The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 6, 1999, 12:22 AM   #1
thaddeus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 1999
Location: San Diego
Posts: 351
My friend's dad is a classic old fart (I mean that affectionatly) and one of his old fart friends advised him that we should use "small rifle" primers in our handgun reloads for better outcome (exactly why or how, I don't know). Sometimes these old timers have the goods on all the inside scoops. Has anyone heard of this tactic or know why it is supposedly better than using handgun primers?

thanks,
brasshopper
thaddeus is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 12:47 AM   #2
Mal H
Staff
 
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 14,504
And sometimes old farts are exactly that. There are at least 3 reasons you shouldn't do this.

1) Rifle primers are more powerful than pistol primers because they have to be when used with large capacity casings. I recently did an experiment with pistol vs rifle primers, small and large. I shot some rubber primer-powered bullets across my chronograph. The rifle primers yielded considerably more velocity. So you would be on your own if you try to extrapolate a "good" load based on any published loads. Injury to you, your gun, or anyone next to you is possible if you guesstimated wrong.

2) Rifle primer cups are made with a harder alloy since rifle firing pins generally hit the primer with more force. There is the possibility that a pistol firing pin may not ignite the rifle primer or even worse you could get a hang fire. Is this a high probability? I don't think so, but why take the chance?

3) Why do it? Have you had any problems when using pistol primers in pistol cartridges?
Mal H is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 01:24 AM   #3
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,455
Thaddeus: Consider me yelling and screaming that Mal H is absolutely right in both these primer-threads!

Rifle primers only in rifle cases; pistol primers only in pistol cases. Magnum primers only in magnum cartridges.

In some very derned few situations, you can use a magnum primer instead of a standard, in a non-magnum case: Only if it is a fairly large capacity case; and only if the powder is a slow-burning type. Even then, there are commonly equally good loads with other powders not needing magnum primers. For pistols, it might be something like a .45 Colt to be shot in a modern Ruger. For rifles, I don't really know...

Me, I'd let some other fella demonstrate his "high-falutin'" load in his gun...
Art Eatman is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 05:05 AM   #4
bk40
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 12, 1999
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 1,004
thaddeus:
It's common practice to use small rifle primers in "major loads" for the 38 Super, IPSC & such. I've never had a problem with countless thousands of rounds fired. Freedom Arms recommends using small rifle primers in their 454 Casull - I've done so with no problems.

The above two examples aside, I have loaded pistol ammo this way, very cautiously. I am not recommending anyone load ammo this way!
I would caution you to work up your loads very carefully if you choose to use SR primers in common handgun calibers. You are going where no (sane ) man has gone before!! A chronograph is a must for this type of experimentation!!

This is the way I have done it in semi-auto pistols.

EXAMPLE: Lets say you're loading for the 40 S&W. You've worked up a load with 7.0grs AA#5 and a Federal SP primer that chronos 1150fps. If you know this load is safe, pressure wise, then proceed like this.

1. reduce powder charge by 15% and load 5 rds at this charge weight with a Federal SR primer.
2. Fire 1 round thru the chrono. STOP. How far did the brass eject compared to the SP load? Check the velocity and compare it to your SP primer load. Do not exceed 1150fps under any circumstances! Examine the fired case carefully, comparing it to the one fired using the SP primer - you're looking for any signs of high pressure (note: fired primers can and do lie about pressure!).

If that round looks ok, velocity is lower than 1150fps and the case ejected about the same distance as the SP ammo, then fire the other 4rds. At this point follow the same procedures looking for signs of high pressure.

Everything checks out ok, load 5 more rds with 0.1gr more powder and repeat above but do not exceed 1150fps (you should reach this vel with .2-.4grs less powder.

I would only substitute primers in high pressure cartridges ... .40, 10mm, 357mag & sig, 44mag...

The wisest thing to do is stay with pistol primers in pistol ammo!

You are totally on your own when you begin to deviate from normal handloading guidelines!!

BE CAREFUL, my friend thaddeus!

bk40



[This message has been edited by bk40 (edited April 06, 1999).]
bk40 is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 11:48 AM   #5
Rew
Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 1999
Location: Colorado Springs CO. USA
Posts: 36
bk40, question? You have loaded the 454 with SMALL rifle primer's, I may be wrong, I don't own a 454, but I thought it was made to use a large pistol/rifle primer. I am not calling you on the carpet, I am just asking a question, I am new here and you sound like you know what you are talking about. I have used small pistol primers in the .30 carbine with a Ruger Blackhawk, just because it made for a more accurete load. And I have used large rifle primers in the .44 mag in place of mag LP primers for the same reason. I have always reduced loads and worked up with the crony for help.

Rew
Rew is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 04:08 PM   #6
thaddeus
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 6, 1999
Location: San Diego
Posts: 351
Well, like I said, I don't even know why this method was "supposedly better" so I think I will stay away from it. I thought maybe I was getting in on some good inside stuff from someone experienced. I guess not!

thanks all,
thad
thaddeus is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 05:50 PM   #7
Mal H
Staff
 
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 14,504
Don't forget that brasshopper had asked about primers for use in 9mm cartridges on another thread. So the answer for using rifle primers in any cartridge of this type is definitely - no. As for using rifle primers in handgun cartridges, I agree with bk40, it certainly can be done with good results. But, it is imperative that you know what you are doing and don't just substitute blindly. I have used rifle primers in handgun cartridges many times, but only in large capacity cartridges and only with revolvers. Revolvers, in general, use positive action firing pins as opposed to pistols which generally use inertia firing pins where ignition might be a little more iffy. Of course, you have to know your gun and load to know whether a rifle primer is in order in any gun.

