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Old May 13, 2018, 07:31 PM   #1
montana09
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Unique powder primers

Quick question, do you need to use small magnum pistol primers when reloading with Unique powder for .357 magnum or would regular Winchester small pistol primers work? My manual doesn't have a recommendation and Alliant's website lists CCI 500 primers with 125 gr GDHPs and Unique so would any small pistol primer work or do I need CCI 500's
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Old May 13, 2018, 08:08 PM   #2
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Some reloading manuals list magnum primers, and some list standard small pistol primers with Unique. Either one can be used, the magnum primer is not required. Best practice is to use the type of primer recommended by your reloading manual for the given powder charge. Many sources will say that magnum primers are only required in the 357 Magnum for hard to ignite powders like W296/H110 and that standard primers are sufficient for most other powders. The reloading manuals I have are split about equally in using magnum primers across the board for the 357, versus the others that use non-magnum primers for some powders and magnum primers for other powders.
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Old May 13, 2018, 08:33 PM   #3
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Hodgdon on line Data shows Magnum Primers for all their .357 magnum loads
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Old May 13, 2018, 08:48 PM   #4
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It may burn a little more cleanly with magnum primers, but either will go bang and launch bullets.
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Old May 14, 2018, 06:29 AM   #5
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With the .357 Magnum (and many other magnum cartridges), the powder being used determines whether a magnum primer should be used or not. Unique does not require a magnum primer. Powders used in the .357 Magnum in which a magnum primer should be used are HS-6, W296/H110, and IMR4227. Hope that helps.

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Old May 14, 2018, 08:13 AM   #6
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Just a note in case you're new to reloading: the term "magnum" used in something like .357magnum or 44 magnum has nothing to do with primer requirements. The requirement for a magnum primer is based on the powder being used. Some non "magnum" loads require the use of magnum primers because they use powder that requires it to ignite properly. Some "magnum" loads don't require magnum primers because they are being loaded with powder that doesn't require it. Coatings on some powders require the use of magnum (hotter) primers to get the ignition started efficiently. Using magnum primers in loads that don't require it can raise the pressure of the load some as a result of this substitution. As stated, follow the loading manual's recommendation.
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Old May 14, 2018, 09:10 AM   #7
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But keep in mind it really isn't always just the powder. Even with easy-to-ignite powders, if your charge leaves a lot of empty space in the case a magnum primer may improve ignition consistency and lower SD's. But it can also do the opposite with some loads, so this is something that has to be tried to determine whether or not it is so for your gun and load.

I've seen that improvement occur mainly in rifles, like .30-06 with Garand loads of single-base stick powders that don't fill the case well. But it can happen in any gun and if you have a chronograph you can measure the difference. If not, just look at what produces the tightest groups off bags.
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Old May 14, 2018, 09:24 AM   #8
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Or just use a Winchester Large Rifle / Pistol Primer and call it a day .
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Old May 14, 2018, 01:24 PM   #9
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With Unique I always use standard CCI standard primers.

I did a back to back test with Unique in .45 Colt and got better results with the standard primer:

8.5g Unique, 255g SWC, CCI-300, 977fps, 17 SD, 56 ES, 15 shots
8.5g Unique, 255g SWC, CCI-350, 985fps, 21 SD, 82 ES, 15 shots

As said above it depends on the powder. I chronograph and target will help show you which to use too .

Note when I tested back to back with Universal, CCI-300 load had an 44 ES, CCI-350 88 ES.

Another words it pays to test your loads. Some powders though do need to use a magnum primer.
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Old May 14, 2018, 05:50 PM   #10
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The mag primer may have a thicker cup. Less chance of a pierced primer. I use mag even in 38 spec.

Unique doesn't care what primer. Only ball powders do.
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Old May 14, 2018, 07:06 PM   #11
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Unique doesn't "need" magnum primers...it ignites quite easily.
If you have magnum primers , or used magnum primers by mistake it's OK , you'll pick up a few extra fps and as long as it's not a maximum load I doubt you will notice any difference. Check accuracy against your regular loads...they could be bettor or could be worse .
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Old May 15, 2018, 09:37 AM   #12
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Unique does not need magnum primers, but, your 357 magnum loads do.
You have a longer powder column than non-magnum 38 special, and higher chamber pressure.
If the published data used magnum primers, you should, too.
If you use regular primers, catastrophe is unlikely. They will go bang and launch you projectile.
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Old May 15, 2018, 12:31 PM   #13
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Small pistol magnum or standard based upon the loads you are using. The data will specify the primer stick to the primer type in the data.
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Old May 16, 2018, 12:34 AM   #14
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Unique does not need magnum primers, but, your 357 magnum loads do.You have a longer powder column than non-magnum 38 special, and higher chamber pressure.
If the published data used magnum primers, you should, too.
I'm sorry, but that is just not true. It has nothing to do with the particular cartridge, it has everything to do with the powder. Unique does not require a magnum primer, unlike something like W296, which does. You may use one, but it's not doing you any favors. Period.
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Old May 16, 2018, 07:39 AM   #15
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When the folks who publish reloading data use a magnum primer in the data the load is tested with THAT primer. In some cases, I have seen data that indicated that the pressure is as much as 5,000 cup higher with a magnum primer than with a standard primer. So unique is a medium/fast burn rate powder and will ignite easily with a standard primer. But if you want a max magnum load use the magnum primer.

