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Old January 2, 2013, 07:17 AM   #1
vito
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Do all (or most) pistol cartridges use the same size primer?

Just getting reading to start reloading and I am ordering basic supplies to start. I will only be reloading several pistol cartridges, starting with 40S&W and 38 Special, but later will add 45acp and 380acp. Will I need more than one size primer?
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Old January 2, 2013, 07:55 AM   #2
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Generally i have found 45 will take large pistol..most other calibers (easy to find calibers) will take small pistol. If you havent got a reloading book get one first. It will tell you primer size for specific caliber.
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Old January 2, 2013, 07:58 AM   #3
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technically 4 different ones cover most handguns... small pistol, small pistol magnum, large pistol, large pistol magnum... I think there are both large & small primer pockets on 45 acp, if I remember correctly, depending on the brand, & age of your brass
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Old January 2, 2013, 08:21 AM   #4
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GET A RELOADING MANUAL AND READ IT
A manual should be the first item purchased by a beginner.
The information in those pages will undoubtedly provide all you need to know. Actually, you should have 2-3 manuals-an independant source such as Lyman and at least one from a bullet manufacturer or one from a powder company. Preferably the last two should be from the powder/bullet makers you intend to use.
I do a LOT of reloading and keep 5-6 sources of information to check and cross check.
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Old January 2, 2013, 08:27 AM   #5
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I have a manual on order, along with basic reloading equipment. I was just wondering about primers and used this forum for a quick answer. Thanks for the good advice.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:00 AM   #6
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Most .45ACP brass you run into will require large pistol primers, but a growing % (something like 5-10% now) can use small pistol primers, which may be enough for your purposes. However, as long as you are buying primers you should go ahead and get a box or two of large ones.
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
technically 4 different ones cover most handguns... small pistol, small pistol magnum, large pistol, large pistol magnum...
Winchester Large Pistol primers are labled "For Standard and Magnum Loads" .... there are no Winchester Large Magnum Pistol Primers, that I know of .....

Quote:
I will only be reloading several pistol cartridges, starting with 40S&W and 38 Special, but later will add 45acp and 380acp. Will I need more than one size primer?
You will need:

-for .40S&W, 38 Special, .380ACP all use small pistol primers (Winchester or Federal Small Pistol, CCI 500, Remington 1 1/2, etc....... dunno why CCI and Remington can't just say "small pistol", instead of having some goofy number assigned to them ..... )

- For 99% of .45 ACP cases, you'll need large pistol primers (WIN and Federal call them the obvious, Remington sez "2 1/2", CCI sez "300". If you run across a .45ACP case that takes a small primer, as a favor to guys with progressive equipment that do not want to take the time to check every primer pocket on their .45 brass, smash it flat with a hammer and throw it into the scrap yard bucket......
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Old January 2, 2013, 09:41 AM   #8
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the 4th row from the left are large pistol magnum primers, & I think the white 100 primer sleeves on top of the CCI box are Winchester large pistol magnum primers...

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Old January 2, 2013, 09:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Just getting reading to start reloading and I am ordering basic supplies to start. I will only be reloading several pistol cartridges, starting with 40S&W and 38 Special, but later will add 45acp and 380acp. Will I need more than one size primer?
For most, small pistol primers are what you'd need. For .45 ACP, large pistol primers.
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Old January 2, 2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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I too am starting to find 45acp brass that uses small primers. If you use range brass be aware.
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Old January 2, 2013, 07:19 PM   #11
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You will need Large, and Small pistol primers to load for all of those.

.45 ACP uses Large pistol primers, (Note some cases have small primer pockets. I save those for when I know I am going to loose them.)

