February 13th, 2020

Primers and Pressure Tolerances — How Primers Vary

Primer Pressure signs

by James Calhoon
(First Printed in Varmint Hunter Magazine, October, 1995)

Primers and Pressures

In the course of talking to many shooters, it has become clear to me that the manufacturers of primers have done a less than adequate job of educating reloaders on the application of their primers. Everybody seems to realize that some primers are “hotter” than others and some seem to shoot better for them than others, but few reloaders know that primers have different pressure tolerances.

Primer Pressure Tolerance
When loading a .223 to the maximum, I was getting primer piercing before I reached case overloading. I don’t know what prompted me to try CCI 450s instead of the 400s which I had been using, but I did. Presto! No more piercing! Interesting!? A primer that has a hotter ignition and yet withstands more pressure! Thats when I decided that it was time to do a dissection of all primers concerned. The chart below shows my results.

Primers and Pressures
NOTE: These primer dimensions were measured many years ago. There may be some differences in current production specifications.

By studying the numbers (Cup “A” thickness), one can see which primers in the small rifle sections should be more resistant to primer cratering and/or piercing. Primer cup diameters are all similar and appear to follow a specification, but check out the cup thickness in the small rifle primers (Dimension “A”). Some cups are quite a bit thicker than others: .025″ for CCI 450 vs. .0019″ for Fed 200. Large rifle primers all appear to have the same cup thickness, no matter what the type. (As a note of interest, small pistol primers are .017″ thick and large pistol primers are .020″ thick.)

If you are shooting a 22 Cooper, Hornet, or a Bee, the .020″ cup will perform admirably. But try using the .020″ cup in a 17 Remington and you will pierce primers, even with moderate loads.

Considering that cup thickness varies in the small rifle primers, it is obvious that primer “flatness” cannot solely be used as a pressure indicator.

Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work-hardened state of the metal used to make the primer cup. Most primers are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Note that manufacturers specify the hardness of metal desired, so some cups are definitely “harder” that others.

What does all this mean to the reloader?
- Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at moderate pressures (40,000 psi) can use CCI 400, Federal 200, Rem 6 1/2, or Win SR. Such cases include 22 CCM, 22 Hornet and the 218 Bee. Other cases that use the small rifle primer can use the above primers only if moderate loads are used. Keep to the lower end of reloading recommendations.

– Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at higher pressures (55,000 psi) should use CCI 450, CCI BR4, Fed 205 and Rem 7 1/2.

– All the large rifle primers measured have the same thickness. Therefore choose based on other factors, such as accuracy, low ES/SD, cost, cup hardness, and uniformity.

Hope this clears up some primer confusion. If you want more information about primers, priming compounds, or even how to make primers, the NRA sells an excellent book called “Ammunition Making” by George Frost. This book tells it like it is in the ammo making industry.

Jim Calhoon Products

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August 15th, 2019

Money-Back Bonanza — 12 Summer/Fall Rebate Programs

summer Factory rebate programs

We’ve found a dozen great discount/rebate programs. These specials can save you big bucks on reloading components, ammo, or a new firearm. Some of these rebates are worth $100 or more. For example you can save $100 on a new Remington shotgun, Savage rifle, or Kimber pistol. Note: most of these promos are good through October, but some expire in September or even August — so check the dates.

remington rebate savage rifle rebate
CCI primers rebate Taurus pistol 22 revolver rebate discount
springfiled pistol magazine rebate Minox j.p. sauer rifle rebate 50% off
Federal range day ammo .223 Rem rebate hornady 500 get loaded free bullets rebate
savage msr AR rifle rebate Sig sauer pistol rebate 2019
speer ammo reloading components 2019 rebate Kimber pistol handgun rebate
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April 4th, 2019

NEW Spring 2019 Rebate Programs — Alliant, CCI, Federal, Speer

Vista Outdoor Alliant Powder CCI Primers bullets Speer Federal brass components reloading

Long-time site sponsor Powder Valley notified us about some great Rebate offers from Vista Outdoor companies Alliant, CCI, Federal, and Speer. If you need powder, primers, or bullets, now is a great time to buy. The rebated offers are good now through June 30, 2019. These rebates may also be available when you purchase qualifying products from other vendors Bruno’s, Graf’s, Midsouth, and Precision Reloading.

