Pistol primer in rifle ammo a safety issue?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Dudedog

Contributing Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
6,948
Location
Southern CA
In a different thread
Really isn't a big deal. Using an unknown primer isn't a safety issue

I expressed a concern about using unknown (possibly pistol) primers in rifle ammo. The thing that came to mind was possible pierced primers.
I know Rifle primers have thicker cups. (the OP was only talking about maybe 50 primed cases in that thread 100 primers $4)

I said
A primer failure and a messed up bolt is a lot more $$, possible safety issues as well.

a response posted was
How, pray tell, is a primer failure going to mess up a bolt? Also, please explain what "safety issues" you're imagining if you can think of any.

Pierced primers can mess up bolts. Lots of pictures so I will assume it's true even though it has never happened to me.
also posted
Large rifle primers will fit in large pistol primer pockets and large pistol primers will fit in large rifle primer pockets and they will generally fire dependably. Large rifle primers are a little harder than those for pistols so some handguns won't touch them off dependably but it's not a safety issue.


Some overlap in the tolerances but LRs are a little deeper so I think you could run into an issue with high primers using LR in LP, not something I would think would work out well in autoloaders.

another reply
I bought some Sellier & Bellot "Large Rifle" primers. Right on the box it says for rifle, pistol and revolver cartridges so someone else also thinks there isn't much of a difference between the construction of rifle and pistol primers.

from another site
http://www.jamescalhoon.com/primers_and_pressure.php
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Primer cup thickness, dia, cup height
Small Rifle
CCI 400 .020" .1753" .109"
450 .025" .1750" .113"
BR4 .025" .1755" .109"
Federal 200 .019" .1757" .111"
205M .0225" .1744" .1075"
Remington 6 1/2 .020" .1753" .109"
7 1/2 .025" .1752" .110"
Winchester SR .021" .1750" .109"
Large Rifle
CCI 200 .027" .2112" .118"
250 .027" .2113" .118"
Federal 210 .027" .2120" .117"
215 -- -- --
Remington 9 1/2 .027" .2100" .119"
Winchester LR .027" .2114" .121"
Mag .027" .2114" .121"


I seem to remember SP cup thickness being listed as .017




I have been known to be out to lunch on things before but I was curious what others felt on the matter.

I do know SR will work in SP if the gun fires them, but you need to back off the charge a bit. (had some CCI 400s I decided not to use in my AR ammo, any longer even though I had no issues)
It doesn't really matter to me one way or the other I use rifle primers in rifle cases, LP in pistol cases that require a large primer. (.45 APC in my case), and SP in pistol.
My main concern is that the posts might lead others to believe it is a safe practice.
 

Attachments

  • Primer.jpg
    Primer.jpg
    56.6 KB · Views: 42
Last edited:
Some overlap in the tolerances but LRs are a little deeper so I think you could run into an issue with high primers using LR in LP, not something I would think would work out well in autoloaders.
I agree.

No one needs to test it. The test has already been done; read about the 60,000 psi 500 S&W Magnum cartridge again. That's as much pressure as most rifle loads generate.

This is funny. The 500 S&W Mag data calls for large rifle primers. It was originally designed for large pistol primers but because of so many pierced primers damaging firing pins it was changed. I guess S&W / Cor Bon see a difference.
 
Just take a look at what the difference in dimensions is between pistol and rifle primers; not much at all. I have used rifle primers in pistol cartridges. The primers don't sit high and the only bad thing that happens is that they're too hard for some handguns to touch off. At least in a 44 Remington Magnum you also have to decrease the load by 1 or 2 grains with magnum rifle primers but that shouldn't be a problem if you've started low and worked up as you should.
 
It's not at all uncommon to use pistol primers in rifle cartridges -- one example that comes to mind is the .22 Hornet. In that cartridge if you use a powder that doesn't fill the case, a rifle primer can overpower the load, causing the bullet to exit the case before the powder ignites and producing accuracy problems.
 
As to the Seller and Bellot primers:
another reply
Quote:
I bought some Sellier & Bellot "Large Rifle" primers. Right on the box it says for rifle, pistol and revolver cartridges so someone else also thinks there isn't much of a difference between the construction of rifle and pistol primers.

