1911Forum banner

1 - 20 of 21 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
291 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
FYI - same post in thefiringline.com, so forgive me!

With the critical shortage of small pistol primers going on, I tried something yesterday that yielded "interesting" results. I found 500 old CCI small rifle primers in my inventory. Having read in several forums where people have successfully used CCI 400 small rifle primers as substitutes in small pistols by backing charge way off, I decided to try it in a 40 S&W.

I loaded 10 rounds using 2.8 grains of Bullseye over a 180 grain HiTek-coated lead bullet. I loaded them in a mag for one of my striker fired pistol. Three of the ten failed to fire, even with an apparently good strike on the primer. OK, I concluded that these were too old to used reliably even though the ones that did fire seemed very mild in recoil yet still cycled the pistol. There were certainly no signs of over-pressure.

I was going to toss the three failed rounds but decided just for the heck of it to see if they'd fire in a hammer fired pistol. I didn't expect them to, but they did! What's up with that?

Lastly, and perhaps of more concern and reason not to use them in pistol loads was that I noticed when shooting them in both guns, I could see sparks fly up from the ejection port on both guns. I then fired my normal reloads in both guns and there were no sparks. Obvious conclusion - NOT GOOD, so no more magnum rifle primers in pistols. However, I wonder what causes this? Seems like over pressure would cause more recoil and deformed brass, neither of which were in evidence. Any ideas?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
Rifle primers, or so I've read, tend to be made of much harder metal to survive a rifle firing pin.

It's not that they were too old, as you suspected, but too hard for a lighter pistol pin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,175 Posts
Agree with both above posts. Small rifle primers are said to use heavier cups like small pistol magnum primers do to contain higher pressures of rifle and magnum loads. I have one striker fired 9mm that will fire standard primers 100% but with magnum or rifle primers they drop to only 75%. The rifle and magnum primers work in another striker fired pistol and all fire in a hammer fired pistol...

Primers aren't as delicate as some think. The oldest primers I have reloaded were 25 years old (time in my possession), many reloaders have successfully used primers much older (IIRC one member reportedly used 60 year old primers successfully).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,875 Posts
Something I thought of last night...

OP might want to try the "Pencil Test".
Drop a regular #2 pencil into the barrel, point straight up, and press the trigger.
See how high the pencil jumps.
Try that in both of the pistols you used and see what the difference is?

As an aside, this test should be done with an empty chamber, as a loaded round
will probably cause false results, and may damage the pencil. :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Your post said magnum rifle primers, these will be inconsistent at best. CCI 450 Small Rifle MAGNUM primers have thicker cups than CCI 400 Small Rifle STANDARD primers. I expect problems if using MAGNUM rifle primers in pistols. However, CCI Techs have been quoted as saying the CCI 400 Small Rifle STANDARD primer is the exact same as CCI 550 Smal Pistol MAGNUM primer. I use the 400 and 550 interchangeably with absolutelu ZERO difference in performance.
I'm told the Winchester Small Pistol MAGNUM primer is also the same as Winchester Small Rifle STANDARD primer but have not yet tested this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
352 Posts
Back when I shot IPSC with 1911's in .38 Super I used small rifle primers all the time when making major. Worked great.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,613 Posts
Your post said magnum rifle primers, these will be inconsistent at best. CCI 450 Small Rifle MAGNUM primers have thicker cups than CCI 400 Small Rifle STANDARD primers. I expect problems if using MAGNUM rifle primers in pistols. However, CCI Techs have been quoted as saying the CCI 400 Small Rifle STANDARD primer is the exact same as CCI 550 Smal Pistol MAGNUM primer. I use the 400 and 550 interchangeably with absolutelu ZERO difference in performance.
I'm told the Winchester Small Pistol MAGNUM primer is also the same as Winchester Small Rifle STANDARD primer but have not yet tested this.
I have used the winchester spm and lr in 357mag loads. Ran both across the chrono and the difference was at most 40fps. Not enough to get worried about.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
576 Posts
During a couple of the great primer shortages I have used about 5000 small rifle primers, standard and magnum, when that was all I could find. Mostly in 9mm and some in 357 Mag.
I could tell zero difference in any loads, except my Ruger LC9s and Walther PPQ where not 100% reliable. My CZ 75, Sig P210A, and FN High Power fired every one with no problem. All my revolvers set them off fine.
I would use them with confidence except in my striker fired guns.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,765 Posts
I found that what I thought was a case of small pistol primers was large.
So I will be shooting more .45s and using small rifle primers in 9mm as the panic continues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,982 Posts
Lastly, and perhaps of more concern and reason not to use them in pistol loads was that I noticed when shooting them in both guns, I could see sparks fly up from the ejection port on both guns. I then fired my normal reloads in both guns and there were no sparks. Obvious conclusion - NOT GOOD, so no more magnum rifle primers in pistols. However, I wonder what causes this? Seems like over pressure would cause more recoil and deformed brass, neither of which were in evidence. Any ideas?
Sparks from the ejection port? Without having video shot from the side I am not sure how you would be absolutely sure of where the sparks were coming from during the firing sequence as things happen so quickly.

My guess would be this-

Have you examined the head of the cartridge and the breach face of your pistols thoroughly? It is possible that with a bit more gas output from the rifle primers in a weaker pistol case there was some leaking past the primer and gas being deflected up carrying bits of fouling with it....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,235 Posts
Using old primers....

It is not "how old" the primers are, it is how the primers were stored over the years.

If primers are stored in a relatively non-humid and consistent yet moderate temperature, they should work fine even if they are "old." The worst thing is to have oil on a reloading press that may contaminate the primers.....

I shoot so many rounds of ammo per year, my primers never get old since I am constantly purchasing more primers.......:)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,739 Posts
Clearly, we should all stop using striker fired pistols immediately.
The testing has confirmed as much.......:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,982 Posts
Clearly, we should all stop using striker fired pistols immediately.
The testing has confirmed as much.......:)
Oh, don't scare me like that...

Er, wait...uh, Lemon Squeezers don't count as "striker fired" do they?

;)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,739 Posts
Hmmmmm.....lemon squeezer........yes, I shall use that terminology this weekend. I hope that’s not where Striker got his handle!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,982 Posts
Er...

honestly, there was no consciously applied double entendre there, though I suspect some of the younger folks here would miss the reference to certain old S&W "Safety Hammerless" revolvers. For the unfamiliar I recommend the following link-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_&_Wesson_Safety_Hammerless

Though I do hope you enjoyed your weekend!

;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
During a couple of the great primer shortages I have used about 5000 small rifle primers, standard and magnum, when that was all I could find. Mostly in 9mm and some in 357 Mag.
I could tell zero difference in any loads, except my Ruger LC9s and Walther PPQ where not 100% reliable. My CZ 75, Sig P210A, and FN High Power fired every one with no problem. All my revolvers set them off fine.
I would use them with confidence except in my striker fired guns.
I've used CCI 400's in 9mm (fired out of my Hi Power) and .357 Mag revolver ammo for decades with zero problems
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,739 Posts
I can certainly see where it would cause issues with certain guns. A hammer spring on my Smith 19 was backed out too far. It would occasionally skip on a CCI. Tightened it up, problem solved. Some guns are what they are.
 
1 - 20 of 21 Posts
Top