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Primers are currently hard to find, at least around here. So, can anybody tell me the differences between pistol and rifle primers? In other words, in a pinch, can one be substituted for the other? What would be the expected performance results? I guess more generally speaking what are the differences between (1) small rifle regular, (2) small rifle magnum, (3) small pistol regular, and (4) small pistol magnum. I would that the same answers would apply to the corresponding rifle primer series.

Thx.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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For which cartridges?
 

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Just to throw it out there...204 Ruger.

I thought his question was pretty straight forward.

I have no idea of the answer, but am interested in opinions although I know from my research and data that the 204 likes Small Rifle Magnum primers with certain powders.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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There was a thread started a few months ago, where many indicated that they thought that small rifle and small pistol were essentially the same. Large primers however are not so. If I am thinking correctly, Large rifles are slightly taller, so they are not interchangable. I think that you can use magnum primers in place of regular, but you should reduce your load by a good bit (maybe even go back to a starting load) and work up slowly. Years ago, I was given about 500 magnum primers and I have just now begun to use some of them. So far, I've seen no difference in accuracy, but I did reduce my load quite a bit when I made the switch.
 

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The Shadow (Moderator)
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A
1) So, can anybody tell me the differences between pistol and rifle primers?
2) In other words, in a pinch, can one be substituted for the other?
3) What would be the expected performance results?

B)
I guess more generally speaking what are the differences between (1) small rifle regular, (2) small rifle magnum, (3) small pistol regular, and (4) small pistol magnum. I would that the same answers would apply to the corresponding rifle primer series.
A1) cup size & thickness(sometimes), and pellet charge.
A2) Rifle to pistol, very generally speaking; certainly possible.
From pistol to rifle, if you like pierced primers and the damage that ensues; it's possible.
A3) It depends, A LOT on what specifically you are talking about.
Did your primer swap go from Normal to Basic primer compound, how about the DDNP series? Was the load near max? Is your firing pin strong enough to imprint the primer cup sufficiently to ignite it properly? What is your case fill? Etc, etc.


I've shared a bunch of data with primer swaps, bullet swaps. SR vs LR Creedmoor, magnum primer swaps, the "all ball powders need a Magnum" nonsense.... The honest answer is it depends. In many instances, the result is absolutely nothing changes. In others, very large pressure changes happen.

B1 - B4) It depends on the brand and the priming compound, but for generality: Magnum primers tend to have a bit more peak pressure output, tend to have more hot particles output, and tend to be less consistent in output.


Cheers
 

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From pistol to rifle, if you like pierced primers and the damage that ensues; it's possible.
Thanks for pointing that out. I had forgotten that pistol primers may be softer and can be pierced by rifle firing pins..........................................
 

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Clearly, we're long past due for the resurrection of the corrosive primer!
 

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Dara, in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, has a "town industry", which is to make guns and ammunition. Using primitive hand tools - chisels, files, saws and drills - they bring in scrap metal from Karachi ship yards and turn it into weapons. They have 'patterns' like Lee Enfield rifles captured from British soldiers on the North West frontier a century ago, as well as more modern weapons from more recent conflicts, which they will meticulously copy.

They also re-make ammunition from spent cases, using reconstituted match heads for the primer compound and cut up film stock for the propellant.

I once had someone from Dara visit us to see how we made rifle barrels. He explained how they did it back home, using methods that would be familiar to Pope.

One thing those guys have, which we no longer have in the West, is unbelievable hand skills. He could take a piece of plate steel and cut out a hole in the shape of a five sided star, then cut out a five sided star from another sheet of plate steel and hand work it so that this star would fit in the hole in the first plate. He could hold it up to the light and no light would get through. Then he could turn the star through each of the five points and push it into the hole - and no light would be seen where the edges met.

I remember George Swenson, an American who settled in England and who made the Swing target rifle back in the '70s, telling me how he watched one of the Wilkes brothers in their gunshop in Beak Street in London. He was filing up a new lock plate for a shot gun. He filed away for about an hour, then presented the plate to the inlet in the stock, gave it a few more strokes, then pushed the plate into the stock - an absolutely perfect fit. George said that you only acquire that level of skill if you start that kind of work before puberty. The Wilkes brothers started working for their father as young boys and the gentleman from Dara told me he started work in his father's shop when he was ten.

