Standard vs. Magnum Small Pistol Primers: My Experience

Standard vs. Magnum Small Pistol Primers: My Experience

This is a discussion on Standard vs. Magnum Small Pistol Primers: My Experience within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; A little while back I picked up some Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers since I couldn't locate and standards. I loaded up some test rounds, ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Standard vs. Magnum Small Pistol Primers: My Experience

    A little while back I picked up some Winchester Small Pistol Magnum primers since I couldn't locate and standards. I loaded up some test rounds, half with standard primers and half with magnums, same powder charges, same brass, same bullets. I didn't have any overpressure signs with any of them. Here were my results (I have purposely left out powder charge weights):

    .32 S&W Long, 100 grain RNFP, Trail Boss:

    Ave Std. Primer: 570fps, Std. Deviation 18.08
    Ave Mag Primer: 553fps, Std. Deviation 8.13

    .32 H&R Magnum, 100 grain RNFP, AA#5:

    Ave Std. Primer: 749fps, Std. Deviation 32.98
    Ave Mag Primer: 798fps, Std. Deviation 12.11

    .38 Special, 158 grain RNL, HS-6:

    Ave Std. Primer: 884fps, Std. Deviation 30.27
    Ave Mag Primer: 890fps, Std. Deviation 20.86

    9x19mm, 130 grain FMJ, HS-6:

    Ave Std. Primer: 990fps, Std. Deviation 20.79
    Ave Mag Primer: 1043fps, Std. Deviation 19.70

    9x19mm, 125 grain RNL, HS-6:

    Ave Std. Primer: 1116fps, Std. Deviation 17.54
    Ave Mag Primer: 1122fps, Std, Deviation 13.20

    The only two loads that the magnum primers made any significant difference in where the 100 grain H&R Magnum and the 130 grain FMJ 9x19mm. The magnum primers seemed to be more consistent overall, though it generally didn't represent a huge change. I tested the magnums with my standard loads and the conclusion I came to is that it is safe to use magnums in place of standards in the loads I generally use. I'd test other cartridges and charge weights before using magnums in those loadings.

    I'm happy with the results and I plan to use my magnum primers for the cartridges above.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix


  2. #2
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Interesting.

    Can anybody explain to me what the difference is supposed to be between standard and magnum primers? And between standard and magnum powders?

    I am using Titegroup for .45 ACP now and as I am mainly reloading soft shooting rounds for plinking and competition, as I branch out to other calibers (have dies for 9mm, .40S&W, and .38/.357 waiting to get set up) I don't see a strong reason to change powders yet. If I can mix and match between standard and magnum primers across these various calibers, it will be a nice benefit when I am shopping for primers to be able to buy either type if I find them...

    (By the way, where's your sig quote from???)
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    This is just a guess, so take it for what it is worth, but I would think the magnum primers will either be a little hotter, or a little longer burn in order to make sure that the whole powder charge gets ignited in the magnum cartridge.

    I think you would notice more of a difference if you were using non magnum primers in a magnum than you would doing it the way your have. Going with standard in a magnum I assume you could get less than a complete burn of the powder than you would with the magnum primers.

    BTW, I too bought a few thousand SPMagnum primers a while back to load with in place of the SP primers. I just haven't gotten to the point where I need to use them yet. I will back off my normal loads a tad when making the switch and see where I come out.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
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  4. #4
    jfl
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    Distinguished Member Array jfl's Avatar
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    Intersting !!!
    There is less difference in your results than you could have with 2 different brands of the same primers ...
    The first rule of a gunfight: "Don't be there !"
    The second rule: "Bring enough gun"

    jfl
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Array sui-juris's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting, I thought there'd be more of a spread.
    " Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master." George Washington

  6. #6
    Ex Member Array thylordjj's Avatar
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    I have also been playing with magnum primers in place of large pistol. I don’t have a crono to give any hard proof. But today I loaded 100 rounds of .45acp with 4.3 grains of bulls eye under a 230 grain cast WW round nose bullet and Federal 155 magnum primers. I also loaded 100 rounds the same way with Federal 150 standard primers. I marked all the rounds with the magnum primers, and mixed them with the others. That way when I was shooting I really had no clue what was what other than by feel or accuracy. I notice no difference at all between the rounds. When I recovered the brass I carefully made measurements with a micrometer to insure there were no splits or any signs of overpressure. While not as accurate as a chronograph, I will say there was no difference at all. With that in mind shoot em’ if you got em’.

  7. #7
    Member Array Astute's Avatar
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    Magnum primers are a little hotter. With standard loadings, little difference will be noticed. They are designed to provide better ignition for "Max Magnum" loads using slow burning powders such as H-110 or 2400. I have had no problem interchanging them with standard calibers.

  8. #8
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    What is interesting to me is the standard deviations were lower with the magnum primers. This seems to be the opposite of what is a common belief (in the black powder cartridge rifle circles) that a not as hot primer will usually give you a lower SD. We even go as far as to use over primer wads to mute the effect of the primer. Interesting the obvious difference between smokeless and black powder.
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  9. #9
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    Thanks for posting your results, around here magnum primers are more available than standard, I think I will just grab them instead of searching for the standard primers.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff F View Post
    What is interesting to me is the standard deviations were lower with the magnum primers. This seems to be the opposite of what is a common belief (in the black powder cartridge rifle circles) that a not as hot primer will usually give you a lower SD. We even go as far as to use over primer wads to mute the effect of the primer. Interesting the obvious difference between smokeless and black powder.
    My theory is that the magnum primers, being slightly hotter, are causing the powder to burn more consistently and therefore making the standard deviations lower. You will notice that the more significant SD reductions occurred in the cartridges that have more air space between the powder charge and bullet. The HS6 load I use for 9x19 comes close to being a compressed load in the first place, which likely means it burns pretty uniformly with standard primers.

    Since I posted this I have expanded my research (still limited to small pistol primers since I don't have any magnum LP or LR, my SR are magnums, but in the case of Wolf SRM primers that just means a harder cup, not a hotter primer). I haven't seen any results significantly different from what I posted above and I've been using almost exclusively magnum primers for SP. No excessive pressure signs, no other problems. Most of my handloads are mid-range anyway, so I have been using SP and SPM pretty much interchangeably. YMMV.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  11. #11
    Member Array DPAZ's Avatar
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    Most primers I purchase specifically state "Standard or Magnum Loads". I wonder what end of the spectrum these fall into. I have had good success with them, and see no reason to change.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Winchester marks their large pistol primers "For Standard or Magnum Loads". Their LP are the only ones I have seen so marked, but that doesn't mean there are not others out there marked the same way.
    -Landric

    "The Engine could still smile...it seemed to scare them" -Felix

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Ok, but did you measure what the pressure difference is? Velocity and pressure are related but switching to a magnum primer can lower velocity while spiking pressure.
    07/02 FFL/SOT since 2006

  14. #14
    VIP Member Array mlr1m's Avatar
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    I allways reduce my powder charge when I change one of the components. Bad things are known to happen.

    Michael

  15. #15
    Member Array Hamour's Avatar
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    In pistol as well as rifle, the older powders like 2400 or 4350 do great with either mag or standard primers.
    But when you introduce ball powders it is best to go with magnum primers for enhanced ignition of these haeder to ignite powders.

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