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Thread: Small pistol versus small rifle primers in .357 Mag/.38 Special

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Small pistol versus small rifle primers in .357 Mag/.38 Special

    Once upon a time, the loading manuals recommended small rifle primers for the .357 Magnum cartridge. This practice has fallen by the wayside over the years. I've always used small pistol primers in the .357 Mag and .38 Special with good results and no ignition problems except with some of the slow burn ball powders (WC820, AA9 and H110) in the .357.

    I suddenly find myself blessed with an abundance of WSR primers.

    What does the brotherhood say to using them in the .357/.38 Special? Any experiences good or bad. Any pressure signs observed. Any body tested them one against one with the same load of regular powders (Bullseye, Unique, Herco)./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  2. #2
    Boolit Master



    M-Tecs's Avatar
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    This is from another site:

    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.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

    Rcmaveric's Avatar
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    I use small riffle primers as magnum small pistol primers in .357 Mag. It was tried with safety amd caution in mind and worked up to safe and acceptable load.
    "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far."
    ~Theodore Roosevelt~

  4. #4
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    rancher1913's Avatar
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    always heard that sr would work fine in a pistol but you sometimes had problems using sp in a rifle.
    if you are ever being chased by a taxidermist, don't play dead

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master






    Lloyd Smale's Avatar
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    yup at least for cci small rifle and small pistol mags are the same primer. Id have to guess for the other brands theres not enough difference between them to worry about it.
    Soldier of God, sixgun junky, Retired electrical lineman. My office was a 100 feet in the air, closer to God the better

  6. #6
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    dragon813gt's Avatar
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    I use CCI and have always used SR primers. All of my loads are worked up w/ them. I didnít want to keep SPM for a single revolver at the time. Having to stock less items means more of the ones you need.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I was gifted several thousand CCI 400 a few years ago, so did a comparison of WSP, my usual pistol primer, and them, with mild 357 loads Bullet was 358495, powders were 3gr/bullseye and 3.4/red dot. Gun was S&W 19 6" barrel. Accuracy was best with the WSP primers, but not by much. Velocities were about 50fps higher with the CCI 400 with both powders. Points of impact with the CCI 400 were lower than with WSP and required a small sight adjustment with both powders. I shot up all of the CCI primers without any problems.

  8. #8
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    sutherpride59's Avatar
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    This is a great thread, I’ve been trying to find magnum primer for my 357 for the last weeek and never even thought about using small rifle primers.

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy Reddirt62's Avatar
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    During the great Obama drought I reloaded thousands of 9mm with SR with no issues. FWIW.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Forrest r's Avatar
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    I use these primers for:
    357's
    9mm's
    223's
    [IMG][/IMG]

    Did some testing with a short bbl'd 357, H110 & those primers pictured above last week. Low sd/es with the 158gr/357/H110/primers pictured above.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master Ed_Shot's Avatar
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    I jump on SR primers when I see them on sale... all I use for 357 any more. Agree with Reddirt62, when large pistol primers were hard to come buy I found that SPM and SR primers worked just fine in 45 ACP small primer brass.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master


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    Kind of what I was figuring. I knew there was a metal thickness difference but I expected the priming compound to be about the same. Since I am not a hot rodder with my loads, I should get by fine.
    Thanks for the responses guys./beagle
    diplomacy is being able to say, "nice doggie" until you find a big rock.....

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
    Dragonheart's Avatar
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    Small pistol & small rifle are basically the same primer the difference is the hardness/thickness of the metal. If your firing pin hits hard enough then it doesn't make any difference other than a hard hit can punch a hole in a soft primer. A light hit may not fire a hard primer. CCI primers are harder primers and Federal are the softest. Winchester and the others fall somewhere in between. If you have a tuned handgun, which usually will have a lighter strike, I would choose Federal Primers. I use Winchester for everything else.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master Hick's Avatar
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    I got a little distracted one day when priming cases for my 38 Special and my 223 Remington-- put the wsp primers in the 223 cases and the wsr primers in the 38 cases. Neither load caused any problem, and they shot to the same POI as with the proper primers. While I would not ordinarily do this, I'm convinced my firearms don't care which they get.
    Hick: Iron sights!

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    I have read this post to the end and learn something. I have read different things also and this breaks it all down to understand better.Thank you
    Life Member of NRA,NTA,DAV ,ITA. Also member of FTA,CBA

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Back during the Obama shortages, I ran short of small pistol magnum primers for the .357 Magnum. I did have small rifle primers. I used them. No problems with ignition in several revolvers and no excess pressure signs. Used them for 3 or 4 years.

  17. #17
    Boolit Mold
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    Interesting thread! All over the internet I have been told to use sp primers for my 22 Hornet. I have used CCI small rifle for 30 years but wanting to experiment I decided to give it a try. My standard load is 10grs of H110 and a 40gr projectile. Different primers - same results. I saw no increase in accuracy that everyone said I would see. Just maybe this thread explains that.

  18. #18
    Boolit Buddy
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    As many others already answered the only difference between (at least CCI) SPM and SR is the thickness of the cup. Since I couldnt find SPM around me I started using SR as replacement for 357 Magnum and I never looked back. My Ruger GP100 MC has no problems with SR primers and you probably wont neither unless you installed some super light hammer springs.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master WRideout's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    This is from another site:

    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.
    I once had an abundance of CCI SR primers, and a dearth of SP primers of any description. I used the SR primers in my 38 spl with no noticeable problems.

    Wayne
    What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - or else it gives you a bad rash.
    Venison is free-range, organic, non-GMO and gluten-free

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
    Tom W.'s Avatar
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    Well well, I have a few boxes from when I was loading for a .454.

    Now I know what to do with them......
    Tom
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    Did I ever mention that I hate to trim brass?

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
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