Letter on a primer

I picked up a box of 40 S&W ammo… mix… in the mix were CCI cartridges with aluminum (?) casings. The headstamp has N R on it. The primers are all stamped with an A.

We think they are Blazer. Could you tell me what the letters are?

Not sure on the “A”, but the “N R” is for Non-Reloadable.

Well, if that’s the case, could the A be for aluminum?? Maybe they have special primers to go into the aluminum case?

The Blazer Non-Reloadable cases use a special size Berdan primer, not a Boxer primer. If I remember correctly there was a thread a few months ago about the letters on CCI primers.

Current CCI “Blazer” aluminum-cased ammunition is Boxer primed. I can’t say that all of it is yet, but it will be. It is still not reloadable. If you reload these cases, various forms of case failure can happen, and that is never fun. I don’t know if the primer is a special size or not. I have never studied primers as a separate subject, which I should have, and can’t even quote the primer diameter of standard small rifle/small pistol and large rifle/large pistol boxer primers used in the USA, even though I have used hundreds of thousands of them in reloading over the last 46 years.

Regarding the “A” marking on the primer, there was a previous thread on that. I have no luck using the search feature of this Forum. No matter what I type in, I get a good proportion of all of the threads on the Forum. Maybe someone else will have better luck searching for the thread that covered the CCI “A” primer marking. If not, and you want to pursue it, post a request and I will go thru my files and find the information again.


here’s a link that I think explains the “A”.



I have noticed the same thing about the search function. If you enter one of the very common words, like “primer” or “bullet” you will get a hit for virtually every post on the Forum since its beginning.


Ray - thanks for posting that. Saved me a lot of work. Bomar - remember, the “A” primer was not ONLY supplied in ammunition replaced to LE Agencies and other buyers. Until CCI was satisfied that there were no further supplies of the other primer they used the “A” marking, so it appears on lots of commercial ammunition sold over the counter as well. Once all of the older primers had been removed from inventory, they will (or perhaps already have, I would think by now) not bother with the “A” marking on the primers anymore.

Hi guys,

Here’s the topic John Moss means:


Don’t use searchterms like ‘headstamp’ or ‘bullet’ because most topics contain those words. I found this post almost directly with the searchterms ‘CCI’ and ‘Blazer’.



Thanks for the info and the links!! We don’t normally buy aluminum because we reload, but they came as 1/3 of a mixed box for which I wanted the box ( A - Merc ) and some of the original ammo… I sold my .40 so the rest of the ammo goes to my husband to use.

I have problems using search in other forums too. Just like if you google for a search, your top 10 may not even be related to what you wanted!

There was Nothing “Special” about the Berdan primers used in early Aluminium cases by CCI…they were standard Berdan Small Pistol size( 4,5mm or “.175”). I reloaded many of these aluminium cases to make low power Theatre Blanks( using RWS #45xx series Berdan primers), both for performances as well as actor training.(in the .38 Special size).

The cases, if star-crimped, invariably “failed” by Body splitting ( a common failure in all Aluminium cartridge cases, since Experimentation to replace Brass began- in Military rifle and pistol cases); if the cases were simply card wadded, they failed about 50% of the time.

The “NR” marking was to advise reloaders that the cases were “Non-reloadable” ( as a Public Liability thing)…and to avoid damaging progressive presses by running Berdan cases through a Boxer set-up.

Due to the ready availability of Brass cases for making Blanks, we have since dropped the use of CCI Aluminium cases, except for using them to make “snap caps” and “Inert dummy” cartridges for movie use. We have long since used up all our inventory of Blanks made with Alu. cases.

Doc AV
AV Ballistics Film Ordnance Services

Lots of interesting info… thanks!!