Magnum loads without Magnum primers?

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bearing01

Bearcat
Joined
Sep 15, 2009
Messages
71
Location
San Diego
Hi All,

I read in places on the net where people reload say 357 Magnum and don't use the magnum primers. Some say they have done it for years. The rule is that you shouldn't.

This weekend I was looking at the Alliant powder website Magnum recipes and they call for the CCI 500 regular small pistol primer. The 550 is the magnum primer.

http://www.alliantpowder.com/reloaders/ ... ulletid=30

Has anyone used regular non-magnum primers with magnum loads and had bad problems? I got the regular primers and no magnums.
 

SBH4628

Blackhawk
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Oct 28, 2009
Messages
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Indiana
I hardly ever use magnum primers. I have never had a problem. Stick with the load data and you will do just fine :D
 

c.r.

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
436
Location
Texas
I don't reload for my rifles, so the following applies to my knowledge of handgun reloading.

Just because you are re-loading for a magnum cartridge does not mean you need a magnum primer. Before I began reloading I thought that all magnum cartridges needed magnum primers and non magnum cartridges needed regular primers. then before I began reloading, I read some manuals and figured it out.

I follow my reloading manuals and use the type (magnum or regular) they call for.

Even different manuals will call for different primers. This can espcecially be seen with 2400 in old manuals and newer manuals.

the older manuals that I have, list 2400 using a magnum primer. newer manuals rarely show 2400 using a magnum primer.

one thing to know is that Winchester's Large Pistol primer can be used when a magnum or a regular primer is called for. The same is NOT true for their small pistol primers.

The latest Lee edition requires ONLY magnum primers when using h-110

~c.r.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
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Good article about primers, magnum or otherwise in the Sept "Shooting Times" by Allan Jones who worked at CCI....Dennis (And FWIW, I too use WLP pretty much exclusively and don't much worry about it. Seems to light off H-110, LilGun, W-296 etc just fine...)
 

WyoGunner

Single-Sixer
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May 27, 2009
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Location
Cheyenne, Wyoming
I wouldn't even worry about substituting a non-mag primer for a mag primer. The performance might not be the BEST, but it will work. I have actually done the opposite which is much more hazardous. I loaded some .357 mag rounds with Unique powder and CCI 550 primers when the manual called for 500s. My experience opened up my eyes to the many variances in reloading data. I originally bought the mag primers because I couldn't find any regular ones. I used an old Speer loading manual and loaded in the middle of the road to be safe. After a lot of consultation with members on this site, I found out that I was actually three tenths of a grain over the newly established max for the load. I became a little apprehensive to shoot the loads and ended up pulling them and loading in the middle of the road according to a newer Speer manual. In the meantime, I sent Alliant a message and asked them for advice. I shot the newly loaded rounds and they felt weaker to me than some factory loads. I recently received a response from Alliant and there associate said the original loads would have been fine in my Gp100. He also mentioned that a lot of the newer ranges are lower. Apparently a lot lower because Speer 11's min is the new Speer max.

The whole experience as lead me to believe that a lot of load data out there today comes from what they believe you can get the most consistent performance from and what will not get them sued.

All in all, consult your manual, but don't believe it is 100% accurate as far as the type of primer and the min/max loads go. Still, use common sense and don't flirt with extremes when using primers that the manufacturer doesn't recommend.
 

drew76

Bearcat
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Sacramento, CA
I use standard LP primers with max doses of AA9 in 45 colt and it lights off consitently. I have heard that certain powders such as H-110 benefit from magnum primers so that is what I use in my 357 when using H-110.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
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Location
51st state of Jefferson
Mostly I stay away from "magnum" primers because I've seen more consistent velocities without them. I've used CCI for decades in rifle loads but have had a few problems in sixguns with them, both S&W and Ruger, failing to fire. Supposedly a CCI primer isn't "harder" than a WW or Fed but a couple of my mainsprings seem to think otherwise. Anyway, big bores get WLP around here. As far as the .357 goes, I don't know that a mag primer is ever really "needed" unless you live in sub zero climate. Guess what? I like WSP for the .357! :lol: But by all means, follow the data you're using.....Dennis (who will gladly buy most ANY primers these days!)
 