The rest of them take Small pistol primers.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:45 PM   #12
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As others have said, Most of your calibers will need a small pistol primer. Federal Champion and a few others in .45 acp take a small primer as well. Winchester White Box use large pistol primers as do the majority of other .45 brass. You do need to check your brass closely if you are using once fired brass in .45. I load mostly for range use and not competition shooting. I use the same load in .45 when using either type of primer. I also have one press set up just for .45 large primer. The other press is just for small primer calibers. It makes things easier for me. It also saves me a few minutes time. Often when I'm loading .45 ammo, I have both presses set up for .45 and can get all my brass done before switching to something else. I do need to shoot up some of what I have loaded in the near future to have some more brass to load.
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Old January 2, 2013, 10:55 PM   #13
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I've been reloading for 42 years or so now. I'm so experienced now, I don't need no steenking manual! Oh wait, I have 11 of them. Go get a manual or two before you blow up one of your guns youngster.

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Old January 2, 2013, 11:01 PM   #14
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I"ve been buying Walmart Federal .45 Auto. They use small pistol primers.

I've got enough now that they meet most of my reloading needs.
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Old January 2, 2013, 11:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnum Wheel Man
the 4th row from the left are large pistol magnum primers, & I think the white 100 primer sleeves on top of the CCI box are Winchester large pistol magnum primers...


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Old January 3, 2013, 03:20 AM   #16
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Thanks for asking our advice. Welcome to reloading.

Large primers & Small primers will be pretty obvious which to use. Magnum primers vs standard primers is harder to choose. As a general rule, Magnum primers are for hard-to-ignite powders. Standard primers are for easy-to-ignite powders. Whether the name "Magnum" is in the cartridge name or not is irrelevant. The loading manual will often tell you which to use. But not always. One reason to have more than one manual.

Anyone who can follow a recipe in the kitchen or change a tire can handload safely. It just takes care and a bit of humility. Handloading is not rocket science, but it does involve smoke and flame and things that go very fast, so care is to be taken.

I have thought of a few things I think are useful for handloaders to know or to consider which seem to be almost universal, so I put together this list.

So much is a matter of personal taste and circumstance, though. So, all advice carries this caveat, "your mileage may vary".

So you can better evaluate my words, here is the focus of my experience. I load for handguns (44 Mag, 45 ACP, 45 Colt, 454 Casull, 9mm, 357 Mag, 480 Ruger) a couple hundred per sitting and go through 100 to 400 centerfire rounds per month. I don't cast....yet.

When I bought my first gun (.357 Magnum Dan Wesson revolver), I bought, at the same time, a reloading setup because I knew I could not afford to shoot if I did not reload my own ammo. It cost me about 1/4 of factory ammo per round and paid for itself pretty quickly. I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted my press on a 2 x 6 plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table.

I still believe in a minimalist approach and and try to keep my inventory of tools low. I do not keep my loading gear set up when not in use, either, but pack them away in small toolboxes until the next loading session.

Now, here are my Ten Advices.

Advice #1 Use Reliable Reference Sources Wisely - Books, Videos, Web Sites, etc.

Study up in loading manuals until you understand the process well, before spending a lot of money on equipment.

I found "The ABC's of Reloading" to be a very good reference. Short on loading data but full of knowledge and understanding of the process. Check out offerings in your local library. Dated, perhaps but the basics are pretty unchanging. I am told the older editions are better than the newer ones, so the library is looking even better.

Read as many manuals as you can, for the discussion of the how-to steps found in their early chapters. The reason you want more than one or two manuals is that you want to read differing authors/editors writing styles and find ones that "speak" to you. What one manual covers thinly, another will cover well so give better coverage of the subject; one author or editor may cover parts of the subject more thoroughly than the others.

As far as load data in older manuals, the powder manufacturers and bullet manufacturers may have better information and their web sites are probably more up to date. But pay attention to what the ammunition was test-fired from. (regular firearm vs a sealed-breech pressure test barrel, for example)

The public library should have manuals you can read, then decide which ones you want to buy.

There are instructional videos now that did not exist in the '70s when I started.

