess is no.

    Sorry for the novel. Just making sure everyone knows where I'm coming from.
  2. artabr

    artabr New Member

    .308, your dealer is either clueless or lying to you. Federal 210 are large rifle primers. Federal 215 are large magnum rifle primers. You may want to buy elsewheres.


  3. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter Member

    May 3, 2008
    I didn't think he was correct... The only problem is, that's the only local place around to buy from and he's about 40 minutes away. I've sent my gun back to Savage once because of someone's carelessness..... it's not going to happen again.

    I'm glad I double checked...... I actually have about 130 Federal 210's left from last time. This just saved me $30.00.

    Thanks. I'm sure I'll be writing with more questions.... probably daily as I learn.
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2003
    Hesperia, CA
    308 shooter:

    Why are there so many incompetent sales people in gun stores? I respect someone saying that they don't know but not someone that doesn't have a clue and sells you Magnum primers for 308!

    What you need is a regular Large Rifle Primer, NOT a Magnum primer.

    The chart in the Hornady manual clearly states that the Federal 215 is a Magnum primer and the Federal 210 is a standard Large Rifle Primer. The load data section of the Hornady manual clearly specifies the Federal 210, NOT the 215 primer. In the CCI line the regular Large Rifle Primer is the 200 and the Magnum is 250.

    The only cartridges that normally use Magnum primers are Magnum cartridges, like 300 Winchester Magnum. Most all the rest use regular primers. Magnum primers are more energetic and have a bigger starting flame for the powder. They are needed to start very slow burning powders, as used exclusively in magnum cartridges, that are hard to get started. The only other possible use is to use them for hunting in very cold weather in place of regular primers. I think that is not the case for you. When Magnum primers are used you have to re-calibrate the loads as the extra energy the Magnum primer adds can push the pressures too high. That means starting again at the starting load and working up, looking for a new accuracy load with magnum primers that most probably will not be the same as that with regular primers.

    Since you are searching for a regular high accuracy load, don't start with Magnum primers. Get regular Large Rifle Primers. The brand is not too important but once you develop a load you have to use the primers you developed the load with to repeat the performance. I have chosen a primer that I can always get, is always found at gun shows substantially lower priced than all the others, and is Winchester primers. I keep large quantites on hand at all times. Choose one that works for you but do choose one that you can get regularly (ask the dealer which one he always has on hand).

  5. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    You can safely use the mag primers with Varget if you decrease the start load by 5% & work the load up from there. This is described in manuals.

    There is considerable differance in brissance between brands of even regular large rifle primers. Accuracy loads can be found by switching brands of primers along with other things like powder type & powder weight etc.
  6. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter Member

    May 3, 2008
    Thanks LD and Popgunner. I thought I was pretty much right on the mark with questioning the primers. Looks like this research thing is actually paying off. Thanks for all the advice. More questions to come, I'm sure.
  7. jinn

    jinn New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    My opinion, and it ain't worth much sometimes, but as a beginner reloader, look carefully at EVERYTHING. Primer type is clearly called out on containers, as to whether they are magnum type, or not.

    In general, magnum primers are used for just that- magnum cartridges! No rocket science there.

    Furthermore, if beginning, stay away from messing around with recommendations to go ahead and use XXXX, and reduce powder charge. Use what you are supposed to use. Note if the loading manual says it used, say, Federal primers for a given load, there is no reason why you MUST use Federal. Any brand is OK, so long as it is the proper primer, and never, NEVER, start at the maximum loads shown. Starting lower will also allow tolerance for slight variations which occur between different brands of primers.
  8. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    If you want to be exact Jinn then even the same brand primer should be used. There is considerable difference between brands.

