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Old 08-01-2020, 09:10 PM
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I usually use CCI but found some Winchester so I bought it. Should I keep the Winchester apart from my CCI so I know what it was loaded with? I generally just dump the primed cases in a bin waiting to be loaded.

I also have 3000 CCI Magnum Small Rifle Primers Just grabbed them by mistake. I learned here they can be used with ARís. Should I separate those? I figure separating Winchester and CCI probably not a big deal but the magnums maybe should. Gonna be a while until I get to them anyway. I have 3000 of the regular CCI.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:22 PM
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Depends on what youíre loading and what for.

If for bench rest shooting or maximum loads: separate them.

If itís just range ammo, I wouldnít be too concerned.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:29 PM
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I use different brands of primers, depending on what’s available locally. I keep them apart and track them separately, even if the only difference in the load are only the primers. I’m looking for load performance, accuracy and safety. Primers can affect those parameters.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:30 PM
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Depends on what youíre loading and what for.

If for bench rest shooting or maximum loads: separate them.

If itís just range ammo, I wouldnít be too concerned.
Just paper punching range ammo.
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:38 PM
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I prefer consistency, accuracy and ballistic uniformity in my reloads. I've often found 2 MOA or more difference in accuracy and a 100 fps spread in velocity between primer brands when testing primers with the same bullet and powder charge.

It won't take any effort to segregate your loads with the different primers. It's just too easy not to mix them and your ammo and your confidence in your ammo will be the better for it.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:00 PM
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I have used different primers in my 38, 9mm and .357 loads over the years and I have to admit that there is not that big a deal with my accuracy or chrony fps to make me stick with just one primer.

I will state that in the 357 Magnum, a hotter primer might help you out if you use HS-6 powder but that is the only time that I noticed a major difference.
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:06 PM
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Usually there is little performance difference in primers, but sometimes the difference is significant. There's no good reason to mix primers and it's not advisable to do so.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
I usually use CCI but found some Winchester so I bought it. Should I keep the Winchester apart from my CCI so I know what it was loaded with? I generally just dump the primed cases in a bin waiting to be loaded.
CCI primers are usually shiny silver and Win primers are usually bronze colored so if you make note of it on the bottle you should not have a hard time telling them apart when you shoot them.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:48 AM
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For typical range fodder I have no concern mixing primer brands.

For precision loads, "Everything" matters.

I weigh and measure most every component. I stay with the same batch of primers and powder for as long as possible.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:51 AM
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Primer brisance varies a lot and can have a significant impact on pressure as well as performance, even in the same class of primer.

Substituting primer brands in a known load is something that should be done on a trial basis before you load up 1000 plus rounds.

Mixing primers is, IMHO based on 43 years of handloading experience, farm animal stupid. You'll get by with it for awhile, but you'll eventually encounter a cartridge, powder, load, and primer combination where the end result will be a kaboom, and then you'll be posting on some internet forum asking other self appointed experts who are still high up on "Mount Stupid" of the Dunning-Kruger curve, why it blew up.

Just don't.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:40 AM
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In handguns, not a huge diff among brands. In rifle, primers can certainly affect accuracy. Certainly dont mix mag & std, just not a good plan if working with anything pushing max.
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:58 AM
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I must be a real renegade on this.....prairie dogs in Montana just don't seem to care WHAT primer I used......I grab whatever is on sale and then get as many as I can afford....Winchester, CCI, Federal, Remington, S&B etc.

To the total shock of many precision shooters, I even shoot mixed brass!!
Prairie dogs don't care about that either...go figure....

My load is no hot rod (25 gr of H335 and a 55 gr RNSP bullet) Point of impact/point of aim remains the same with ANY of the primers in my Savage Axis .223. Almost 8 thousand rounds later it still shoots AMAZINGLY well!!

As far as blowing up a rifle because you interchanged primers.....hogwash. Never seen or heard of such in over 55 years of reloading and 30 years of Service Rifle matches.


Randy
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:50 PM
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Randy may mix and match primers, but you don't want to be an "Occupant" when he visits the prairie dog patch. Talk about a 'career limiting event'!!
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Old 08-02-2020, 01:14 PM
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Randy may mix and match primers, but you don't want to be an "Occupant" when he visits the prairie dog patch. Talk about a 'career limiting event'!!
You have a point.

