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Discussion Starter #1
This Spring I had a NM Flattop Convertible, and a New Vaquero, both in .45.
I have begun having a hard time seeing the front sight clearly, and while I can still shoot the big adjustable sights decently, I was having difficulty shooting the NV with it's thin blade front sight.
So I traded it to a member here for a second Flattop.

My original FT was a 2002 model, and had that dadgummed internal safety, and it wasn't quite as accurate or smooth as the 2017 one, so I sold it and kept the newer Flattop.
The newer FT had a 16 pound hammer spring in it, and when I first had it out, experienced a couple light strikes that failed to set the round off.
I put a 19 lb. spring back in it, and shot it for a couple months with no problems.

In late August I started having ignition problems. Nearly every primer would barely have a dimple.
I tried putting a 23 lb. spring in it, swapped transfer bars and hammers, filed the top flat off of one hammer so the transfer bar would receive more hammer energy, looked for burrs where the hammer went into the frame, all to no avail.
The firing pin wasn't chipped or broken, it went plenty far forward when struck.
I must have disassembled and reassembled it 30 times. I'd take it out and try a few rounds and it was the same, barely a mark on the primers.

I gave in yesterday and called Ruger and asked about sending it to them.
A nice lady who sounded like she was 95 years old asked me the serial number, and when I told her, she said " You have a New Vaquero Convertible".
I said no, "It's a Flattop". She asked me to repeat the serial number and again told me what I have is a New Vaquero.
I told her, no, I have it in my hand and it has adjustable sights, it wasn't a New Vaquero.
She asked me to read what was written on the frame and I told her "Ruger New Model .45 Cal. Blackhawk". Only then did she concede that their records might be incorrect.

She sent me a shipping label and RMA number. I thought I'd take it out one more time before shipping it and try again. I had taken it apart that morning, and the firing pin sure looked like it was going far enough forward.

All the ammo I have a reloads that I have shot a couple thousand of, Starline brass, Winchester primers and Universal powder under an HSM RNSP bullet.
I've used that 8.0 grain load in the two Flattops, a Uberti Model P SA, a Marlin Cowboy rifle and a Rossi trapper carbine.

I went out to the range, and the first 5 rounds went off. Then a dud, then more good rounds, then another misfire, etc.
I fired 44 rounds, and 5 would not go off even after several tries.
As you can see from the pic, those 5 barely had a mark on the primer, while all the others had a normal strike.

My only conclusion is, I got a box of Winchester large pistol primers that had extra hard cups, and that some of those were mixed into this box of ammo.
There is another possibility, that I had inadvertently used large rifle primers.
Possible, but not likely, as I keep them stored in different containers, each marked "RIFLE" and "PISTOL" on top in large letters.
I would think that even if I had used rifle primers there might be a few failure to fires, but it would mark more of a dent in the primer.

I'll shoot the rest of the ammo loaded, about 200 rounds in my long guns, and consider trying CCI or Federal primers for the .45 Colt.
I shot CCI for the first 20 years I reloaded, then about 25 years ago got some duds from CCI and switched over to Winchester.
In that 25 years, I haven't had a single issue with Winchester.
But considering how junky the last two boxes of Winchester .22 rimfire I bought were, maybe it's time for a change.
 

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The nice deep dents in all spent cases tells me your gun is working just fine. The 5 unfired cartridges definitely have a primer issue …. I would bet they are large rifle primers that have thicker and harder cups needed to contain higher rifle chamber pressure. Try a simple test …. load a few spent cases with pistol primers and a few with rifle primers (no powder, no bullets) and see what happens when you fire them.

Comparing Winchester primers to 22 LR ammo is like comparing a Chevy to a Buick …. both are GM products but are not made in the same plant ….. just like the ammo, which may not even be made in the same country.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll try loading some up with both types of primer. I doubt I could tell the difference just by looking at them, a thicker and/or harder cup is probably the main difference, not easily observable unless I dissected one.
It might be a good idea to switch brands just to prevent a future mix-up, if that indeed was the case. The Winchester primers are brass colored, so I could keep my considerable stock of W-W large rifle primers, and go to a nickel colored primer like CCI for pistol use.

