January 21st, 2021

Finding Primers — How to Organize Your Quest

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal
Photo courtesy Laurie Holland, TargetShooter UK Magazine.

Reloading components are in short supply these days, particularly powder and primers. But primers may be the biggest challenge these days — finding them may seem like a Quest for the Holy Grail. That’s a big problem for handloaders. You may be able to find substitutes for your favorite powder and bullets, but if you don’t have primers, you can’t even get started.

To locate primers these days, you must consider ALL possible sources: local gunshops, local private sales, sale tables at shooting club meetings, gun/hunting forum classifieds, large outdoor stores, and mail-order vendors. Then yes, worst case scenario, look at the auction sites such as GunBroker.

You need to be looking at multiple places — local vendors, gun clubs, big retailers such as Cabela’s and Sportsman’s Warehouse. And get creative — talk to shooting buddies, check for estate sales.

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal

Consider all Possible Sources — Not Just Online Vendors

The guys who are scoring primers these days are resorting to old-fashioned methods — visiting small, mom-and-pop gunstores, checking local estate sales, and “networking” with local shooting club members. First, if you are not a member of a local shooting club, you should join for a multitude of reasons. We recently acquired some powder at a local shooting club meeting, exchanging some H4198 for Hodgdon Varget straight across. A Forum member recently scored both powders and primers at the estate sale of a shooting club member.

For the best chance of success, regularly check 6-10 brick-and-mortar locations in your region. One good way to do this is by combining forces with shooting buddies. Get together with 3 or 4 guys and collectively scout ALL the local gunshops and outdoor stores with shooting supplies. You CAN get lucky. For example, we regularly check a small gunstore in a nearby mall. Just last week we were able to find CCI pistol primers! Yes, deliveries are happening, you just need to check. And check often.

How to Find Primers — SEVEN STRATEGIES

1. Make a list of ALL local gunshops and outdoor supply stores within a 70-mile radius. Call them on a regular basis.
2. Join a local shooting club. Attend meetings where you can sell/exchange products. (We recently exchanged pistol primers for rifle primers we needed).
3. Join local/regional gun forums. You may find listings for “face-to-face” transactions where you can buy/exchange primers. Our AccurateShooter Forum also has a thread on Where to Find Primers.
4. Bookmark multiple vendor websites and check daily (we provide a list below).
5. Combine resources with some shooting buddies. Get together with 3 or 4 guys and collectively scout ALL the local gunshops and outdoor stores with shooting supplies. Assign each guy a different “territory” (perhaps close to his work locations).
6. Search your garage and storage areas. This Editor recently found 5000 Winchester Small Pistol Primers in an unopened box. These were left over from his IDPA and 3-gun days, years ago.
7. Consider APS Primers. CCI sells APS primers pre-loaded in plastic strips. These can still be found gathering dust in some shops. You can remove the primers from the strips, or simply buy an APS priming tool and use them as intended.

primer sources supplies finding CCI Federal

Online Vendors for Primers

Here are leading online retailers that sell primers (along with other reloading components). NOTE: Most of these vendors are sold out of most primers most of the time (as of 1/21/21). However, you should check regularly. Persistence will pay off, eventually. Primer shipments DO arrive, they just sell out fast.

Brownells
Graf & Sons
Midsouth Shooters Supply
Powder Valley Inc.
Precision Reloading
Bruno Shooters Supply (Not currently taking web orders)
MidwayUSA
Natchez Shooters Supplies
Sportsman’s Warehouse (check online AND in stores)
ReloadingEverything.com
Academy Sports
Cabela’s

Best Strategy for Online Primer Purchasing (Not Auctions)
With these (and other) online vendors, you need to check “early and often”. Primers may arrive and sell out in a matter of minutes. You should bookmark multiple sources and check them multiple times each week.

