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small rifle primers in small pistol 38s

Dirty Dog Doug

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I have lots rifle primers 

has anyone loaded them ?

I think they burn slower ?

I load 3.4 grains of bullseye  130 grain bullet 

no real hurry I still have 3,000 small pistols 



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Rifle primers are stronger/thicker than pistol primers.  Like the brass itself, primers obdurate to seal the primer hole.  Pistol loads are not high enough in pressure to expand a rifle primer.  Since it won't expand, a rifle primer is likely to simply back out of its hole, locking up the revolver.  Caution advised.

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From what I understand they can be used. Just not the reverse, small pistol primers in rifle cartridges. 
The one thing that is for sure is the thickness of the primer cups. Rifle primers are thicker therefore a good strong hammer spring is necessary. 

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thanks  when get the Niece projects done I will  prime up some brass test if very light spring 1873 will set them off 


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My experience thus far, as I also have a boatload of small rifle, but slim on small pistol.  My slicked up (not sure what size lighter spring but purely guessing it’s 17 lb, as they aren’t quite as light as a pard’s with 15 lb springs)  OMV vaqueros don’t care, they set off both small pistol, small pistol magnum, and small rifle without trouble. As far as primers sealing in the pocket or backing out I shoot 3.2, 3.3grn Titegroup under a 125grn bullet, and have had no issues thus far with primers backing out or locking up a pistol. 


My slicked up Uberti 1873 is another story. It only likes Fed small pistol.  In slow shooting, it will set off Winchester primers which are labeled standard and magnum. However when I go fast in cowboy, I get light strikes and jack out rounds. Tried some CCI small pistol and similar results as Winchester’s. When I test ran some Sellier & Bellot small rifle primers slowly, it had about an 80% fire rate on first attempt. Reset hammer and they went off with second strike.  My Rugers have no issue with the S & B small rifle primers. 


Current stock is over 12k small rifle primers. I thought more were small pistol. But alas, I’ll retune my 73 to set off the small rifle before giving up shooting. Unless I can start finding Fed small pistol again.  

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I had heard that rifle primers are taller than pistol primers.  This is why some load data shows rifle primers for .32 WCF.

I measured some Win SP and SR primers.  The rifle primers that I measured are .004" taller.

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1 minute ago, Tom Bullweed said:

I had heard that rifle primers are taller than pistol primers.  This is why some load data shows rifle primers for .32 WCF.

I measured some Win SP and SR primers.  The rifle primers that I measured are .004" taller.

Sr and sp are thesame size.

Lr is taller than lp


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just what I was hoping to hear   I use mag small pistol primers now just cause they had the most of them I could buy 5000 


now we are deciding what grill she wants 

you want the one that is the most assembled  

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I found this information online and I saved in Notes on my iPhone


How about some info on primers from an authority on primers:




Based on an article by John Barsness - GUNS magazine pg 26 May 2009. [JB, formerly of Handloader is one of the most qualified gunwriters when it comes to primers and reloading in general]

Information from the Speer #14, Hornady #7, Nosler#6, and Lyman #49 reloading manuals, Alliant and Accurate Arms data.

Additional Information from James Calhoon - "Primers and Pressure" Varmint Hunter Magazine, October, 1995


Hopefully this explains a bit more about, not only primers in general, but specific characteristics that can aid a reloader in choosing the optimum sparkplug.  Pertinent information will be added to this section when more information becomes available.




Primers come in different strengths, technically known as “brisance,” a word defined as “the shattering effect of a high explosive.”

Primer brisance mostly depends on the length of the flame that leaps out of the flash-hole after the firing pin whacks the primer cup.  This flame can also be manipulated to last a little longer, by adding tiny particles of other flammable material to the priming compound.  These differences really can effect not just accuracy but pressure.


For instance, in a very small rifle cartridge such as the .22 Hornet, a “hotter” primer might start to dislodge the bullet before the powder really gets going.  Instead of a relatively gentle, slowly accelerating push, the bullet gets cruelly hit hard.  This is why some Hornet fans use small pistol primers, with much milder brisance than small rifle primers.


