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Old 11-06-2008, 07:59 PM   #1
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Reloading Question About Primers

I've been handloading my own ammo for over 35 years with great success.



However, I have a question no one seems to be able to answer.



Is it safe or acceptable to use small rifle primers for 9mm handloads in a pistol such as my Hi-Power?



I own an UZI semi-auto carbine which seemed to consistently pierce primers with my handloads, even though I knew they were safe and worked just fine in any 9mm handgun. I switched over to using the CCI-400 Small Rifle Primers mainly because I knew that rifle primers (especially from CCI) were thicker and heavier than any pistol primer. I bought 200 of these just for a test. I was still piercing primers, but at a far lower rate (now 1-in-20 rather than 1-in-5 with standard pistol primers).



I jumped in and bought 10,000 CCI-400 Small Rifle Primers. As it turns out, I didn't need rifle primers at all. I had a defective firing pin in my UZI. Once I replaced it, all primer piercing stopped.



Now I've got a boat-load of rifle primers that I don't have a use for unless I can go ahead and use them in my 9mm handloads.



The only information I can ever remember seeing was from a really old (1980s) Lyman reloading manual I used to have that said the only difference between rifle and pistol primers was the thickness/toughness of the primer cup.



Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Allen
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:04 PM   #2
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Reloading Question About Primers

Hello Allen,



Welcome to the forum!



We'll move this to the reloading section and see what kind of answers we can get.



Best,



Chris
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:06 PM   #3
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Reloading Question About Primers

Howdy Mr. Allen,



I am sure no expert sir, but I have been reloading about 37 years now, including nearly 20 of those with a class 06 (ammo manufacturer). The information you have is different from what I have always heard, when this question is asked.



I have consistently heard that rifle primers (either small or large) have more priming compound, to make them hotter, so to ensure complete ignition of larger amounts of powder. If this is correct, and I suspect that it is, I would not suggest you used small rifle primers to reload 9mm rounds, especially given how much less powder that case would hold compare to most rifle rounds.



I think you stand a good chance of creating a pressure issue with your handloads if you opt to use small rifle primers. That is my best opinion, but someone with a more scientific background in ballistics may well have a different take on this issue.



My suggestion would be to try to trade them out among fellow reloaders who have more small pistol on hand than needed, or want to stock pile some small rifle primers right now too. Then you can order another 10,000 of the small pistol for your 9 loads.



The main problem I see is how do you safely gauge what a proper reduced powder charge would be, if you elect to use the rifle primers? You really are flying blind, with no real suggestions that you can trust, except for blind luck.



Hope this gives you something to consider anyway sir. If you are asking would I ever use a small rifle primer in a small pistol case - not if I had a choice. Especially if they were going to be fired in my handguns, being held in my two hands, in front of my two eyes, etc. But I try hard to never say never. But it would truly be an extreme situation before I would even consider this combo. As long as small pistol primers are available, the situation would not be extreme to me.



If friends do not want/need to trade, then consider approaching a dealer at a gun show and ask if he would consider working a trade with you. Even if you loose a bit, not primer for primer, I still think you would be ahead of the game sir.



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Old 11-07-2008, 10:24 PM   #4
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Reloading Question About Primers

Thank you for your reply.



Our information is obviously different, and I can't document mine. I just remember reading in The American Rifleman many years ago that rifle primers had thicker cups simply because rifles almost always deliver a much harder snap from the firing pins to the primers as opposed to most pistols.



I've contined to shoot the 9mm ammo I've already loaded for my UZI using the rifle primers with no ill effects, and I've ventured to shoot a few of those rounds from my Hi-Power, also with no obvious problems. But I do note that the firing pin indent on the primers fired from my pistol seem to be on the light side.



Perhaps I'll just keep the CCI-400s just for loading my UZI ammo.



You and I seem to have about the same number of years experience in handloading. I was 14 when I started and I'm 50 now. While I "cut my teeth" on shooting handguns, my first handloading experience came with the .308 Win., the .243 and the .22-250, cartridges I still love dearly, but ironically, don't even own right now!



I'd love to buy a new bolt action in a medium or small bore, but I'm torn between differnet directions. I'd like a new .22-250, but my best friend's .220 Swift has me leaning that way. I'm also intrigued by the 7mm-08 as well as the various new 6.5mm calibers. My budget is extremely limited, so only one rifle is possible in the foreseeable future. And all I'm interested in is punching small holes in paper, so based on my experience, that leads me back to the .22-250.



I'm told that Savage makes a model in that caliber that has a rate-of-twist of 1-in-9", which would be great for long range with heavy bullets. Any comments?



Thanks for your reply.