Richard Lee's book "Modern Reloading" has a lot of food for thought, and does discuss the reasoning behind his opinions (unlike many manuals, and postings). Whether right or wrong, the issues merit thought, which that book initiates. It is not a simple book, though and you will find it provocative reading for many years.

Only after you know the steps can you look at the contents of of a dealer's shelves, a mail-order catalog or a reloading kit and know what equipment you want to buy. If you are considering a loading kit, you will be in a better position to know what parts you don't need and what parts the kits lack.

Advice #2 All equipment is good. But is it good FOR YOU?

Almost every manufacturer of loading equipment makes good stuff; if they didn't, they would lose reputation fast and disappear from the marketplace. Better equipment costs more generally. Cast aluminum is lighter and less expensive but not so abrasion resistant as cast iron. Cast iron lasts practically forever. Aluminum generally takes more cleaning and lubrication to last forever. Lee makes good equipment, but is generally considered the "economy" equipment maker, though some of their stuff is considered preferable to more expensive makes. Just think about what you buy. Ask around. Testimonials are nice. But if you think Ford/Chevy owners have brand loyalty, you have not met handloaders. Testimonials with reasoning behind them are better. RCBS equipment is almost all green, Dillon, blue, Lee red. Almost no manufacturers cross color lines and many handloaders simply identify themselves as "Blue" or whatever. Make your own choices.

On Kits: Almost every manufacturer makes a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is decent way to get started. Eventually most people wind up replacing most of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops, but you will have gotten started, at least.

On Kits: Almost every manufacturer (and most major retailer) assembles a kit that contains everything you need to do reloading (except dies and the consumables). A kit is a decent way to get started without too much prior experience. Eventually most reloaders wind up replacing many of the components of the kit as their personal taste develops (negating the savings you thought the kit gave you), but you will have gotten started, at least.

On building your own kit: The thought processes you give to assembling your own kit increases your knowledge about reloading. You may get started a couple weeks later than if you started with a kit, but you will be far ahead in knowledge.

Advice #3 While Learning, don't get fancy Progressive or Single Stage? Experimental loads? Pushing performance envelopes?

While you are learning, load mid-range at first so overpressures are not concerns. Just concentrate on getting the mechanical steps of loading right and being VERY VERY consistent (charge weight, crimp strength, bullet seating depth, primer seating force, all that). Use a "fluffy" powder that is, one that will overflow your cartridge case if you mistakenly put two powder charges in it.

Learn on a single stage press or a turret press, or if on a progressive, only once cartridge at a time. While you can learn on a progressive press, in my opinion too many things happen at the same time, thus are hard to keep track of (unless you load singly at first). Mistakes DO happen and you want to watch for them ONE AT A TIME. Until handloading becomes second nature to you.

Note: A turret press is essentially a single stage press with a moveable head which can mount several dies at the same time. What makes it like a single stage rather than a progressive is that you are still using only one die at a time, not three or four dies simultaneously at each stroke.

On the Turret vs Single stage the decision is simpler. You can do everything on a Turret EXACTLY the same way as you do on a single stage (just leave the turret stationary). That is, a Turret IS a single stage if you don't rotate the head.

Learning on a progressive can be done successfully, but it is easier to learn to walk in shoes than on roller skates.

Also, a good, strong, single stage press is in the stable of almost every reloader I know, no matter how many progressives they have. They always keep at least one.

Advice #4 Find a mentor.

There is no substitute for someone watching you load a few cartridges and critiquing your technigue BEFORE you develop bad habits or make a dangerous mistake. (A mistake that might not have consequences right away, but maybe only after you have escaped trouble a hundred times until one day you get bit, for instance having case lube on your fingers when you handle primers; 99 times, no problem because primers are coated with a sealant, but the hundredth primer may not be perfectly sealed and now winds up "dead")

I started loading with the guy who sold me my press watching over my shoulder as I loaded my first 6 rounds to make sure I did not blow myself up, load a powderless cartridge or set off a primer in the press. I could have learned more, faster with a longer mentoring period, but I learned a lot in those first 6 rounds, as he explained each step. I educated myself after that. But now, on the internet, I have learned a WHOLE LOT MORE. But in-person is still the best.