Vista Outdoor Alliant Powder CCI Primers bullets Speer Federal brass components reloading

1. ALLIANT Powder — More Bang for your Buck$ Rebate
If you buy at least four (4) pounds of powder you get $2.00 back per pound, with a rebate limit of $20 (for ten pounds). Minimum purchase four (4) pounds required. This is a great deal when you combine the rebate with Powder Valley’s already low prices.

2. Federal — Handload and Save Rebate
Spend at least $100 on Federal® reloading components (including bullets, brass and primers) to get 20% of the purchase price back. Rebate amount calculated on purchase price only, does not include taxes and/or shipping/handling fees. Maximum rebate $100 per person or household. Minimum spend $100 required.

3. CCI — Primed for Action Rebate
Spend at least $100 on CCI® reloading primers to get 20% of the purchase price back. Rebate amount calculated on purchase price only, does not include taxes and/or shipping/handling fees. Reloading components only; offer does not apply to percussion caps. Maximum rebate $100 per person or household. Minimum spend $100 required.

4. Speer — More Bullets for your Benjamins Rebate
Spend at least $100 on Speer® component bullets to get 20% of the purchase price back. Rebate amount calculated on purchase price only, does not include taxes and/or shipping/handling fees. Maximum rebate $100 per person or household. Minimum spend $100 required.

Get up to $320 Total Rebate — Alliant, CCI, Federal, and Speer
These Rebate Offers are good through June 30, 2019. Powder Valley explains that these rebates are all separate programs: “Each of these brands have their own rebate, No Mixing and Matching of these brands unless you want to participate in all four rebates. If you have any questions please read the Terms or call us to explain.” To get any particular rebate you’ll need to buy the qualifying amount of product for that particular brand. If you do all four Rebates, you could get a total of $320.00 back.

CLICK HERE for REBATE LINKs and MORE INFO »

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July 30th, 2018

BargainFinder 149: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze, you lose.

1. CDNN — 6mm Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle, $799.99

Ruger Precision Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor PRS production class

Get a Ruger Precision Rifle in 6mm Creedmoor for $799.99 complete. That price, which includes rings, is great for a Gen 2 model. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) chambered for the 6mm Creedmoor cartridge, this is a killer deal. Right now CDNN Sports is offering this popular tactical rig for under $800.00, in the 6mm Creedmoor chambering. This shoots faster and flatter than the 6.5 Creedmoor — so many PRS guys have switched to it. This is a good choice for the PRS production class, or you can take in to another level of performance with a Pre-Fit 26″ cut-rifled barrel from Krieger. This is the lastest RPR Gen 2 version with the upgraded handguards. Heck of a bargain boys — you can pay $1200 or more elsewhere for the same rifle.

2. MidwayUSA — Factory Second Bullets, 30% Off

MidwayUSA Blemishe blem bullet sale Nosler Hornady Sierra

MidwayUSA has purchased a large lot of big name blemished bullets, which are being offered at 30% off normal retail. For example 6.5mm 140gr bullets are marked down from $33.99 to $23.79 per 100. And 7mm 162gr bullets are reduced from $36.79 to $25.75 per 100. These blemished bullets are bulk-packaged, factory seconds that didn’t meet specification. For majority of the bullets being offered, this blemish is a slight discoloration in the jacket or the bullets were run during press set-up. Quantities are limited. These bullets may or may not have a cannelure present and the color of polymer-tipped bullets may vary between boxes.

