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Failure To Ignite Problem with CCI Primers?

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  • Failure To Ignite Problem with CCI Primers?

    Wondering if anyone else has experienced failure to ignite problems with CCI primers?

    Last Fall, we wanted to do some target practice with our 2 454 Super Redhawks. Took out a couple boxes of handloads. New Starline brass, 296 powder, CCI small rifle primers. About 1/2-1/3 of the ctgs we attempted would not fire w/o several firing pin indents. We attempted about 30 firings, with maybe half being as all should be when we finally quit. Who likes having a misfire? Like holding a grenade in your hand, when you swing open that cylinder. A day or two later, same deal. We quit after about 6 failures.

    In 30+ years of reloading, I've only had a couple of bad cartridges.

    Contacted Blount, Inc; maker of CCI, Federal, RCBS etc. Described the problem, my process for preparing cartridge cases, I use a carbide primer pocket uniformer from Sinclair's. The CCI Tech guy (also tech at RCBS) had never heard of Sinclair Intl. Anyway... The brand new Starline 454C cases are simply superb. Never more than a flake of brass if that much to remove. I seat the primers with a Lee Auto Prime, never handle the primers. Primers were a recent production batch, all from the same lot # I am sure, but I Did Not keep the empty tray/pkgs to have this detail for CCI.

    Anyway, CCI is positive that their product cannot be at fault.
    CCI thinks it must've been my failure to seat the primers deep enough and the several indentations were driving the primer into the final depth where it would fire.

    Ruger SRH has about the heaviest factory trigger spring in the business.
    Starline brass has a pretty shallow, rather than deep primer pocket.
    The primers were all seated below the case rim/base, measured to be about .002 below the rim/base.
    Starline primer pocket depth is about .012
    Primer length is about .009
    Lee AutoPrime seats on feel all the way to bottom of pocket.

    Pretty hard for me to see 3 or 4 20+lb poundings being necessary to "seat the primer" an additional .001; yet, that's all CCI would consider.

    I have a VERY BIG confidence problem from my interaction with the CCI tech dept guy saying he'd never heard of Sinclair International, one of the larger purveyors of Benchrest gear and reloading equipment in America.

    I loaded up some new cases with primers from the same lot and fired these. About half had shallow indents, the other half were normal.

    About all I am left with is pulling the bullets (or firing them) on all my Casull handloads.

    It really is a bummer to have problems with components that have always functioned normally in the past. Even more of a bummer to have a supplier disavow any possiblity of malfunction of their product.

    I have made an effort NOT TO BUY anymore CCI primers; but other than Remington and Winchester, Blount seems to have the market cornered since they also own Federal.

    Maybe the CCI tech guy was just a know-nothing fathead; I don't know.
    I do know they've lost me as a customer.

    Now, I gotta pull bullets from about 400 assembled ctgs.
    Oh joy!

  • #2
    I had the same problem with the CCI large rifle primers in my 280 Rem. I expect I just got a bad batch, since this is the only time I have had a problem with CCI in 20+ years of reloading.


    • #3
      Interesting! I've had no problems I can blame on either CCI or Federal primers. the only time I've run into symptoms similar to yours was my fault: New spring kits and adjustments in Smiths, the misfires coming exclusively in DA and no problems in SA. Readjust the pull up a few ounces and reliable ignition.

      You don't mention changes in springs and it doesn't sound like you shoot DA, so I'm stumped.
      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
      Merle Haggard


      • #4
        It is sometimes difficult to seat a primer in a revolver round flush with the case. If it is not seated flush I could understand why you are having mis fires. But with your comments about having them seated below the rim I wonder if you possibly seated them to far?


        • #5
          Primer Problems


          Looking over you post I don't see anything that you did wrong (except the math, more later). I use the same technique and equipment except for the primer seater, I use an old bench mounted Lachmiller tool (now RCBS).

          I think you had a group of tolerances stack up the wrong way. I don't think it's the primer, not to say CCI couldn't make a bad one but just don't think so.

          The brass for the 454 as you know is for small rifle primers. That is the most likely primer pocket to have dimensional problems. With the numbers you gave, if I move the decimal point, are ok, so they are seated correctly. I have to say the most likely culprit is the Ruger SRH. Hamilton Bowen always changes out the Ruger pin for a longer one for the utmost in reliable ignition. That tells me it has been a problem a before.

