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Primer Question: Small Rifle v.s. .223 or 5.56 designated

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by JohnW1963, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. JohnW1963


    Aug 13, 2008
    I am going to be setting up to reload 30-06 and .223(5.56) and in looking at primers see that there are "small rifle primers" and then others designated specifically for .223 or for 5.56. Will any small rifle primer work in .223 or 5.56? Or, do you have to use primers specifically made for the brass itself? Like 5.56 primers won't work in .223 or visa-versa? Or will they work in the other brass? I know that they are close, but not identical and that a gun chambered for 5.56 can also shoot .223 but not the other way around. My AR-15 is 5.56.

    Are the primers labeled "Military" any better or worse than plain jane Small rifle primers?

    Thanks for any feedback.
  2. .45 guy

    .45 guy

    May 18, 2008
    Your 5.56 brass will be crimped. So you you will need to swadge it. The "military" "magnum" primers have a harder cup to prevent slam fires in an AR style rifle.

  3. Bultx1215


    May 23, 2008
    Bulverde Tx
    Any Small Rifle primer will work with a .223 load, which is all I ever need to load in my AR. Some cups are softer than others. Some loads have a magnum primer listed, though. I have loaded CCI, S&B, Winchester and Magtech primers in AR loads and have yet to have any issues or slam fires in my rifle. ( no two rifles will act exactly the same either) From LR and LP results, I would not be afraid of Wolf SR primers as well. They seem to be pretty tough....mostly because they flopped over sideways or were crushed somehow in my Lee Auto-Prime and didn't go off.:wow::faint:

    DEADLYACCURATE Senior Member

    Oct 24, 2009
    :wow: Lucky
  5. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Stop looking at primers, and start looking at load books. They will tell you exactly which primers you need for .223/5.56 Some loads will call for one, others will call for another. It's just that simple.

    Asking which primer to use, without specifying the bullet, weight, powder, charge, etc is ....... like asking what size bolt to use on an engine.

    Sorry, it's just that simple. There are combinations you can try, but the safest will be in the load book.

  6. Maninmirror


    Jul 14, 2009

    It's impossible to answer that. If your referring to AR's harder cup primers are just smart or magnum.

    Here's a good site. Read that article
  7. JohnW1963


    Aug 13, 2008
    Thanks. I've got Lyman's 49th and Loadbooks for 30-06 and .223 on order.
  8. JohnW1963


    Aug 13, 2008

    When I first read this I was embarrassed and thought that I had done something wrong - that I had broken the unwritten code of experienced reloaders by asking for a primer recomendation. I felt "less than" and ashamed.

    But then I thought about it. I never asked anyone to recommend any primer, not specific number, nor even manu****ingfacturer. I asked in the OP for an explanation of the difference between primers designated as ".223 primers" or "5.56 primers" or "military primers." When a noob can't ask a question like this from supposedly learned and experienced reloaders without catching a boatload of schat, WTF! Kinda makes me want to frequent other boards.
  9. dudel


    Dec 10, 2008
    Texas Hill Country
    Sorry, but the question in the OP was
    "Will any small rifle primer work in .223 or 5.56?"

    The answer is still in the load book as to which primer to use with which component combination. As to the difference between SRP and 5.56 primers, that's also covered in every book I have (as is the difference between standard and magnum primers). Some loads will specify it; while others won't others.

    So to answer your question, Yes, any SRP will "work". The best combination will be what's specified in the load book.
  10. ron59

    ron59 Bustin Caps

    Jan 3, 2009
    Smyrna, GA
    Per EVERY load book I've heard of, you should only use small pistol primers in 9mm. However, we ALL know that SPP magnum primers will work just fine (I'm running CCI magnums in my loads right now). All you need to do is back off the load a hair, and work back up.

    Multiple reloaders have been "educated" to that fact in here.

