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  #1  
Old 02-05-2020, 01:26 PM
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Default Large Rifle Primers

I have a quantity of large rifle primers and no real use for them. I am wondering if they can be used as pistol primers instead?
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:54 PM
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They can. They may be a tad harder than pistol primers but I have done it.
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:57 PM
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Sort of yes. They are the same physical size. Trouble is the foil is much thicker-harder than a pistol primer, so your pistol might not have the oomph to fire it. Also, there is more primer compound in them. They will fire with more vigor and could maybe give you some pressure issues if you have loads on the high margin. My first recommendation would be to sell or trade them for the correct ones. If that does not float your boat load a small number cases without a charge or bullet and see if you pistol will fire them. All that being said, it is a bad idea. Maybe not a critically bad idea, but a bad idea nevertheless.
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:03 PM
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Probably not - not dimensionally identical. LR primers are thicker than large pistol primers, i.e., primer pockets for handgun cartridges are shallower, and LR primers will protrude above the base when seated. Not a good idea, can tie up a revolver cylinder.

Not true for small rifle primers. In fact, small rifle primers and small pistol primers are dimensionally identical. You can use small rifle primers for reloading handgun ammunition, but not vice versa.
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:06 PM
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I + many others have been using rifle primers [ large + small ] for over 50 years with never one problem that I am aware of - years ago I spoke to at least three manufactures + they all stated that the only difference was the rifle primers had a harder cup material - the compound . brisance , + power were the same except for magnum primers - there is a thread now running on this subject on the CMP forum - I use them in .32acp , .32 s&w , .32 s&w long, .38 s&w , .38 spec. , .38 super , 9 mm luger , + .45 acp . - a firearm with weak main spring might be a problem , but I never have experienced any -
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:19 PM
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The cups are hard but they should be okay.

Neat little reference I found here for those interested

Primer Testing Reference
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Old 02-05-2020, 02:21 PM
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?!
Only Dwalt has this correct. Large rifle primers are not dimensionally the same as large pistol primers and absolutely can not be used in handgun brass, they are too tall.

Small rifle primers yes. I use them all time on handgun loads.
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:04 PM
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the dimensional differences are so minute that they are less than the tolerance variance between different lots + brands - in over 50 years I have never had a too high rifle primer in any pistol case large or small -
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:20 PM
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When the 500 mag came out, the first cases were made for large pistol primers. When it was determined that they could not efficiently ignite the large powder charge, they changed the spec to large rifle primers. This required them to make the primer pockets deeper to accommodate the thicker large rifle primers. Those cases are marked on the head stamp with an "R" for large rifle primer. If you seat a large rifle primer in one of those early cases, it will be about .001 to .002 proud. DeWalt is correct. Large rifle primers are thicker than large pistol primers. But don't believe us. Grab your mic and measure a few.
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Old 02-05-2020, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by cmj8591 View Post
When the 500 mag came out, the first cases were made for large pistol primers. When it was determined that they could not efficiently ignite the large powder charge, they changed the spec to large rifle primers. This required them to make the primer pockets deeper to accommodate the thicker large rifle primers. Those cases are marked on the head stamp with an "R" for large rifle primer. If you seat a large rifle primer in one of those early cases, it will be about .001 to .002 proud. DeWalt is correct. Large rifle primers are thicker than large pistol primers. But don't believe us. Grab your mic and measure a few.
even more than .002 will not cause any problems in revolvers , single shot or even semi , full auto application at all - tested + proven many times + many thousand rounds - the head stamp R was just a legal CYA for the lawyers -

