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Old February 10, 2013, 02:44 PM   #1
Travelin' Man
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Primer Substitutions

I have a question for a situation I have recently come across due to the craziness currently flowing through the firearms community.

I've been reloading since '96 and have always worked up rifle and pistol loads from starting load data, safety is always my first concern, but due to the current lack of supply of some components, primarily primers, I am considering do something "radical" and could use a little advice or guidance on. I am currently in good supply of loaded rifle rounds, .223, .308, and 6.8SPC, and have a large supply of rifle primers in both large and small and large magnum but I am completely out of large pistol and large pistol magnum primers. I haven't been able to locate, either in stores or at gun shows any of the large pistol primers I need to load .45 ACP and .44 Magnum, so the question is this, could I substitute large rifle or large rifle magnum primers for the large pistol and large pistol magnum primers used in the mentioned cartridges? I have time and other supplies needed to experiment so if I do this substitution where do think would be a good starting point, perhaps 20% lower than starting loads?

Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated!

Richard

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; February 10, 2013 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Move to Own Thread
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:57 PM   #2
dmazur
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...could I substitute large rifle or large rifle magnum primers for the large pistol and large pistol magnum primers...
I don't think it will work. Unlike small rifle / small pistol, large rifle / large pistol primers are different heights.

So, you will have primers which are "proud", and this is a bad thing, regardless of what you do with load adjustment.
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Old February 10, 2013, 02:59 PM   #3
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Large rifle will more than likely be too tall to safely seat in pistol cases. Small rifle will work in small pistol. I have been using them for the past 4 years that way.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:19 PM   #4
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The primer situation will soon be back to normal, lets not do anything radical.

It's just a panic buying temporary situation...........lets all relax.
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Old February 10, 2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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Yep, this is not a safe substitution because the large rifle primer is taller. Chances are, you may not even be able close the cylinder on a loaded .44 Mag with those primers in place. And if you were able to close it, it would NOT be safe. In a semi-auto .45, you might be setting yourself up for a slam-fire or an out-of-battery detonation.

As m&p45acp10+1 mentioned, you can do this with small rifle/small pistol primers. In fact, many use small rifle in place of small pistol magnum primers.

Trouble with doing this in a time where components are scarce is that small rifle primers are almost as in-demand as small pistol. Large pistol seem to be easier to get than either of the small-size primers.
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Old February 10, 2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies guys!

I never knew there was a physical difference between large rifle and large pistol primers, I figured they were dimensionally the same it was just a different "mix" of ignition powder. The .45 loads are for my Springfield Armory 1911 and the .44 mag loads will be used in a Ruger Deerfield carbine as well as an original Redhawk.

I guess I'll just wait until I can get the proper primers, fortunately I have plenty of practice 9mm loaded up already, enough for probably two years of regulare weekend practice shooting so I don't have a need for small pistol primers yet.

Thanks again guys!

BTW, this craziness is just plain stupid and if you haven't been on ebay lately it is ridiculous what people are paying for USED Dillon equipment. I'm waiting on a Dillon Super Swage 600 to process about 5000 each of .308 and .223 Lake City brass and I've been seeing this same swager going used on ebay for sometimes double of what it costs new from Dillon, people don't have the patience to wait the 3-4 weeks shipping that Dillon is seeing right now. Any kind of new regulations that MIGHT make it though Congress won't affect reloading equipment. Between the general civilian panic buying and the massive government agencies ammo purchases of about 4.6 BILLION rounds (one needs to question that!) between all the different federal departments are what is drying up supplies of brass, bullets, primers, and powder but even that situation is starting to change for the better.
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Old February 10, 2013, 10:41 PM   #7
Sevens
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Rifle primers are supposed to burn with a longer and more intense flame, but another difference is the cup thickness. A thicker cup works better to contain higher pressures. The .327 Federal Mag runs a charge higher than most typical handgun cartridges at 45,000 PSI max, and all factory ammo is built with a small rifle primer as more insurance for the increased pressure. That primer cup can be a weak point.

That's one way where you can potentially run in to difficulties if you do elect to run a small rifle primer in a typical handgun round. A highly tuned double action revolver is often a culprit -- it takes a sharper strike to reliably detonate them.
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