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Thread: Rifle primers in pistol cases?

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    Default Rifle primers in pistol cases?

    I am getting ready to load some 45LC ammo for my Puma 92 and my H&R Buffalo Classic. I am short on large pistol primers and long on large rifle primers. Is there anything that should prevent me from using large rifle primers in this application?

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    ekc; that may be a bid idea because they are harder ( tougher ignition ), and hotter. generally designed to ignite substantially more powder they may act like a magnum primer. this will result in an explosion rather than a burn.

    call the 800 number for sierra, hornady, or another company you trust before making a decision.
    happy trails.
    jh

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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Not a good idea. You might get one shot and after that be looking for a new gun.

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    It’s my understanding that SR and SP are the same size but LR and LP have a slightly different length. I have never miked them but have used LR and LP in 460 S&W LR pockets without any issue. Rifle primers are thicker and harder to set off and may need more strike than a 45 Colt gun will give but if the guns are 454 which uses SR primers it shouldn’t be an issue.

    If they go in at least .003” below the head I’d give them a go and see what happens. Rifle primers are typically hotter than pistol so could cause pressure issues, I’d think they are around par with magnum pistol primers but I don’t know so would approach published loads with caution . . . start low and work up as per usual.
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    Both guns I am loading for are rifles which are also manufactured in the high pressure 454 round. They will have no problem with their fireing pins hitting the LR primer hard enough to ignite it.

    I am loading new Starline brass and the few primers that I have seated with my Rock Chuckers priming arm have seated the primer to at least flush or deeper.

    I'm almost certain that I used large rifle primers in my Marlin 1894 44 mag years ago. However I can find no notes in my reloading stuff to verify that.

    These are not going to be hot loads, no where near maximum charges. I will stay with LP primers in my Blackhawk for sure!

    I am going to wait for a few more people to have a chance to chime in on this before I finish loading this batch.

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    I guess that AD covered the issues pretty throughly.

    You could try it, paying particular attention to the primer seating depth. The LR primers are larger in depth than LP primers. I would make double-sure you don't have high primers.

    You could use a LR primer pocket Uniformer, and they would seat deep enough for sure, but I dunno about the safety issues with weakening the primer pocket, and possibly having a hotter primer mixture.

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    The real problem is if you accidently fire a warmer colt round (rifle primer will add some pressure) in a light frame handgun. You may have problems. This was written up in Guns and Ammo magazine once, I couldn't find the issue in my "reference" libary. I'm not sure if the H&R Classic frame was produced in 454..only 45-70 and 45 Colt. I also believe that their 45-70 frame is heavier built. The 45 colt frame "seems" strong enough, but I wouldn't bet on 55000 CUP loads in it NOT doing some damage to something. Answer is-- "yes, you can, but do you really want to? My 454 loads are loaded with both Large Rifle and Small rifle primers- depending on the brass. But, I plan to go to only one size with the next new batch of brass.
    You did not mention which powder you had selected- and yes, that will make a difference.
    Be SAFE, double check your reloading manuals. Then use your best judgement.

    Chris

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    Quote Originally Posted by akgun&ammo View Post
    The real problem is if you accidently fire a warmer colt round (rifle primer will add some pressure) in a light frame handgun. You may have problems. This was written up in Guns and Ammo magazine once, I couldn't find the issue in my "reference" libary. I'm not sure if the H&R Classic frame was produced in 454..only 45-70 and 45 Colt. I also believe that their 45-70 frame is heavier built. The 45 colt frame "seems" strong enough, but I wouldn't bet on 55000 CUP loads in it NOT doing some damage to something. Answer is-- "yes, you can, but do you really want to? My 454 loads are loaded with both Large Rifle and Small rifle primers- depending on the brass. But, I plan to go to only one size with the next new batch of brass.
    You did not mention which powder you had selected- and yes, that will make a difference.
    Be SAFE, double check your reloading manuals. Then use your best judgement.

    Chris
    I think your right Chris. The 454 and 460 S&W H&R's are rechambered but there are a lot of them. There is an H&R forum that has a cult following and those guy were buying up the 45LC Buffalo classics to be rechambered. I have seen but not shot the H&R in 500 S&W that is a factory offering and that frame is the same frame that is on my 45LC.

    I probably should have stated in my original post that I am not new to reloading the 45. I have a couple of revolvers and the two rifles that I have been shooting and loading for for a while. I don't get my +P loads mixed up with the ones I shoot through my Uberti Colt copy cat. It's just that using rifle primers in the pistol case is new to me.

    I loaded up 30 rounds last night. I used only one bullet for my test loads and it is a Hornady 240 grain XTP. I started off with 12 grains of 2400 powder and loaded 5 rounds then increased the powder charge by .5 grains and loaded another 5 and repeated until I got to 14.5 grains. According to my Hornady manual TC/Ruger only 45LC rounds start out at 20 grains of 2400 with this bullet and go up from there.