These days, putting children to work at that age is considered child slavery and it is illegal in this country. The consequence is that the bench workers in Holland & Holland, Purdeys, Westley Richards and other top gun makers who have a reputation for making fine guns by traditional methods - can't match the level of finish and precision their forebears could attain. They can no longer file a round hinge pin by hand. But these days, of course, we have CNC machines and down in the basement of those fine old gun makers establishments, where prospective customers won't see them, is the rows of CNC machines and young lads with computer skills who program them.
 

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Dara, in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan, has a "town industry", which is to make guns and ammunition. Using primitive hand tools - chisels, files, saws and drills - they bring in scrap metal from Karachi ship yards and turn it into weapons. They have 'patterns' like Lee Enfield rifles captured from British soldiers on the North West frontier a century ago, as well as more modern weapons from more recent conflicts, which they will meticulously copy.

They also re-make ammunition from spent cases, using reconstituted match heads for the primer compound and cut up film stock for the propellant.

I once had someone from Dara visit us to see how we made rifle barrels. He explained how they did it back home, using methods that would be familiar to Pope.

One thing those guys have, which we no longer have in the West, is unbelievable hand skills. He could take a piece of plate steel and cut out a hole in the shape of a five sided star, then cut out a five sided star from another sheet of plate steel and hand work it so that this star would fit in the hole in the first plate. He could hold it up to the light and no light would get through. Then he could turn the star through each of the five points and push it into the hole - and no light would be seen where the edges met.

I remember George Swenson, an American who settled in England and who made the Swing target rifle back in the '70s, telling me how he watched one of the Wilkes brothers in their gunshop in Beak Street in London. He was filing up a new lock plate for a shot gun. He filed away for about an hour, then presented the plate to the inlet in the stock, gave it a few more strokes, then pushed the plate into the stock - an absolutely perfect fit. George said that you only acquire that level of skill if you start that kind of work before puberty. The Wilkes brothers started working for their father as young boys and the gentleman from Dara told me he started work in his father's shop when he was ten.

These days, putting children to work at that age is considered child slavery and it is illegal in this country. The consequence is that the bench workers in Holland & Holland, Purdeys, Westley Richards and other top gun makers who have a reputation for making fine guns by traditional methods - can't match the level of finish and precision their forebears could attain. They can no longer file a round hinge pin by hand. But these days, of course, we have CNC machines and down in the basement of those fine old gun makers establishments, where prospective customers won't see them, is the rows of CNC machines and young lads with computer skills who program them.
Every now and then I am greatly impressed by some people's life experiences.
 

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That experience is among the kinds of things that cause me to laugh myself sick when a TV or YouTube presenter looks at ancient fitted building stones and claims that because you can't slip a piece of paper between them it means space alien technology must have been involved in their making. The manual skills of artisans over the centuries were quite fantastic enough without extraterrestrial input. The suggestion that their work required such intervention is more a reflection of just how much spoiled modern machine-dependent people have forgotten about the first principles of making things than it is about the need for either superhuman or supernatural involvement.
 

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Primers are currently hard to find, at least around here. So, can anybody tell me the differences between pistol and rifle primers? In other words, in a pinch, can one be substituted for the other? What would be the expected performance results? I guess more generally speaking what are the differences between (1) small rifle regular, (2) small rifle magnum, (3) small pistol regular, and (4) small pistol magnum. I would that the same answers would apply to the corresponding rifle primer series.

Thx.
This is a question with no, single correct answer. It depends on the cartridge, the rifle you are shooting it in, and how 'hot' the load is. Pistol primers have thinner metal cups as the firing pin strike in a pistol is usually weaker that that of most rifle actions. Some rifle firing pin strikes could puncture a pistol primer, and if the load is fairly high pressure, the thinner primer cup may allow the primer to more easily back out of the primer pocket. Right now, it's not only primers that are hard to find, but powder, bullets, new brass, and just about everything else one needs for handloading.
 
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