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Issues with Trail Boss and CCI small pistol primers


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I tried a load in 38 Special using Trail Boss and CCI small pistol primers as well as some Winchester primers. The rifle rounds were the Winchester primers did not fire at all and no spring work done on a Uberti 73. The CCI rounds were cycled in Ruger Bisleys with no spring work and fired at times but not other times. I have used titegroup with Remington primers in all guns with no issue. Possible primer-powder issue maybe. Any help appreciated. DC

Edited by Diamond Curly SASS#57086
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From the way you have worded your post one big issue needs to be clarified before anyone could even make a guess.  Are you saying the primers did not go off?  Or, are you saying the primer went off but the powder did not ignite?

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Posted (edited)

Thank you, the primers did not go off. The rounds with the Winchester primer went off on third hit

 

 

Edited by Diamond Curly SASS#57086
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I use TB with Federal SPP and have had no issues with ignition, ever.

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When I tried CCI I had about a 15 percent failure rate where my friend who shoots semi-autos had no issues.  I think my problem is my springs are too light for the CCI which I have been told is a harder primer than Federal.  Whether it is or not, I buy Federals but must admit around here they can not be found although I believe there are some online resources.

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I steer clear of cci primers. I'm sure it was the powder....I'll take that bad ol trail Boss stuff of your hands lol

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I loaded and mostly used up 1000 rounds with CCI SPP primers and Unique... in my 73 rifle with race job, uberti el patrons and vaqueros with factory springs they all fired... with 15 lbs springs in vaqueros - one pistol shot everything, another had 50% FTF... after action work and 17lbs springs - vaqueros ate them all as well

 

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Type of powder used has ZERO to do with the primers not going off.

 

In your original post you state the guns have had no spring work.  I know of no single action revolver with STOCK factory springs that will not set off every brand of primer made as long as the gun is in proper working order and the primers are properly seated. 

 

You have one of three possible causes.

 

1. You are not properly seating the primers.

2. There is some mechanical issue with your firearms causing the hammer to bind and not fall freely or it has too little spring pressure.

3. Your thumb or finger is dragging on the hammer and causing to to not fall freely. Does this happen when slow firing or when running flat out?

 

 

 

 

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I third the notion that your primers are not seated.  I use CCI in almost all of my guns and it's my preferred brand (I don't have any revolvers with very light springs).  The problem is not the primers.

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I reloaded for cas shooters for over 18 years commercially.

Primers fail because they are not seated to the bottom of the pocket.

2 reason for that.

1. the pocket is dirty from previous primers going off while not seated and building up burnt powder in the bottom edge of the pocket.

2. primers not seated to bottom pocket because primer seating punch is not adjusted on the press or loader is not putting enough force on the handle during seating.

 

This issue that primers are bad does not hold up as far as I am concerned.

The federal government buys a lot of primers from the manufacturers.

The government has guideline on everything.

Primed have to meet the standard of less than 2 failures to fire in every 100,000 randomly tested.

Unless the manufacturer has a recall of a given lot number, the problem is during the reloading process or "the primers where left out in the rain for month." <G>

 

I reloaded in excess of 450,000 rounds a year and had no reloaded ammunition returned due to failure to fire.

I had rounds returned because of over length rounds that did not feed in a specific rifle.

I replaced all the round I reloaded for that customer with new brass and bullets.

I personally shot all the over length rounds in my rifle after hand seating the bullets in just a little deeper.

I was glad that it was only 700 rounds total.

 

My suggestion is to check the primer seating plug.

Then check if you are consistent on handle presser seating the primers.

Then check primer pockets for dirt build up.

(try de priming the cases and then tumble them and see if that knocks the dirt out of the primer pockets)

 

NOTE: I reloaded with just about every primer made.

I preferred Winchester then CCI. (after the manufacturer changes to a new company and they started using the same cup material as Winchester)

I used Federal, Wolf and others when I could not get Winchester or CCI.

Did not care for Federal because they where softer and I had a high crush rate during reloading.

Took a soft touch to start them in to the cup.and then all the was to the bottom of the cup.

 

Please understand I am not criticizing anyone.

I am just sharing what I know from experience.

 

 

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I wondered whether the brass was well cleaned, to include the primer pocket, not necessarily pristine or processed.

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I also just tried to reload some C45S with Winchester and Remington primers.  I don't know exactly how old these primers are, but several years.  They have been stored in an airconditioned location since my purchase.

 

In a stock SAA clone I could not get reliable ignition with either brand of primer.  Some would go off with the first strike, some took two strikes, some took three and some never would go bang.

 

I fortunately have a few Fed large pistol magnum primers so I loaded them up and they all went boom first strike.

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I don't keep my primers for an extremely long time, but I can count on one hand the failures to fire due to primers that I've had over 25+ years of reloading.