As others have stated here if you are using a target load that is not max pressure then try the regular small pistol primer and the magnum primer and see which gives you better results.

For other powders that have a slower burn rate like 296 always use a magnum primer to ensure complete ignition.

Last edited by Master Blaster; May 16, 2018 at 07:50 AM.
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Old May 17, 2018, 09:29 AM   #16
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Magnum primers are not necessary w/ Unique. I have never used them and I use a lot of Unique. It is a different story w/ H110...
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Old May 17, 2018, 11:13 AM   #17
Marco Califo
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Published data that developed using magnum primers, require use of magnum primers.
Otherwise, you are not using that published data.
Personal opinions about Unique needing, or not needing magnum primers do not override tested published data.
Tell it to Alliant.
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Old May 17, 2018, 11:24 AM   #18
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Those saying magnum primers are ALL ABOUT THE POWDER need to read this article by a primer designer. It's not only about the powder. It's also about empty air volume in the case. Before CCI's reformulation in 1989 to increase spark heat and duration for high deterrent spherical propellant ignition, it was all about the volume, as magnum cases have more volume than non-magnum cases. Magnum primer: Magnum case. That's where the name came from. If a powder is fast enough, though, even in a magnum case it doesn't usually need a magnum primer to perform, as rclark's tests show.

The main downside of magnum primers in smaller cases is that because they make more gas, they can start unseating a bullet before the powder is burning well, and this can make velocities and ignition erratic. The .22 Hornet is famous for having this problem, but you see it in handgun cartridges, too. It is one reason why, in some cases, magnum primers actually produce lower velocities and pressure. So if you do try a magnum primer, I would not rely on a taper crimp. I would use a stiff roll crimp just as you would with warm loads.
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Old May 17, 2018, 11:35 AM   #19
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The .22 Hornet is famous for having this problem, but you see it in handgun cartridges, too.
I can vouch for that. AND, it is exactly the reason that folks in the know have reverted to using small PISTOL primers in the 22 Hornet, including myself.
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Old May 17, 2018, 12:41 PM   #20
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"...Hodgdon on line Data shows Magnum Primers for all their .357 magnum loads..." Which is nonsense. Magnum primers have nothing whatever to do with the cartridge. They're about the powder and nothing else. Unique does not require magnum primers.
That Shooting Times rag article about CCI primers proves nothing either. .38 Special loads work just fine in a .357 case with a regular primer.
Then there's this: "A large-capacity case, a heavily deterred propellant, or extremely cold weather (less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit) typically makes the Magnum primer desirable." A .357 isn't exactly a large capacity case.
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Old May 17, 2018, 01:06 PM   #21
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Hmm, I guess I'll have to add this guy Allan Jones to the list of gun writers of the like of Chuck Hawks, and take what they say with a grain of salt. Hate to say it, but for once in my life I agree with something T. O'Heir wrote.

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Old May 17, 2018, 02:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USSR View Post
Hmm, I guess I'll have to add this guy Allan Jones to the list of gun writers of the like of Chuck Hawks, and take what they say with a grain of salt. Hate to say it, but for once in my life I agree with something T. O'Heir wrote.

Don
FYI - Prior to writing a column for Shooting Times, Allan Jones worked for Speer and worked on several editions of the Speer reloading manual. Much of his writing is based on results of lab testing at Speer.
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Old May 17, 2018, 05:53 PM   #23
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Over the years I have loaded many pounds of Unique and have never used anything but standard SP and LP primers no matter what handgun caliber. Probably 99% of the primers I used were CCI but I would do the same with any other brand. Oh, and I have never had a problem of any kind with any of these loads.
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Old May 17, 2018, 06:20 PM   #24
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FYI - Prior to writing a column for Shooting Times, Allan Jones worked for Speer and worked on several editions of the Speer reloading manual. Much of his writing is based on results of lab testing at Speer.
All well and good, but when a guy tries telling me that CCI primers aren't really hard, myself and others who know better have to question his truthfulness. There's a reason that guys with light springs shoot Federal primers and avoid CCI primers.

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Old May 18, 2018, 09:24 AM   #25
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Depends on how hot the load is. For mild loads, use a standard small pistol primer. For magnum high pressure loads, use the magnum primer.
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