    Now... I've not started reloading for rifle yet, but I would imagine the same thing would be true there. With that being the case... if a load says "Winchester primer", and all I can get my hands on are CCI, I'm going to want to load with CCI and would LIKE to think I'd be able to ask a similar question and get a more helpful answer than "look in the load book".
  11. Three-Five-Seven

    Three-Five-Seven Señor Mombo Millennium Member

    Aug 8, 1999
    Great Southwest
    All Winchester, Federal, Wolf, CCI, and Remington small primers -- EXCEPT THE REMINGTON 6 1/2 -- will handle the pressures of the .223 round.
  12. srd


    Apr 4, 2009
    Hey JohnW1963 i feel the question you posted was legitamate. i am glad you have the books on order. Some people on here can be seeming brutal BUT you will also find they have excellent information also. Please dont be afraid to ask well thought out questions. Its amazing how even well seasoned reloaders can learn on this site.Just thought i would add my 2 cents.
  13. GioaJack

    GioaJack Conifer Jack

    Apr 14, 2009
    Conifer, CO

    As time goes by the art of reloading becomes more and more complicated... at times even mind boggling. Not because the basics of loading has changed but simply because of the plethora of components now available.

    It used to be that you could have five powders on your bench and load everything from .22 centerfire up through, and including a small nuclear devise.

    You used to hear about a new powder or primer configuration from your buddies at the range, someone would buy a pound and everyone would try a little and then compare notes on what they thought.

    I remember when Winchester introduced their AA ball shotgun powder, we had all been using Reddot since the Redwood Forest had been a desert. Boy was it a big deal. Now it seems like they come out with a new powder every second Tuesday of the month, a new magical primer every time someone's cat coughs up a fur ball and a new style gun when the milk in the refrigerator expires.

    For those of us who are 23 1/2 hours into a 24 hour lifespan the complexity of it all bodes well for the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.

    Although the internet opens up the entire universe of the shooting and reloading sport the amount of information can at times become overwhelming... sometimes even discouraging.

    Find load combination that you like, those that meet your needs for each caliber and each application then resist the temptation of changing just for change sake.

    Actually it's analogous to doing re-writes on a book, eventually you're not making it any better... you're just making it different.

    Good luck to you, keep asking questions, keep learning. And if some old guy starts screwing with you pay him no mind... he has no life and probably ran out of his meds. :supergrin:

  14. I use the harder cup primers for my AR because I shoot highpower matches and we do all slow fire loading one at a time through the ejection port. Becasue of this way of loading a round, the bolt slams into battery without the resistance of the round being stripped from a magazine.
  15. Lawdog_1


    Jan 8, 2008
    Where does everyone buy their primers from and what brand do they use to load 223?
  16. GuySDS


    Feb 1, 2010
    Thats good advice.
  17. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    My bench is almost exclusively CCI, and Magnum. CCI 250. CCI 350, CCI 450, and CCI 550. Purchased in 10K lots from either Grafs or Powder Valley.

    As noted above when using magnum primers work your way up. Another hint is to work up different loads for different guns. My 16" DPMS takes a lighter load than my 24" RRA. Why? Because the load I use in the RRA will rip the rim right off a case when fired out of my DPMS. Or it used to until I installed an adjustable gas block to reduce the gas pressure hitting the BCG.
  18. Messenger

    Messenger American Made

    Mar 1, 2009
    Kernersville, NC
    To avoid slam fires you need to use a harder primer. CCI #41 are made specifically for the AR. I would definitely stay away from Federal (too soft) Wolf is good but consider them to be "magnum" primers. I have used Winchester primers with no issue but loaders with a lot more experience than I warned me about slam fires (first I ever heard about it). They told me Remington & CCI were the way to go. I have had very good results with CCI and Wolf. I have never used Remington primers mainly because I have a very low opinion of Remington products.
  19. Lawdog_1


    Jan 8, 2008
    Messeger, fellow NC resident, where do you buy your reloading supplys from? I live 10 mile East of Greenvile,NC.
  20. Glock2008

    Glock2008 Gun User

    Jul 16, 2008
    Up north
    What ever I can find. Right now its Wolf. But before it became hard to find components I preffered CCI.