Really huge rifle cases such as the biggest Weatherbys, Remington Ultra Mags, and older British African cartridges require a lot of very slow-burning powder to operate at all.  Slower-burning powders are normally more difficult to ignite, and a bigger flame of longer duration helps, especially in cooler weather.  The first “magnum” primer, the Federal 215 was designed for this very purpose.  Many handloaders think the 215 is still the hottest commercial rifle primer, but the CCI and Winchester magnum rifle primers are just as hot, if not a little hotter. 


Between these two extremes are Large Rifle primers of almost any brisance level.  Remington and CCI primers tend to be the mildest “standard” primers and Winchesters the hottest (the reason that Winchester never had a magnum rifle LR primer until recently), with Federals somewhere between.  Deciding which to use depends not only on the size of the case but the powder. 


How fast a powder burns depends not only on granule size (bigger granules have more relative surface area) but on exterior coatings.  Extruded powders, such as relatively small-grained 4895 or large-grained H-4831 depend mostly on granule size to control burning rate.  Ball powders don’t vary much in granule size, so depend mostly on relatively flame-resistant exterior coatings to control burning rate.  By definition, these coatings make ball powders harder to ignite.


For example, in the 30-06, IMR 4895 is very easy to ignite, one reason it’s often suggested for reduced loads down to 2/3 of a case’s capacity.  We’ll probably get the very best accuracy from a mild primer such as the CCI 200.

To make the 30-06 zip however, we might try Ramshot Big Game.  The Ramshot ball powders burn cleaner than most ball powders, but they also require more flame.  Winchester Large Rifle primers are the hottest “standard” rifle primer and often perform very well with Ramshot powders, but if they don’t definitely try a magnum primer.  This can often result in smaller groups.


Something else to remember is that competition rifle shooters often favor mild primers i.e. primers that produce just enough heat to properly ignite the powder.  They feel that as primer brisance gets higher, it also gets less repeatable from primer to primer.  Another train of thought is that the powder is ignited a tad more gently.  When this happens, the front slope of the pressure curve is less steep.  Which means the bullet is pushed a tad more gently into the rifling which tends to deform it less.  Whatever the scientific reason, competitive rifle shooters seem to feel that the milder primers give both better velocity uniformity and accuracy.


The same principles also applies to handgun cases.  You might find that magnum primers aren’t good for milder loads, especially with cast bullets for some reason or another (Elmer Keith claimed that the hot flame tended to slightly melt the base of the bullet - no way of knowing if that is true.)  Whatever the case, often using a standard pistol primer can reduce group size with milder or cast loads.

On the other hand, magnum primers are almost always recommended for magnum loads, especially if hard-to-ignite ball powders like W296, or its H-110 twin, are used.  In fact, magnum pistol primers were developed for the large case revolver magnums like the .357, .41, and .44 Magnums.  They seldom are needed for standard autoloader rounds or standards like the .38 Special.

Some powder manufacturers recommend standard pistol primers with certain of their powders even in magnum pistol loads.  Alliant 2400 is one where the use of magnum primers is strongly discouraged, and another is Accurate Arms, which recommends standard pistol primers with their handgun powders, including #9, unless “they provide better accuracy in your firearm.”


There also is an unusual situation that should be considered when deciding whether to use standard or magnum primers with ball powders that is pointed out in the Speer manual: Powder manufacturers may state that their propellents do not require magnum primers.  This is generally true at maximum safe pressure levels.  But Speer’s ballistic testing fully explores propellent behavior over the usable range of charge weights.  They often found that a particular propellent works fine with standard CCI primers at the maximum safe pressure.  However it may not consistently ignite with lower charge weights.  In the lower pressure regimes typical of “starting loads” they commonly saw increased extremes of pressure and velocity.  Some ball powders ignited by standard CCI primers will even produce short hang-fires–called “click-bangs” for obvious reasons–at start load levels but not at maximum safe pressure.  In those cases the use of magnum CCI primers to insure performance over the range of charge weights is recommended (or perhaps a switch to a hotter standard primer such as the Winchester WLR).


So as you can see, picking the right primer brisance can be very important and can give you optimum accuracy and consistent performance.  Fortunately for us there are primers of every brisance level in every category of primer, whether it be standard or magnum. 




Different primers have different cup thicknesses.  You can see the importance of cup thickness when primers are considered for semiautomatic rifles that have free-floating firing pins.  This topic is discussed in greater detail in the post "MILSPEC PRIMERS FOR SEMI-AUTOS FAQ AND INFO" that follows the primer chart.


