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Old July 5, 2012, 09:21 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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D'oh! Accidentally bought CCI 550, not CCI 500...

... can I still use them in a .38Spl?

The manuals all say Small Pistol primers, so I suspect I know the answer, but hope dies last, and it would save me a trip to the gun shop to swap them for a box of 500s.

Can I get away with it this time?

If not, out of curiosity, what would be th outcome of using them in regular .38Spl reloads?
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:25 AM   #2
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drop your load back 10% and go for it, work back up if you wish to. You have no problem. Many bullseye shooters do this as normal practice.
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Old July 5, 2012, 09:58 AM   #3
Mal H
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As jcwit said, that's not a problem. Just don't use them with a max powder load at the start. As always with any change in a component, start low and work up.

The difference between small pistol regular primers and small pistol magnum primers isn't as noticeable as, say, large rifle regulars versus magnums.

In fact, looking at the Speer manual, they say to use "CCI 500, 550" without any distinction in the actual load data sets. A new reloader might think you can use them interchangeably. That new reloader won't lose their gun or their fingers if they do. In general, it's not a safe practice to substitute primers without going lower with the powder charge, but in this one particular case (same manufacturer, small pistol primers), it probably is.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:30 AM   #4
Pond, James Pond
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Cool!!

And unexpected.

These will be used with my first tries in reloading, so will mainly be with either the starting charge or one of the small increments beyond it!

Thanks for the clarification.
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Old July 5, 2012, 10:40 AM   #5
Jim Watson
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A friend of statistical bent once chronographed .38 Special with standard and magnum primers for the same powder and bullet. The magnum primers gave slightly higher velocity and greater consistency.

I tested small pistol, small pistol magnum, and small rifle standard primers when the small primer .45 NT cases started appearing on the range here. A small pistol standard might lose 25 fps versus large pistol standard, but a small pistol magnum made it back up. A small rifle standard NEARLY made it back up.

I loaded a good deal of 9mm with small rifle primers during the post-election shortages of 2009 and they did just fine.

Loading below the maximum, there are a lot of things you can do that are not strictly to "recipe."

But I would still like to encourage you to shop more carefully. Not all mispurchases are as minor.
(Stores here would not exchange ammunition or loading components, I don't know about the policy in Estonia.)
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:00 AM   #6
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No problem. Really the only time this becomes a concern is when you are loading on the bleeding edge (high pressure side). Then changing primers could cause an over pressure condition. Backing off and working back up is the way to go in this case.

Primer sensitivity depends on the powder, not the cartridge. Unique for example is primer insensitive (tested over chronograph). Only a few fps different.... I've tested a few other powders too to put my mind at ease... Now 2400 is primer sensitive. I got over 100fps difference (CCI-300 and CCI-350) is a .44Spec load I tested. WLP was in-between the two. That translates to a lot more pressure so I stick with standard primers with it. You won't be using 2400 though in the .38Spec .
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Old July 5, 2012, 11:12 AM   #7
Mal H
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Watson
But I would still like to encourage you to shop more carefully. Not all mispurchases are as minor.
Excellent advice which should be heeded by everyone.

The number of threads we've seen starting out "Oh darn! I bought this instead of that. Am I going to be ok?" is not a small number, and it all stems from not being attentive to what you are buying.
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:31 PM   #8
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
But I would still like to encourage you to shop more carefully.
Point well taken!!

Quite right. I think as time goes by, I'll be more clued up on the differences. I saw Small Pistol and so bought them. I didn't realise there was such a thins as Magnum Small Pistol, untill I saw some other print a little later.

I shouldn't buy new stuff when I'm in a bit of a rush!!
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Old July 5, 2012, 12:37 PM   #9
Ethan.G
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dont worry too much about it 90% of reloaders i know have done the same thing. iv found i prefer magnum primers because of it hahaha
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Old July 5, 2012, 07:19 PM   #10
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You should be fine. I use small rifle primer for .38 spcl, and 9mm exclusively. Though all of my loads are nowhere near max. Most do good to make midrange. all shoot just fine with no signs of over pressure. All loads were worked up from the starting charge. I keep it to small rifle due to the fact that I can cover more calibers that way. I load for 6 calibers with one primer. I started this when small rifle were all I could get.
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Old July 6, 2012, 06:19 PM   #11
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A local gun shop owner advised that he saw no difference in pressure using mag vs regular large pistol primers. I checked this out by contacting Federal's primer group. Federal said it would not change pressures. They did advise that the mag cups are harder (to withstand higher pressures of magnum loads) and might cause light strikes in some guns that may not strike the primers hard enough. If they work in your pistol, you are good. I have not had a problem with any of my pistols I have tried.
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