Here's a little humor to the argument:

It is so easy to keep your reloads separated by primer type that "Even a cave man can do it" to quote an old commercial.
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Old 08-02-2020, 03:11 PM
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Primers, just like most other reloading components, differ from one manufacturer to another. Much of the time the differences are small, negligible, but there are differences. Some makes of primers are "hotter" than others affecting chamber pressures (slight in most cases, but definite different results possible). Some cups differ in hardness and possible differences in reliable ignition can happen. I keep my loads separate by components, different manufactured bullets, primers, and brass for the same basic load (I have Winchester primers and CCI. I keep the Win loads separate even though all other components are identical. I have Nosler JHPs and RMR JHPs of identical weights and very close profiles separate, even though everything else is identical). Make any difference? In my mind yes. A huge difference in performance or accuracy? Probably not, but I still separate...

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Old 08-02-2020, 04:33 PM
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I must be a real renegade on this.....prairie dogs in Montana just don't seem to care WHAT primer I used......I grab whatever is on sale and then get as many as I can afford....Winchester, CCI, Federal, Remington, S&B etc.

To the total shock of many precision shooters, I even shoot mixed brass!!
Prairie dogs don't care about that either...go figure....

My load is no hot rod (25 gr of H335 and a 55 gr RNSP bullet) Point of impact/point of aim remains the same with ANY of the primers in my Savage Axis .223. Almost 8 thousand rounds later it still shoots AMAZINGLY well!!

As far as blowing up a rifle because you interchanged primers.....hogwash. Never seen or heard of such in over 55 years of reloading and 30 years of Service Rifle matches.


Randy
Some rifles, calibers & loads are very forgiving. Some are very finicky. My 338-06 is an example of finicky. It shoots fine with most primers, a bit over 1moa. With cci br, it is 3/4moa, very round group. My 260ai is very foregiving with just about anything shooting sub moa & switching primers gives a minimal accuracy advantage. Depending on accuracy std, distance, yeah even mixed brass works in most.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:41 PM
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And now a word from our Sponsor about Surgically Clean Brass. Time for Rule3.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:31 AM
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And now a word from our Sponsor about Surgically Clean Brass. Time for Rule3.

OK thanks for the intro,


There is no reason to mix primers, use one brand for a bunch of reloads, use another brand for the next bunch etc.




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Old 08-03-2020, 09:19 AM
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I use 4 different brands. My preferred brand is Federal, but will use Remington, Winchester and CCi depending what's available and what's on sale. For my needs, I see little to no difference except for cost and availability. While I will use Winchester primers, I still hold a grudge against them for removing the Nickel plating.
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:33 AM
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If you are shooting for money or trophies ... separate them , consistency wins matches .
If you are shooting at the range , separate them ...consistency = better groups which make you appear a better shot .

If you are going to reload , be consistent and load good accurate ammo .
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:43 AM
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The books all say to use the exact primer specified in the recipe, but then many recipes do not state a primer type.

Old school target loads for wad cutters and utility loads for SWC’s are standard and float around as “X.X grains of Bullseye with a XXX grain WC bullet.” Those loads have been used millions of times by thousands of people. Primer type cannot be a safety issue or we would know. If the recipe is trying to squeeze the last 100 FPS out of a rifle cartridge to get it into “Elk Class” then the primer type is probably crucial. And obsessive target shooters care about everything!

I don’t see a downside to loading 100 mid range 38 specials with Federal and then 100 with Winchesters and not keeping track. Until you get a bad brick of primers. I’ve never heard of a bad brick of primers, in fifty years of reading gun magazines. It is also just as easy to consume one brick before opening the next brick.
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Old 08-03-2020, 03:22 PM
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Common sense and reality are so ignored by perfectionists. When the wind starts blowing, all bets are off. The best primers are the ones on your shelf when you need them, or on the store shelf when you want to buy them. Primers have not been an issue for me since November 5, 2008. Buy early, buy enough, and don't change your range times. When the Price Is Right, buy some, buy more, or buy all of them.
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:24 PM
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First of all, thanks for all the responses.