Handgun primers have thinner cups than rifle primers, making them easier to ignite with the typically weaker firing pin fall of handguns.  Small Pistol primer cups are .017" thick, while Large Pistol primer cups are .020" thick.  This is the reason using handgun primers in .22 Hornet rifle loads sometimes results in pierced primers in some guns.  Obviously their substitution in the high pressure .223 Remington would not be a good idea.


Even the same type of primers from different manufacturers can have different cup thickness.  Federal primers tend to have thinner cups than Winchester, Remington and CCI primers.  On occasion this can be handy.  Some revolver trigger and action lightening jobs may result in a lighter hammer fall that results in not all the primers going off.  A switch to Federal pistol primers can make the load 100% again.  The same thing can happen in cold weather with some “modern” bolt actions with light, fast firing pins.  These are supposed to whack primers with the same approximate energy as an old-fashioned 98 Mauser strike, but under some adverse conditions they can occasionally use a little help.  Federal primers can provide that help.

With Remington small rifle primers, the 6 ½  primer has a thin cup and is not recommended for higher pressure rounds like the common .223 Remington.  It was intended for the .22 Hornet.  When Remington introduced their .17 Remington round in 1971 they found that the 6 ½ primer was not suitable to the high-pressure .17.  The 7 ½ BR primer was developed for this reason.  According to Remington, the 7 ½  has a 25% greater cup thickness and they state on their web site: "In rifle cartridges, the 6-1/2 small rifle primer should not be used in the 17 Remington, 222 Remington or the 223 Remington. The 7-1/2 BR is the proper small rifle primer for these rounds."

CCI/Speer Technical Services says: "The CCI 400 primer does have a thinner cup bottom than CCI 450, #41 or BR4 primers... [with] the CCI #41 primer... there is more 'distance' between the tip of the anvil and the bottom of the cup." so that is their AR15 recommendation, although it seems like there are no complaints with using the BR4 and 450 primers by AR15 shooters and reloaders, in general.  The #41 just gives you a little more safety margin for free-floating firing pins and would be the best choice for commercial reloaders who have no control over the rifles their .223 ammo is used in. 


Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work hardened state of the brass used to make the primer cup. They are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Manufacturers specify to their brass suppliers the hardness of brass desired. It is possible that a primer manufacturer could choose a harder brass in order to keep material thickness down and reduce costs.  Winchester WSR primers are somewhat thin, yet seem to be resistant to slam-fires and this is likely due to this hardness factor.


Large rifle primers all appear to have the same cup thickness of .027", no matter what the type. 


This also affects pressure tolerance.  Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at moderate pressures(40,000 psi) should use CCI 400, Federal 200, Rem 6 1/2, or Win WSR. Such cases include 22 CCM, 22 Hornet and the 218 Bee. These primers can also used in handguns such as the 9mm., 357, etc. Other cases that use the small rifle primer can use the above primers only if moderate loads are used. Keep to the lower end of reloading recommendations.

Cases that utilize Small Rifle primers and operate at higher pressures (55,000 psi) should use CCI 450, CCI BR4, Fed 205 and Rem 7 1/2 etc.




The difference between match primers and standard primers is the degree of testing and quality control used in their making.  Hornady reports that in their research that match-grade primers performed very, very consistently from load to load as measured in their pressure tests.  CCI states that Benchrest cups and anvils are selected for exceptional uniformity.  During the assembly operation, the operator who meters the primer mix into the cups (or "charger") is chosen from the most experienced workers with an outstanding record of consistency.  The BR line runs at a little slower pace to provide time for extra inspection.




Primers can be damaged by extreme heat, cold, and humidity.  Therefore proper storage is necessary.  We have seen primer shortages and therefore runs on primers by people stocking up for the future.  What would be the use of having 20k primers if you don't store them properly and they deteriorate?


Heat dries out the priming compound making it brittle and subject to disintegration during the seating process, causing a misfire.  Further, the primer can still detonate if you try to disassemble misfired rounds and punch out the "bad" primer.  That is one reason that de-priming "live" primers is discouraged.  High humidity can cause the priming compound to be too wet to detonate properly as well.  Therefore you should take pains to store primers in a cool, dry place.  No garages, attics, sheds, or damp basements.  Desiccant in the larger container that holds your primer boxes is probably a good idea if it is humid where you live.