Last edited by schutzen-jager; 02-05-2020 at 06:08 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:07 PM
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You could manage rifle primers in a pistol but they are hotter than magnum primers. So there is that as well. Me, I would trade or karma them.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:21 PM
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Large rifle primers (if they are manufactured correctly) are .008" taller than the large pistol primers.
This is not the case with the small primers.
To convert Starline .445 brass to accept large rifle primers I had to drill out the primer pockets (as described on their website).
Some took out a noticeable amount of brass, some less, so they are now all uniform to boot.
I, for one, would not load them in pistol pockets without deepening the pockets to standard large rifle dimensions.
The primer faces should all be sub-flush to the base of the cartridge.
This also avoids crushing the primer pellet which will lead to inconsistent results.
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Old 02-05-2020, 05:31 PM
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The ones stating the large rifle primers are deeper are correct and will sit proud in a pistol case. But I have compressed them enough with seating on press so they sat flush, as an experiment, and they did work. I was checking some stuff on a Desert Eagle at the time and didn't have any large pistol primers handy, so used some large rifle primers and squished the heck out of them to get them flush. I did not load them the rest of the way; just used them alone on the case to test and see if the DE would fire off a rifle primer.
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Old 02-05-2020, 10:24 PM
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They can't they are just a little bit "taller" than large pistol primers so they'd be proud.
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:40 AM
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.008 is a miniscule variation - average sheet of printer paper is .11 - took 3 different brands of large rifle primers + seated them in 4 different brands of .45 acp brass with Lee priming tool - not one projected out from brass - checked with both a caliper + single edge razor blade drawn across case head - not one primer was crushed + all fired in a 1911 auto + 1917 revolver -
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:21 AM
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.008 is minuscule on a 2x4, but not in a revolver. Take the gap between cylinder and barrel for instance. Factory spec used to be about .004 to .008. More importantly to this discussion is rear gauge or headspace. The nominal rim thickness for cartridges is .060. The factory min, headspace of gauge is the same .060, max is .070. If you happen to have a revolver that has min headspace and minimum end shake a primer that is any amount high will bind. Most have a bit over the .060 min and some end shake. If you have .060 gauge and .002 end shake the cylinder could move forward .002 and let a little bit of a high primer slide along the recoil shield. Same things apply to cases and primers. Some small variation.

Normally you can probably get a large rifle prime to work in a large revolver. Given enough mainspring, and enough headspace or a minimum height primer or a slightly deep pocket. But, it your gun has minimum headspace, the primer was at max thickness and the cases had minimum depth pockets you might have a problem. All this pllus how much does he change in primers effect pressure etc.

I get it and if push came to shove and there was nothing else avalible, I would use the large pistol primers. But, I have lots of large rifle cases. I will use them there. If I had a lot of large rifle primers and no use for them I would look for a trade and I am sure with a little effort you could find a trade or sell the rifle primes for a small loss and go buy the correct primers.
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:38 AM
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they work fine in both my s&w 1917 + 1937 revolvers - both have correct head space . end shake , + barrel gap - like stated in my previous post just tested last night + been using them for over 50 years with never 1 problem -
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Old 02-06-2020, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schutzen-jager View Post
.008 is a miniscule variation - average sheet of printer paper is .11 - took 3 different brands of large rifle primers + seated them in 4 different brands of .45 acp brass with Lee priming tool - not one projected out from brass - checked with both a caliper + single edge razor blade drawn across case head - not one primer was crushed + all fired in a 1911 auto + 1917 revolver -
Check your primer pocket and you will find that they are exactly the depth of the proper primer. A good reloading press is capable of crushing the primer into the case, causing a partial collapse of the primer sidewalls in order to fit them flush with the case. So technically they will work, but why would one do that when the right primer is available at your local gun shop??? Also, I do know that rifle primers are hotter than standard pistol primers, but have no idea if it makes any difference??

Trade those rifle primers off at your next gun show for large pistol primers or give them to another reloader.
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:00 AM
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Large rifle primers are taller than large pistol primers , if they don't protrude too much above the case or if your bench press can force them into the pocket , seat a few primers , no powder , no bullets and try them in your gun ... if they reliably ignite ... there you go...
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Old 02-06-2020, 11:47 AM
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Classic internet: Facts vs. anecdotes. No matter how many people bring up published, dimensional facts there are still those who defend their position with anecdotes. When somebody says "I've never had a problem" that's just an anecdote. It doesn't make the practice correct.

A smart person once quipped: "The plural of anecdote isn't data."
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Old 02-06-2020, 12:29 PM
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Classic internet: Facts vs. anecdotes. No matter how many people bring up published, dimensional facts there are still those who defend their position with anecdotes. When somebody says "I've never had a problem" that's just an anecdote. It doesn't make the practice correct.