The primer shortage has been worsened by dramatically reduced imports of Russian primers.
Russian Wolf Primers shortage

Last Word — About Online Auctions for Primers
We are seeing persons selling primers at crazy high prices ($200/1000!) via online auctions at Gunbroker and elsewhere. Be careful… very careful. Primers are a HAZMAT product. They may ONLY be shipped legally by Hazmat-certified businesses. Some of the Auction sellers are not HAZMAT-certified. If your primer shipment is seized or not delivered because the seller was not properly certified, don’t expect to get your money back.

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January 21st, 2021

Say What? Beware the Risks of Concussive Hearing Loss

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? Well, have you ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? There is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss. My audiologist explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones.

Editor’s NOTE: This a very important article that explains how you can suffer inner ear damage and hearing loss even if you use quality earplugs and/or muffs. Read that again — hearing loss even with typical hearing protection. This kind of concussive hearing loss can result from shooting with muzzle brakes in confined spaces. Using a suppressor (aka sound moderator) can reduce the risk of concussive hearing loss. You may not have the ability to use a suppressor, but this article explains how you should be more mindful of your hearing.

Why I Use a Suppressor (Preventing Concussive Hearing Loss)

Report by Mark Kuczka, Accurate Ordnance

It must have been the road noise. I thought I was having a hard time hearing my five year old daughter speaking to me on my cell phone because of the road noise. That old SUV was kind of loud inside. Until I switched the phone to my left ear and suddenly I could hear her just fine. Wait, what just happened? I moved the phone back to the right ear and there was that muffled voice again. That’s when I knew I had a problem.

“What?” Lots of us in the shooting community have lost some hearing along the way due to our time on the range or in the field. Those of us who hunt have certainly discharged a firearm or three without ear protection and without concern for our hearing. After all, it’s just one shot, right? How much can it hurt?

Actually, that one shot DOES hurt your hearing. Any sound over 140 dB is immediate hearing loss. It just happens to be killing a small amount of our hearing so most of us continued the practice without a care. Living with hearing loss now makes me wish I could go back 20 years and better protect my hearing. I can’t change what I did in the past, but going forward I can certainly do the most to protect the hearing I still have.

I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

I shot my first suppressed firearm, a .22 LR pistol, in 2003. After a few rounds I wondered why everyone (who can do so legally) didn’t shoot suppressed? No one drives without a muffler. Why would you? Point is I immediately appreciated the hearing protection benefits of suppressors. That passion got me into the business of selling suppressors and it wasn’t long before I was one of the biggest retailers for companies like AAC, SWR, SilencerCo, Ops Inc. and others. [Editor: The author’s business, Accurate Ordnance, no longer sells suppressors. So this article is NOT a sales pitch. Mark just wanted to share his experience so others might protect their hearing.]

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

Did you know you can damage your hearing even if you are wearing the best hearing protection available? You’ve heard guys say, “I’ll wear plugs and muffs, so I’ll be just fine shooting that .50 BMG!” Well, ever heard of concussion (or concussive) hearing loss? Yeah, I hadn’t either. I’ll sum it up the way the last audiologist I spoke with about my hearing loss did – there is no amount of anything you can put in or over your ears to protect you from concussion loss.

A hand grenade went off right next to a buddy of mine. He lost some hearing as a result of the blast. No one is really surprised by that. I mean it is an EXPLOSION. It’s loud. Duh. But I had no idea the blast from a muzzle brake could basically hurt my hearing the same way. The doctor explained to me the concussion comes through the facial bone structure and damages the ear’s tiny bones. Same thing as what can happen through any TBI (traumatic brain injury).

Hearing loss diagram inner ear

I’ve owned quite a few different suppressors over the years and have shot just about everything out there. I’m still as big a fan as ever. However, I wanted to see if using a suppressor in PRS (Precision Rifle Series) and similar matches was actually a hindrance. Some people feel the added length and weight of a suppressor can make getting into some shooting positions slower or problematic. So I decided to shoot about a year with a muzzle brake instead of a suppressor. I sure regret that decision…

Getting Headaches at PRS Matches Was Warning Sign
It is fairly common in PRS matches to shoot through pipes, vehicles, inside “shoot houses” and around other obstacles that echo a rifle’s blast. I noticed I was starting to get headaches about halfway through a day of PRS match shooting. I knew the issue wasn’t hydration. I mean look, if you are peeing every other stage down at the amazing CORE range facility in mid-summer you are NOT dehydrated. So, what was causing the headaches? It wasn’t until I went back to shooting suppressed in those same environments that it became clear the little mini concussions from that muzzle brake was causing my headaches. And of course the doctors confirmed that.