Allen
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Old 11-08-2008, 02:53 PM   #5
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Reloading Question About Primers

I see some old timers here. I started reloading shotgun shell in the mid 60's and progressed to rifle and handgun loads in the 70's. Allen, I agree with twoguns on the primmer having a longer hotter burn to ignite more powder. This is turn throws out all pressure data on the round. I also recall reading some where many years ago on the rifle primers being heavier. Since the UZI can be classified as a rifle and there are some loads for the 9mm that is not design for handguns, you may get by with it. But I would deffinately back off if you near the top.



David
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Old 11-10-2008, 09:23 PM   #6
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Reloading Question About Primers

Thanks for the reply.



I'll just go ahead and keep (and use) the CCI 400 rifle primers just for use in loading for my UZI.



Won't be a problem, because any case headstamp I have that says "WIN" goes into my Hi-Power. All other brass goes into the UZI.



And I've finally found a good load that isn't maximum that works really well in the UZI and lets me pop clays at 100 yards all day long!



Allen
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Old 11-17-2008, 06:49 PM   #7
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Reloading Question About Primers

I happened to talk to a guy (who would prefer to remain anonymous) who works in a plant that manufactures primers. When I found out where he worked and what he did, I posed the question to him about using rifle primers in handguns.



He happens to agree with both our viewpoints. First, he does say that rifle primers have a slightly different charge and composition, so they do burn a little differently but the length of burn difference is negligible unless discussing magnum primers.



This gentleman told me if I'm using a median charge of most handgun powders, it's safe to use rifle primers, but said not to be surprised if there were misfires because rifle primer cups are indeed thicker and harder than handgun primers. He didn't think it was a good idea at all to use rifle primers with heavier charges.



His full answer was to lengthy and complicated for me to go into right here, but to be on the safe side, he encouraged me to avoid the rifle primers.



I explained that I was using CCI 400 primers in 9mm loads for use exclusively in my Uzi and not in any handgun. When I told him my powder charge and bullet, he said I'd be perfectly okay with that, just not push my luck by loading them into any magazine that would end up in a handgun.



It was a fascinating conversation. I learned a lot of little trade secrets that actually aren't secret, but that the ammo and component companies don't really like to be discussed.



I'm still in shock over what the price of primers alone has climbed to. When I began reloading back when I was a kid, I could buy 1,000 primers for $5.00!!! That's 1/2-penny each!!! Unless you buy primers by the case, they'll run you 3.5
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:33 PM   #8
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Reloading Question About Primers

Yeah, with limited case capacity causing possible pressure repercussions, why would you even want to substitute small rifle primers for small pistol primers?
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:11 PM   #9
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Reloading Question About Primers

I suppose I'm going to have to violate my self-imposed prohibition against buying primers from suppliers like Midway, etc., because they're selling them cheaper than I can get them from a local gunshop.



And I would like to bad-mouth this place. It's in Hendricks, County Indiana. 'Nuff said about that without naming the actual shop, but I'm fed up with them.



As I shop the store, I hear the know-it-alls behind the counter spouting what I know is pure bullshit to obvious newbies to the shooting world. And they lie their butts off on every subject you can imagine. They treat new comers to shooting as though they're idiots. They roll their eyes as though to tell everyone they've been asked a stupid question (I was under the opinion there is no stupid question except the one you don't ask).



At any rate, I was looking to buy a case (or at least 1,000) CCI 500 Small Pistol Primers. They had everything but that, but I didn't want Winchester Small Pistol Primers. I asked if they might order some, and was told they'd get more in when more were manufactured. Bullshit.



I was told the same thing when I asked about certain jacketed hollow-point bullets. I can't believe that such bullets are sold out by Sierra, Hornaday, Speer and Winchester.



At the same time, the prices this store is charging goes up almost daily.



When I got home, I called other shops much farther from home than I usually travel and was told I could get all I wanted. I also found out I could get all I wanted from any number of catalog companies.



Oh, another thing: I made up my mind a long time ago I'd NEVER buy a gun from this shop (I've only shopped there to get certain reloading supplies). They put bands around ALL their firearms so they can't be cycled or dry-fired. If I can't closely examine the innards of a gun, I won't buy it.



Their gun prices are also rather high compared to other shops in the area.



So if you're shopping for guns or reloading accessories, I'd suggest you stay away from Hendricks County, Indiana unless they let you dry-fire. You'll know you've found the store I'm talking about if the clerks all act like they know everything and like to punctuate their language with a liberal sprinkling of "F" words and other profanities, even in the presence of ladies.



------------------------



My Uzi is behaving nicely with the CCI-400 rifle primers unless I fire more than 700-800 rounds without cleaning it. Then it just dents the primers without firing (I was doing an endurance test).



Allen
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Old 11-24-2008, 12:38 PM   #10
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Reloading Question About Primers

With the HAZMAT fee $20 you will be much better off ordering 5k-10k and powder if you need it. Other wise you are going to be paying $40 for a 1000 primer, No savings there.
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