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Primer/Brass question for the experts on here
Discussion regarding the reloading of ammunition and tuning of loads for accuracy
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twofifty
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

This thread made me think of the various overpressure signs that tell us to back off a bit.

I was talking with an experienced loader who told me that many of those signs are actually present in once-fired factory ammo. Just plain old store bought cartridges, nothing special.

Sure enough, my Winchester commercial brass, once-fired, shows flattened primers, as well as an annular area just above the head that looks like a stretch mark. So I've got 'sign', yet these are not high pressure loads.

Anyhow, buddy said that the surest and safest way to tell how close 'a particular load in a specific gun' is to max pressure levels is to chrono the rounds. If it is travelling at max velocity values, then that's as far as you can safely and predictably go.

What say you guys?
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Crackshot
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Velocity is only part of the equation. The surest way to make sure a load is "good to go" in your rifle or what ever, is to start @ the lowest recomended load in a reputable manual and go from there. I have seen some guns reach there max way before the listed max is reached, and then seen some be fine beyond the max listed load. Its trial and error! I shoot for accuracy, Not max velocity.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Again...Flattened primers are not a sign of over pressure. Primers that are cratered, punctured or has a soot ring around the edge of the primer are signs of high pressure. I can show you rounds that have flattened primers that are well under maximum powder charge. Well not right now. All of my cases have either been preped or loaded.

Over pressure signs are:

Split or ballooned cases (except cases fired from a glock)
hard to eject or extract
louder then usual or harder recoil then usual
cratered primers
punctured primers
soot around the primer

Flatteded primers are a normal ocurrence. Especially in magnum cartridges.

A chronograph is an excellent tool to help in determining what a particular loading is doing.

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4rum
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

I have to re-emphasize a point Bushmaster made. Upon ignition of the main powder charge inside the cartridge case, the primer is backed out until it contacts the bolt face or what ever part of the firearm that normally stops the rearward progression of the cartridge case. Subsequent pressure build up forces the cartridge case back also, thus reseating the primer into it's pocket. If your loads are on the upper end, this reseating of the primer is quite violent. Probably more than you'll get from your two thumbs. If you need evidence that this takes place... load some rounds rather light and you will notice that the cartridge is not pushed back with sufficient force to reseat the primer and it will protrude slightly from the primer pocket. And PLEASE follow Bushmasters advise... seat those primers firmly!
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204Shooter
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

4rum, all my primer are protruding slightly after firing. None are flattened. The backs are slightly rounded. They look just like the commercial fired ammo I have used. I am going to take bushy's advice and "do nothing" other than make sure my primers are fully seated. Smile
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sniper
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Woops! I forgot to post that I think the anvil legs are softer material than the brass, and shouldn't dent it. Try this: Clean the primer pockets, and see if the "indentations" may be just firing residue. If not, it may be just a normal condition of the caliber/brass/rifle.

It pays to be careful, so why not segregate 10 rounds from your brass, and reload only those for a number of times. If, by 5X or so reloadings, nothing untoward is happening, don't worry too much about it.
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SwampFox
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

204,
What you are describing may have nothing to do with loads, or primers. Your factory loaded, once fired brass, has backed out primers. Without looking at the brass or gun, I think you are in fact describing a problem with the chamber of the rifle.

Please check your brass to see if the exterior walls are bright smooth or ringed or frosted looking. While primer back out can be a sign of underpressure in a rifle, it is most often associated with and caused by a rough chamber or excessive headspace. This time of year, carrying a gun in and out can cause condensation and result in a chamber covered with a fine film of surface rust.

If you have convex or concave rings on or around the brass, you may have mill marks inside the chamber.
If you have frosted cases or frosted areas on the cases, the frosted look is most likely caused by surface rust in the chamber.
If you have web stretching (bright area about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the base) combined with a backed out primer, with factory loaded brass, you probably have excessive headspace.