    I'm headed out to shoot these test loads and am going to pick up a buddies Chrony on the way. I'll report back later!

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    That loading diffently sounds safe. However, I have already seen a rechamber job on the H & R 45 to 454 Casull that failed. Personally, I would probably say the owner made the mistake. I was unable to get a chamber cast to prove what really happened. Flashlite/borelight and eyes seem to point to offside reaming job - but no proof. Believe it or not - manufacture replaced barrel and repaired action for nothing but shipping charges under warrenty.

    Have fun, and let us know how it worked out.

    Chris

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    Small pistol and small rifle primers are the same size but have different power levels and different thickness. Lg rifle primers are longer than lg pistol primers and will not normally fit deep enough in an unmodified lg pistol primer pocket. The power levels and wall thickness are different as well but shouldn't be a problem in the guns you have. I guess if you push hard enough they may fit but I don't like to seat primers that hard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EKC View Post
    I am getting ready to load some 45LC ammo for my Puma 92 and my H&R Buffalo Classic. I am short on large pistol primers and long on large rifle primers. Is there anything that should prevent me from using large rifle primers in this application?
    In a word, NO. Primer pressure can blow the bullet from the brass, increase capacity, ignite and blow a gun.
    Working loads for lower pressures does not alter the primer pressure. Bullet movement before ignition can be gotten away with for a while, maybe a long time but then the gun blows up.
    The wrong primer will also increase chamber pressures if the bullet does not move. Leave it alone, go buy primers.
    I refuse to even use a LP mag primer in the .44 mag and .45 Colt, I use only the Fed 150 primer, heat without pressure.
    Case capacity and powder volume dictates the primer and once I get to the .475 and above, even the 45-70 in a revolver, only then does the LP mag work right. NONE get a rifle primer. Even the .500 JRH and .500 S&W will work better with a LP mag primer.
    Don't play with fire!

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfrshooter View Post
    In a word, NO. Primer pressure can blow the bullet from the brass, increase capacity, ignite and blow a gun.
    Working loads for lower pressures does not alter the primer pressure. Bullet movement before ignition can be gotten away with for a while, maybe a long time but then the gun blows up.
    The wrong primer will also increase chamber pressures if the bullet does not move. Leave it alone, go buy primers.
    I refuse to even use a LP mag primer in the .44 mag and .45 Colt, I use only the Fed 150 primer, heat without pressure.
    Case capacity and powder volume dictates the primer and once I get to the .475 and above, even the 45-70 in a revolver, only then does the LP mag work right. NONE get a rifle primer. Even the .500 JRH and .500 S&W will work better with a LP mag primer.
    Don't play with fire!
    I have read enough of your post to know you know your stuff! I will heed your advice! Thanks for setting me straight!

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    Interesting. I load for .327 Federal Mag, and the loading manual specifically states that SR primers are used by Federal at the factory, and recommended for handloading due to the high pressured involved with the cartrige to reduce primer flow. I have loaded light loads with SP primers, and heavy loads with SR primers, and have noticed no difference in seating depth of primers, nor visual inspection of the rounds after firing. I used data that specifically calls for each type of primer/powder/bullet combo.

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    SR and SP primers are the same physical size. LR and LP are not the same size. The rifle primers are thicker, stronger wall allowing higher pressure and normally a hotter primer. Hotter than normal primers are not normally a problem unless you are replacing a cooler primer and the load is already at or near max. Using cooler primers in a hard to light powder such as H110/296 can cause high pressure by the primer launching the bullet into the leade and it stopping there before the powder lights well. If the bullet is stuck in the leade/barrel before the powder fully lights it can blow a gun. It is best to use the proper primer for a given load. Too hot or too cool can be a problem under the wrong powder/bullet combo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Akheloce View Post
    Interesting. I load for .327 Federal Mag, and the loading manual specifically states that SR primers are used by Federal at the factory, and recommended for handloading due to the high pressured involved with the cartrige to reduce primer flow.
    Yup, same with 454, 460, and 500, they ALL call for rifle primers and factory loadings all come with rifle primers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    SR and SP primers are the same physical size. LR and LP are not the same size. The rifle primers are thicker, stronger wall allowing higher pressure and normally a hotter primer. Hotter than normal primers are not normally a problem unless you are replacing a cooler primer and the load is already at or near max.
    Yup 100% agree, using a rifle primer is hotter just like using a mag primer but shouldn't be an issue unless you are already pushing the boundaries.


    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Using cooler primers in a hard to light powder such as H110/296 can cause high pressure by the primer launching the bullet into the leade and it stopping there before the powder lights well. If the bullet is stuck in the leade/barrel before the powder fully lights it can blow a gun. It is best to use the proper primer for a given load. Too hot or too cool can be a problem under the wrong powder/bullet combo.
    Agree here too, always best to use the proper primer, but the proper primer isn’t always available and occasionally the proper primer isn’t even the published primer for the data. For instance in extremes of temperature like an an 118* Arizona summer day moving to a cooler primer may prevent excess pressure or in a -25* Alaskan winter day a hotter primer may acutely be hot enough to light that frozen H110/W296.

