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Small Arms Primers

Normally seen as an identifying feature of centrefire ammunition, the primer is the metal cup containing the priming compound found inserted at the base of the cartridge case. The firearm's firing pin crushes this explosive between the cup and an anvil to produce hot gas and a flame to ignite the propellant charge. Two common types of primers, Berdan and Boxer are used in centrefire cartridges and differ in their construction.

The quality of the primer determines the quality of the ammunition. The compatibility of the primer with other ammunition components especially the cartridge case and propellant results in the difference between a mass produced cartridge and one which is specifically matched to a particular rifle.