A small demo I like to give to people interested in reloading is to load some rounds of most any type, leave the old primer in, and the bullet out of one round. We go to the range where I pour the powder from that round in a small heap and light it. Depending on the powder, of course, it usually burns up in about 3 seconds. Then I shoot one round. I know everyone has seen a gun go off, but this seems to be a real eye opener as to the chemistry of nitro cellulose. It emphasizes the effect of pressure on the burn rate. That is, seeing the same amount of powder that took 3 seconds to burn under atmospheric pressure now take roughly .001 seconds. And that burn rate is a direct result of the primer. It is obvious that the main purpose of a primer is to supply a flame to the powder. But an equally important function is to place the powder under high pressure along with the flame. I'm sure the chemists could come up with primers that would supply the flame without a large volume of gas, but the powder burn rate curve would initially be more shallow. Once the powder starts burning it increases the burn rate rapidly as the pressure builds to extreme values.

So my reason for using pistol primers in pistols and rifle primers in rifles is very simple, if you don't, you are playing with the formidable chemistry of nitro cellulose under conditions that haven't been tested. If you do the testing yourself and know when to STOP testing - and this point is not always obvious - then you should be safe.
Mal H is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 06:20 PM   #8
James K
Staff
 
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 19,318
Thaddeus,

Read what I said in Handloading and Cooking thread posted 24 March.

Jim
James K is online now  
Old April 6, 1999, 08:46 PM   #9
HankL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 1999
Location: The Sunny South
Posts: 2,174
REW 454 Casull does use a case made for a small rifle primer. I.E this case is made this way due to the pressures involved. Other than that I would say don't shoot any wierd combo's before Elmer Keith did it for a while before you give it a try. Stay safe and good shooting! Hank
HankL is offline  
Old April 6, 1999, 10:33 PM   #10
Daniel Watters
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 7, 1999
Location: USA
Posts: 644
If my memory is serving me properly, Federal is/was using Small Rifle primers in their 357 SIG loads.
Daniel Watters is offline  
Old April 7, 1999, 12:36 AM   #11
Grayfox
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 17, 1998
Posts: 1,885
Art,
Just for your info, my pet .45 Colt load uses a magnum primer with Unique powder. Not much improvement in velocity, but accuracy is much better. You are right, I won't dare try this with a smaller capacity case.
Grayfox is offline  
Old April 7, 1999, 12:48 AM   #12
Rew
Member
 
Join Date: March 3, 1999
Location: Colorado Springs CO. USA
Posts: 36
HankL your right, I looked it up, the 454 uses small rifle primers. I hang my head and stand corrected.

Rew
Rew is offline  
Old April 7, 1999, 06:14 PM   #13
HankL
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 11, 1999
Location: The Sunny South
Posts: 2,174
REW Don't hang your head man just keep on looking it up, asking questions, staying safe and having fun! Good Shooting! Hank
<wish I had chosen username Crustyoldfart>
HankL is offline  
Old April 7, 1999, 11:04 PM   #14
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,455
Grayfox: Yup, and Unique is relatively slow burning for a pistol powder--which is why the Mag primer works better. More uniform ignition.

But for those who don't have much experience, nor a handy, quite experienced mentor for their reloading questions, I definitely prefer to err on the side of caution and safety.

Back when I first started reloading, my uncle showed me how to set an old Pacific scale, where you had to put weights in the pan and adjust the counterweight to your proposed load. I was loading 53.5 grains of 3031 behind a 110-grain Hornady spire-point in .30-06. There were some other bullets loose on the bench, including some 169-grain lead gas-checks. So, being an ignorant 16-year old, I loaded a couple of those, too.

My uncle came back through, checking on what I was doing. Saw the gas checks, and inquired. He then grinned and said something to the effect that he ought to let me go ahead and find out what kind of mistake I was about to make...

It probably would not have blown up that old Model 1917 Enfield, but I'd have been scraping a lot of lead out! And scraping, and scraping...That is *not* the way to lead-lap a barrel!

When in doubt, don't!
Art Eatman is offline  
Old April 9, 1999, 04:33 PM   #15
El Chimango Pete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 11, 1999
Location: Sierras de Cordoba - Argentina
Posts: 352
Just got two boxes of Winchester Large Pistol primers (thats 2000 of 'em) for my 45 ACP (with Unique also - very good results with magnum primers as well as - normally - standard). New boxes say "LARGE PISTOL - FOR STANDARD OR MAGNUM PISTOL LOADS
Would they be cutting corners - or is this some newfangled technology?. Obviously, i aim to use them anyway.
El Chimango Pete is offline  
Old April 9, 1999, 06:25 PM   #16
Mal H
Staff
 
Join Date: March 20, 1999
Location: Somewhere in the woods of Northern Virginia
Posts: 14,504
You can use your WLP primers with confidence. Winchester has never made magnum large pistol primers. Today only CCI and Fed make them, Remington used to, but no longer. I have standardized on WLP's myself (I buy them in lots of 5000) and have had zero problems with them with all powders I use.
Mal H is offline  
Old April 9, 1999, 08:51 PM   #17
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,455
I've been using Win. primers in my '06; sez "For Standard or Magnum..." They work the same as the Rem. 9-1/2 primers I used for a bunch of years.

No idea what or how Winchester has made one primer work on standard or magnum. But it's a whole different bag than, say, CCI's "standard" and magnum" primers.

Later, Art
Art Eatman is offline  
Old April 10, 1999, 10:26 AM   #18
El Chimango Pete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 11, 1999
Location: Sierras de Cordoba - Argentina
Posts: 352
Yep, they work just fine - have been "CCI" until now (a matter of availability). Will now order up a new batch of WW... lest they run out of stock here.
Hasta pronto!
El Chimango Pete is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:14 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10339 seconds with 7 queries