If I knew nothing about repair, I would take the gun back where I bought it with several fired factory rounds.
Ed

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PaulS
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 24, 2007 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Your reloading manual will give you the closest value to maximum presure if you use it right. A chronograph can not even begin to approximate pressure - minor differences in chamber, lead, barrel finnish and fit will change velocity more than several thousand psi of pressure change. Even the powder companies with their high dollar chamber pressure mesurement devices can only approximate pressures unless they use the SAAMI calibration rounds. As reloaders we have to use the manuals to find a starting place and then from there up we have to whatch for signs of over pressure that will show us that we are somewhere between maximum in our gun with that load. Those signs are not reliable because in one shell they may be present at 60000 psi and after firing that case a few times those same signs may not show up until the pressure is well over any safe load limit.

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sniper
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 28, 2007 7:19 am    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

204 Shooter:
None of the pressure signs are 100% absolute, but they have been included in reloading manuals for a long time. I figure those guys have more experience than me, and know what they are talking about.

They are only a guide, and indicate that something may not be quite right, and should be investigated, as you have done.

Due to pressures, and the relative softness of primer cups, I would be surprised if some amount of flattening did not occur.

One way to investigate is to shoot some factory ammo in your rifle, and compare fired factory cases and primers with your reloaded ones, both after firing and after sizing.
Not exactly the same, but it will give you a good idea of how "normal" should look. It can happen, but it is rare to find excess headspace in modern rifles that have not been badly abused.

A backed out primer tends to indicate lower pressures, not higher, and as long as everything else is O.K., if there is some radius left on the primer cup, chances are all is well, imo.

It is when the primer cup expands to fill the pocket edge to edge that pressures are getting high, or the brass head is extruded into the extractor hole, and then peeled off when the bolt is lifted, leaving a bright spot that pressures need another look. But, I have seen the spot on once fired factory brass, and in warm weather.

I have had the dreaded "bright ring"with a couple of calibers, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with my brass, or rifle headspace. The brass ahead of the case head is thinner, and expands more than the head does, when I full length resize, the die burnishes that area. Neck sizing would eliminate it. I have run a feeler down the throat, and can find no thinning, so I don't worry.

It is reasonable to be cautious, because reloading is a hazardous pastime. But, except in extreme cases, given reasonable loads and care, a lot of agonizing over whether our rifles are going to disintegrate from our pet loads is not productive. If anyone is thinking that, it's time to reduce whatever load you are using, just for the peace of mind.
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SavageRuger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Bushy had some really good tips and I need to add one that I have experienced.

After firing and on extraction and I have found primers that are not flush with the bottom of the case. This tends to indicate, in some cases, a hot load, or potentially, a primer that was not seated correctly.

Depending on my time I will use the Lee Auto Prime or the primer seating on my Lee 1000 or Loadmaster. The 1000 is a bit like the Auto Prime - I can feel if it is seated correctly. The Loadmaster is another animal. I can seat primers horizontally without the same feel.

With that said, I inspect every reload before I place it in box for shooting. Never short-change this inspection - It may just save you a gun and or injury.

Keep a close watch on this forum and never hesitate to ask a question. Successful reloading is sharing of information that many have acquired over many years. Not everyone is an expert but collectively you will find expertise.

Just my .02

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Savageruger. If you mean that the primer is backed out just a bit. That usually means that you had a low pressure loading or the chamber is a bit rough and the case did not butt itself against the bolt face. The last possible and not that common in modern firearms is too much head space or the case shoulder has been shoved back a bit during resizing too much causing a head space problem.

By The Way...Flattened primers are usually caused by the case being slammed back against the bolt face after firing and is normal. This is usually found in rounds that are moderate to hot loadings. Heavy bullets will cause this too.

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SavageRuger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

Bushy...I actually experienced this with a hot load and a rather cool load.

.223 20g H322 52g Sierra MK
.223 25.5g H322 52g Sierra MK

Thanks for the additional information. I have never had flattened primers so I guess that's a blessing. I'm running these through a new Savage BG-TV

My load at tis point is:

23.5g H322 Sierra 52g MK

It's not as fast as I would like but it does .5 groups at 100yds. Plenty good for groundhogs.

Thanks

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2007 4:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Primer/Brass question for the experts on here Reply with quote

If it's runnin' that good I wouldn't touch it either...

Flattened primers are something that I ignore. They basicly mean my load and case are functioning properly...Non-flattened primers mean about the same to me...Unless it is cratered or blown out (soot around the primer) or a hole at the pin strike, I don't pay that much attention to the primers...

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