After you have been mentored, mentor someone else. Not necessarily in loading or the shooting sports, but in SOMETHING in which you are enthusiastic and qualified. Just give back to the community.

Advice #5 Design your loading space for safety, efficiency, cleanliness

When I started reloading, I did not use a loading bench at all. I just mounted the press on a 2" x 6" plank long enough to wedge into the drawer of an end table My loading gear all fit in a footlocker and spread out on the coffeetable and the lid of the footlocker. Good leverage meant the table did not lift or rock. I still use the same plank, but now it is mounted in a Black & Decker folding workbench. A loading bench "bolted to the center of the earth" (as some describe their setups) would be more stable, but I do not feel deprived without it.

You will probably spill powder or drop a primer eventually, so consider what you have for a floor covering when you pick your reloading room/workspace. I would not try to vacuum up spilt gunpowder unless using a Rainbow vacuum which uses water as the filter medium. A dropcloth is practically infallible. Use cloth, not plastic. Less static, quieter and has less tendency to let dropped primers roll away.

Advice #6 Keep Current on loading technology

Always use a CURRENT loading manual. Powder chemistry has changed over the years. They make some powders differently than they used to and even some powder names may have changed. However, if you are using 10 year old powder, you may want to check a 10 year old manual for the recipe. Then double check with a modern manual and then triple check with the powder maker.

Read previous threads on reloading, here are a couple I read.
http://forums.accuratereloading.com/eve
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=13543
http://www.rugerforum.com/phpBB/view...fbd5ae1f754eec
The second one is a thread started by a new recruit to reloading which the moderators thought highly enough of to make it "sticky" so it stays on the top of the list of threads.

Advice #7 You never regret buying the best (but once)

When you buy the very best, it hurts only once, in the wallet. When you buy too cheaply it hurts every time you use the gear. The trick is to buy good enough (on the scale between high quality and low price) to keep you happy without overpaying. "The delicious flavor of low price fades fast. The wretched aftertaste of poor quality lingers long.

Advice #8 Tungsten Carbide dies (or Titanium Nitride)

T-C dies instead of regular tool steel (which require lubrication for sizing your brass) for your straight-walled cartridge cases. T-C dies do not require lubrication, which will save you time. Carbide expander button for your bottlenecked cases. Keeps lube out of the inside of the cases.

Advice #9 Safety Always Safety All Ways.

Wear eye protection, especially when seating primers. Gloves are good, too, especially if using the Lee "Hammer" Tools. Children (unless they are good helpers, not just playing around) are at risk and are a risk. Pets, too unless they have been vetted (no, not that kind of vetting). Any distractions that might induce you to forget charging a case (no charge or a double charge, equally disturbing). Imagine everything that CAN go wrong. Then imagine everything that you CAN'T imagine. I could go on, but it's your eyes, your fingers, your house, your children (present of future - lead is a hazard, too. Wash after loading and don't eat at your bench). Enough said?

Advice #10 Verify for yourself everything you learn. Believe only half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for everything you find on the internet (with the possible exception of the actual web sites of the bullet and powder manufacturers). This advice applies to my message as much as anything else and especially to personal load recipes. Hare-brained reloaders might have dangerous habits and even an honest typographical error could be deadly. I heard about a powder manufacturer's web site that dropped a decimal point once. It was fixed REAL FAST, but mistakes happen. I work in accounting and frequently hit "7" instead of "4" because the are next to each other on the keypad.

Good luck.