Metal ammo cans are popular for storing various items like ammo and brass among reloaders.  However they should not be used to store your primers in (or your powder as well).  If anything sets off those primers (or lights off the powder), the metal can just adds shrapnel.  Of course you shouldn't store primers and powder together for obvious reason.


There are watertight plastic ammo cans like MTM's Sportsman's Dry Box [#SDB-0] or their military-sized (AC30C & AC50C caliber) O-ring sealed plastic ammo cans available, or you could use some type of wooden box etc. that would be a better choice than the usual G.I. steel ammo can for your primer storage.  



Small Handgun Standard .017" cup thickness


CCI 500

Federal 100 - Has a soft cup - good to use if hammer strike is light.

Federal 100M - Match version of above

Magtech PR-SP

Magtech PR-SPC - Lead-free "Clean Range" primer for indoor ranges etc.  

Remington 1 ½

RWS 4031

Winchester WSP

Wolf/Tula Small Pistol SP #KVB-9 - brass cup - "For Standard Pistol loads"

Wolf/Tula Small Pistol #KVB-9SP - "For 9×19 NATO cartridges"

Wolf/Tula Small Pistol #KVB-9S - "For Sporting Pistol loads"


Small Handgun Magnum .017" cup thickness


CCI 550  See Note 1 at the bottom of page  

Federal 200

Federal 200M - Match version of above

Magtech PR-SPM 

Remington 5 ½

RWS 4047

Winchester WSPM

Wolf/Tula Small Pistol Magnum SPM #KVB-9M - brass cup - "For Magnum Pistol loads"


Large Handgun Standard .020" cup thickness


CCI 300 

Federal 150 - Has a thinner cup

Magtech PR-LP

Remington 2 ½

RWS 5337

Winchester WLP

Wolf/Tula Large Pistol LP #KVB-45 - brass cup - "For Standard Pistol loads"


Large Handgun Magnum .020" cup thickness


CCI 350

Federal 155

Wolf/Tula Large Pistol Magnum LPM #KVB-45M - brass cup - For Magnum Pistol loads


Small Rifle Standard


CCI 400 -thin .020" cup, not recommended for AR15 use by CCI/Speer.  Good for .22 Hornet, .30 Carbine.  See Note 1 at the bottom of the page 

CCI BR4 - match primer with a thicker .025" cup.    

Federal 205 - Mil-Spec cup thickness according to Federal - okay for 5.56mm.  .0225" cup thickness.

Federal 205M - same as the 205 but the match version.

Magtech PR-SR - .025" cup thickness (not much feedback yet on this new primer as to AR15 suitability but with the same cup thickness as the Rem 7 1/2 it looks good so far)  

Remington 6 ½ - thin .020" cup, intended for older, lower pressure rounds Remington says do not use for the .223 Rem or other similar pressure rounds.  Good for .22 Hornet, .30 Carbine.

Remington 7 ½ BR - A match or "bench rest" primer.  Lyman & Nosler classify this primer as a Standard.  Remington says the compound is the same as the 6 1/2 but with a thicker .025" cup.

RWS 4033

Winchester WSR - some piercing issues noted when changed from silver to brass cup.  Cup thickness is a bit thinner at .021".  Most say they are good to go for the AR15 despite that, probably because of the hardness of the cup.  Some feel they are less resistant to higher pressures. 

Wolf/Tula Small Rifle SR #KVB-223 - soft, sensitive copper cup, not recommended for AR15/military rifle use or high pressure rounds.  


Small Rifle Magnum


CCI 450 - same thicker .025" cup as the BR4 and #41.

CCI #41 - commercial version of the fully-qualified DOD primer for use in U.S. military ammo.  With this primer there is more 'distance' between the tip of the anvil and the bottom of the cup than with other CCI SR primers.  .025" thick cup.  Same primer mix as CCI 450.

Remington 7 ½ BR - A match or "bench rest" primer.  Hornady, Handloads.com, and Chuck Hawks classify this primer as a Magnum, differing from other sources that classify it as a Standard. .025" cup thickness.  

Wolf/Tula Small Rifle Magnum SRM - hard, less sensitive brass cup intended for AR15/military rifle and high pressure rounds - #KVВ-5,56M.