This has come up before. People need to understand what the box actually says. Take a look at these boxes:

Seller%20Bellot%20Primers.png

Top of package right hand side note what it says. "For rifle, pistol or revolver cartridges". That does not mean the content of the box is one size fits all or even close. The English portion is merely telling the purchaser that S&B makes primers for the cartridges listed. A simple visit to the S&B website gives a complete breakdown of their primers which are not at all the same.

Pictured above are S&B 5.3 Product #V361612 and 4.4 Product #V360582 which are Large Rifle and Small Rifle. If you want large pistol or small pistol from S&B you would buy the correct product numbers. I am not sure what the quote was all about regarding S&B primers.

Last but not least if anyone wants straight dope about primers I suggest calling the lab technicians at CCI. On several occasions I have emailed and called CCI and the guys are absolutely great.

Ron
 
The thing that came to mind was possible pierced primers.

That's a possibility.

A rifle may strike the primer harder than a pistol and that additional force could pierce the cup of the primer and provide a path for propellant gasses to escape the case. It's probably a small risk, but primers are cheap so there seems little reason to risk it.
 
Just take a look at what the difference in dimensions is between pistol and rifle primers; not much at all. I have used rifle primers in pistol cartridges. The primers don't sit high and the only bad thing that happens is that they're too hard for some handguns to touch off. At least in a 44 Remington Magnum you also have to decrease the load by 1 or 2 grains with magnum rifle primers but that shouldn't be a problem if you've started low and worked up as you should
Large pistol primers are .008" shorter than large rifle primers. What are you doing with the .008"that sticks out of the case head when you put a large rifle in a large pistol primer pocket?
 
Primer cups are not different thicknesses.
A large rifle primer is deeper than a large pistol. Same diameter but that's all. Difference is the priming compound. Different manufacturers use different everything.

That is what I've understood.

Also, from personal experience I know that large rifle primers WILL fit easily in a large pistol primer pocket without setting higher than it should. The differences in dimensions are minimal (8 thousandths of an inch isn't that much).

d1ucu303.jpg

The more current wording on the box of Sellier & Bellot primers. Maybe there is a problem in translation but that's what is says on a box sold as of a few days ago in the USA.

The mention has been made that the reason 500 S&W Magnum (a cartridge with a SAAMI maximum pressure of 60,000 psi) primers were changed from large pistol to large rifle was because of pierced primers. I would be willing to believe that except I can't ever remember reading that and I found no mention of it on a current internet search. What I did find was a mention of the fact they were changed because of the large powder charges that needed to be ignited. So, if there is some documentation that the primers were changed because of pierced primers, please bring it forth.

It also seems that some think a pierced primer is the end of the firing pin and maybe the world. I wouldn't suggest it's good to repeatedly get pierced primers but I'll bet the majority of reloaders have had it happen at one time or another for various reasons. I don't think it's too much of a sefety issue.

As for using large rifle magnum primers in a 460 S&W Magnum, it's OK but you don't need to. The powder charges aren't that big. I've always used Federal 210M primers in mine.

i19zsi95.jpg

And it shoots well too. Two hundred yards.
 
Last edited:
Primer cups are not different thicknesses.


See below
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Primer cup thickness, dia, cup height
Small Rifle
CCI 400 .020" .1753" .109"
450 .025" .1750" .113"
BR4 .025" .1755" .109"
Federal 200 .019" .1757" .111"
205M .0225" .1744" .1075"
Remington 6 1/2 .020" .1753" .109"
7 1/2 .025" .1752" .110"
Winchester SR .021" .1750" .109"
Large Rifle
CCI 200 .027" .2112" .118"
250 .027" .2113" .118"
Federal 210 .027" .2120" .117"
215 -- -- --
Remington 9 1/2 .027" .2100" .119"
Winchester LR .027" .2114" .121"
Mag .027" .2114" .121"


I seem to remember SP cup thickness being listed as .017

http://www.accurateshooter.com/technical-articles/primers-and-pressure-analysis/
(may be mistaken but I consider the source reputable)

I would need to dig up the source to cite it but I recall seeing it a couple places.
For example Remington says 6 1/2 22 Hornet but recommends 7 1/2 for the higher pressure .223. Thicker cup .025 vs .020

The SR primers with thicker cups are also recommended for guns with floating firing pins ARs for example. (I did shoot a a lot of CCI 400s with no issue but changed to SR mag primers with a thicker cups for my AR loads.)

