Does it matter what primer I use?  Can I use rifle primers in my pistol? Is there any noticeable accuracy difference in all this?

uh oh...did we put some unfired brass in the fired box?  What the heck is that row of shiny brass? Why are all the other fired brass dirty and that one row is so clean?

Fiocchi ZetaPi small pistol primers.  That is the answer.  That is the cleanest fired case, we have ever seen, ever.  And this powder is not very clean with all the other primers, as you can see. 

It is a lead free primer.   This is the future of shooting, now.   That is so much cleaner, its ridiculous.

The common lead primer the world has been using for many decades reacts with the powders differently, to leave behind residue in the case and gun.  Smoke, etc.  These lead free?  Hardly any residue at all, and virtually smokeless.  Right now, they are expensive for these.  Its like $62 for 1500.  Thats ~$41 dollars for 1000.  That is about a ~20-30% premium over other options. 

Economy of scale will take over, and once more production of these pick up, the price goes down.  Once the price comes "near" regular lead primers, and reliability is proven to be same, then that will be the death of lead.  Who in the world likes all the dirty smoke, gun, brass?  Why wouldn't everyone want "clean"?  It is going this way, so this is a preview of the future perhaps.

On to the testing...
Test parameters...
  • The brass was weighed to be within .02 grains of each other
  • The brass all had same length
  • All Precision Delta HP 124 grain bullets weighed from 124.02 to 124.04 grains each.
  • Powder load precision was from 4.12 to 4.10 IMR TARGET using Gempro 250
Federal Gold Medal SP
We used this primer in vast majority of our 9MM testing
Federal Gold Medal Magnum SP

Winchester SP

Fiocchi ZetaPi (Lead free)

Federal SP No. 100

CCI SP #500

Fiocchi SP

Rem 7 1/2 Small Rifle

Mixed Primer #1
#1 Rem 7 1/2 Rifle primer, #2 Federal Gold Medal SP, #3 Fiocchi SP, #4 Federal SP, #5 Federal Gold Medal Magnum SP (SP = Small Pistol)
Mixed Primer #2
#1 Rem 7 1/2 Rifle primer, #2 Federal Gold Medal SP, #3 Fiocchi SP, #4 Federal SP, #5 Federal Gold Medal Magnum SP (SP = Small Pistol)
Conclusions
We can see a pattern in the results, the same as the Minor, Major, mixed brass tests, etc.  There is "usually"  1 shot outside of propensity group area. So without this "1" shot the group size is perhaps less than half on some of these.  Look at Fiocchi SP results and Federal Gold Medal SP.  If not for 1 shot, some groups are under half inch from 10 yards.  Was it the bullet, or the brass doing this?  Its not possible for us to determine if every bullet center of gravity, or weighting internally is exactly the same.  Or if the brass lot, even though it has same weight and very similar internal grain fill, it can still have variable neck tension because perhaps that one, or some, were heat treated and have variable hardness/stiffness.  Or perhaps since the chamber is "match" and it still has some play in it, that 1 in 5 bullets were sitting "barely" different in the chamber, thus gave slightly different result.  I would probably vote for the neck tension or bullet itself had uneven weighting or something like this, causing that 1 shot to be ~1/2 off of the others.  Or vote for even though bullets same weight, bullet uniformity is not the same.

So overall conclusion?  Primer brand makes very little difference, probably.  Because the 2 groups using 5 different primers, had lower than average size groups?

And you have to ask yourself.  Is ~1" accuracy at 10 yards acceptable?  That seems pretty damn good to us.  Factory ammunition will not be as good as this, on average.  We test that later to show you.  Typical factory ammunition we tested already is more closer to ~1.5" group at 10 yards.  This is premium ammunition too, not cheap ammo.
Wow
Just fired...that is incredible.  Very, very impressive. 
Spherical, Flake & Extruded tested
From left to right...
Left:  Titegroup (flattened spherical)
Left mid:  Bullseye  (Flake)
Right mid:  HS-6 (flattened spherical)
Right: N320 (Extruded stick)
Titegroup & Bullseye are two of the more dirty powders using lead primers.  You can see there is some "scorthing" and some residue still left, considerably more than HS-6 or N320.  But overall, these are cleaner than any lead primer shot case using any powder.
IMR Target left, then Titegroup, Bullseye, HS-6, and on right...N320

IMR Target is cleaner than Titegroup and Bullseye when you use lead primers.  However, just switching to the Fiocchi ZetaPi lead free primer, we can see now Titegroup is vastly cleaner, even with the scorching and small residue left.


Does anything stand out?
So the Rifle primers were highest average velocity.  1096 versus 1093 for Winchester and 1094 for Federal Gold Medal?  Its barely noticeable.

However.  1 Small RIfle primer failed to fire.  Why?  Striker fired pistols don't have enough force to consistently detonate the primer.  The cups of the primers are too hard perhaps.  There is zero reason, whatsoever, to use rifle primers in pistols.  We saw no reason to use magnum primers either. 

Pretty much all of these except 1 group, due to 1 single shot which was 30 FPS less.  Take out that 1 shot, the Fiocchi average goes from 1079 to 1091. 




Primer cup harder?
Without getting into a lab and understanding what the primer manufacturers do, we can do this simple method to determine, generally, which primer cups are harder to deform, or flatten. 

A measurement of .001 for Fiocchi means simple that the primers top area, that flattens, after it was fired, expanded by flattening out to .001 inch larger. 
Federal Primers expanded .002, or 2 thousandths of an inch, and we see that the CCI SP #500 barely expanded at all, just half of 1 thousandth.  The hardest, or thickest perhaps, of the bunch was the Rifle Primer.  Does this surprise anyone?  It does not expand AT ALL, and the fired primer, was the same diameter as the unfired primer.

So we can correlate from this that the softest primers, that expand the easiest, are Federal, all kinds of Federal, and the Winchester as well.

This is preferable for reloading because we believe you can more clearly understand pressure with softer primer than expands/flattens more easily.  Well, you can understand pressure "sooner" because it will flatten under less pressure, to be precise?
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