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Small Pistol/Small Rifle Primer Interchangeability and Primer Shortages. Particularly small pistol primer availability. Login/Join 
Buy that Classic SIG in All Stainless,
No rail wear will be painless.
Picture of cee_Kamp
posted
There have been several threads here on the Forum about using primers that were not the recommended type. Note that I am not talking about which company made them.

Re: Using small pistol primers (or small pistol magnum primers) when small rifle primers are required.

Personally, I would never do this potential combination as rifles generally run at considerably higher pressures compared to most handgun cartridges.
A perforated primer can cause firearm damage and/or personal injury.

Re: Using small rifle primers when small pistol primers (or small pistol magnum) are required.

I have shot countless thousands of rounds of .38 Lapua (.38 Super Rimless) in my Infinity IMM Open USPSA pistol. All of them using small rifle primers without any issues.
See the SAAMI drawing below. Small pistol & Small rifle primers and cartridge case head small pistol/small rifle primer pocket dimensions are identical.

If you are running maximum loads in your handgun cartridge, you may want to back off a bit and compare velocities if you switch to a different primer.
My testing shows minimal velocity change between small pistol primers and small pistol magnum primers. Pressure differences are unknown.
I see more velocity change switching between brands of primers than I see between small pistol and small pistol magnum primers of the same brand.

If you decide to use small rifle primers in your handgun cartridge, it's also smart to back off on your powder charge and work your way back up slowly.
Another item of concern, small rifle primers are considered "harder" than small pistol/small pistol magnum primers.
Be certain your particular handgun of choice has sufficient firing pin/striker energy to reliably ignite small rifle primers.
A hundred or two would be sufficient for the reliability testing I believe.

Go about your testing in a organized repeatable manner with safety being paramount. You'll be doing something reloading data/manuals/reloading instructors caution against doing.

NOTE: Large pistol and Large rifle primers and their respective primer pockets are dimensionally different and SHOULD NOT be interchanged.

So is the current small pistol primer shortage really so significant? Not really.

Primer_Primer Pocket Dimensions by cee_Kamp 32ACP, on Flickr



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Posts: 1039 | Registered: December 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Buy that Classic SIG in All Stainless,
No rail wear will be painless.
Picture of cee_Kamp
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I set up my 9mm Luger cast lead reload using the recommended starting powder charge of Hodgdon CFE pistol powder (4.4 grains) and small pistol primers.
It's a 125 grain round nose locally hard cast projectile.
It easily makes USPSA Minor Power Factor. Checked with a chronograph it's about 130 PF.
In my case, since I'm at the recommended starting powder charge, and 0.6 grains below the maximum powder charge, I can use any small pistol/small pistol magnum/small rifle primer interchangeably without any load development or chronograph work at all.



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USPSA Chief Range Officer
 
Posts: 1039 | Registered: December 14, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of sourdough44
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I have looked into substitutes but haven’t tested yet.

To me, the logical starting point for evaluation is SR primers in mid-level pistol loads. I have watched a video or two on testing, that individual didn’t have any adverse issues.
 
Posts: 4547 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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As I recall, CCI gave guidance that their small rifle magnum and regular small rifle primers are pretty much the same thing. Same cup thickness, diameter, cup material, compound, and amount of compound.

Folks have been rocking SR primers in pistol loads for a while, I'm told. Apparently competition shooters use them for more reliable ignition.


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Posts: 2744 | Location: Memphis, TN | Registered: August 23, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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