          You may have had no ignition problems before now I don't know, but new brass with slightly different primer pocket dimensions (still in specs) and a slightly short firing pin could do it. The shallow indent in the primer is evidence of moving primer, (not fully seated) weak main spring, or short firing pin. I think also the SRH transfer bar absorbs a lot of the enormous hammer energy and makes ignition worse. Remember also that rifle primers must be hit harder as they are thicker cups. I think this is the reason the FA 83 doesn't have the transfer lockwork. Just some thoughts that may help.

          Your math I think should be pocket depth; .120" primer length for the CCI 450 primers I have in stock is also .120" these are measured with a dial caliper so will only be within .001". The Remington no. 7 1/2 small rifle bench rest primers measure about .123". I have better more consistant ignition with the Remingtons and that is my prefered primer for the 454. So, I guess what I'm saying here is I don't follow the math. (maybe I'm slow) When seating a primer we actually move the cup down over the protruding anvil and put it in contact with the cup, this is part of the feel.

          You said CCI small rifle I assume Magnums (450) which you'll need to ignite 30 grains of W-296. I do think the No. 7 1/2 are better. Good luck and good shootin'.

          Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


          • #6
            Thanks for the replies. Likely off one decimal, this happened last Nov and I have been pretty burned up ever since talking with CCI on several occasions about this matter.

            I have never had a problem with ignition from the SRH's before. There were 2 guns in use, both had similar 50% failure rates.

            Springs? Ruger has the heaviest firing pin spring I know of, about 25 lbs as I recall hearing.

            I have not used magnum primers. I have had no problems igniting 30gr of 296 and hornady mag XTP or 27.5 gr with my 340 grain cast Lyman bullet, at least before the last batch were loaded.

            Firing pin depth? When I loaded some primers and fired them, 1/2 showed typical indents, 1/2 showed very light indents.

            Measuring the gap between cylinder and frame, it is very tight. None of the primers were seated above the case rim. Had they been, the cylinder would have dragged or locked up. Besides, I feel every primer I seat to be sure it is seated deeper than flush. These rounds were assembled on a Redding single stage press, not some progressive machine.
            ================================================== ===

            I was going fishing with my kids this morning. Had a SRH on my belt, ready to go out the door, when I decided I could not trust the ammunition.

            Too bad. I tested the cast loads in a big piece of Cottonwood last Summer. They penetrated 27". Took a lot of work to split that wood and find the bullets. It was not dry seasoned wood. That cast load was one I was willing to stake our lives on, till this junk with the failed ignitions.

            Likely, I can figure out which ammunition predates the last batch I loaded, but that nagging question will Always trouble me.

            The jerk at CCI said he would replace the primers, said they were "in the mail". When I called back after about 10 days, he said I "must've misunderstood".

            Pulling bullets is no darn fun.
            Depriming cases can be dangerous.
            Don't know that I can reuse the cast bullets or the powder.

            Oh well, gives me the chance to get rid of those XTP hollowpoints.
            Wonder why nobody sells a decent 300 gr Softpoint bullet for the Casull?

            Thanks for listening to my rant.
            I am through buying anything from Blount.


            • #7
              Primer woes


              Ok. I see, first time problem and with two SRH's Hmmmm!

              You're right about the seating depth, I'm sure it is right. If a high primer the cylinder would drag. I understand your frustration. Once you're let down once, never go back. Question is, does it shoot all the time with other primers? Did you buy a thousand of these CCI 400's? Try a flat of Remington No. 7 1/2 and see how they go. Maybe the CCI's have cups that are too hard and that is all it is. I have not seen that but it is possible. Also I've never had a problem of any kind with Starline brass but maybe some of the cases have pockets that are too deep.

              Now as for pulling. I use an inertia puller (plastic hollow hammer) and it does not damage bullets and the powder and brass is fully recoverable. As for decapping those cases just run through a sizer die again as if they had been fired, go slowly and I'll bet you can't even set off a primer. Wear safety glasses and if in the event of a detonation, no problems. It won't hurt a thing. I had to beat one out of my primer feed tube the other day, it got turned and got stuck. It launched the cup out a ways with a little pop, not a big deal.

