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Important news for handgun loaders

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by wireguy, Jun 24, 2013.

  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998

    A Word of Advice for Reloaders

    Editor's Note: Shooters are a conversational group. We regularly share "insider tips" or insights among our groups of friends and/or associates. Today, we're sharing an insider tip from one of the guys we consider a go-to when we need the "skinny" on shooting topics, Ed Head. Here's Ed's insight on an incident in which no one (fortunately) was injured- but led to his discovery of something anyone who reloads handgun ammo should know.

    Insight From Ed Head

    Recently, an incident where a primer tube on a Dillon progressive reloader blew up was brought to my attention. The tube contained the blast and the indicator rod shot straight up and was embedded in the ceiling. No one was hurt.

    Subsequent investigation revealed that a mixed lot of .45ACP brass was being loaded with the usual large pistol primers being used. However, mixed into this brass - range salvage I believe - were a number of .45ACP cases with small pistol primers.

    Apparently, attempting to prime a small pistol primer pocket .45ACP case with a large pistol primer caused the detonation of the primer tube. I was surprised to hear about this - after all, .45ACP cases have large pistol primer pockets, right?


    (L-R) a brass Blazer case with small pistol primer pocket, a Federal brass case with small pistol primer and a Black Hills brass case with a large pistol primer.
    A little investigation revealed that Federal, Winchester, CCI, and perhaps others, are making brass cased value line .45ACP ammo with with small primers. One industry source told me:

    "Federal Champion is currently manufacturing value-priced .45 ACP with small pistol primers. This ammunition is non-catalog items and sold to retail outlets who request a less-expensive option (such as Walmart).
    The smaller pistol primers meet this valued-priced requirement in both material and manufacturing savings. But the usage of these smaller primers do not change the ballistics by much.

    The bottom line is that these small pistol primer Federal Champion .45 ACP are loaded for promotional, value-priced purposes.
    However, the brass manufactured to our quality standards. It's great brass, when loaded with the correct-sized primer that it's intended for.
    Please note, Federal Premium .45 ACP and the many other Federal .45 ACP products are all still loaded with the typical large pistol primers."

    Obviously, all safety precautions should be taken when reloading. My source added:

    1. Sort your brass! Don't mix!
    2. Load larger primers in large primers pocketed .45 ACP Brass.
    3. Load small primers in small primer pocketed .45 ACP Brass.
    4. Do not resize primer pockets."
    As always, be alert, pay attention to what you are doing and don't assume anything.

    These days, with ammo and brass being hard to come by, it's more important than ever to check the origin and quality of components. If someone gives you a bag of brass, you find brass on the ground, or purchase it in a plastic bag from the local gun shop, I would advise you look at it very critically.

    -Ed Head
  2. avery53

    avery53 Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Northern Michigan
    Good advice, I find quite a few of them these days when sorting my 45 brass.
  3. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    Why would small primers be cheaper for the cost of the ammo? Sure, the small primer uses less material, but, conversely, the case thus has to use more material. Where is the savings coming from?

    Edit - Or are they using the same size swaging disc for making both cases, therefore the same material is in the case, just displaced?
  4. Jerry944t

    Jerry944t Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    Small pistol primers were used in .45 ACP NT shells for quite a while. The NT stands for non toxic and were used in indoor ranges. As you know conventional primer residue contains enough lead compounds to be dangerous in indoor ranges.

    Lately I've seen more and more show up at my outdoor range. Some people discard them since there are plenty of large pistol primer cases to be "harvested".

    There are a few people who are glad to have them since they use them in the "run and gun" sports and don't like searching for brass so they use them once and let them fly.

    Yes, proper sorting is essential. I don't think cost is an issue but the toxicity of a normal primer certainly is.
  5. Leo

    Leo Well-Known Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    7.62 X 39 is another caliber where the reloadable cases are found in both primer sizes.

    Since todays small primers work good in weak cartridges all the way up to the .357 Maximun, and now we find that the small primers work fine in the .45, maybe we can see the day when EVERY pistol cartridge will be sparked by the current "small" pistol primers. That would simplify things at my loading bench.

    I currently need to stock Large and small pistol primers, large and small rifle primers, Shotshell primers, large and small percussion caps and musket caps. It would be great to be able to use just one primer for everything

    On the other side of the coin, I would end up with 5 gallon buckets of large primer pistol brass that would be obsolete.