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Old 04-19-2011, 11:21 PM
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Default Small rifle primers with reloading .38/.357?

Can I use cci small rifle 400 primers while reloading .38 spl and .357 mag? Is there much of a difference between these primers compared to regular small pistol primers regarding these calibers?

-Anna Sophia
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:45 PM
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Never tried it but I would think you may have some misfires from the thicker cup material. I'd be careful working up loads, out of the norm.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:50 PM
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Small rifle primers will generally have a larger priming mixture and be "hotter" than standard small pistol primers, and cause higher chamber pressures.

SR primers are also harder than SP primers and may not be as reliably ignited as SP primers, especially in smaller framed guns or with weaker hammer/striker springs.

It is generally not a recommended practice except in an emergency, or during component shortages.

With that said, you can use SR primers in certain higher-pressure calibers provided the firing pin/striker mechanisms have enough energy for reliable ignition with the harder primers. Such calibers/guns include:
9mm/.38 Super in M1911 guns, .357 Magnum in N frame revolvers, .30 US Carbine in Ruger revolvers, and similar combinations in other designs with heavy firing pin or hammer/stiker designs.
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Old 04-19-2011, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annasophia View Post
Can I use cci small rifle 400 primers while reloading .38 spl and .357 mag? Is there much of a difference between these primers compared to regular small pistol primers regarding these calibers?

-Anna Sophia
I wound up with a few hundred Federal SR-mag primers in a trade and used a few testing .357 loads for my GP100. No issues, no mis-fires.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:20 AM
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You'll notice in this listing of energies produced that SP and SR primers are virtually identical.



The main difference is in the cup material. Usually, I never have a problem with SR primers, if I shoot single action and the mainspring hasn't been messed with.

A problem does pop up if you try to substitute LR for LP primers due to cup height differences. The LR primer is taller than a LP primer and may not seat flush.
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Old 04-20-2011, 10:50 AM
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The following was posted by COSteve on Paco Kelly's Leverguns forum:

Paco Kelly's Leverguns.com • View topic - Rifle Primers in .357?

COSteve
Post subject: Re: Rifle Primers in .357?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 11:43 am
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I contacted CCI back a couple years ago and asked to speak to their primer tech. I was connected with a wonderful woman who had worked there for 37 years. I asked her the following, "What is the difference between your SPM primers (550) and your SR primers (400). Specifically, what's the difference between their size, their cup thickness, the primer compound, and amount?"

She pulled out the data sheets on both and compared them. As she was reviewing them she casually mentioned that, "You know small pistol and small rifle primers are the same size. It's the large pistol vs large rifle where the rifle primers are slightly taller." After her review of the sheets (I could hear them rustling), she replied that their specs showed that they were the same size, the same cup material and thickness, the same primer compound, and the same amount.

I asked her if that meant that they were the same item boxed in different packaging. She replied, "I've been reloading myself for over 20 years and I only buy SR primers (400)." We chuckled and I thanked her and said good bye. I use Wolf SR primers in all my 38spl and 357mag loads and have had no issues in slightly over 4,300rds so far.

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:35 PM
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Thanks Paul and Paul

Good to know.
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Old 04-20-2011, 12:59 PM
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If I had some of each that were fired I would measure and see if there is any difference in thickness in the cup material between them.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:54 PM
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I use Wolf SR Primers for my Marlin 1894 Lil' Gun loads. The loads themselves are from a Rifle Magazine, Brian Pearce article and incorporate a 158gr Hornady XTP. From the 20" barrel, I get 2000fps. The primer color is the main reason though. The Wolf have an almost copper color and make round identification very easy.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:41 PM
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I tested cci small rifle primers in .357 with Hercules 2400 and 158 grain cast bullets. Titegroups suspects some misfires and he is right. The revolvers I tried were all S&W's. m13,
m19 and two m27's. Misfires were prevalent but otherwise no particular issues. I think this route is a dead end.
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:31 AM
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Intuitively there should be a defineable difference between Small Pistol, Magnum Small Pistol and Small Rifle primers. 'Taint necessarily so! After more than 50 years handloading, many thousands of rounds over a chronograph, and somewhere in the Million rounds loaded area, mostly for revolvers, I have made a few observations that I will generalize and share

1) With some propellants you will get higher velocity, and, probably, somewhat higher pressure using a SPM compared tp SP. With most propellants this is not the case. The Magnum primer usually gives wider extreme spreads and higher standard deviation than the standard primer.

2) With most propellants results with the Small Rifle primer will be very similar to what is observed using the SPM with the same charges. Same cartridge and other components of course. ES and SD will usually be lower with the SR than the SPM, all things being equal.

Many years ago I saw a recommendation in either an old Lyman manual, Keith's writings, or Phil Sharpe's book, that .32-20 should always be loaded with SR primers regardless of being shot in a rifle or pistol. I can say that my older Lyman manuals do show SR for .32-20 in the handgun data section. In this long, thin case ignition is noticeably more consistent with the SR compared to SP. The chronograph tells the tale!

Mis-fires with SR primers in revolvers. So long as the revolver is in good mechanical condition, and with factory springs, this is a myth. After shooting many (not just several!) thousand rounds from several S&W and Colt revolvers, I have experienced exactly ZERO Mis-fires in any revolver, over a period of 50 years, when using SR primers in .32-20. Remember, these guns are identical, except for caliber, to their .38/.357 counterparts, so there is absolutely no reason for mis-fires in those calibers either.

Most re-loading lore goes back to the very beginning of re-loading with smokeless powders. There was more lot-to-lot variation in propellants and primers. Later there were so-called Black Powder primers, very mild, corrosive and non-corrosive primers, which all gave different results. There were cases of different internal styles and dimensions. In those days the advice to reduce charges 10% and work up again when changing any component made sense, it really doesn't anymore. This can be demonstrated by the chronograph. There is a tremendous amount of advice in print that falls into the "Sounds good, so it must be right." category, but it isn't. There have been many like Keith, Casull, Weatherby, Newton, Dr. Mann, and hundreds of others who were willing to experiment and determine what the limits really were. If it weren't for their kind we would still be shooting round ball guns with Flint ignition and Black powder!

I'll get off my soap box now.
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Last edited by Alk8944; 04-22-2011 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:52 PM
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I use the Small Rifle Primers in my 327 Mag. SP-101 no issues but that is what is being used in factory Ammo. Again I have had no issues.
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Old 04-30-2011, 05:23 PM
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I've done some experimenting with small rifle primers in my ruger blackhawk and not a single problem was experienced in a full box of 100 primers. I have just stocked up big time on SR primers so I think I'll be using these in my revolvers for a while. Self....Great day!! Thanks for all the help guys! I really appreciate you guys here....keep up the good work and get outside and enjoy spring!

--Anna Sophia
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327, 357 magnum, 38spl, carbine, cartridge, casull, chronograph, colt, hornady, m13, m27, model 27, ruger, weatherby

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