Primer review: Magtech rifle primers

A box of Magtech primers on a wooden table

A reloading essential - Magtech Primers - Credit: Chris Parkin

Chris Parkin puts the Magtech rifle primers to the test on his reloading bench, and finds a primer he can trust...

Close up of Magtech rifle primers

Neatly manufactured with no overspill and consistent edges - Credit: Chris Parkin

Magtech’s rifle primers are new to me. I was casting my net wide and some were brought to my reloading bench for trial in .308 and .223. Viking Arms supplied Lapua brass for the review based around longstanding, modest and reliable recipes for comparison.

Both variants are packaged in polymer trays of 100 units, allowing tens to be slid out onto whatever primer flipper or priming tool you use. Close inspection shows the brand logo impressed into the brass without plated colouration. The inner anvils are neat with no obvious compound overspill. The rounded edges retain enough edge bite to catch on the serration and flip conveniently face down ready for presentation to the primer pocket.

Lapua brass is noted for its superb standards and with the hand-priming tools I use, you get a great feel for any pocket irregularity when pressing primers into place. All felt firm without the need for excessive force, a compliment to its adherence and tolerance control of standardised dimensions where thousandths of an inch are critical.

Large primers in .308, using Viht N140/Sierra 168gr Matchkings, have been an all-round .308 load I have relied upon when testing guns over the years and although I won’t state powder charges, they returned velocities over the chronograph within 38 fps of my average speeds from other primers used.

More importantly, the primers showed clean impressions with no cratering or piercing when subjected to similar modest pressures I have used by the thousand. Also of note is the seemingly hard cup impressions, 

which didn’t detract from the primer’s ability to seal in the brass pocket, thereby preventing gas cutting rings around the firing pin hole in the bolt face, a factor for which some other brands have failed.

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The second batch was a .223 handload with N133/55gr Hornady V-max bullets, again loaded modestly. I find small rifle primers comparatively fiddly to handle, flip and feed in the Lee tool, but overall, these were good, if perhaps needing slightly more lateral rattles to orient correctly in the tray. However, on feeding to the pocket, they were also less likely to flip undesirably with zero failure to feed in the correct orientation. I think I prefer that trade-off.

Velocities over the chronograph were again comparable, and the notably low 10 fps extreme spreads impressed me. There wasn't any cratering or adverse pressure bearing issues from longstanding, reliable reloading components and recipes – and I now have a new trusted primer for those times when others are no longer available.

Close up of Lapua rifle bullet case in a bullet box

The characteristic Lapua logo, the sign of a quality case - Credit: Chris Parkin

Conclusion
The Magtechs are a primer I’ll be confident to use for further load development projects, notably refined brass profile easing handling of small variant in .223! 

Recommended retail price

  • Magtech Small 7 ½ Rifle, £27.50 per thousand (measured dimensions 0.174” diameter x 0.117” thick, 0.014” wall thickness)
  • Magtech Large 9 ½ Rifle, £40.50 per thousand (measured dimensions 0.210” diameter x 0.120” thick, 0.020” wall thickness) 
  • .223 Lapua Brass £71.50 per hundred 
  • .308 Lapua Brass £75.00 per hundred

Contact: Viking Arms 
Tel: 01423 780810
 

Bullets in a bullet box turned on its side

No sign of pressure issues from 100% consistent initiation - Credit: Chris Parkin