Secondly, I am just loading to punch paper, in both rifle and pistol. I don't own a chronograph and probably never will.

Third, I load on a single stage press and still weigh every charge. I also measure every piece of rifle brass. I am very careful and always will be. I'm not in a hurry.

I started with CCI, but components come and go and we can't always get what we want. I saw a brick of Winchester and I bought them. I sat in front of the TV and used a hand priming tool and seated them. I had forgotten the color difference so I can easily tell them apart from the CCI. That being said, the Winchester ones are now sitting in a large freezer ziplock bag, apart from my CCI ones. When I have loaded all of the CCI rounds, I will begin to load the Winchester. As far as "not mixing", are you saying I shouldn't even put the two loaded rounds with different primers in the same magazine? I use the same amount of powder, 26 grains (I believe, I'd have to check) of CFE 223.

I did buy some CCI small rifle magnum primers by mistake. Boxes look so much alike. I was told here not a problem with AR rounds, especially since I load lighter. I haven't even touched those yet and will not for some time. I'd have to load another 2000 regular CCI before I even got to them, and I still pick up bricks as I see them, so it might be years until I get to the magnum. Matter of fact, I recall being told Federal are softer primers so they're great to use. I have several bricks of those for small pistol primers. I'm quite sure I have mixed them. No issues.

Are people here saying they only load one primer, ever? Even when components are scare?

And by the way, I am meticulous with my brass cleaning, too! Wet tumbled to get them super clean inside and out, then after they're dried in a brass dryer, a quick dry tumble to allow them to cycle through the press more smoothly. Rule3 was extremely helpful when I got started 7 years ago, and I take his advice with most things reloading, but I just like the look of shiny brass!
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Old 08-03-2020, 09:39 PM
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I have loaded for over 60 years. Mostly shotgun and rifle. I have now stopped due to age and eyesight. If you are loading full loads you should keep primers separated and consult your manuals to keep it safe. Not sure about low end loads but I have heard that they have their own set of issues especially in large capacity cases like magnum rifles.
I would not load any formula that differs from modern manuals for safety sake.
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Old 08-06-2020, 08:54 AM
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Been on this rodeo tour before when forced to use whatever was at hand to keep shooting during past panic buying/hording events. I can use what I like now, but here we go again.

I readily swap between pistol primer brands of the same type. If in the middle of loading a large batch of pistol ammo and need more sleeves of the same class of primers, I used what was available between the common brands.
Did not matter much for my pistol loads <40yrds. There were some exceptions for me with some magnum revolver loads, but everything else was so minimal it did not matter at practical USPSA/IPDA distances.
BE guys may notice the subtle differences though.

If your loads are near MAX you should test a primer swap by downloading and working up again.
I don't primer swap on my established rifle loads.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:47 AM
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Primer Changes for Shotgun Loads can make a huge difference in pressures. Not so much in Pistol and Rifle, though I agree that if you are looking for the maximum accuracy, I do not change what I load except for things like Federal 205 verse 205Ms which are just the Match version that goes through more inspections.

For pistol I don't care, but would not mix Magnum Primers with non-Magnum. For Benchrest Rifle, I height sort them, then weight sort them and use a dial micrometer seater to get the manufacture's recommented "Crush" when seating them.

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Old 08-06-2020, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by growr View Post
I must be a real renegade on this.....prairie dogs in Montana just don't seem to care WHAT primer I used......I grab whatever is on sale and then get as many as I can afford....Winchester, CCI, Federal, Remington, S&B etc.

To the total shock of many precision shooters, I even shoot mixed brass!!
Prairie dogs don't care about that either...go figure....

My load is no hot rod (25 gr of H335 and a 55 gr RNSP bullet) Point of impact/point of aim remains the same with ANY of the primers in my Savage Axis .223. Almost 8 thousand rounds later it still shoots AMAZINGLY well!!

As far as blowing up a rifle because you interchanged primers.....hogwash. Never seen or heard of such in over 55 years of reloading and 30 years of Service Rifle matches.