I'm glad I figured out the Flattop issue and can use it again, I've been carrying my M&P .40 with 180 grain HST's while in bear country this fall.
 

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Sanddog, that is exactly the same problem I was having with Winchester primers. Your fired rounds and duds mirror mine. The thread wrote was labeled "hard primers". I was also concerned that maybe my new vaquero was the problem? Purchased two boxes of 45 acp commercial stuff. Everyone went off. I really think it's a primer problem.
 

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I had the same problem with both large and small winchester primers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It wouldn't surprise me if Winchester mistakenly packaged large rifle primers in packs marked large pistol.
Seems like every year they have a recall on something because of a mistake.
 

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Thanks for post(s) with all the great info since I have same recent issue here, good to see these tests etc, has been a great help.

Have RMA if needed too but will avoid sending in this specific gun.

BTW, Ruger told me when they test gun with whatever they pull from ammo cage and if it works, thats all they will do. Would think they would at least check basic specs, but who knows for sure depending on day or tech person.

I think my gun will be just fine, once I get time to work with it.
 

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Not had this issue with my Blackhawk in .357, but I will look out for it. I keep all the types of primers I use in separate, well labeled boxes to avoid mix ups.
 

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Large Rifle primers are taller than Large Pistol primers.

sandog.

How are you seating the primers? Are you 100% sure you're seating them deep enough?
 

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Try a simple test …. load a few spent cases with pistol primers and a few with rifle primers (no powder, no bullets) and see what happens when you fire them.
My reloads all use Winchester small pistol primers. When I was experimenting with the Wolff spring kit in my GP-100 I wondered how low I could go with the hammer spring without sacrificing reliability which had been 100% with the factory 14 pound spring. Wolff provides 12, 10 and 9 pound springs.

I first tried the 12 pound spring and it improved the trigger pull a bit and remained 100% reliable. Then I tried the 10-pound spring which helped the pull even more but I was getting a bit concerned about the ignition reliability.

To test it I seated Winchester small rifle primers (from my .223 Rem reloading supplies) in a half dozen empty 38 Special cases and tried them in the GP. Every one fired perfectly and that's where I stopped experimenting. The 10 pound spring remains in the gun and it has been 100% reliable since.
 

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GP Fan, Winchester Standard Small Rifle primers are virtually identical to Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers. So what did you prove? Your gun is reliable with magnum primers ….. or is it?.

Many years ago I did extensive tests with several different brands (CCI, Federal, Winchester, and Remington), different sizes (large and small), and different types of primers (standard and magnum). I started off trying to determine which primers were the most sensitive and of course the least sensitive. What I learned was a departure from the mission but was even more important.

I used a S&W Mod 10 DA revolver (38 Special) for my tests because it has a strain screw that can be used to adjust hammer spring tension. I used normal 38 Special cases for small primers and Speer plastic cases (made for primer only plastic target bullets) that use large pistol primers. The plan was to back off the strain screw then increase hammer spring tension just a little bit at a time until primers detonated. Once I found the point of detonation, I could count the screw turns until the strain screw was tight so it could be used for a reference point. In my very first test, I found as I tightened the strain screw, primers would "pfff" instead of "bang" when hammer spring tension was a little too light. I loaded up a batch of live ammo, leaving the strain screw set for a "pfff". All the cartridges fired but I noticed the report didn't seem as loud as normal so I broke out my chronograph and tested a batch of known good 158gr loads. The loads that I fired with the strain screw set at the "pfff" point, chronographed at considerably lower velocity and with a much higher velocity spread than when the strain screw was fully tight. On paper, these "pfff point" cartridges grouped pretty grim whereas the exact same loads with a tight strain screw grouped nicely (all from a bench rest at 15 yards). Further, I found the hammer spring tension needed to detonate a primer changed from primer to primer within the same brand and type. In other words, sensitivity was not very uniform in any brand or type but was less noticeable with magnum primers where all primers required a pretty hard smack to detonate.

