August 5th, 2020

Primers 101 — What You Need to Know About Primers

Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-15 reloading  brass safety primer resizing

Here is an article Glen Zediker wrote for the Midsouth Blog. In this article Glen gives important advice on selecting, handling, seating, and testing primers. The right primer choice can and will affect your load’s performance and accuracy. And proper primer handling is essential for safety.

Glen is the author of many excellent books on reloading. This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. For more information about other books by Glen, visit ZedikerPublishing.com.

Handloading for Competition
by Glen Zediker

The Competitive AR-15
by Glen Zediker

Top-Grade Ammo
by Glen Zediker

RELOADERS CORNER: PRIMER TECH

by Glen Zediker
The primer is one component in the collection that might not get all the attention it warrants. That’s because it is the one thing, above all other components, that you don’t want to just swap and switch around. We’ve all heard cautions about testing new lots of every component, especially propellant, but primers not only change lot to lot, they vary greatly in their influence on any one load, brand to brand.

The difference in one brand to the next can equal a good deal more or less pressure, for instance. While there are “general” tendencies respecting the “power” of various-brand primers, always (always) reduce the load (propellant quantity) when switching primers.

This has become more of an issue over the past few years as we’ve faced component shortages. I can tell you without a doubt that going from a WW to a CCI, or from a Remington to a Federal, can have a major influence on a load. I establish that from chronograph readings. No doubt, it’s best to have a good supply of one primer brand and lot that produces good results, and when that’s not possible, it’s a hard sell to convince someone to stop loading ammo and get back to testing. But. It is important. I can tell you that from (bad) experience. How I, and we all, learn most things…

When I switch primers, whether as a test or a necessity, I reduce my load ONE FULL GRAIN. There can be that much effect.

The Elements of a Primer
A primer is made up of a brass cup filled with explosive compound (lead styphate). Lead styphate detonates on impact. Primers don’t burn – they explode! In the manufacturing process, this compound starts as a liquid. After it’s laid into the cup, and while it’s still wet, a triangular piece or metal (the “anvil”) is set in. When the cup surface is struck by the firing pin, the center collapses, squeezing the explosive compound between the interior of the cup and the anvil. That ignites the compound and sends a flame through the case flash hole, which in turn lights up the propellant.

Primers Can be Dangerous — Particularly When Stacked
Don’t underestimate that. I’ve had one experience that fortunately only created a huge start, but I know others who have had bigger more startling mishaps. These (almost always) come from primer reservoirs, such fill-tubes. Pay close attention when charging up a tube and make sure all the primers are facing the right way, and that you’re not trying to put in “one more” when it’s full! That’s when “it” usually happens. What will happen, by the way, is akin to a small grenade. Static electricity has also been blamed, so keep that in mind.

Sizes and Types of Primers
Primers come in two sizes and four types. “Large” and “small”: for example, .223 Rem. takes small, .308 Win. takes large. Then there are pistol and rifle in each size.

Rifle primers and pistol primers are not the same, even though they share common diameters! Rifle primers [normally] have a tougher cup, and, usually, a hotter flash. Never swap rifle for pistol. Now, some practical-style competitive pistol shooters using their very high-pressure loads (like .38 Super Comp) sometimes substitute rifle primers because they’ll “handle” more pressure, but they’ve also tricked up striker power. That’s a specialized need.

Further, some primer brands are available with a “magnum” option. Some aren’t. My experience has been that depends on the “level” of their standard primer. A magnum primer, as you might guess, has a more intense, stouter flash that travels more “deeply” to ignite the larger and more dense powder column. It reaches further, faster.

Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-15 reloading  brass safety primer resizing

Flash Consistency Counts
Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-15 reloading  brass safety primer resizingFlash Consistency is very important, shot to shot. The consistency of every component is important: bullet weights, diameters, case wall thicknesses, and all the way down the list. We’re hoping to get more consistent behavior from a “match” or “benchrest” primer, and we’re paying more for it. I can tell you that some brands that aren’t touted as “match” are already consistent. That all comes from experience: try different primers, just respect the need to initially reduce the load for each test.

Primer Dimensional Differences and Primer Tools
One last thing — there are small variations in primer dimensions (heights, diameters) among various brands. These variations are not influential to performance. However — small diameter variations can influence feeding through priming tools. This can be a hitch especially in some progressive loading machines. Manufacturers usually offer insight (aka: “warnings”) as to which are or aren’t compatible, so find out.

Glen Zediker reloaders corner midsouth book AR-15 reloading brass safety primer resizingGet Midsouth products HERE

Get Primer trays HERE

This article is adapted from Glen’s books, Handloading For Competition and Top-Grade Ammo, available at Midsouth HERE. Learn more about Glen’s books at ZedikerPublishing.com.

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August 5th, 2020

Rimfire Challenge and New Products on Shooting USA This Week

Shooting USA rimfire challenge worlk, Arkansas

There’s a good episode of Shooting USA TV this week, featuring the Rimfire Challenge World Championships. This major match attracts hundreds of competitors from around the nation. It’s fast and fun with instant feedback from ringing plates indicating hits. The Rimfire Challenge Championships is family-friendly event that’s great for all skill and experience levels. This week Shooting USA will also feature two dozen new-for-2020 products, including new pistols, rifles, shotguns, optics, holsters, and more.

