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Pistol primers vs rifle primers

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by orpington, May 27, 2020.

  1. orpington

    orpington Member

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    Have you ever heard of a rifle primed cartridge firing and ruining a pistol? If this is the case, since commercially loaded rounds do not say "For rifle use only", etc, then must they all be loaded with pistol primers? From Sixguns by Keith, Elmer Keith states the following on page 251: "First off, use pistol primers in pistol cartridges. Rifle primers are much too powerful for pistol use--they will detonate the charge, and usually ruin the gun."
     
  2. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Gee I must be doing something wrong or just plain lucky for about 10 years now. I use SRP almost exclusivly now. I DO work up my loads using them though. I only use SPP with a couple striker fired pistols with weak springs that won't reliably fire SRP. Cant do it with large primers though as they are different depths. For large size I only use magnum primers and work up my loads with these. As stated I have no problems.YMMV

    ETA: the round is loaded to a set pressure and velocity and a primer that is robust enough is used.
     
  3. jeeptim

    jeeptim Member

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    I'm with Frog. I try and use rifle in rifle and.pistol in pistol but not always and I see no noticable difference and ruined no guns.
     
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  4. orpington

    orpington Member

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    No doubt this has nothing to do with Elmer Keith's propensity to push the limit when it came to pressures and maximum loads.
     
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  5. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Definitely not a thing.
     
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  6. frankmako

    frankmako Member

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    do it all the time and i never ruin a gun.
     
  7. Jesse Heywood

    Jesse Heywood Member

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    And primers could have changed over time. Currently, the biggest difference is that rifle primers have harder or thicker brass. i.e.: the rifle primer is designed for higher pressure loads, and can be difficult to ignite in handguns with lighter springs.
    I have used rifle primers in revolvers, but have worked up the loads around them. The current issue is not to use pistol primers in higher pressure rifle loads, especially semi-auto guns, where the pistol primer could fail.
     
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I use SRP for some of my pistol loads, the 458 socom uses LPP. Never ruined a gun.

    FWIW, LRP are not the same size as LPP.
     
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  9. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Who knows what was going on back when Elmer was developing his loads. There is no problem using small rifle primers in handguns, in fact some handgun rounds are loaded with small rifle primers. Examples include the 454 Casull, 450 SCM, 9X23 Winchester (I'm pretty sure 9X23 are rifle primers since the round is rated for 55,000 psi - same as some rifle rounds, and the one's I've deprimed with live primers had the same color as Winchester SR primers).
     
  10. mcb

    mcb Member

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    It is unlikely to damage a gun. I have also used quite a few small rifle primers in pistol cartridges.

    Now with larger primers you might have problems since they are mechanically different sizes. Both large pistol and rifle primers are the same diameter but the depth of a large rifle primer is deeper than a large pistol primer. So where you can usually get away swapping small primers you are probably going to have problems with large rifle primers in pistol cartridges.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2020
  11. reddog81

    reddog81 Member

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    If a rifle primer ruins your gun, the load was already on the bleeding edge of being a kaboom.
     
  12. Otto

    Otto Member

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    Small rifle primers combined with low pressure loads can cause breach face erosion. This happens when the primer isn't sealed properly and hot gasses leak around it. If you notice pitting in a circular pattern around the firing pin hole, you should either increase your load or switch to pistol primers. There are other causes of breach erosion as well. Does this "ruin" the gun? No, but it ain't pretty.
     
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  13. Swampman

    Swampman Old Fart

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    Ahem...

    HAVE I EVER TOLD YOU ABOUT THE DEER I KILLED AT 600 YARDS WITH MY .44 SIXGUN...

    Just sayin'...
     
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  14. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Keith had better sense than that, don't know why he would say that, unless he was misquoted.
     
  15. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    Some folks loading 9 Major or high pressure 38 Super do this.
     
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  16. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    If your gun has been tuned by lowering the hammer spring weight you may run into problems when using rifle primers due to a thicker harder cup. Another thing to be aware of is, if you ever have a squid. A pistol primers does not have enough energy to drive the bullet very far into the rifling, preventing a second round from feeding on a simiauto. A rifle primer may have enough when it comes to the smaller calibers. I have not tested this to know for sure, but it's something to keep in the back of your mind.
     
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  17. orpington

    orpington Member

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    Walkalong,

    How could Keith have been misquoted? It was a direct quote from his book.

    I'm guessing a lot of what Keith writes is like most fiction--enjoyable to read, but much fabrication/creative writing.
     
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  18. orpington

    orpington Member

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    And Walkalong's quote I am referencing...
     
  19. orpington

    orpington Member

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    And Elmer Keith repeats his hypothesis several pages later. Page 266: "Never, never use a rifle primed in a revolver or pistol load. They are much too powerful."

    I assume most have similar experiences as mine. Started out green, never paid much attention to whether handloads were fired in identically chambered rifles and pistols and never gave it much thought as to if the primer was a rifle or pistol one, never had a problem, never even questioned it until reading such poppycock.
     
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator Staff Member

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    Was just guessing, hard to believe he said that.
     
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  21. broham

    broham Member

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    I've never really thought much about it. I have always used PP in pistols and RP in rifle. That's how most load data is written but I don't see an issue swapping as long as you maybe back off a tad. I bought a box of Remington SRP and was told not to use them in 223. The guy at the store said those primers are for pistol. I thought he was messing with me but none the less I still have them. I have so many primers I figured I'll put em behind all the others
     
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  22. warnerwh

    warnerwh Member

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    The way Keith over loaded cartridges develping new cartridges I can see where he may have problems with rifle primers. I've been using rifle primers but have had no signs of over pressure.
     
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  23. Metal God

    Metal God Member

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    There was a thread a while back with a guy claiming to had spoke to a CCI tech . The tech said they’re small rifle primers for the exact same thing as their small pistol magnum primers . Same cup thickness same mixture same everything .

    My guess is although probably not exactly the same other manufacturers primers are similar so I think the question is do you use magnum primers in standard primer loads ? I do with hard to ignite powders or powders that like max pressure to work best like with HS-6 I use magnum primers even though it’s not called for .
     
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  24. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

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    I also asked CCI about the SR and SPM primers in 2016. Their reply was:

    " They are not the same primer, there are differences in the primer and you should follow published loading data. The web has some very dangerous information on it and anything that you use should be published and tested data."
     
  25. FROGO207

    FROGO207 Member

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    Broham the reason about the 233 caution is that for some firearms (AR in particular) have had slamfires with standard primers. They (CCI for one) have special mil spec primers, #41 for that situation. For a standard 223 in a bolt action regular SR primers should work fine.

    Of course the manufacturer will use lawyer speak to prevent lawsuits. Nothing new there.
     
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