Rio Ammo

Dear Technoid,

I have been buying Rio 12ga shells. The price of lead makes it more effective when the Rio’s are on sale. Several times they would not go off in the bottom barrel of my Browning 725. Looked like light hits. I brought the gun to a gunsmith and he told me that the energy of the hammer in bottom barrel in an over and under is less than the top barrel because of the geometry. The bottom hammer swings less. He measured the firing pins and the bottom pin was a little longer than the top pin. He said low primer was the problem. I tired to measure the primer depth with the rail that comes out of my caliper. Some of the Rios were .013. My reloads and the Federals I have were in the .008 range. I contacted Rio and they want me to send them samples which I w[i]ll. I heard that Rio primers are made with a harder metal which may add to the problems. What are your thoughts on the issue oh great adviser to the shotgun world.



I shoot an entire ton of Rios and have not experienced your issues. But others have. When I was visiting the Rio factory in Spain a few years ago, they mentioned that they made a “more sensitive” primer for the Japanese market due to the light lower barrel strikes common in the Citoris. I didn’t know that there was enough clay shooting in Japan to merit that, but I’m just repeating what I was told.

Brownings, both the Belgian guns I shoot and the Japanese Miroku-made Brownings have the reputation of occasional light lower barrel firing pin strikes. People often blame it on the primer, but it’s often the gun. Nobel primers are also pretty hard or a bit more sunken (dunno which) and occasionally give issues in my Brownings.

Try switching over to Fiocchi 616 primers. I’ve used them without any issues and they are priced right.

Rio just opened up a new vertical shell plant in Marshall, TX. They will be making powder, shot and primers there, so it will be intesting to see what those products are like.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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7 Responses to Rio Ammo

  1. Peter Molinaro says:

    Is there a difference between refuse to fire and failure to fire? Is one the gun and the other the shell?


  2. Keith West says:

    Having had the Browning problem myself, I found that installing Brownells part #149 002 157 unfitted pin as shipped ( a little longer ) fixed my problem and several other people’s that I have advised to do the same.
    Smarter Than The Average Bear


  3. stanley wren says:

    Have used a lot of Rio primers, probably 30-40,000 or so. The Cheddite primers give better SD and Extreme spreads than the Rio primers using the same components as tested by Precision Reloading. I’ve switched and haven’t had any problems. The Cheddite is slightly smaller than the Rio. It’s more comparable to the Win. and Fed. primers in size and the stats. are pretty much the same as the Win. using the same components.


  4. Bob Smyth says:

    We shoot a lot of 12 Gauge Rios, a group of us buy a pallet and divide it up between us. We go through about a pallet/year which is 96 cases. We’ve rarely experienced Failure To Fire (FTF) with a properly struck primer. The only FTF we recall are from light primer hits that we attribute to gun malfunctions. We usually take the FTF light hit cartridges and retry them in the same gun and they often go off on the second strike. That leads us to believe that the source of the problem is gun malfunction rather than primer issues.


  5. Bob Shemeld says:

    I also shoot a ‘ton’ of Rio’s in a Beretta 687 as does my brother, also in a 687. Nether of us has had a problem. I did have a refusal to fire on several very fast double shots, but it was traced to the inertia set in the trigger. On one occasion, I had several Winchesters, out of the same box, refuse to fire. Winchester was on it immediately and they were very generous with a refund.

    I enjoy your column.


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