Lost Sheep
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Old January 3, 2013, 07:03 AM   #17
Magnum Wheel Man
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SPORT... I actually used screws to adjust for the floor slope, then filled it with foam to keep little things from disapearing under the drawers ( I don't have floor drains in there, so have quite a bit of slope to the sump pits... just in case... which made doing things like leveling those drawers a little more challenging...

off topic, but here is a pic just left of the one I posted... still working on the room BTW

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Old January 3, 2013, 09:38 AM   #18
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Nice.

What's the bottom revolver, a 1909?

Keep going....
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Old January 3, 2013, 09:45 AM   #19
Magnum Wheel Man
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Colt 45 acp... you probably know the model better than I ( everything is sorted by caliber smallest on top, to biggest on bottom ) I'm still working on my space, more pics here... ( page 2 has the pics ) just to keep this thread on topic

http://thefiringline.com/forums/show...=500179&page=2
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Old January 3, 2013, 11:27 AM   #20
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Careful MWM- that revolver second from the bottom has the peg in front of the trigger.

Generally I dislike the thought of anything but a finger every going inside a trigger guard, but thats a moot point since I live in a state that requires a trigger lock- you know, for safety
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Old January 3, 2013, 11:36 AM   #21
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you are correct sir, I don't like that as well... I do put my single actions in the trigger loop, as they can't fire unless cocked, but typically on all the double actions, the peg goes behind the trigger ( BTW... that situation has been rectified ) on the single actions, there is not typically room for a peg behind the trigger...

when I was 1st setting up the room, I 1st put the peg in the trigger gaurd on the rifles... the 2nd one I hung up, tripped the sear... I didn't like that at all... all the rifles are unloaded butt... safety 1st... MRS asked me why I had the pegs behind the trigger guard, & I had to explain about dry firing the gun...

BTW... this is a gun safe, I'd protest having to put trigger locks on all the guns, since they are already locked up...
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:10 PM   #22
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I'd protest having to put trigger locks on all the guns
... What are trigger locks??? Are they that locking device that you throw out when you get your revolver? I would think a gun would be pretty useless with one if needed in a hurry .... I guess you could throw the whole thing at the perpetrator like a baseball.... might work .

Primer size depends on the cartridge. Simple as that.
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:23 PM   #23
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Quote:
I think the white 100 primer sleeves on top of the CCI box are Winchester large pistol magnum primers...
Those are pretty old ...... I've been doing this more than 10 years, and every box of Winchester primers I have bought has been blue, with one exception ..... I had a white box of winchester small magnum pistol primers bought at a going out of business sale at a very old gunshop (Old Fontanelle Gun Shoppe in Bellvue, NE- Chuck Emig, Prop.)..... the original price tag on them sez $15.99 ..... that's been some time back.
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Old January 3, 2013, 03:44 PM   #24
Magnum Wheel Man
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good guess... probably late 80's if I had to guess ( the large pistol magnum primers were some I inherited from my FIL ) but I started reloading in the mid 80's ( those other white boxes I bought back when )... never had a misfire, ( even on a box of really really old pre CCI small pistol primers I loaded a bunch of 32 S&W with... price on the box was $5.00 for 1000 ) but, they've always been stored in an air conditioned house
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Old January 3, 2013, 04:07 PM   #25
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Oh, got you MWM, I didnt know this was a safe. Very nice!

Fortunately I do not have to trigger lock my safe-stored guns either (yet).

To be honest, I do not HAVE to choose a trigger lock in my state, I could opt for a cable/lock through the action instead (this is for storage of guns outside a safe or locked drawer/container/closet, not for vehicle transport).

For my HD guns (bedside, etc) I do opt for one of those easy-to-remove yet legal trigger locks simply to meet the legal requirements and still allow me to access them quickly. If a kid were to break in the house and steal one you can bet I would be in some SERIOUS trouble if it were not locked.

For anyone who does need one, here is one that satisfies the requirement and comes off as fast as a lens cap if you know how to operate it http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Lok-Trigge.../dp/B002E6UZQW

Anyway, nice storage setup.
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