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Old 10-05-2011, 10:47 PM
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Default Primers For S&W 500

I've been using Mag Tech large rifle primers in my 500 magnum. The cylinder started locking up after every shot and I found the firing pin was stuck and would not return. I put a new pin and spring in, but after 8 shots today it's doing it again. Some of the primers are blown all the way through and others are kind of mushroomed back. I'm thinking that the primers are too soft for this gun and when they blow a hole in them the pin is getting fouled and burned until it finally locks. I'm using a very mild load with Titegroup and I have no problem even with strong factory loads. Any ideas for a harder primer would be appreciated. Thanks
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Old 10-05-2011, 10:57 PM
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What brand of cases are you using? Some manufactures use large pistol primers. The Initial run of 500 S&W Mag cases was built to use large pistol primer per Smith & Wesson and Cor-bon specifications. On July 28, 2003, Smith & Wesson and Cor-bon changed specification of primer pocket to be large rifle. Rifle primers are same diameter as pistol except they are approximately .006" taller. This was done to prevent primer from being pierced by firing pin when loaded with max loads and heavy bullets (bullets over 400 grains). It was determined that hole in primer allowed pressure to damage firing pin and bushing, kind of like a cutting torch and the harder cup of a rifle primer will prevent occurrence.

Last edited by 625smith; 10-05-2011 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:18 AM
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I'm using different brands, but most are new Star cases that I bought about 5 years ago. If I had the shallow pocket cases wouldn't the primers stick out a little?
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:28 AM
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Quote:
I've been using Mag Tech large rifle primers in my 500 magnum. The cylinder started locking up after every shot and I found the firing pin was stuck and would not return. I put a new pin and spring in, but after 8 shots today it's doing it again. Some of the primers are blown all the way through and others are kind of mushroomed back. I'm thinking that the primers are too soft for this gun and when they blow a hole in them the pin is getting fouled and burned until it finally locks. I'm using a very mild load with Titegroup and I have no problem even with strong factory loads. Any ideas for a harder primer would be appreciated. Thanks
Something is very wrong if you are blowing rifle primers. Some rifle calibers will develop upwards of 60,000 psi and won't blow a primer.

You said you are using a very light load of Titegroup so it's unlikely the pressure is excessive unless you are getting detonation. Even though it's very rare it could happen. I would have suggested your firing pin was damaged but you said you already changed it.

It's possible you have a batch of defective primers. MagTech primers aren't made here, they are made in South America. Before you fire any more ammo I would use a different primer company. I have always used either CCI or Winchester rifle primers with no issues. (mostly CCI) My first move would be buying some CCI, Winchester, Remington or Federal LR primers and give them a try and see if the problem goes away.

Please keep us updated, good luck...
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Old 10-06-2011, 12:36 AM
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ArchAngelCD, thanks for the reply. I can't remember why I bought Mag Techs, but probably because they were cheap. I'll get some CCI's and let you know how they work. Fortunately I still have one new firing pin and spring.
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Old 10-06-2011, 06:20 AM
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stan, why are you using Titegroup in this caliber? Are you trying to develop a load that isn't a true 500S&W Mag? More like a 500S&W Special? The reason I ask is I did the same thing. I had a Handi-Rifle in this caliber and it tore the snot out of me every time I tried to shoot it with full power loads. I started looking around for some other loads to lighten the recoil.

I did try Titegroup and had modest results but I was shooting light for caliber bullets too, 325gr Gold Dots. There is no way that you should be experiencing this kind of problem unless you are either overpressure or there is something wrong with your gun.

Using CCI primers MAY help but it still doesn't really solve the problem. Maybe the firing pin bushing is shot and needs replaced. Maybe the load you have is too high of pressure. Is it a published load? Did you verify from more than one source?

Just some questions I would be asking myself if I was experiencing the things you are.

Hope this helps.
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Old 10-06-2011, 01:15 PM
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Skip, I did switch to Titegroup because the H110 was also knocking the snot out of me. I'm using 12 grs. for 350 XTP's and 16 grs. for Sierra 400 JSP's. These are loads published on the Hodgdon site. I had no problem with the H110 and now that I can handle the gun better I'm going to go back to that. I am going to switch primers just to see what happens. And I agree something is wrong. I hope it's the primers from Mag Tech.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:51 PM
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I finally got to try out the 500 Magnum again, this time with CCI primers and H110. I used 39 grs. of H110 under a 350 gr. Hornady XTP. The gun was flawless. What I don't understand is that the Hodgdon data says 39-43 grs. of H110 for the 350 bullet and 34-40 for the 400 gr. Sierra JSP. If I use Titegroup they say 11 -18.5gr. for the 350 XTP and 15-17.5 for the 400 JSP. If I use the minimum loads I'm using more powder in the 400 gr.JSP than the 350 XTP. Why would Titegroup use more powder for the heavier bullet and H110 use less? Thanks
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Old 11-16-2011, 09:57 PM
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I had a problem with my 500 similar to yours.... the gun had about 60 factory rounds thru it and I loaded some mid range loads using 325gr with LilGun, W296 and AA5744 to try.
After a few shots my cylinder got hard to turn and started to lockup often. I also couldn't get it to open easily. I thought the ejector rod had come loose but that wasn't it. This was intermittent - to all the loads.
I noticed the primer indents looked uneven and discovered half of my firing pin was fractured off. I sent the gun back to S&W and they fixed it promptly. They really didn't say what was wrong but the repair ticket indicated they replaced the Cylinder and Yoke along with the firing pin and bushing. All I can think of was that something was out of spec or got sprung somehow.

Last edited by 125JHP; 11-17-2011 at 09:59 AM.
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Old 11-18-2011, 12:20 PM
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Titegroup works well for me for mild loads. Universal Clays also works for the light loads. For moderate loads I use 4227. For heavy loads I am experimenting with LilGun.
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