Randy
I was born and raised in western South Dakota, with the nearest prairie dog town located in the pasture south of the house. For the most part I agree with you - in the example you cited. .223 brass is surprisingly uniform. With the exception of some eastern European brass, it's all very close whether it's civilian or military.

In fact, when I lived in western SD, I often shot Black Hills Ammunition's blue box remanufactured ammo (as well as their white box factory seconds). Mixed military and various commercial headstamps were the norm, but their 55 gr FMJ would still shoot MOA and their 52 gr match ammo was still sub MOA in mixed brass.

I load .223 for both varmint ARs and for my Match AR, I haven't sorted a case in decades and my .223 ammo will still shoot 1/2 MOA loaded on a Dillon 550B (using Whidden floating tool heads, a BR3 measure and a scale to verify the charge weight). I tumble my brass now and then, and I deburr flash hole when I acquire the brass, but I haven't cleaned a primer pocket in decades.

----

However, other cartridges are less consistent. Take the .22 Hornet that I use for varmint hunting here in NC, where the ranges are shorter and the neighbors are close. .22 Hornet is very accurate, a bit quieter than .223 and more than adequate for the 200-300 yard ranges that are common.

.22 Hornet brass covers a broad range of case capacity. On one end of the spectrum, Hornady .22 Hornet brass is significantly thicker walled with commensurately less water capacity. At the other extreme is Remington .22 Hornet brass. Where the case walls are much thinner and the water capacity much greater. In fact, if you use a fluffy powder like Lil Gun (which works really well in the .22 Hornet, particularly with heavier bullet weights) you'll find that lighter bullet loads that work well in the Remington brass, won't fit in the Hornady brass, even with a drop tube and swirling the powder into the case. PPU and Winchester brass both fall in the middle volume wise. As a result I sort brass accordingly into three buckets and use three different loads to load it all to the same velocity.

The .22 Hornet is also very primer sensitive. Too much brisance can reduce accuracy and significantly increase pressure. Worse, the primer options are larger, with small pistol primers also being a (very good) option. Mixing or using random primers in the .22 Hornet generally hurts accuracy and in some combinations of powder case and primer will cause either excessive pressure, and even pressure spikes with lighter loads. Will it "blow up" a rifle? Probably not, but it will abuse one, with sticky bolt, etc.

---

Similarly, the 7.65 Browning / .32 ACP also has a great deal of variation. You'll hear that .32 ACP is the same as 7.65 Browning and external dimension wise that's true. However, the standard bullet diameters in Europe for 7.65 Browning is .308" while in the US the standard diameters for .32 ACP are .310", .311" and .312 (for cast bullets). What that means then is that if you put a .311" or .312" bullet in a European 7.65 Browning case designed with thicker case walls for .308" diameter bullets, it may go fully into battery in a tightly cut chamber (while other pistols with larger chambers may not have any issues). If you want to run your ammo in any .32 ACP 7.65 Browning pistol, you either have to sort the brass and select bullets accordingly, or you have to post size the rounds with European case to bring them back down to the proper external dimensions.

Either way it's a small case with small charges of fast burning powder and again primer substitution can make a big difference. Will it "blow up" a pistol? Again, probably not, but most .32 ACP / 7.65 Browning pistols are blowback operated and putting a hotter primer in a max load that was developed with a cooler primer will often increase pressure and velocity enough to result in the slide battering the frame.

----

My favorite long range .308 Win load (another cartridge with a lot of potential variation in brass) uses a 175 gr RDF launched at 2540 fps with a BR2 or CCI 200 primer on a 70 degree day. If I switch to a WLR primer, using the same brass, bullet, and powder charge and lot, I'll get an increase in both velocity and standard deviation. At 100 yards I won't notice any difference in accuracy, but I will see the difference at 800-100 yards.

For example, on a 70 degree day at sea level, I can expect to need 32 3/4 MOA of elevation at 900 yards. However, an increase of 40 fps reduces the elevation to 31 1/2 MOA. That 1 1/4 MOA difference is a 12" error in elevation at 900 yards, more than enough to cause a miss on the first shot.

