Rifle primers

Variations in primers


Q: I am puzzled by all the different kinds of primers available (when they’re available at all!) and have a few queries for you.

Do I need to use magnum primers in my .270 Winchester? Would using a benchrest primer improve accuracy?

Jerry Wood

A: All primers can be counted on to deliver reliable and consistent ignition for ordinary shooting and handloading, but the different grades of primers are intended for different needs.

Standard primers are suitable for the majority of rifle handloading needs. They work best with fast- and medium-burning powders.

Magnum primers are designed for heavy charges of slow-burning powders, where a more sustained jet of flame is required to provide full ignition.

Magnum primers give a hotter, longer-burning flame which provides more uniform ignition and more stable bullet velocities with slow-igniting propellants.

Benchrest primers are manufactured with the utmost selectivity for consistency in the composition and quantity of primer compound and metal cups.

The handloader working with ordinary cartridges for use in standard hunting rifles will probably not be able to see any difference between standard and benchrest primers, but the extra uniformity of the latter will be very apparent to the benchrest shooter or a person working up super-accurate loads for long-range shooting and varminting.

 

 

 


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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.

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