              You're right about the 340 grain cast, super penetraters. Now as for good JSP 300 grains, there is good stuff available. First Fredom arms markets a hardened 300 JSP and Kodiak makes a bonded JSP. Both are very accurate and work well on small critters like elk. I have not used the Swift A-frame or the Partition in this gun but I mostly use cast for hunting. I like the CP 335 WLNGC and the BT 355 WLNGC and also the CP 360 grain WFNGC.

              Good luck with the pulling operation and good shootin'.

              Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?


              • #8

                lester, If the tolerances in the gun are ok, the pin/hammer travel and striking energy are ok then it sure points to either a reloading or component problem. These are always tough to diagnose. Seems like you are doing everything right on the reloading side so, agreed, the primers may be suspect. Just had a thought (one of a couple in the last year or so!)- CCI does make a Mil Spec type primer in large and small rifle. Those primers have a thicker/harder cup that are supposed to help prevent "slam fires" in some mil type autos and semi autos. I guess CCI could have mixed some cups OR they could be making slightly thicker/harder cups for even some of their regular primers??? Agree with Murphy on pulling and decapping. Also, agree on trying a few of the Remington primers. CCI rep. not knowing of Sincl. Intl ?? hmmm. Good luck!


                • #9
                  Thanks for the replies. Did not put 2+2 together about the mil-spec primers maybe getting mixed up. Saw some of those recently. Yes, I have about 870 of these bummer primers left to dispose of.

                  Hard to find Remington primers in quantity in Anch (did not check everywhere), but i bought Winchester's; only non-Blount primer I could find.

                  I pulled quite a few bullets with my RCBS kinetic/hammer puller. Takes forever with a hard crimp. Bought an RCBS collet puller for the job; another $30 down the drain, along with hours and hours of time; for something that should not have happened.

                  About bullets, I am too cheap to buy premium handgun bullets. Don't buy many premiums for my rifles. Haven't really seen any appreciable leading from my Casull cast bullet loads, haven't even used a gas check with them.

                  Well, no more reason to beat on this dead horse of a topic. Time to load up some new cases with Winchester primers and shoot some more timbers. Maybe work up to pressure sign limits and have some real bear defense loads. Maybe test penetration on a new felled Birch?

                  Thanks again for all the replies. I appreciate all you guys' input.


                  • #10
                    I have never loaded for the 454 casull but have loaded bucket loads of 222's,223's and I quit using the CCI small rifle primer long ago because they are harder by far than others. This was really evident when trying to seat them in the swagged primer pockets of military surplus brass which I had a bunch of and loaded for prairie dog shoots.


                    • #11
                      Bought CCI primers some ten years ago, had misfires, tossed em and never bougt any more. Have been using Winchester ever since and have never had a single misfire.


                      • #12
                        CCI primers

                        I quit using CCI long ago as well, and I can't even remember why. Lee says that is the only brand that is safe with the autoprime, but i have used all kinds of primers for years with it and never had a problem. I've had good luck with the autoprime, better than any other priming tool I've used.

                        As far as component selection goes, I have not found a robust supplier in town that carries what I like. The Sportsman's Warehouse ain't much for reloaders.


                        • #13
                          Using CCI Primers for 20+ years

                          The only primer I have ever used and in 20 plus years of reloading. not one problem.



                          • #14
                            hard primers

                            I am not doubting that some loaders use CCI primers with no problems. But, when I was doing my professional loading, I used Winchester primers for all my loading because, at least then, they had slightly softer cups, which made detonation more positive under most circumstances and also showed high pressures a little sooner, which I felt and still feel is not a bad thing. Even though a lot of "safe" hot loads have come out of my presses, I like to err on the side of safety. Seen a few things happen that I chalk up to bad loading. Whenever I teach someone how to load, I always tell them to buy a book on relaoding first and study the **** thing, not just read it. If loading is still sounding good, then I continue on. I am not saying that you aren't loading correctly, sounds like you know your stuff and are wise enough to ask for help. I have little time, these days, I'm afraid, for people who enter into dealing with highly volatile ingredients with a "fun" attitude. Reloading can be very satisfying, but fun is not a word I would use, unlike the ads for doing so.


                            • #15
                              I used CCI 209 primers last year in the muzzleloader. I know its a different application, but had too many failures and switched to federal. Have not had a misfire yet with them. Sure they might have had a bad batch, but who wants to take that chance? My 2 cents.


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