Primer hardness: Surplus vs Commercial
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Thread: Primer hardness: Surplus vs Commercial

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Primer hardness: Surplus vs Commercial

    Last edited by MK TX; 02-14-2013 at 09:29 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Key West FL


    There might be different opinions, but mine is that hard primer problem occurs in
    Mauser rifles that were supposedly stored cocked so the springs got week from being under tension for 50+ years. Hard primer or not, healthy spring will make the firing pin make the primer go off no matter what. I have however noticed some of Yugo 8mm Mauser ammo fires without a problem and some years will need 2 strikes to fire. I believe , if the spring was strong, hardness of the primer wouldn't matter. I have never experienced hard primers on modern ammo or primers.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Cincinnati, Ohio


    Commercial primers are generally softer than military primers. I once owned a S&W model 59 that fired commercial ammo flawlessly, but if I loaded it with military surplus ammo, no matter the source, it would usually take two primer hits to get it to fire. I don't have that problem with my Sig P6.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    N Mexico


    For sure milsurp primers are less sensitive than commercial primers......some are so darn "less sensitive" they are altogether DEAD!

    Sometimes it is the ammo's age and storage conditions that leads the shooters to label those old milsurp rounds "hard primers"!
    "Saigon Tea, 60 P, you no buy you di di DI!"

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008


    Our club has guys that re load for us and they are pretty good at what they do.

    I was having a problem with FTF in a new pocket in .380 that I took in on trade.

    Almost 100% FTF with about five different types of ammo tried. I changed all the internal parts and nothing worked.

    I then consulted our re loading expert. He is also a gunsmith.

    He explained to me the differences in primers on commercial ammo.

    Suggested I buy some Federal .380. I did and the problem went away.

    So when it comes to commercial primers, some are softer than others for sure.

    He told me Federal has soft primers as compared to Wolf or S&B and others.

    The Fed. shoots flawlessly in the small pocket pistols.

    If further info. is needed I can contact our re loading guy and get a list that rates the primer hardness from his experince.

    I do know from past experience,that Wolf in particular has very hard primers. No promblem in most firearms, but FTF in some.

    Also it has been posted on for years, the 50s Yugo 8mm so called "hard primer" issues with FTF.

    I am pretty sure military ammo has harder primers, in gen. But some of the contributing factors on the Yugo 50s problem was that the primers were recessed more and this caused weak strikes and an upgrading of springs usually corrected the problem.

    I had our re loaders check out the FTF issues on the Yugo 50s early on and that is what they told me. They measured everything.

    Some lots were better than others.
    The ammo was made by two factories, and used at least three diff. types of powder. There was never a clear concensus of which factory had the FTF issues.

    Contrary to what some claim. Usually those claims had a small sampling of one to ten cases. Calling certain years the stinko years for FTF and "hard primers". That is not the case from our experience of shooting countless rounds over the 8 years or so of 8mm trials.

    The year of mfgr. was not an indicator of the FTF issues.

    Storage conditions may have been a factor.

    People on the boards made elaborate graphs and tried to get a handle on mfgr. or year for the FTF issues, but the bottom line was, any of it could FTF depending on the batch you got.
    We just upgraded the rifles with Wolf springs and the problem went away in most part. Some model 98 full length action Mausers required 30lb springs. Issue is 19 lbs.
    The newer Yugo 8mm never had this problem. Neither did the earlier Yugo from the forties.
    Back in those days during our 8mm long range trials our club bought the 8mm by pallet size lots so we got a pretty good sampling of the stuff.

    It goes back to the basics of, in milsurps, rifles are usually ammo specific. What works in one, may not work so well in another.

    Hope this helps a bit.
    Last edited by RH7777; 10-09-2010 at 02:20 PM.

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