Can I just swap primers when reloading?
PUBLISHED: 10:02 24 February 2021
I can’t get hold of my usual primer fro home loading bullets! My loads run at high pressures - can I just swap primers wth a safety margin?
Q: I’m struggling to get my usual primers and I don’t get much range time to work up new loads. My loads run at high pressures, as I never get cratering. So, because of that, can I just swap brands with a safety margin?
CHRIS PARKIN replies: No, you can’t just swap primers. Regardless of what your current set-up shows in terms of pressure signs, be aware that different primers indicate pressure signs differently. Something like a CCI Benchrest primer is made from fractionally thicker material that won’t crater. Whereas, I have had others almost pierce way below optimum velocity.
Reloading manuals are written from data researched using ONE barrel. Safe procedures must be learned and followed to allow you to interpret signs yourself for your rifle.
Whatever primer you use, I would strongly suggest going back to basics until you have learned the characteristics of the primer itself. See how it shows pressure in your barrel and how it works with your bolt face and your firing pin/pin hole, as they all differ.
There are no safe shortcuts to changing. Everything comes with disclaimers for this reason. Manufacturers like to see you redevelop loads, even changing production lots, to avoid any complications.