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A few comments on primers for BPC rifles

Posted by Wayne McLerran on Tuesday, 19 May 2009, at 12:47 p.m.

Recently someone commented on this forum that magnum primers are required to reliably ignite black powder, a statement that I respectively disagree with. Although I have a couple of Trapdoors most of my shooting is with Browning BPCRs in caliber .45-70 and .40-65. I am also an experienced caster and reloader. Although I do cast bullets and reload ammo for smokeless firearms, most of my focus in recent years has been on BPCR ammo for silhouette competition out to 500 meters. I am also an active member of several BPCR forums.

Several years ago the thinking was that large rifle magnum primers were indeed necessary for reliable black powder ignition and to maximize accuracy to ranges out to 1000 yards. But, in the last few years, BPCR silhouette shooters have come to realize that milder primers are the key in reducing variances from shot to shot. And have found that large pistol primers provide plenty of power to reliably ignite black powder. In fact many BPCR silhouette shooters place a thin paper wad over the primer prior to loading the powder. This results in two possible benefits: it further dampens or reduces the power of the primer and insures that kernels of powder do not get into the primer hole.

Concerning primers in general, the feeling is that Winchester primers are the hottest, Federal and CCI fall into the middle range, and Remington the mildest. Nowadays, the preferred large pistol primers for BPCR silhouette seems to be Rem. 2&1/2, or Fed. 150 (or 150M - as in match grade), with some shooters using Win. WLP. I have read where a couple of shooters used CCI 300 but don't remember the results.

I hope this helps some of you Trapdoor reloaders and shooters. Don't ask me anything else 'cause you now know everything I know on primers for BPCR. :>)

Regards, Wayne


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