Wolf/Tula Small Rifle 223 SR223 - #KVB-223M "This is the newest primer available in the Wolf line. It is ever so slightly hotter than the small rifle magnum primer and it comes with a brass colored thick cup. This primer can be used in place of the SRM primer or used when a different powder is used that is hard to ignite." 


Large Rifle Standard


CCI 200 - mild in brisance.  Hard enough for use in semi-automatics.

CCI BR2 - same as the 200 but the match version.  Hard enough for use in semi-automatics.

Federal 210 - medium brisance between CCI/Remington & Winchester.  Do not use in semi-automatics.

Federal 210M - match version of the above primer.  Do not use in semi-automatics.

Magtech PR-LR

Remington 9 ½ - mild in brisance.

RWS 5341    

Winchester WLR - the hottest standard primer.  Hard enough for use in semi-automatics.

Wolf/Tula Large Rifle LR #KVB-7 - all brass - "For Standard Rifle loads".

Wolf/Tula Large Rifle #KVB-7,62 - "For 7,62 NATO cartridges"


Wolf/Tula primers are used by noted match shooter David Tubbs who says: "Be sure they are seated into the case - if not they can be hard to ignite. Russian primers use a different sinoxide compound (closer to the European type), which, in my testing, consistently delivers better extreme spreads over Federal..."  Hard enough for use in semi-automatics.


Large Rifle Magnum


CCI 250 

CCI #34 - commercial version of the fully-qualified DOD primer for use in U.S. military ammo.

Federal 215 - original magnum primer

Remington 9 ½ M - mildest magnum primer.

RWS 5333

Winchester WLRM

Wolf/Tula Large Rifle Magnum LRM #KVB-7M - all brass - "For Magnum Rifle loads".


50 BMG


CCI #35 - commercial version of the fully-qualified DOD primer for use in U.S. military ammo.

Winchester 8312

Wolf/Tula 50 Cal Machine Gun #KVB-50 - For 50 Browning Machine Gun


Primers recommended for use in .223 Rem/5.56 semiautomatic rifle loads:


CCI #41, 450, BR4 (#41 & 450 good with ball powder)

Federal 205, 205M

Remington 7 1/2 BR (good with ball powder)

Winchester WSR (good with ball powder)

Wolf SRM (good with ball powder)

Wolf SR223 (hotter than SRM - great with ball powder)


Primers recommended for use in .308 Win/7.62x51/7.62x39 semiautomatic rifle loads:


CCI #34, 200, BR2, CCI 250

Winchester WLR, WLRM (good with ball powder)

Wolf LR


WOLF/TULA PRIMER APPLICATION CHART FOR ALL PRIMERS - http://www.mpzflame.ru/production/primers/

Wolf and Tula are two of the common U.S. marketing names of primers made by Murom (OJSC «Murom Apparatus Producing plant» "For many years, our constant partners are «The Tula Cartridge Works», «Barnaul Cartridge Plant» and others.").




NOTE 1:  According to Speer/CCI Technical Services - Both the CCI 550 Small Pistol Magnum and CCI 400 Small Rifle primers are identical in size.  Both primers use the same cup metal and share the same cup thickness.  Both primers use the same primer compound formula and same amount of primer compound.  They can be used interchangeably.





Some rifles are much more susceptible to slam-fires than others.  The SKS/AK are more susceptible than the AR15 and M1 Garand and M1A/M14, for example.  Therefore, there is more 'forgiveness' built in to them as to primer selection.  Another factor is rifle condition, parts tolerances, and cleanliness.  A clean in-spec rifle is much more tolerant than one that isn't.  



Another possibility is to have a MURRAY'S GUNSMITHING www.murraysguns.com spring-loaded firing pin installed in your SKS.  This frees up your primer and ammunition choices.


The SPEER reloading manual is an excellent source of expert advice and states the following:


A slam-fire is the discharging of a cartridge in a firearm by the closing of the bolt without a pull of the trigger.  In most cases this is a phenomenon associated with military-style semi-automatic rifles and handloaded ammunition.  The slam-fire can be caused by a high primer or by a heavy, unsprung firing pin.  High primers contribute to slam-fires because the closing bolt drives the high primer cup against the anvil.  All handloads must be checked for high primers; this caution is even more important when shooting military-style semi-auto rifles. 