3. CDNN — Burris Scope and 200 Rounds 17 HMR, $79.99

CCI 17 HMR Savage A17 ammo Burris 17HMR scope ammunition package sale

Buy yourself an inexpensive 17 HMR rifle, get this package deal, and you’re set for the varmint fields for under $400.00. The 200 rounds of ammo is worth $40.00, so you’re getting the 3-10x36mm scope for another forty bucks or so. Can’t argue with that. No this ain’t no Nightforce but this scope has a full factory guarantee and it should work OK for basic plinking duties. It has 1/4-MOA clicks plus a special extra “speed turret” calibrated for 17 HMR ballistics.

4. Natchez — Surplus SKB 5041 Transport Cases, $104.99

SKB Rifle Case Military Surplus 50

Natchez has obtained a supply of British MOD Surplus SKB 5041 rifle cases. These were ordered as mine detector cases, but were never issued. Natchez has removed the foam cut for the detectors and replaced it with brand new 2-piece convoluted foam. Interior dimension of the case is 50″x14.5″x5″ INSIDE so this will hold long-barrel match rifles comfortably. These are extremely high-quality cases, very tough and rugged, waterproof with gaskets. These cases feature four SKB patented trigger latches, four reinforced padlock locations, and inline wheels. Though in excellent condition, some case may have minor exterior scuffs. You won’t find a better case at anywhere near the $105.99 price. These normally retail for $199.99.

5. Midsouth — Lyman Brass Smith Ideal Press, $77.49

Lyman C-Frame Ideal compact press cast iron

Lyman’s new Ideal compact press works great as a second, lighter-duty press. It also is a good choice for loading at the range. It can easily be mounted to a range bench with C-clamps. With its cast-iron body, this C-Frame press is stronger than other presses in its price class. If you are looking for a secondary press for decapping, bullet-seating and other tasks not requiring heavy leverage, this is an excellent choice. The Lyman Ideal costs just $77.49 at Midsouth Shooters Supply.

6. Powder Valley — 20% Off BR-4 Primers and Ramshot TAC

CCI BR4 BR-4 Primers Ramshot Tac powder sale discount

Powder Valley Inc. just kicked off a big sale on CCI Primers and Ramshot powder. Save 20% off RamShot TAC powder and get free HazMat with a large ($250) order. Powder Valley is also discounting CCI Small Rifle Primers, which are now also 20% Off. These BR4 primers produce excellent accuracy and consistent velocity in popular cartridges such as .223 Rem, 6mmBR, 6.5×47 Lapua, and 6.5 Creedmoor (Small Primer version). NOTE: The 20% off applies to all purchases of Ramshot TAC and CCI BR-4 primers. You can get free HazMat if you buy at least $250 of TAC powder OR at least 10,000 primers (e.g. ten 1000-primer units). This Powder Valley sale is good through August 5, 2018.

7. Midsouth — Hornady 17 HMR Ten Boxes for $84.99

Hornady 17 HMR week deal varmint V-Max ammo ammunition sale

Varmint hunters take note. Here’s a great deal on premium 17 HMR ammo. Midsouth is selling 500 rounds of Hornady 17 HMR ammo for $84.99. That works out to just $8.50 per 50-rd box — the best price we’ve seen in a while. Loaded with 17gr V-Max bullets, this ammo is accurate — expect about 1 MOA at 100 yards in a good rifle. The V-Max bullets are effective on small varmints out to 200 yards.

8. Natchez — 100 Hornady .22 Cal Varmint Bullets, $7.99

Hornady .224 22 caliber soft point SP bullets AR15 varmint ammo ammunition sale

Need big quantities of .224-caliber bullets for your next prairie dog safari, or some action shooting ammo for your AR? Here’s a crazy good deal on Hornady soft-point 55gr varmint bullets. The price is just $7.99 per hundred. You read that right less than eight cents per bullet. At those prices you can shoot all day long.

