Bargain Imported Primer Comparison Ballistic Tests
By: Tom Armbrust

Posted: 10/20/2006

A number of my shooting buddies from the McHenry gun club have been asking me about the relatively new bargain basement imported shotshell 209 primers and how they compare in relative force to popular American 209 primers.   Some of these primers have been on sale for as low as $15.00 per 1000—a great savings to say the least.

For the control load, the Winchester 209 primer was selected as over many thousands of shotshells tests in all gauges at Ballistic Research this primer is very hard to beat with the many various burning rates of powders and wad types.

This following load was assembled as a control target load:

Shell: 12 GA 2-3/4” Remington STS Premier
Primer: Win 209 Lot – RDL 186
Powder: 17.0 GR Hodgdon Clays
Wad: Downrange Jammer XL-1
Shot: 1 oz. 8 Magnum lead
Crimp: 8 Fold
Volocity: 1184 FPS   (EV 14 FPS)
Pressure: 8600 PSI   (EV 500 PSI)

For more info on these new “Downrange” wads contact:

Kevin at Downrange Mfg. LLC
4170 N Gunpowder Circle
Hastings, NE

Phone 402-463-3415

Same components as above except:
RI0 209/G-600 Primer by Uee Alava, Spain

Volocity: 1198 FPS   (EV 23 FPS)
Pressure: 9680 PSI   (EV 1500 PSI)

Same components as above except:
PMC OPTIMA S209 Lot 9-04

Volocity: 1183 FPS   (EV 9 FPS)
Pressure: 8320 PSI   (EV 500 PSI)

Same components as above except:
Nobel Sport 209/686 Lot 412 46196 Martignoni, Italy

Volocity: 1165 FPS   (EV 26 FPS)
Pressure: 7360 PSI   (EV 1000 PSI)

Note that the Nobel Sport 209/686 showed the lowest velocity at 1165 FPS and pressure at 7360 PSI while the R10 209/G600 showed the highest velocity at 1198 FPS and pressure at 9680 PSI.   So the velocity difference was 33 FPS and the pressure difference was 2320 PSI.

My hat comes off to the PMC Optima 209 primer with both the lowest velocity variation at just 9 FPS and lowest pressure variation at 500 PSI.

The Winchester 209 primer was a very close second with a velocity variation of 14 FPS and identical pressure variation of 500 PSI.


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