Slam-fires have been reported even when primers were properly seated. Many semi-auto service rifles have no firing pin spring and the firing pin itself is quite heavy. The inertia of the firing pin may cause it to snap forward as the bolt stops, firing the cartridge. If the bolt is not yet fully locked, the result can be a ruptured case with the potential for gun damage and injury to the shooter. Military primers are less sensitive than commercial primers to minimize this hazard.

In 1994, CCI introduced the No. 34 [large rifle] and No. 41 [small rifle] primers for military semi-auto rifles... No. 34 primers are recommended for reloading 7.62mm NATO, 30-06 and 7.62x39 ammo for military semi-auto firearms.

No. 34 and No. 41 primers feature mil-spec sensitivity to minimize slam-fires.  They are both fully DOD-qualified primers for use in U.S. military ammunition.  However, no primer can provide 100% protection against slam-fires if the loader doesn't seat the primers deeply enough, or the rifle has a headspace problem or an out-of-spec firing pin.


PETER G. KOKALIS, noted military firearm author and expert, especially on select fire weapons, former Special Forces operator and combat veteran stated in the "Fighting Firearms" article on "Kalashniklones" the following:


I have fired tens of thousands of rounds through several hundred Kalashnikovs of every make and configuration [and one can assume extensive SKS experience as well]... Military issue Kalashnikovs and their semi-auto equivalents [and the SKS] do not have spring-loaded firing pins. If commercial or reloaded ammunition - usually with primers more sensitive than milspec because of a thinner cup and sometimes a difference in the primer mixture - is fired in rifles of this type, the free-floating firing pin can, and eventually will, result in a slam fire with ignition out of battery. The resulting detonation can lead to self-destruction of the firearm and anatomical damage of varying severity to the shooter... [going on to speak of the then-loaded Black Hills 7.62x39 ammo] Aware of this primer-sensitivity problem, Black Hills is using the CCI No. 34 milspec primer...



Manual delivered with a CMP Garand, Ammunition section paragraph 3:


...In most military semi-automatic rifles including the M1, the firing pin will lightly mark ("dimple") the primer of a cartridge as it is chambered when the bolt closes.  Military ammunition has harder (less sensitive) primers than are usually found in commercial ammunition or available to handloaders [the CCI #34 excepted], and such dimpling is normally insufficient to fire a primer provided the receiver, bolt, firing pin and chamber conform to prescribed design dimensions.  However, the use of non-military ammuntion with softer (more sensitive) primers reduces the margin of safety and requires the shooter to exercise greater caution.  Conditions arising from excessive wear, out-of-specification parts or heavy chamber fouling that might pose no hazard with military cartridges could be dangerous with other ammunition.


RELOADING FOR THE M1 GARAND by KEN MARSH www.charm.net/~kmarsh/m1reload.html


3. Use a CCI mil-spec primer. These use primer cups that are harder than standard and help prevent slam-fires. Very important and often overlooked.

Avoid high primers, which cause slam-fires. Store ammo nose-down and look across the case heads, that allows you to quickly inspect 50 or more cartridges at once. Also run your fingertip over all primers as they come out of the press or priming tool.


RELOADING for the MATCH M14 by Glen D. Zediker www.zediker.com/downloads/14_loading.pdf


Loading bench slam fire cures are primarily primers.  First is choice. LC ammunition has a tough primer. The only commercially available primer I know of that’s similar in construction is the tough skinned WW®. CCI® is hard aplenty too. There is greater insurance against a slam fire using either of these primers. The one that, I say (as well as did every single gunsmith I’ve asked) not to use is Federal ®. It’s “touchier.” Remington® is okay, but not a positive step (in this direction). That’s too bad because the Federal® can work well with other .308 W. loads. Honestly, it’s a risk on an M14.


Primers recommended for use in .308 Win/7.62x51/7.62x39 semiautomatic rifle loads:


CCI #34, 200, BR2, CCI 250

Winchester WLR, WLRM

Wolf/Tula LR


Wolf or Tula (Murom) primers: There is no mention, as far as I can find, about how hard their Large Rifle primers are - However Murom which makes the primers marketed as Wolf or Tula, makes a specific Large Rifle primer #KVB-7,62 which is "For 7,62 NATO cartridges".