Let me stop here and say I am NOT anti-brake. Muzzle brakes are useful tools and for some situations are the best tools. An aggressive brake can be more effective at reducing recoil than a good suppressor. A suppressor does add some recoil reduction, just not as much as most quality brakes. Don’t forget to factor other variables, such as caliber and rifle weight, into the equation though. For example, a 15-lb 6mm Creedmoor rifle doesn’t need much recoil reduction in the first place.

Mark Kuczka Accurate Ordnance hearing protection dB noise muzzle brake PRS muffs earplugs concussion concussive hearing loss

So, I started shooting matches long before the PRS even existed and always shot suppressed in those days. The suppressors made communication with a partner or RO easier and it was just a more pleasant shooting experience. On the recommendations of a few people I decided to shoot about a year’s worth of matches with just braked rifles. That year is when I lost significant hearing in my right ear and some in the left. I’ve gone back to shooting only suppressed rifles whenever possible and especially at matches. I’ve only once or twice found the extra length of the suppressor made it a little more inconvenient to run a stage, but not by much. Trust me, the points I missed were not because I took two extra seconds getting the muzzle in a port or window.

My hearing is something I value and will do everything to protect from this point forward. You’ll never again see me on a match field with an un-suppressed rifle. To me the minimal gains of running a braked rifle aren’t worth losing more hearing.

Choosing a Suppressor — What to Consider

Okay, so I have hearing loss that I can’t get back and realize I need to go back to shooting matches with a suppressor. But which one? I’ll still be shooting matches with custom fit plugs so I just need something to add a little recoil reduction and kill that concussion.

At our shop, Accurate Ordnance, we generally recommend direct-thread suppressor solutions to our customers. The main reason for that is all the problems we’ve seen with other fast-attach muzzle devices. It doesn’t take much tolerance stacking to result in accuracy issues. There are a few exceptions for us and the Rugged Suppressors products top the list. Since the Razor 762 uses a muzzle brake adapter on the rifle to attach the suppressor, I can use the same suppressor on my .223 Rem training rifle. My primary match rifles are chambered in 6mm Creedmoor and 6.5 Creedmoor and the muzzle threads on those is a standard 5/8×24. My .223 Rem training rifle has .5×28 threads on the muzzle, which is standard for that caliber. Thus, the muzzle adapter interface lets me share the suppressors between all the rifles. And on that .223 Rem training rifle I have the option of switching the end cap on any of the Rugged products to a .223 aperture size, which makes the suppressors slightly more sound efficient (meaning quieter).

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January 21st, 2021

Eliminate Copper “False Positives” with Aluminum Jags

Aluminum jag copper eliminator Dewey

Conventional brass jags work great — except for one thing. They can react to solvents, leaving a blue “false positive” on patches. In recent years, jag-makers have experimented with many different materials in an effort to cure the solvent-reaction problem. Today we have polymer jags, nickel-plated jags, and stainless steel jags. And the latest innovation is the aluminum jag from Dewey.

Aluminum jag DeweyJ. Dewey Mfg. offers a series of “Copper Eliminator” jags and brush adapters made from aircraft-grade aluminum with the same hardness as brass. Dewey claims that its aluminum jags will not become embedded with grit or particles that could harm your bore. At the same time, Dewey’s aluminum jags will not react to ammoniated bore solvents that can turn patches blue green when used with brass jags. Dewey aluminum jags are offered with either male OR female 8/32 threads. The $5.25 aluminum jags and $3.70 brush adapters are offered in a wide variety of calibers. You can order these products from Dewey Mfg. or Brownells.

Story Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome submissions from our readers.
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