I used to clean primer pockets, but no more. CCI, Fed, Win all with no probs. I would think it's a seating issue as well. IMHO

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I've been using all sizes of CCI primers for 50 years. I can't recall ever having a failure to fire in an unmodified firearm. Yes they have a harder shell then other make primers, and that can be an issue in guns with light springs installed. I don't think your problem is the primers.

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Part of the problem may be loading books, at least one of the older ones. I recall an older loading book article where the author said the primers should not be seated too deeply in the pocket. It should be just flush. That never made sense to me. I've told a couple Cowboy shooters who have made the remark that the primer was seated too deep in the pocket that that was not correct, it should be seated all the way. I don't have access to that right now but will attempt to locate it later.

kR

PS I believe it was an older Lyman manual.

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7 hours ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

 

 

I reloaded in excess of 450,000 rounds a year

!!! Wow !!!

7 hours ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

Took a soft touch to start them in to the cup.and then all the was to the bottom of the cup.

OMG !  You loaded that much BY-HAND?  That is a lot of by-hand ammo loading !  If I did that much, my right elbow would be frozen solid and my mind would have permanently moved to La-La Land! 

I hope your customers appreciated what you went through for them!

 

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2 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I also just tried to reload some C45S with Winchester and Remington primers.  I don't know exactly how old these primers are, but several years.  They have been stored in an airconditioned location since my purchase.

 

In a stock SAA clone I could not get reliable ignition with either brand of primer.  Some would go off with the first strike, some took two strikes, some took three and some never would go bang.

 

I fortunately have a few Fed large pistol magnum primers so I loaded them up and they all went boom first strike.

I am loading Federal and Winchester primers that I've had stored in my very warm and sometimes humid garage for as much as 10 years.  I've had few, if any, ignition problems attributable to the primers. 

 

A few years ago, I experimented with loading some 50 year-old Remington SG primers.  They worked fine.  

Edited by Dusty Devil Dale
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Since this discussion appears to be ongoing, I am going to share my experience.  I am new to SASS/Cowboy Shooting but I have loaded a lot of ammunition as well.  One of my revolvers is super picky about primer seating--even a tiny amount of primer sticking up above flush results in it dragging on the frame.  I recently moved and at the new place, my reloading bench is bolted to the wall in 2 planes rather than just one, so I can be a bit more forceful in seating the primer.  In the mean time, I used a hand primer to go over every round and this past weekend I had zero problems. 

 

Obviously guns with lightened springs need primers to be below flush, but some are just tight on tolerances and flush or just below flush has its benefits.

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2 hours ago, Chief Rick said:

I also just tried to reload some C45S with Winchester and Remington primers.  I don't know exactly how old these primers are, but several years.  They have been stored in an airconditioned location since my purchase.

 

In a stock SAA clone I could not get reliable ignition with either brand of primer.  Some would go off with the first strike, some took two strikes, some took three and some never would go bang.

 

I fortunately have a few Fed large pistol magnum primers so I loaded them up and they all went boom first strike.

What are you using to seat the primers?

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Recently I tried a new case lube because I couldn’t find the Hornady One Shot that I usually use. I was told I could use it the same way that I used the one shot. I had a high failure to fire rate with the rounds that were loaded with that case lube. So I’d say you need to do some more investigation into your total loading process. 

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32 minutes ago, Chacón said:

Obviously guns with lightened springs need primers to be below flush, but some are just tight on tolerances and flush or just below flush has its benefits.

ALWAYS, seat the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket! ALWAYS!

OLG 

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25 minutes ago, Dusty Devil Dale said:

What are you using to seat the primers?

Dillon 550

 

Primers are/were seating fine.  Visual inspection conducted after loading to just below flush.

 

With the shortage of primers I'm not bulk loading anything with potential problems.  I loaded 10 rounds with the Fed primers and they all went boom on the first strike.

 

I now have 50 rounds loaded with the same lot Federal Large Pistol Magnum primers that I will take to the match this weekend.  Hopefully they all go bang.  If so, I'll clean and use the same lot of brass with another lot of Remington large pistol primers and see what happens.

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I tend to agree with many of the comments, it's most likely not the primers. Seating, light springs or hammer drag is the most likely cause. In the many years that I have been a loader/re-loader, I've had a few bad primers, but not many. My worst case came from a brick of Magtech Small Pistol primers. There were so many that just would not pop that I believe something contaminated them. 

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Reloaded +- 450,000 rounds on 650 Dillon presses.

Works out to about 2200 rounds every morning 6 days a week.

That was between 3.5 and 5 hours per session.

That was reloading and boxing.

 

Set primers with the 650 Dillon press.

Checked bullet depth, primer seating and OAL every time I change tool heads and every morning before starting.