The .223 Remington or 5.56mm NATO round is commonly found in semiautomatic rifles and also has special primer considerations using Small Rifle-size primers.  Some recommendations follow:

Primers used for .223 Rem. loads should have heavy cups to resist perforation at the high pressures normal for this round.  Military 5.56mm primers have a cup thickness of about 0.24", compared to .020" or so that was traditional for the standard small rifle primers. Federal 205, 205M, Remington 7 1/2 BR, Winchester WSR, and CCI BR4, 450, #41, and Wolf/Tula SRM (QQQSRM or KVВ-5,56M) primers have cups of about the same thickness as military primers, and are the best to use when reloading the .223.


The Remington 6 1/2 and 7 1/2 are essentially the same.  The 7 1/2 cup metal is thicker so that the primer can stand up to  higher pressures... cup thickness is 25 percent greater... BRIAN PEARCE (quoting Remington), Pg. 14, HANDLOADER, October 2006.

The Remington 7 1/2 BR primer was developed for the hot, high-pressure 4100 fps. .17 Remington round and also used in .223 loads.  When Freedom Arms transitioned the .454 Casull case to use the small primer, they picked the Rem. 7 1/2 BR because it gave reliable ignition and easily withstood the 65,000 psi generated by the hot pistol round.  It is highly recommended for .223 AR15-type loads.


CCI states: "The CCI 400 primer does have a thinner cup bottom than CCI 450, #41 or BR4 primers.  The appropriate primer for an AR15 platform is the CCI #41 primer, which helps to prevent slamfires.  With this primer there is more 'distance' between the tip of the anvil and the bottom of the cup." [as per: Linda Olin - CCI/Speer Technical Services].  Despite this, it seems that most AR15 reloaders have experienced no problems using the BR4 and 450 thicker cupped primers in rifles in good condition.  The #41 gives the greatest safety margin however.


The experts at 6mmBR.com have this to say about AR15 primer choice:

For use in semi-automatics and AR15s, we advise that you stick to CCI and Remington primers. These brands have harder cups and are much less likely to pierce primers. Also, the AR15 has a free-floating firing pin that dents the primer on loading. This creates a risk of slam fires. So you want hard primer cups. The latest generation of Winchester primers, with brass-colored cups, should be avoided for AR15 use. The old silver Winchester primers worked fine, but the current WSRs are soft and can be pierced more easily than CCI or Rem primers. A poll of Highpower competitors (mostly shooting ARs) showed that Rem 7 1/2 primers are the most popular (33.23%), followed by CCIs (25.78%). The majority of CCI users favored the CCI BR4s, but both CCI 400s (small rifle standard) and CCI 450s (small rifle magnum) were also popular. Only 10.25% of Highpower shooters polled used Federal primers (either 205M or 205). At the time of the poll, many shooters reported using WSRs, but this was the older version with silver cups.


Wolf/Tula also makes two small rifle primers that are suitable for 5.56 loading.  First is their Small Rifle Magnum SRM primer (not the Standard).  They have this to say: "If you are loading for an AR15 or Military Style semi auto rifle, or are loading high pressure cartridges in any other type of rifle ,we recommend you use the Magnum Small rifle primers. Both primers use the same amount of compound. The only difference is in the cup hardness.  The WOLF/TULA Standard Small Rifle Primers have an all COPPER CUP, which is a little more sensitive than the brass cup magnum primers."  Second is their newer Wolf/Tula Small Rifle 223 SR223 "This is the newest primer available in the Wolf/Tula line. It is ever so slightly hotter than the small rifle magnum primer and it comes with a brass colored thick cup. This primer can be used in place of the SRM primer or used when a different powder is used that is hard to ignite."  


Primers recommended for use in .223 Rem/5.56 semiautomatic rifle loads:


CCI #41, 450, BR4 

Federal 205, 205M

Remington 7 1/2 BR 

Winchester WSR 

Wolf/Tula SRM 

Wolf/Tula SR223   




Uniforming primer pockets about guarantees no primer sitting flush with or above the plane of the case head, which won’t guarantee no chance of a slam fire, but it won’t hurt. A uniformed pocket is assurance of consistent and adequate depth to get the primer the necessary 0.004 or more under the plane of the case head (0.008 isn’t too much).  Use a primer pocket uniforming tool in place of a primer pocket cleaner.  Next step is making sure they’re under the head.  Run a finger across them; don’t just look. Primers have a beveled edge so can look (around the edges) like they’re seated below flush when the center of the primer is not.  Believe it or not, your finger is extremely sensitive and accurate for feeling that the primer is below flush and is as accurate as a mechanical measure for the issue. 