I found this information very important because I had been using reduced power hammer springs in my Rugers and thought I was dreaming because accuracy didn't seem to be as good with lighter hammer springs. As it turned out, I wasn't dreaming at all …. reduced power hammer springs did indeed affect accuracy & velocity and it wasn't just at the "pfff" point. As I learned later using my chronograph and Speer plastic bullets (no powder), the velocity of the bullets continued to climb until the last 1/4 turn of the strain screw. In live ammo, velocity and max velocity spreads were also at their best when the strain screw was in the last 1/4 turn. So …. there's more to the formula than just detonation reliability.

Armed with this information, I promptly replaced the hammer springs in my Ruger SAs and DAs with factory springs. Yes, it increased trigger pull slightly but overall, I was shooting more accurately with full power hammer springs than with reduced power hammer springs. Part of this phenomenon was "lock time", especially in my SAs where a weaker hammer spring extends the time it takes for the already slow moving hammer to travel from sear release to BANG, which gives your hand more time to move the gun during lock time.

Through my tests, I found CCI primers have harder cups so they are the least sensitive of all the brands and CCI Small Pistol Magnum primers are even harder than CCI standard primers. I now test all revolvers with CCI Magnum primers in a sized case …. no powder, no bullet. If they all make a nice loud report, the gun is good to go. Federal Standard primers are the most sensitive (least amount of hammer spring tension) so if you insist on using reduced power hammer springs, Federal primers will be your friends.

Here's a link to an old post I made in 2010 about primer testing: Post #3 https://rugerforum.net/reloading/24853-primer-sensitivity-brand.html

sandog, Let's not overlook the obvious …. you probably got some defective primers in that batch. I can say with certainty ….. it's not your gun because the primer dents are excellent in all the spent cases!
 

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That's some excellent info! I always thought the primers would either go off or simply fail to ignite. :thumbsup:
 

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That's some excellent info! I always thought the primers would either go off or simply fail to ignite. <img src="https://www.motorcycleforum.com/images/smilies/thumbsup.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Thumnbs up" class="inlineimg" />
Never would have thought that once ignition. Thats great!!!!
 

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Excellent information, Iowegan, and lines up very well with some experiences I've had with hangfires and squibs.

One caution from my experiments, when testing primers in empty cases, I've had trouble with the cylinder sticking closed. The lack of pressure causes the primer to back out of the empty case. Because there is no "compression", that backed out primer binds the cylinder.
 

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I don't normally change springs on functioning firearms because I can't remember a firearm I've owned with functioning or ignition issues where the cause wasn't directly attributed to springs in one way or another. As soon as the gun was restored to stock form or the original springs were replaced with new springs the issues were resolved.

I only have one gun in my safe right now that doesn't have stock springs and it's also the only one that's finicky about primers. Its a short stroked and tuned 1873 rifle I use for CAS. I got it figured out but I had to switch primers and crank up the tension on the hammer spring to make it work. If I had a do-over I wouldn't have had the tuning done because besides the ignition issues I don't think it made one whit of difference to my speed. The action is very slick, the stroke is about 1/2" shorter and my wallet is thinner but that's about all that came out of it. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Iowegan, I'm sure you're tired of hearing it but, once again, great info.
 

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I don't normally change springs on functioning firearms any more because I can't remember a firearm I've owned with functioning or ignition issues where the cause wasn't directly attributed to springs in one way or another. As soon as the gun was restored to stock form or the original springs were replaced with new springs the issues were resolved.

I only have one gun left in my safe that doesn't have stock springs and it's also the only one finicky about primers. Its a short stroked and tuned 1873 rifle I use for CAS. I got it figured out but I had to switch primers and crank up the tension on the hammer spring to make it work. If I had a do-over I wouldn't have had the tuning done because besides the ignition issues I don't think it made one whit of difference to my speed. The action is very slick, the stroke is about 1/2" shorter and my wallet is thinner but that's about all that came out of it. If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Iowegan, I'm sure you're tired of hearing it but, once again, great info.
 

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454PB,
The lack of pressure causes the primer to back out of the empty case.
Absolutely correct ….. so what I have done is to drill the flash holes where they are just a little smaller than primer diameter. This totally prevents primer back-out yet allows the primer to detonate normally. I have at least 6 drilled out cases for each of the different revolver cartridges, that way I can fire a complete cylinder full of test cases without having the cylinder bind up.
 
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