Shooting USA airs Wednesday 9:00 PM Eastern and Pacific, 8:00 PM Central on Outdoor Channel. You can also watch Shooting USA any time online via Vimeo.com.

The Rimfire Challenge World Championships

The Rimfire Challenge is just about the most fun you can have with .22 LR pistols and rifles. The Rimfire Challenge Championship drew 250 competitors to the Old Fort Gun Club in Arkansas. The competition is similar to the Steel Challenge, but a lower cost, family-friendly rimfire only event. And the steel target set up is different each time, with competitors only knowing how many targets to shoot, and in what order, when they step to the shooting box.

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge

This Rimfire Challenge Championship featured 16 stages — 8 for pistol, 8 for rifle. On each stage, shooters engage 5, 6, or 7 targets, in five separate strings of fire, with the best four runs counting for record.

NSSF Rimfire Challenge Basics
The Rimfire Challenge is a two-gun event so you need a rifle and a handgun (either a semi-auto pistol, or revolver). There are two divisions: 1) Open — Any firearm (pistol or revolver in handgun class) with scopes, optical sights, light gathering scopes, battery powered optics or lasers; and 2) Limited — Pistols and rifles with iron sights, adjustable metallic sights, and/or fiber optic. Bolt-action rifles and lever-action rifles are allowed, but self-loading (semi-auto) rifles are most popular because they can shoot quickly.

rimfire Challenge

Many different stage designs can be employed at Rimfire Challenge matches. Shown above are two examples from the Rimfire Challenge Suggested Courses of Fire.

New-for-2020 Products Also Featured this Week

Shooting USA has assembled many of the new products which were to be unveiled at the NRA Annual Meetings in Nashville, Tennessee. Unfortunately that Nashville NRA event was cancelled due to the pandemic (there will be a smaller NRA Meeting in St. Louis, MO in September). Jim and John Scoutten review two dozen products that were going to be showcased at the NRA event in Nashville. Here are four of the new products reviewed this week:

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge

Shooting USA new products rifmire challenge
Shooting USA is available On Demand via Vimeo.com. Watch a single episode for $0.99, or get a full-month subscription for $3.99 and watch as many shows as you like with limited commercial interruptions.

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August 5th, 2020

Home Range Appreciation Series — Filling the Nat’l Matches Void

CMP Home Range Appreciation shooting match high power smallbore pistol 2020

In July and August we should be talking about the CMP Games at Camp Perry (Ohio) and the National Matches at Camp Atterbury (Indiana). Instead, all these events have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Thankfully, the CMP is organizing a local match series that can provide some competitive fun in summer 2020.

To fill the void of the unfortunate withdrawal of the 2020 National Matches from the annual schedule, the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) have prepared a solution that will allow competitors to compete with one another during the summer months at their local ranges.

The CMP has created special series of matches for Summer 2020 — the “Home Range Appreciation Series”, a collection of High Power rifle, pistol, smallbore rifle, air rifle and pistol competitions, shot at local facilities, and open to both adult and junior athletes. Scores from all the CMP-sanction home range matches will be complied together, and all participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt and coin. In addition, sponsors will provide awards such as gift certificates, memorabilia, and ammunition.

CLICK HERE for Program General INFO, Rules, Event List »

Home Range Shooting Matches are Underway
Since early June, scores have been pouring in weekly for the CMP’s (CMP) Home Range Appreciation Series of events. Introduced to supplement the cancelled 2020 National Matches in Ohio and Indiana, clubs from Texas, Mississippi, Wyoming, New York and several other states have conducted an assortment of rifle, pistol, smallbore and air rifle competitions at their local ranges.

CMP Home Range Appreciation shooting match high power smallbore pistol 2020

One Home Range event was held at Hornell Sportsman’s Club in New York. “Thanks, CMP, for opening the Home Series,” said the Club’s CMP match coordinator, Joe Menichino. “We are all disappointed that the Perry matches were cancelled, and this series gives us a chance to shoot and compete.”

GENERAL INFORMATION
Each local match will be sanctioned by a CMP Affiliated club. All matches MUST be fired by September 8 and results received by September 14, 2020. All results will be final on October 1, 2020. A list of matches will be posted on the CMP website. Participants may fire in more than one event of the same discipline, but only the scores of the first event will be recorded, with the exception of the White Oak 1600 Aggregate which is two 800 Aggregate matches. This event maybe fired at different locations for competitors to complete their two 800 Aggregate matches.

SAFETY and HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
The CMP reminds clubs to follow all state and local health guidelines and health advisories. Recommended range health practices include: limiting/spacing the number of participants who congregate for safety briefings, spacing out firing points, leaving empty firing points between shooters, ensuring participants wear masks, washing hands frequently, providing disinfectant wipes, and continuously cleaning common surfaces such as shooting benches and equipment.

  • List of Rifle and Pistol Ranges Hosting Home Range Series
  • List of Air Rifle and Smallbore Ranges Hosting Home Range Series
  • Home Range Club Sanction Application Form
  • Home Range Series Match Results
  • For questions on Rifle, Pistol or Games Matches, contact Christina Roguski at croguski [at] thecmp.org or (419) 635-2141, ext. 714. For questions about Smallbore Matches, contact Brad Donoho at bdonoho [at] thecmp.org or (419) 635-2141, ext. 730. For Air Rifle match questions, contact Katie Harrington at kharrington [at] thecmp.org or (419) 635-2141, ext. 731.

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