Jeff H

Bearcat
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Cincinnati, OH
From what I have read, the only use for mag primers is for H-110/Win 296 powder. Blue Dot and 2400 use regular primers. Not sure about the other brands.

I have only used 2400 and regular primers work just fine in my 357mag.
 

btrumanj

Single-Sixer
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Jan 29, 2005
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drew76":17wdcw0h said:
I use standard LP primers with max doses of AA9 in 45 colt and it lights off consitently. I have heard that certain powders such as H-110 benefit from magnum primers so that is what I use in my 357 when using H-110.

If I remember correctly Accurate Arms advises not to use magnum primers with their powders. I've used AA9 in both .357 and .45 Colt with regular primers with good results.
 

wixedmords

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IMR-4227 and H-4227 can also benefit from mag primers. They will burn more thoroughly. A good crimp is usually needed also. But, that's another thread.

If I was shooting Bullseye, 231 or any quicker powder, a mag primer wouldn't be needed. It all comes down to doing your homework and testing. I'd likely use a mag primer with 2400 for the better burn. For me the break point would be down in the Universal/Unique area in theory, but I'd still test. Testing is the name of the game.
 

Steve C

Bearcat
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Oct 8, 2005
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Phoenix, AZ, USA
The term "magnum" on a box of primers doesn't indicate its for loading MAGNUM loads. It means they are a type of primer that have more active compound, they burn longer and are generally described as being "hotter". These primers are used for hard to ignite powder and for ammunition that will be shot in very cold weather.

With some powders like 2400, magnum primers will drive up pressures and if used the loads will usually show pressure signs well before maximum listed charges are reached. You should always use the type of primer listed for use with the load in the manual if available.

If you substitue magnum primers for standard primers you should lower your powder charge back to a start level and rework up your load.
 

ebg3

Bearcat
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Dec 9, 2009
Messages
76
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Eastern NC
I've always used small rifle primers when small pistol primers are called for! I've shot over 100,000 .40S&W loads with rifle primers and many thousands of 38Supers with rifle primers and have had no problems at all. Because the cups are harder with rifle primers, they don't flow in and around the firing pin hole of a 1911 stlye gun like a pistol primer does. This is when high pressures are reached with fast burning powders. Recently I've been loading .357 loads with rifle primers and ww-296 under a Keith-stlye 173gr cast bullet. After reading all these posts, I'm starting to get nervous about using rifle primers! I read somewhere that .357 loads in the big Freedom arms revolver use rifle primers I figured they would be OK in a 50th annv. blackhawk. If anyone knows any negatives about using a rifle primer, please post them.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
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bearing01":24tfn8bm said:
Has anyone used regular non-magnum primers with magnum loads and had bad problems?

Hi,

Short answer, yes.

Details:

.357 Mag using Win 296 under cast bullets. Used WSPs to "see what would happen" cuz I was running short of WSPM primers.

Rounds were highly inconsistent in report and feel. One sounded VERY weak, and didn't feel right at all. I checked the barrel (3" GP) and the bullet had cleared, but there was a lot of crud in there.

The bullet was recovered 15-20 ft in front of the firing line w/ a big glob of powder stuck to the base. It looked like it got just hot enough to melt together.

I stopped shooting that ammo right there, and later finished it off in my 7 1/2" Bisley. All cleared the barrel this time, but where any one of them would go next was anybody's guess.

No problems have been encountered using standard small pistol primers w/ other powders, though some Alliant recipes have called for magnums in .357 Mag recipes, and my chrono tells me they are usually more consistent (though not really faster.)

My .44 Mags are all loaded w/ WLPs so I have nothing else to compare them to.

Rick C
 

DGW1949

Hunter
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Way back when I was a pup, I used magnum primers for magnum cartridges and regulars for regular because I "thought" that was how it was intended. Nowdays though, I tend to read the book(s) and follow what I see recomended. I'm saying "tend to" here because there are times that I use a primer that I know aint right....but that I know from experience will work for certain (limited) applications...meaning my own loads, built for a specific purpose, for use in my own gun....none of which can even be found in a manual.