9. Cabela’s — Summer Sale on Guns, Ammo, and Gear

Cabela's gun knives binoculars ammo ammunition sale

Cabela’s is running a big summer sale now, with significant discounts (up to 40%) on a wide range of products. Along with discounted guns and ammunition, you’ll find many other outdoor products on sale of interest to shooters: knives, Vortex binoculars, and camping gear.

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July 25th, 2018

Free HazMat Deals at Natchez and MidwayUSA

Free hazmat promotion promo code discount cci midwayusa brownells natchez hazardous material charge

Need powder or primers? Or want to lay in a supply of the hard-to-find stuff — such as H4350 — for a rainy day? Well you’re in luck. With these promotions you can get FREE (or virtually free) hazmat charges for powder and primer purchases. These Hazmat deals can save you $25-$40 on your order. Don’t dawdle — these deals expire soon!

Natchez Shooters Supplies is offering FREE Hazmat on purchases of $99.99 or more. This deal runs now through July 27, 2018 (Friday) at 11:59 PM EST. Use Code FH180725.

MidwayUSA is offering Free Hazmat on $150.00+ orders of CCI Primers. Note: This promotion does NOT apply to ANY powders at all or any other brands of primers. It is good for CCI primers only, now through July 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm CST. Use Code CCI201807.

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September 21st, 2015

Bargain-Finder 1: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter.com Bargain Finder Deal Locator Sale Bargain Discount Codes FREE Ammo

At the request of our readers, we are starting a Monday “Deals of the Week” feature. If this proves popular, we’ll try to run this every week. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change. If you snooze, you lose.

1. Grafs.com — CCI Primers on Sale

AccurateShooter.com Deals of Week Grafs.com Powder Valley Bullets.com Midsouth Supply Bruno Shooters

Here’s a very good deal on CCI 400 (small rifle) and CCI 450 (small rifle magnum) primers. These primers have strong cups so they work well with stout loads. The CCI 450s are a favorite for 6mmBR and Dasher shooters. (The prices include shipping, with a $7.95 flat fee, but not hazmat charges).

2. Midsouth Shooters Supply — Norma .22 LR Ammo on Sale

AccurateShooter.com Deals of Week Grafs.com Powder Valley Bullets.com Midsouth Supply Bruno Shooters

This is good ammo for the price — plenty good enough for practice and tactical rimfire competitions. We’ve used this ammo in a variety of rimfire rifles and it worked well. SEE Video Ammo Review. Midsouth also has the Norma .22LR Match-22 ammo at $7.95 per box.

3. Bullets.com — Bags and Rifle Cases on Sale

AccurateShooter.com Deals of Week Grafs.com Powder Valley Bullets.com Midsouth Supply Bruno Shooters

Bullets.com has slashed prices on its Bald Eagle Brand shooting bags and soft rifle cases. The shooting bags, now 50% off, are very well made and hold a lot of gear. The Long Rifle Cases, also 50% off, are designed for match rifle with barrels up to 32″ long. This Editor uses a Bald Eagle bag to carry his spotting scope and compact tripod. SEE Video Bag Review.

4. Bruno Shooters Supply — FREE Shipping on 500+ Bullets

AccurateShooter.com Deals of Week Grafs.com Powder Valley Bullets.com Midsouth Supply Bruno Shooters

Bruno Shooters Supply offers competitive pricing on Berger and Sierra bullets. And now you can save even more with FREE Shipping on orders of 500 or more Berger or Sierra Bullets. This FREE Shipping offer is limited to one order per customer per day.

5. Natchez Shooters Supply — Nikon Scope Close-Out Sale

AccurateShooter.com Deals of Week Grafs.com Powder Valley Bullets.com Midsouth Supply Bruno Shooters

Natchez is running a big sale on Nikon optics. Prices have been reduced as much as 43%. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, name-brand optic for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these Nikon bargains. The M-223 3-12x42mm has nice turrets and constant eye relief. It’s a steal at $279.95.

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