A smart person once quipped: "The plural of anecdote isn't data."
not an anecdote but true facts derived from over 50 years of actual use + the same results as experienced + documented by others even before the internet even existed -
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Old 02-06-2020, 02:44 PM
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Default interesting thread on this forum from 2009

found this thread on here from 2009 - check out replies #3 - 7 - 9 - 10- 11 -12 - 13 - 15 -18 -

Oops, large rifle vs. large pistol primers

Last edited by schutzen-jager; 02-06-2020 at 02:52 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old 02-10-2020, 10:12 AM
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Why do people say "If I can get away with it, it must be OK" and ignore facts like case and primer SAAMI specs. If you have a stock of the wrong size primers, they won't go bad if you store them properly, and you'll never get an opportunity to purchase them cheaper in the future.
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:21 AM
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I am not the only one getting away with - many many others in my gun club , collectors association , + numerous other forums have been doing it for decades with no problems - none of the naysayers posting on here have yet to state that they have actually tried it + experienced problems - the current statements from manufacturers are for legal liability concerns only - not saying that you should use them , just saying that is has been proven by many over the decades that they will work with no problems -

Last edited by schutzen-jager; 02-10-2020 at 11:26 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 02-10-2020, 11:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schutzen-jager View Post
I am not the only one getting away with - many many others in my gun club , collectors association , + numerous other forums have been doing it for decades with no problems - none of the naysayers posting on here have yet to state that they have actually tried it + experienced problems - the current statements from manufacturers are for legal liability concerns only - not saying that you should use them , just saying that is has been proven by many over the decades that they will work with no problems -
"Getting away with it" remains contrary to doing things the right way. I'm pretty sure that's been the general policy recommended by primer manufacturers long before alleged "liability concerns" and Internet authorities.
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:11 PM
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like I have stated in previous , before I [ and many others started getting away with it ] I checked with the three major primer manufactures via phone + in person at NRA annual meetings many years ago - they all stated the same thing , brisance , compound , + power are the same + only major difference is the thickness of primer cup material -
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Old 02-10-2020, 01:24 PM
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As mentioned by several posters above, large rifle primers are taller than large pistol primers by .008". They will fire OK when loaded in pistol brass and may not be a "standing tall" problem when squished down to be flush or below the case head. I started reloading pre-web so I tried a lot of "odd" stuff to see for myself and large rifle primers in large pistol cases was one. I only had problems with one revolver when the primer wasn't pushed back after firing enough to clear the recoil shield...

I have very few variations from what's "supposed to be" and "what I can get away with" when reloading. I look at guns as precision machines that contain up to 50,000 psi just inches from my face and I normally treat them as such. I measure my guns. I practice well known safe reloading practices and even when I "experiment" I have some knowledge of possible outcome. So, even when supplies are short, I see no reason to use component combinations not recommended by common sense, those not seen in my manuals, or just plain stupid...

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Old 02-10-2020, 02:31 PM
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When I first started handloading it was a venture I began absolutely by myself, 1989, with a Speer#11. I was a junior in high school. That manual was my only guide. No mentor, no internet forum, no Dad or Grandpa that knew the game, no neighbor or old salt that took me under their wing. In fact, the closest local gun store was employing crusty old jerks that would sneer at folks my age in their store. They offered no help but at least they were aloof about it.

After years of doing this, it has occurred to me that so many of the little speed bumps that I came across in my journey were typical wrinkles that most newer, novice handloaders run in to.

One of those bumps has been the extremely common "high primer" situation. As a brand new loader, you might very see these explosive little buttons as BOMBS that should be handled as if they are going to explode on you. Because of that, it takes a whole lot of blind faith to want to really push that little sucker deeply in to a primer pocket for fear that you might make a very loud -POP- and flash right there at your bench.

And when you haven't seated one all the way, you will find out later... with misfires, fails to fire, and as much as anything, a revolver getting tied up as the cylinder refuses to advance because a high primer is dragging or fully stopping the movement of the cylinder. In particular, this is a royal pain in a Ruger Blackhawk single action because the design is such that the revolver lets you load a bad round, then it lets you advance it, and only then does it protest and you can't twirl the cylinder back and remove it, you end up needing to pull the pin and remove the cylinder and get the offending round out.

It makes no good sense to use primers that are dimensionally taller than specified for the task. If you were stuck on a deserted island with ONLY these components, then it makes sense. If you like to experiment and results are to your satisfaction (see: schutzen-jager) then common wisdom doesn't need to change what you have had success with.