-----

Along those lines, A-Square did some tests a ways back with different primers in the 7mm Mag. They found the pressure differences across standard primers ranged 9600 psi and while the differences between magnum primers ranged 8300 psi. Overall the pressure range was 12,800 psi.

Those are significant pressure differences that you ignore at your own peril.

----

The reality is that primers can be in short supply from time to time and while I normally don't have less than about 5000 of each type I use on hand, I have from time to time swapped brands and substituted primers into a load I developed with another brand.

But I don't just randomly change primers. I load up 30 rounds and then go test them for differences in velocity and standard deviation. I'll decide whether I can live with the standard deviation and make any needed adjustment in the powder charge to match my target velocity for accuracy.

In most cases it's fairly easy as I will often try different primers in load development to see if a substitution will turn a great load into a really great load. Using that test data, I can usually adjust the charge weight with that lot of powder to pretty well nail the desired velocity. If you looked at me doing the swap on the bench, you might think it was pretty random, if you were not aware of the underlying data and testing.

But you do you.
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:29 AM
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First of all, thanks for all the responses.

Secondly, I am just loading to punch paper, in both rifle and pistol. I don't own a chronograph and probably never will.

Third, I load on a single stage press and still weigh every charge. I also measure every piece of rifle brass. I am very careful and always will be. I'm not in a hurry.

I started with CCI, but components come and go and we can't always get what we want. I saw a brick of Winchester and I bought them. I sat in front of the TV and used a hand priming tool and seated them. I had forgotten the color difference so I can easily tell them apart from the CCI. That being said, the Winchester ones are now sitting in a large freezer ziplock bag, apart from my CCI ones. When I have loaded all of the CCI rounds, I will begin to load the Winchester. As far as "not mixing", are you saying I shouldn't even put the two loaded rounds with different primers in the same magazine? I use the same amount of powder, 26 grains (I believe, I'd have to check) of CFE 223.

I did buy some CCI small rifle magnum primers by mistake. Boxes look so much alike. I was told here not a problem with AR rounds, especially since I load lighter. I haven't even touched those yet and will not for some time. I'd have to load another 2000 regular CCI before I even got to them, and I still pick up bricks as I see them, so it might be years until I get to the magnum. Matter of fact, I recall being told Federal are softer primers so they're great to use. I have several bricks of those for small pistol primers. I'm quite sure I have mixed them. No issues.

Are people here saying they only load one primer, ever? Even when components are scare?

And by the way, I am meticulous with my brass cleaning, too! Wet tumbled to get them super clean inside and out, then after they're dried in a brass dryer, a quick dry tumble to allow them to cycle through the press more smoothly. Rule3 was extremely helpful when I got started 7 years ago, and I take his advice with most things reloading, but I just like the look of shiny brass!
I am a pretty picky person and I can honestly say I see no perceptible performance between the 4 main Primer Brands. Some report that CCI primers are very hard. I submit that if your gun will not reliably set them off - then your striking force is set too light. I would never accept changing primer brands because of light hits - instead I would fix the gun to set off ANY brand primer - reliably. Common sense to me.

My advise again........ buy what ever main brand (Win. Rem, Fed, CCI) is either available or on sale. Make sure any gun you own works with all of them. They are all excellent quality and all reliable - even Remington - LOL!!

PS: I have actually chronographed the same loads with different brand primers - not enough of a difference to even talk about!

Last edited by chief38; 08-06-2020 at 10:32 AM.
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Default rifle vs small pistol

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbm6893 View Post
I usually use CCI but found some Winchester so I bought it. Should I keep the Winchester apart from my CCI so I know what it was loaded with? I generally just dump the primed cases in a bin waiting to be loaded.

I also have 3000 CCI Magnum Small Rifle Primers Just grabbed them by mistake. I learned here they can be used with ARís. Should I separate those? I figure separating Winchester and CCI probably not a big deal but the magnums maybe should. Gonna be a while until I get to them anyway. I have 3000 of the regular CCI.
I have plenty of CCI 400 SR I have used them in my .9mm loads but are inconsistent in my semi auto Sig 226
I shoot them through my S&W 921 revolver with no problem
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