On the other hand, if one is loading +P, "magnum" or any other high-end ammo, using any type of ball powder (for any type load), or has any sort of doubt about any certain primer, it would be wise to consult with the powder maker and/or a couple of recent manuals. It's just too easy to get into trouble not to.

DGW
 

bearing01

Bearcat
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San Diego
Since creating this post, I have shot a hole bunch of 357 Mag loaded with Bullseye and Unique with standard small pistol primers. Results were good. Probably the fact that these are fairly fast powders and that the loaded round is only half filled with powder makes the standard primer just fine.

I have since loaded some 357 Mag with blue dot. One load book said to use Mag primers and the other book called for standard ones. The tables in different books seem to have comparable powder weights. Because Blue-Dot is slower and tends to fill up the case, I'm going with the magnum primers on these. Maybe I'll load a few with the standard primers, just to compare the difference.
 

dougader

Hunter
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OryGun
My experience with Blue Dot and magnum primers resulted in erratic velocties, pressure spikes, flattened primers and sticky case extraction in a S&W 686.

I lean toward the idea that mag primers are best with spherical or ball powders like H110, WW 296, H108, etc.

Recent data listed for 2400, AA#9, etc. state not to use mag primers with these powders.

Flake powders tend to ignite easily and really don't need a magnum primer. Blue Dot, 2400, Unique and Bullseye, for example, don't need a magnum primer. Some data suggests that using a mag primer when not necessary can result in quicker max pressure being reached and lower velocities than you'll get when using standard primers.
 

WESHOOT2

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Duxbury, Vermont, USA
btrumanj":ye87gx5o said:
drew76":ye87gx5o said:
I use standard LP primers with max doses of AA9 in 45 colt and it lights off consitently. I have heard that certain powders such as H-110 benefit from magnum primers so that is what I use in my 357 when using H-110.

If I remember correctly Accurate Arms advises not to use magnum primers with their powders. I've used AA9 in both .357 and .45 Colt with regular primers with good results.

Accurate does indeed warn about AA9 and magnum primers.


FWIW, I often use magnum primers when regular primers are specified for more uniform ignition in sub-zero temperatures.
 

Sonnytoo

Blackhawk
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Aug 4, 2007
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florida
Those who always use magnum primers with magnum cartridges should look to their powder for the answer. You are right; generally use magnum primers only with slower burning powders like H110, Lil' Gun, HS-7(in big-bore revolver cases) and Win 296. For H110 powder only, in all temperatures, use Magnum primers.
Generally, use standard primers with everything else. Accurate Arms and Alliant (Hercules) recommend a standard primer ONLY with all of their powders intended for handguns. So, only use standard primers with your 2400 loads.
One lab reported a 10,000 psi increase in .44 Mag loads, with 2400 powder, when a switch was made from standard to magnum primers.
Speer Manual #13 also says, in the .357 and .44 magnum chapters, that performance was significantly improved when they changed from Magnum to standard primers.
This info comes from Brian Pearce, via HANDLOADER 236, August 2005.

This has been interesting for me to read. Good stuff! Back issues are available from Wolfe Pub Co, 800-899-7810. Ask for Melinda. (I have no interest in this, other than I've ordered several back-copies in the last month or two.
Sonnytoo
 

ebg3

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 9, 2009
Messages
76
Location
Eastern NC
I've seen a couple of posts saying pressures are higher with magnum primers. I can see that as a plus...If you start working the load up, chances are you can reach your desired or max. velocity using less powder than with a non-magnum primer. When you have a max. load, it is important to NOT change primers or powder lots without backing of your charge and working the load back up. I guess I can see where the powder makers are coming from when they say do not use magnum primers with XXX powder. Evidently they have a concern with added psi at the max. recommended charge.
I still can't find a negative for using a magnum or small rifle primer in place of pistol primers. I do know large rifle primers are dimensionally different than large pistol primers, so they won't interchange.
 
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