    Also it hasn't been pointed out that some brands of primer burn way the heck hotter than other brands of same size. There is way more variation between brands than between sizes within a brand. This means that changing from brand “X” to brand “Y” SP primers could acutely be a much bigger issue than substation of a SRmag primer in place of a SP primer if both are the same brand. I know that sounds off but there are tests that prove it out there, primers definitely vary more between brand names than most understand!

    Any time I change primer I treat it as working up a new load and test. The mantra is “start low and work up” new powder lot, start low work up, new primer SLWU, new bullet, SLWU, new . . . well you know.
    Andy
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    Andy
    You are correct. Anytime you change any component you should start the workup process again. And, yes, extreme conditions can turn a safe load into a bomb or a dud. Not knowing what powder and bullet the OP is using leaves me guessing as to the results he should expect. With a medium load for a 45Colt round it would be difficult to cause pressure problems in either gun he has. However the rifle primers shouldn't fit deep enough in the 45Colt brass unless Hercules installs them. I wouldn't be afraid of them but wouldn't use them if they didn't easily install at or below level with the bottom of the case.
    EKC
    Please don't take what I'm going to say as a slam as it's not entended that way. Someone asking about using LR primers in place of LP primers probably shouldn't especially with out guidence. Yes, that was your point in asking before going ahead. Good on you. One can safely use loads not in the manuals and powders or primers not listed for a given cartridge but these practices are not for the beginner reloader. I don't know your experience level at reloading but the question indicates a fairly new loader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Andy
    You are correct. Anytime you change any component you should start the workup process again. And, yes, extreme conditions can turn a safe load into a bomb or a dud. Not knowing what powder and bullet the OP is using leaves me guessing as to the results he should expect. With a medium load for a 45Colt round it would be difficult to cause pressure problems in either gun he has. However the rifle primers shouldn't fit deep enough in the 45Colt brass unless Hercules installs them. I wouldn't be afraid of them but wouldn't use them if they didn't easily install at or below level with the bottom of the case.
    EKC
    Please don't take what I'm going to say as a slam as it's not entended that way. Someone asking about using LR primers in place of LP primers probably shouldn't especially with out guidence. Yes, that was your point in asking before going ahead. Good on you. One can safely use loads not in the manuals and powders or primers not listed for a given cartridge but these practices are not for the beginner reloader. I don't know your experience level at reloading but the question indicates a fairly new loader.
    I have been loading a good while....I made a post a few years ago concerning dumping out a 5 gallon bucket of spent primers that I have punched out on the same old Rock Chucker since the mid 70's. I have just never substituted the LR primers for LP primers before but know of guys that have. I was looking for someone to give me good reason not to do it and I got just that. I never considered that the LR primer might dislodge the bullet and push it part way down the bore before the powder fully lit. Something that I didn't mention would make this scenario even more likely is that since I was loading these rounds for a single shot rifle I was not crimping the bullet much....just enough to remove all of the bell.

    I have been at this reloading thing a long time however the range of cartridges and different loads is probably pretty narrow considering how long I've been at it.

    There is a lot of knowledge on this forum and I'll not be ashamed to borrow some of it from you gents from time to time!

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    Almost any primer will launch the bullet into the leade if the powder should fail to light or have delayed ignition. The fail to light isn't a real problem unless you load another round in behind a stuck bullet. the delayed ignition can create serious pressure if the bullet stops before full ignition. Delayed ignition isn't normally a problem with a hotter primer as their purpose is to give better ignition. A cool primer under a hard to light powder can give real iffy ignition. Also light loads of hard to light or slow burning powders can cause poor ignition. I don't know why but my guess is it blows the powder away from the primer instead of lighting it properly. Another weird ignition/pressure problem that has happened is very light loads of fast powders in rounds such as the 38spl. 1 or 2 grs of bullseye can occassionally cause blowups where 3 to 4grs won't. I really doubt a LR primer under a medium load of a medium burn powder such as unique, AA5 or even 2400 would be a problem. Some crimp would be good although probably not necessary. Also as Andy mentioned, it's very possible that the LR primer isn't as hot as a LP mag primer, depending on brand. Although I don't think you will have a problem with pressure, I would test a couple before loading up several hundred. I really hate pulling down loaded rounds. I have one of the Puma 92s in 454Casull and they will take the 60,000psi loads without a problem. I just haven't had much luck getting the LR primer all the way in a LP primer pocket.

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    Default Don't over react - this is not a huge issue

    I have shot HUNDREDS of rifle primers in my pistol caliber lever guns with zero PROBLEMS! Back off 10 percent and work up. If you are shooting full power loads in a lever gun they should be firm crimped or the recoil can condense things a bit. Rifle primers are a bit hard to use in a pistol or revolver and the fireing pin blow can be a bit light for them in some guns.
    Rod in Wasilla

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