Primers with small A on them

Does somebody happen to know who is producing the primers with the small A on them?


Primer size and/or cartridge??


In this particular case they are in 9mm. Somebody used them to reload.


That’s going to be a tough one because there is nobody that collects 9mm as far as I know. ;) ;) ;)

There are small rifle Benchrest primers that have a very tiny “B” on them. Could you be misreading the “b” as an “a”?

Just a guess on my part.


I realize that this is not a “collector” question as it is a newly manufactured item. I just haven’t had any luck finding out who is making the primers with the A on it. It is definately an A

Boston–It does not need to be old to be collectible. What is new today is old someday!! All cartridge related questions are welcome here, regardless of the age of the cartridge.

Those primers were made by CCI, Lewiston, Idaho, and used in some of their ammunition and occasionally in Federal (both companies are owned by ATK). The “A” represented a change to the primer made for two reason - an improvement in the priming pellet and as an aid to the automated cameras inspecting primer seating. It was expected to aid the process of finding primers seated sideways, backwards, etc. The latter reason proved to be unsuccessful due to changes in letter shape with bunter wear or on different bunters and this created problems with the inspection equipment. The first reason was to differentiate the newer primer from the older ones, until such time as the old ones were exhausted in use.

CCI no longer uses this marking, although ammunition with it is still found on dealer’s shelves. I am only aware of it being used on small pistol primers.

John Moss

Thank You John !!

That Ray is a sly one. He can’t answer Boston’s question, so he tries to convince him its a ‘b’ on the primer, for which he does have an answer. ;^)

No Guy, I really thought it might be a b.

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

It’s Lewiston, Idaho, John. My wifes great grandfather is buried there. We did a little geneology research about 10 years ago and found his unmarked grave site. Interesting story. It involves infidelity, nuns, and family ostracism. She (my wife) no longer makes ANY comments about skeletons in the closet on my side of the aisle.


Well, okay Ray, if you really, really thought it was a ‘b’, then I’ll retract my comment. Ray is not a sly one!

O.K. So you caught me! I spotted my own error and edited it awhile ago. I don’t know what made me type “Washington” after Lewiston. I know it is in Idaho. Well, I think they might call it senility.


Thank you, I think.


I knew that you’d catch it but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to tell you all about my wife’s great grand-daddy.

Lewiston and it’s sister city, Clarkston WA, are the gateway to some of the most beautiful country in the NW. It’s just too bad it gets so darned cold there.



Here’s a link to a website that I found that discusses the reason for the “A” being placed on the primers. Per the website, it was due to the recall of numerous lots of Speer Gold Dot handgun ammunition that was made, with a lot of it made for law enforcement use (calibers, bullet weights and lot#'s provided in the webiste):

Not more than 3 weeks ago I purchased some Blazer 9mm 115TMJ ammo and this ammo has the “A” on the primers. The store in Orangevale, CA. that I bought this ammo from sells a lot (and I mean A LOT!) of the 9mm Blazer ammo each and every week (they have to restrict how many boxes of Blazer ammo a person can buy, max. 10 boxes per coupon per day). And at $6.00 a box for 9mm ammo, I KNOW this store sells a lot of Blazer 9mm, so I’m inclined to believe that maybe Speer/CCI is continuing to use the “A” stamped primers since a month before I bought the “A” stamped ammo I had purchased the same type of ammo from the same store and it didn’t have the “A” primed cases. (Maybe the store in question just happened to get some older Blazer ammo from their distributor, but I have my doubts that a distributor would have pallets of older Blazer ammo sitting around the warehouse; it would have been sold off long ago, but I could be wrong).

Just my $0.02 worth of opinion. :-)

Leon is correct as is the posting on another site which he referenced. My answer to the question for the Forum omitted details of material I thought might be sensitive to CCI and to Law Enforcement, although the complete story was given the Boston Police Department through PM.

Regarding the recent selling of ammunition with the “A” on the primer, this could easily be older stock. The information I got regarding the discontinuance of the use of the “A” primer came directly from CCI in February 2006. I have no reason to doubt it. Most jobbers and probably CCI as well have an “in the front door, out the back door” warehousing policy. That is, older lots of ammunition are sold as newer lots come in. CCI Blazer is a good product, but doesn’t sell everywhere as well as it seems to in the Sacramento, California area. It is not easy to find in the San Francisco Area, as for many dealers, it is not price competative, brass case ammunition even from the same maker being available at similar or cheaper prices. It is no wonder Leon’s local dealer does well with it at $6.00 per box. I wonder if he is making any money on it? It could even be coming from a Police Department as surplus sales.

Since the LE connection has now been discussed, the story might as well be finished. CCI was unable to make immediate replacement of the ammunition recalled due to other contract responsibilities so an accomodation was made whereby many agencies continued to use the older “problem” ammunition for practice, reserving the improved supplies for duty use. In actuality, the incident of misfire in the older ammunition was very, very small, but one doesn’t gamble with the lives of police officers no matter how seldom the misfires. The problem in the primers was light primer-pellet weights that could result in a misfire.

With the problem resolved, and with the recall, sent out in Spring of 2003, now four years old, there really would be no reason for the current use of the “A” primer, the bunting of which simply adds expense and production time to the process of supplying primers.


Just as a side note, the place where I got my ammo has been selling Blazer ammo cheap for close to 15+ years now. I still have a case of 9mm that I purchased close to 7 or 8 years ago, and at that time they were selling the stuff for $5.00 a box (no limit)! Others that I have talked to have also commented as to whether or not this particular gun store even makes money on selling ammo so cheap!

Anyway, maybe I should hold on to my last remaining few boxes of Blazer 9mm that have the “A” primers. Maybe they’ll become collectors items and I can sell them off at $1.00 a round and make lots of money! :-)