But if you are handing out sage advice on a handloading discussion forum and you are telling the general populace to use large rifle primers in random pistol and revolver loads, you are clearly in the wrong. You can't change that with your success in doing it. You are giving bad advice and for any poster that has read and replied, there could be a hundred others that have simply read the posts in earnest, hoping to gain advice also.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:32 PM
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Post #28 by Sevens is excellent. Couldn't have said it any better!
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:49 PM
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My sole experience in using LR primers for handgun loads involved reloading .44 Magnum for use with a .44 Ruger Super Blackhawk. It didn't work. The primers protruded far enough above the cartridge base that those rounds tied up the cylinder. i.e., not enough headspace. It would not rotate with those loads. And I wasn't about to try to mash those primers deeper into the primer pocket.

Not to say that by using another revolver, another brand of cases, and/or another brand of LR primers it might work OK, but it seems imprudent to try. Why not just use the correct LP primers and not worry about such things?
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWalt View Post
My sole experience in using LR primers for handgun loads involved reloading .44 Magnum for use with a .44 Ruger Super Blackhawk. It didn't work. The primers protruded far enough above the cartridge base that those rounds tied up the cylinder. i.e., not enough headspace. It would not rotate with those loads. And I wasn't about to try to mash those primers deeper into the primer pocket.

Not to say that by using another revolver, another brand of cases, and/or another brand of LR primers it might work OK, but it seems imprudent to try. Why not just use the correct LP primers and not worry about such things?
Good post that sums it up well.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:18 PM
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like I stated in post #15 , I just tried it with 3 different brands of LR primers , 4 different brands of cases + not one protruding or crushed primer + all functioned properly in 2 different revolvers + 1 semi auto - I also did not clean or ream primer pockets in any of the cases used , they were tumbled with old primers left in place in corn cob media -
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:26 PM
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Default dimensions + / - tolerance

Ballistic Tools - Articles - Minimum and maximum primer and primer pocket dimensions

Primers And Pressure

Last edited by schutzen-jager; 02-12-2020 at 04:29 PM. Reason: addendum
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Old 02-15-2020, 01:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schutzen-jager View Post
found this thread on here from 2009 - check out replies #3 - 7 - 9 - 10- 11 -12 - 13 - 15 -18 -

Oops, large rifle vs. large pistol primers
...and yet, while folks claimed there was no danger, all of them admitted it was a mistake and none of them advised the OP to do it again.

If it works for you.....fine. But do not advise others to use improper components just because you've yet to experience an issue. Why do manufacturers still make two primers that fit in the same hole different lengths? Why is it load manuals do not tell us to just buy one primer for both large pistol and large rifle? All of mine say to use the appropriate primer listed in the recipe. Lotta folks on internet gun forums claim they have no issues with Blue Dot in .357 with 125 gr projectiles or .41 mag loads and chastise folks that heed Alliant's warning against these usages. Don't make it right to tell others it's okay. Being able to just do something and doing it right are two different things. My LGS sells both LP and LR primers, side by side, for the same price. One case of each takes no more room than two cases of either. Unless I'm desperate, I see no legitimate reason to interchange them.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buck460XVR View Post
...and yet, while folks claimed there was no danger, all of them admitted it was a mistake and none of them advised the OP to do it again.

If it works for you.....fine. But do not advise others to use improper components just because you've yet to experience an issue. Why do manufacturers still make two primers that fit in the same hole different lengths? Why is it load manuals do not tell us to just buy one primer for both large pistol and large rifle? All of mine say to use the appropriate primer listed in the recipe. Lotta folks on internet gun forums claim they have no issues with Blue Dot in .357 with 125 gr projectiles or .41 mag loads and chastise folks that heed Alliant's warning against these usages. Don't make it right to tell others it's okay. Being able to just do something and doing it right are two different things. My LGS sells both LP and LR primers, side by side, for the same price. One case of each takes no more room than two cases of either. Unless I'm desperate, I see no legitimate reason to interchange them.
never once in my posts here and elsewhere have I ever advised any one to use them - just stated that myself + many others have been doing it safely and with no problems for well over 50 years -

Last edited by schutzen-jager; 02-16-2020 at 08:24 AM. Reason: spelling
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