If proper primer seating depth is an issue with the batch of cases that you are using, SINCLAIR INTERNATIONAL carries Primer Pocket Uniformers that can be chucked in a drill and used to uniform the primer pocket to a standard SAAMI depth and flat bottom for optimum primer seating or match prepping cases.  I personally use them and consider these tough carbide-steel tools to be one of the better gadgets on my reloading bench.  www.sinclairintl.com/product/11248/Primer-Pocket-Tools

Large Primer 8000 Uniformer - Item UN-8002

Small Primer 8000 Uniformer - Item UN-8001

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+1 to this Pat! This should be a sticky!

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5 hours ago, Cliff Hanger #3720LR said:

Small rifle primers are the sames as Small pistol Magnum primers.

They spec out exactly the same.


Large rifle and large pistol primers are not the same and not interchangeable.

Huh? We've been shooting Federal Match grade large pistol primers in our 45-70/40-65 etc. single shot rifles for years.

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49 minutes ago, Cold Lake Kid, SASS # 51474 said:

Another vote for making this a sticky.

Only if you make the font smaller.


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I remember a shooter a few years ago at our club The Firelands Peacemakers using small rifle primers in his pistols and he had lots of trouble. He wound up borrowing ammo to finish the shoot. I seem to remember his guns locking up. I can't remember the pistols he was using but I think they were OMV's.

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15 hours ago, Rye Miles #13621 said:

I remember a shooter a few years ago at our club The Firelands Peacemakers using small rifle primers in his pistols and he had lots of trouble. He wound up borrowing ammo to finish the shoot. I seem to remember his guns locking up. I can't remember the pistols he was using but I think they were OMV's.

That may of had nothing to do with the primers. Lots of people know nothing about reloading. All primers back out when fired than reseat when the powder goes off, if his charge was too low then the primer would not reseat and cause jams. With out knowing his experience as a reloader,  powder and weight how old the brass was, I would not blame the primers.

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A cautionary note for those substituting Large Pistol for Large Rifle . . . . Just because you have, and can, DOES NOT mean you Should.


Also, For those with "Tune'd" Main Springs, Federal primers, both Large and Small will be much easier to ignite than . .  say . .  CCI.  It should also be noted, the majority of our favorite Primers and Caps are under the Parasol of the SAME Mfgr.  And, at present, the European suppliers are presently in much dire straights than we are.  It's gonna be a while folks.  Patience.

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34 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:


A cautionary note for those substituting Large Pistol for Large Rifle . . . . Just because you have, and can, DOES NOT mean you Should.

A pierced primer can result from using pistol primers in place of rifle primers. I have only experienced one pierced primer. The was in a rifle  firing .270 Winchester. Hot gas in your face can be detrimental to your eyes. I didn’t get eye damage but I did get burnt fingers and quite a surprise. Flames went into the action and through the trigger opening. 

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3 hours ago, Crooked River Pete, SASS 43485 said:

That may of had nothing to do with the primers. Lots of people know nothing about reloading. All primers back out when fired than reseat when the powder goes off, if his charge was too low then the primer would not reseat and cause jams. With out knowing his experience as a reloader,  powder and weight how old the brass was, I would not blame the primers.

It was Flat Iron Fred that had a shoot out in Youngstown for awhile. Very experienced shooter and reloader. 


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12 minutes ago, Sedalia Dave said:

For those that would like to save the info Pat Riot's was kind enough to share with us in a little more reader friendly format.



Choosing the Right primer.pdf 629.38 kB · 0 downloads


@Pat Riot, SASS #13748


Thank you. I  tried  to fix that but everything I did made it worse. That's what happens when you use two or  three electronic  devices  to do something on line.

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problem solved I just traded 5,000 rifle primer to  friend at range for small pistol primers 

lucky for me he is type of guy who thinks if he is going spend the $$ on haz mate fee may ass welll buy up to the limit 

Now I pray our range will let us have Groups again 

Thanks for all info 

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