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Recent conversations amoung my small group of shooting cronies have turned to the "hardness" of shotgun shell primers. I also talked to a gunsmith who weighed in on the subject.

General concensus is that only primers used in Remington STS and Winchester AA shells use non-steel cups. Other manufacturers use steel in the primer cup which results in cratered areas around over/under firing pins that eventually require rebuilding with a bushing.

No distinction between high dollar or low dollar guns - all incur damage as a result of hard primers.

Any experience with this issue ? Winchester AA primers cost more, but I hate to damage my K-Gun and other over/unders by using other primers by trying to save a little on reloading components.
 

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amboy49 Even the AA and STS primers can be picked up with a magnet so draw your own conclusions. As for cratered firing pin holes and such. The biggest factor is the hardness and thickness of the breech face around the firing pin hole and the pressure against it. The primer cup plays a secondary role in that equation at most and one could argue that the thicker and stronger the cup the less force is applied to the breech which should result in less wear not more. A lot has been said on this topic along with steel headed shells being the culprit but I have never seen anything definitive proving these theorys. I can tell you that all 3 of my 3200s had cratered after 80+ thousand rounds of AAs and my Kolar with 85 thousand (25 K by me Fiocchi and RIO primers)and Beretta 682 with over 40K (Fiocchi and RIO)have not cratered and my buddies Perazzi has digested well over 90 thousand Top Guns, Hi-power tgt and Gun clubs and shows no signs of cratering.

--- Chip King ---
 

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I stand corrected. Because I am anal and today is a drizzly nasty day and I was bored I broke down 4 different FIRED primers into their three basic components. Anvil, primer cup and body. Here is what I found.
As a measure of hardness I used a spring punch to dimple the cup on a hard surface (Steel plate)

RIO anvil magnetic, primer cup magnetic (soft appears to be plated tin) and body magnetic ** softest primer cup **

FIOCCHI anvil magnetic, primer cup magnetic (hard and thicker than RIO) and body magnetic **hardest primer cup of all**

WIN AA anvil magnetic, primer cup non-magnetic ( appears to be copper alloy) and body magnetic ** the cup is actually harder than the RIO cup**

Remington STS anvil non-magnetic (appears to be a brass alloy), primer cup non-magnetic (also appears to be a brass alloy) and body magnetic ** appears to be about the same hardness as the Winchester**

--- Chip King --
 

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I thought that the cratering was from using reloads in hulls that have enlarged primer pockets that let the hot gases blast around the primer cup like a blow torch.

So guys that only shoot factory ammo have cratering problems?

Jason
 

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Craterd primers is caused by the fireing pin bounceing back when shell is fired. will show up more in a double that has the inertia system on the hammers to reset barrel. Glock hand guns are a good example.
 

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Chip, you can make a fortune selling your magnets’, if they will pick up brass (per RICK1), just think no more bending over and picking up pistol and rifle cases one or two at a time…Hope you get the patient on changing a magnet to pickup brass, at the very least….there is a gold mine of 22 cases at the range….GRUBBY..........LOL.................LOL...........LOL........
 

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My TMX was made in 1982 and I bought it used in 87 and it already had indentation around the firing pin hole and the previous owner used reloads with some brand of primers made in Finland. The damage to the breech face did not get any worse in 21 years of shooting mostly Winchester 209 primers but last year I had it repaired by welding because I was at the Grand and the gunsmith had the time to do it.
 

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I have sold many (over 250K) Rio primers. The secret is out in Dixie, and now my distributor is usually out of stock.

GREAT PRIMER, hot, soft (good for O/U's), and cheaper than any domestic. They are a little over sized, but for the price difference I am NOT going back to over priced domestics.

Once I run out of the few thousand Nobel and Cheddites I have left, I am shooting the RIO exclusively.
 

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I bought Nobel primers because of the price verses Winchester. I started to have some that would not fire. I thought that it was the hull that I was using. Then after talking with other shooters at our club, I determined that it was the primer being so hard. My gun is release triggers. My wife's gun is not and she does not have this problem. Sometimes cheaper is not better. I have also used Cheddites, but do not like them because my gun punches a hole in them.
Ray
 
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