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Will pistol primers work in rifle brass reloading

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Dave A, Jan 14, 2013.

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  1. Dave A

    Dave A Well-Known Member

    I have only a limited supply of small rifle primers but a plentiful supply of small pistol primers. Would there be any real objection to using the pistol primers for reloading .223 Remington ammunition?
  2. Grassman

    Grassman Well-Known Member

    I believe you can, do a search in the reloading section, I know it's been brought up there.
  3. redneck2

    redneck2 Well-Known Member

    Uh, there's a reason some are marked "pistol" and some "rifle". The rifle ones are for rifle and the pistol ones are for pistol. Hence the name.

    Pistol primers typically have slightly different (smaller) dimensions and thinner cups. They are not made to withstand typical rifle pressures. Only variation I can think of is the .22 Hornet, which is really half way between a rifle and pistol round.

    I suspect you would really be a candidate for a slam fire.
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam



    Pistol primers use softer thinner cups then rifle primers.
    They are easier to set off then rifle primers too.

    Pistol primers are designed to withstand perhaps 45,000 PSI on a regular basis, 55,000 without catastrophic failure.

    Sm Rifle primers 55,000 -65,000 normally - 70,000 PSI if necessary.

    In addition, the softer pistol primers will lead to slam-fires when used in a semi-auto rifle.

    Bad Juju all the way around.

    Again, DO NOT do it!!

  5. alsaqr

    alsaqr Well-Known Member

    i often use small pistol primers in my .22 Hornet re-loads but will not use them in any other rifle caliber.
  6. Grassman

    Grassman Well-Known Member

    But don't take my advice. LOL
  7. jimflam

    jimflam Member

    Use your Head PLEASE

    Like the man said "Read, know what you're talking about!"
  8. AlexanderA

    AlexanderA Well-Known Member

    Aren't the primer pockets in rifle brass a little deeper than in pistol brass?
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Large Rifle & Pistol primers & brass are different.

    Small rifle & pistol are the same.

    But as already stated, pistol primers are too soft and sensitive to safely use in high-pressure rifle calibers.

  10. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    I do it. My loads are a lot life pressure tho & used in bolt rifles. I don't see a difference in my loads. a they both look the same after firing. I've been lucky for about two years now. Please read my signature below tho.
  11. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    Just to add my voice to the side of reason.

    It is correct LR primers are a different height than LP primers.
    It is correct SR primers are the same dimension as SP primers, BUT, there is where the similarities end.

    DO NOT use SPP in place of SRP, it is dangerous. Again like said above, SRP are designed to withstand the high pressures developed in rifle cartridges where are SPP are not.
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    And just to add a little more reason.

    I think it is a bad idea to even suggest you do it, and it hasn't shot your eye out yet, but don't do as I do.

    Inexperienced folks come to THR reloading forum to ask questions because they don't know something.

    We owe it to them to provide a boilerplate correct answer to prevent those who need to ask, or future readers of this thread who don't know any better, from hurting themselves or someone else.

    Telling them "I do it with a .22 Hornet" when they ask about a .223, or "I do it and have been lucky so far" is not the correct answer to give people that have to ask in the first place!!

    But I digress.
    Never mind.

  13. GLOOB

    GLOOB Well-Known Member

    Meh. I like reading all the answers, preferably uncensored. If all you ever wanted to hear was "no," you could always call the manufacturer. :evil:

    I have used plenty of LPP for my 7mm-08 reloads, but only for my low pressure cast reloads. The Wolf LPP seat tighter in my Fed brass, and the softer cups should help them seal at the lower pressures I'm running. Despite the shorter cup, I haven't had any light strikes, yet, knock on wood. OTOH, some of the guys who shoot hot pistol loads will use SRP to prevent piercing. So while it's not a good idea in general, rifle and pistol primers can certainly be swapped if you have need or reason and use common sense. All the potential pitfall have already been pointed out, so I won't repeat them.

    BTW, not all pistol primers are made alike. For instance, Rem 1 1/2 SPP aren't even rated to handle the pressures of 40SW and 357 magnum, let alone the average rifle cartridge.
  14. kingmt

    kingmt Well-Known Member

    I prefer truth & since the question was can you that is what I answered.
  15. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Large pistol primers have softer cups which can pierce under rifle pressures.

    They are not as tall and you can get misfires.

    They are not generally as strong as rifle primers and may not ignite the powders well.

    There is no good reason to use them and a couple of really good ones not to.

    Don't do it, no matter how many people may have "gotten away" with it.

    Buy the right primers.

    Pretty much.
  16. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Well-Known Member

    I always appreciate eveyone's input here on the forums. That said, when someone asks a question such as the one here, could people PLEASE limit their answers to actual first-hand experience OR make it clear that their answer is a GUESS? Sometimes the BS gets so deep in here, I have to tuck my virtual pants in the top of my virtual boots. Case in point:

    Large pistol primers have softer cups which can pierce under rifle pressures.

    Really? You mean pressures like those generated by the .475 Linebaugh or the 475 Maximum? Both of which are handgun cartridges, both which use large pistol primers, and both of which generate right at 50K psi? How do you know large pistol primers have softer cups?

    They are not as tall and you can get misfires.

    This subject came up in a post a few months ago. Having personally fired (conservative estimate) around 2,700 large pistol primers in various .30 caliber rifles for cast bullet loads, without a single misfire, I felt the difference in the height of a large rifle primer and a large pistol primer was likely negligible at best. But for the sake of openmindedness, I measured what primers I had on hand and came up with the following:

    Fed. 150 & 155- .120"
    CCI-300- .122"
    CCI-350- .118"
    WLP- .120"

    WLR- .127"
    CCI-200 & 250- .124"

    Real world difference in the average heights is about .005" or about the thickness of a piece of printer paper. If your rifle misfires because the primer is .005" too short, the problem is the rifle, not the primer.

    I'm not suggesting the everyday use of small pistol primers in rifles. Since I have no firsthand experience using SP's in SR's, I GUESS that the handloader will experience erratic ignition. Note this is a guess and I'm not trying to BS anyone into believing that my answer is the beginning and the end.

  17. ArchAngelCD

    ArchAngelCD Well-Known Member

    35 Whelen,
    Just because you have done something you shouldn't have done doesn't make it right. There are a lot of new reloaders reading these threads so it's a bad idea to tell anyone they can use a pistol primer in rifle ammo just because you have done it.

    There are those who get so picky about following the recipe exactly they claim you shouldn't even change primer brands. I'm not one of them but I would not tell anyone it's alright to substitute a pistol primer in place of a rifle primer. It's just not safe even though you have been lucky.
  18. zxcvbob

    zxcvbob Well-Known Member

    There are other people who have SR primers and need SP's. Find one of those people and make a trade.
  19. NWcityguy2

    NWcityguy2 Well-Known Member

    I have substituted CCI 550 SPM for CCI 400 SRP before for my 223 loads with no ill effects. I wasn't expecting any though as they are identical in everything but packaging. As always use info at your own risk, only you are responsible for your own safety.
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Plenty of info here for readers to make their own decisions. I suggest they also check their reloading load books.
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