 

And yes it was a boring job that needed attention to keep every thing to spec.

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Federal SPP are the softest. Winchester is next. CCI are the hardest. It takes pretty much stock pistols & rifles to set off CCI's. If guns are slicked, Federal are the best, Winchesters when the Federals aren't available. My guns won't shoot CCI's at all. My rifle won't shoot Winchesters, but my pistols mostly will. I don't have any experience with any other types of pistol primers. Good luck!

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The case lube issue is a possibility as well that I didn't think of. If you have an amount of lube that is still in the flash holes, it may be contaminating your primers.

My guess would still be seating depth (considering first strike is leaving a nice dent in the primer). The "seat below flush for lighter springs" doesn't make sense to me. Seat to bottom of primer pocket; if you're not getting a good strike then, you have a firearm problem.

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I use a hand primer to seat CCI small pistol, Federal SP, Federal SP Magnum, Winchester SP, and Winchester Small Rifle in small pistol primed rounds.  I seat them to the bottom of the primer pocket.  Since I've been doing this, I have not had a problem and have been able to use any of the above primers that I have been able to get ahold of.  

 

My springs have been lightened, but not super light.  In the rifle, I will have either marginal OOB in the rifle or jack out rounds if the hammer spring is tension is too light. Increasing the hammer spring tension helps me with both problems without slowing me down.

 

I had some FTF in pistols with CCI rounds initially with the rounds primed in a Square Deal B.  The SDB occasionally does not seat the primer to the bottom of the pocket.  It was not a problem with Federals SP, but became one with CCI.  The problem went away with hand priming.

 

YMMV

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Case lube should not contaminate primers. Lube stuck in the flash hole can interfere with ignition.

----------------------

From factories.

Question "Are bullet primers waterproof?"

 

"Primers have a sealing layer giving a long self life - guaranteed up to 30 years. Can withstand full immersion in water for a period of more than 1 months."

 

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3 hours ago, The Original Lumpy Gritz said:

ALWAYS, seat the primer to the bottom of the primer pocket! ALWAYS!

OLG 

 

I can't see the bottom of the primer pocket with a primer in.  What I can see is whether the primer is flush or below flush with the base of the brass.  Your response is a very general statement but it's not something that one can realistically check.  Could I take a depth mic, measure the primer pocket, measure each individual primer, and make sure that, based on measurements, the primer is seated in the base of the primer pocket?  I guess so.  But that's not a realistic QC check for every round.  What I can check is that the  primers aren't sticking up--that there's no obvious sign--that they're not seated correctly.  And that's what I mean by checking to make sure they're at least flush--and preferably below.

 

Presses that seat on the downstroke like the commercial Dillons (e.g. 1050) even have an adjustment to make sure the primer bottoms out in the pocket.  On my 650 and the similar 550, it's mostly based on feel.  That's why I say this QC step is necessary, because no matter how sure you think you are that you pushed the lever forward enough for good seating, inspecting the primer height by look and feel is probably the best we're going to do.

Edited by Chacón
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5 minutes ago, Chacón said:

 

I can't see the bottom of the primer pocket with a primer in.  What I can see is whether the primer is flush or below flush with the base of the brass.  Your response is a very general statement but it's not something that one can realistically check.  Could I take a depth mic, measure the primer pocket, measure each individual primer, and make sure that, based on measurements, the primer is seated in the base of the primer pocket?  I guess so.  But that's not a realistic QC check for every round.  What I can check is that the  primers aren't sticking up--that there's no obvious sign--that they're not seated correctly.  And that's what I mean by checking to make sure they're at least flush--and preferably below.

 

Presses that seat on the downstroke like the commercial Dillons (e.g. 1050) even have an adjustment to make sure the primer bottoms out in the pocket.  On my 650 and the similar 550, it's mostly based on feel.  That's why I say this QC step is necessary, because no matter how sure you think you are that you pushed the lever forward enough for good seating, inspecting the primer height by look and feel is probably the best we're going to do.

Spend more time on your press and you will learn the 'feel' of when the primer is fully seated in the case.

I say that as one who has loaded on a Dillon 550 since 1987. Started reloading in 1967....

BTW, all Dillons  and just about every other maker, primer seats on the down stroke of the ram.

OLG 

 

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More words from manufacturers of primers.

------------------------

"Primer Pocket seating depth

Maximum primer depth is -0.006″ and minimum is -0.002″. Upon inspection, any cases with high primers will be corrected before loading. Aside from improving ballistic uniformity, ensuring the primers have proper compression upon seating also helps reduce possible misfires."
Edited by Cliff Hanger #3720LR
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Thank you for all the replies. Loaded some more rounds this morning and out to the range and see how this batch works. Seated the primers to bottom this time for sure. DC

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