    I think at starting load switching brand of primer should usually be safe but since you recomended not just following someone's opinion & sticking with exactly what's listed I guess I recomend not changing brands-since that's just your opinion-right?
  9. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    308 in the Speer manual it specifies the primer to use. I would write the number e.g. CCI 200 down and when you go to the retailer specify that brand and number. That will take him out of the equation and until you get more up to speed and decide you wish to go with something different. Remember to start low and work your way up watching for pressure all along the way. Good luck.
  10. .308 shooter

    .308 shooter Member

    May 3, 2008
    Terry_P.... In this particular instance I couldn't do that as I knew the brand bullets I wanted, but was also picking up the manual at the same time. I asked the dealer to get me the correct stuff and actually even questioned it when I picked it up. Once I got back to work, I noticed the discrepancy...... yes that means I was more concerned about reloading than doing work.... oh well. :)

    I am following the books to the letter of the law and even if I get different primers or anything, I'm starting from the beginning.

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.
  11. jinn

    jinn New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    OK, the difference you mention between brands of primer is what, exactly? Amount of charge? Hardness of metal? Ease of ignition? Do you not think that if, say, Hornady's manual calls for 30 grains of powder, using CCI priming, and Speer calls for 30 grains of same powder, using Federal priming, if significant difference existed a whole can of liability worms would not be opened?

    If I was not clear, I meant that given STARTING LOADS listed by any manual, any commercial primer available is safe.

    Let's suppose my only manual used CCI exclusively, and in seeking to buy primers, I found that no one had CCI in stock, or CCI quit making primers, then I must either give up reloading, or seek a manual suggesting primer make now available? BTW, shopping for primers recently revealed that my usual sources were INDEED out of stock of my favorites.
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
  12. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    The difference is in brissance & my point was back at you since you put down having a newbie accept anyone's opinion as oposed to something straight from the manual. You then proceeded to break your own rule. Seemed hypocritical. I have no problems switching in different brands of primers at start load level but as you well know the manuals-except for the Lee- call out brands of primers because there is a difference.

    My suggestion of a 5% reduction of starting load when switching in mag for standard primers is not my idea-as I stated it's a manual thing.
  13. jinn

    jinn New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Pop, I understand your concern, and did not mean to "set you off". My thinking, though, is that, is it "SAAMI" (?), has established brisance tolerance criteria for each primer type, and no manufacturer would care to deviate from those requirements by much, if any.

    Sort of like 15-inch tires are all made to fit 15-inch rims, not 12 or 16.

    If I am wrong on this, I'll appreciate being made aware of it.

    BTW, how DO they measure primer brisance?
  14. Popgunner

    Popgunner Active Member

    Dec 3, 2005
    If you have a few manuals you'll note that several have tables listed with hotter to less hot primers & they all (except Lee) list what exact brand & type they used for their listed loads.

    As I said, I don't worry about switching brands of primers of the same type at the starting load but if we have to be exact then I think it's worth noting. Anything above starting load I would worry about just switching brands of primers without working up again.

    I don't know of any manual that explains how brissance is tested but I assume it's measured by peak pressures obtained. I have seen some photos of different brands burning & they were different between brands. There was a good article in Handloader's digest last year about how trying different brands of primers is more productive when trying for an accuracy load than trying to find a sweetspot in powder charge weight. There are differences in performance of brands even though the type is the same, regular large rifle or whatever.

    Not to drone on & on, but even "Magnum" primers weren't developed for "magnum" calibers. There were several Mag calibers such as the 375 H&H & 460 weatherby that functioned quite nicely for many years before there were any mag primers. Mag primers were introduced first by CCI & in their description it was noted that they were for use in standard & mag calibers for low temperature shooting.

    There used to be another twist that re-loaders had to worry about & that was corrosive primers. When I started re-loading in 1974 I was sold 1000 regular large rifle primers at a gun show that ended up being corrosive. Not knowing, I went ahead & loaded them into my loads that were for non-corrosive primers & was Ok. Corrosive primers are not as hot & I now have an old manual that shows separate loads for the two types. I was just lucky I guess. I just don't have any more corrosive primers to play with. Just as well.

    Best fishes
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2008
  15. jinn

    jinn New Member

    Jul 25, 2008
    Interesting coincidence that I also began reloading in 1974, then living in Las Vegas, where one could easily find desolate places not far away to shoot to the heart's content.

    Pop, thank you for the informative stuff here.
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