Doing the math for in spec primer and pockets LR primer .123 -.133 LP pocket .117 - .125
Everything in spec possible worse # .016 best # would be .002

People have dissected live primers and measured the difference in cup thickness, also I can't see any reason for the makers to lie about cup thickness.

I am sure one pierced primer is not going to cause the world to end.

My whole point that lead to this was why risk using unknown primers with a value of < $4.

off thread but,
Nice group with the .460.
My understanding is that new .460 and .500 S+W brass is designed to use LR primers.
 
Last edited:
I don’t understand why so many see a need to use a primer size/type other than specified in the data. Are they finding it difficult to obtain the proper size or type? I will always use a pistol primer in a case designed for them and a rifle primer in a case designed for them. I don’t see any advantage in doing otherwise.
 
Alot of times some ones got a tone of one or the other, i have tons of small pistol std, mag, and only load a 9 that can use them. If i could use them SAFELY and with my standard loads in my .223 or 6x47 id do so. I also have a bunch of large rifle primers, if i could use thos SAFELY, in my .458 socom id do that as well......what i cant get right now are small rifle mags, large rifle mags, and large pistol mags.......which are EXACTLY what i need.
 
Thanks for creating this thread Dudedog. When I saw that posting you referenced I saw some good points being made. Even more so by the posters in this thread. Im not going to go out and load some 338 lapua with pistol primers but it seems that there are some exceptions that can be made.

I stock CCI 400's for use in both 300blk(ar15) and 357 magnum. It's not the right primer for either cartridge but it works well for me. I dont ever chamber a round in my AR unless Im at the range so I'm not concerned about a slamfire with my target ammo.
 
I don’t understand why so many see a need to use a primer size/type other than specified in the data. Are they finding it difficult to obtain the proper size or type? I will always use a pistol primer in a case designed for them and a rifle primer in a case designed for them. I don’t see any advantage in doing otherwise.

Just curious, do you also "always" use the same case and the same bullet as specified in the data? Would there be any reason to try something different? Do you always use the same primer specified in the data? You do know that a different brand of primer even if both of the large rifle variety for instance, can result in different pressures don't you?

I am not satisfied with the proverbial "minute of deer" or the "if you can keep them all in a pie plate at 100 yards" criteria for a good load. I'm not satisfied unless I can do MUCH better than that.

If for some reason you have disatisfaction with one of your loads you may find that using components other than those called for may give you a surprise in a good way.

We've also established the fact that "one pierced primer is not going to cause the world to end" so the "safety issue" has been grossly exagerated.

Documentation has also been provided that there are differences in primer cup thickness between rifle and pistol primers but I'm not sure that a 0.007 inch difference is all that significant in preventing a pierced primer. Also, documentation appears to be lacking that the reason the 60,000 psi 500 S&W Magnum cartridge went from pistol to rifle primers was because of pierced primers.
 
Last edited:
You do know that a different brand of primer even if both of the large rifle variety for instance, can result in different pressures don't you?

Yes, did you know that a different type most certainly will result in different pressures.


We've also established the fact that "one pierced primer is not going to cause the world to end" so the "safety issue" has been grossly exaggerated.

It is not going to benefit you in any way either.

Documentation has also been provided that there are differences in primer cup thickness between rifle and pistol primers but I'm not sure that a 0.007 inch difference is all that significant in preventing a pierced primer.

The difference is 35% and that is significant. Would you use a bullet that is 35% oversize?


Also, documentation appears to be lacking that the reason the 60,000 psi 500 S&W Magnum cartridge went from pistol to rifle primers was because of pierced primers.


There had to be a reason, and there is no documentation of any other reason either.

Let us just say you are willing to take unnecessary chances that I am not.
 
I used up a couple hundred CCI 400s in .45 APC, Rifle primer is pistol case. Mid range charge to begin with but worked back up. About .1 to .2 less than the CCI SP in the same load. No issues in a hammer fired 1911.

But that was a primer designed to handle higher pressures in a lower pressure cartridge.

Now would the same thing be safe in a .25 ACP, possibly but I wouldn't try it.
 
Last edited:
The only rifle caliber I have used pistol primers in is .22 Hornet. That has been proven to be safe. It operates are relatively low pressures. (22 Hornet - 25,000 CUP) There are probably other situations where it is "safe", but I'll let others explore them.

Careful experimentation has always been a part of handloading by those willing to take calculated risks. I have done some of it, but don't recommend it to others. What I am willing to risk is on me, no one else. :)
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top