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The MAGNUM Small Pistol Primer Experiment .40SW

This is a discussion on The MAGNUM Small Pistol Primer Experiment .40SW within the The Ammo Can forums, part of the Armory Talk category; Hello guys, As primers are becoming nearly impossible to find, I decided to do a set of test runs with magnum small pistol primers in ...

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Old 04-05-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
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The MAGNUM Small Pistol Primer Experiment .40SW

Hello guys,

As primers are becoming nearly impossible to find, I decided to do a set of test runs with magnum small pistol primers in .40SW. Often, you will be able to find magnum primers, just not the standard and that is why I decided to do this test. It seems like there are so few loads which call for magnum small pistol primers that they are much more available. So, in dry times, you can use this info to decide if magnum primers are a viable option for you.

Disclaimer - This is just for the sake of argument. If you try this, work up from a low starting load with known components. I am not responsible if you kaboom yourself. -MG380

Chrono Data: (averages are from 10 shot strings)

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.7 Grains Unique
Winchester STANDARD Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 737.2 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.9 Grains Unique
Winchester STANDARD Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 829.42 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.0 Grains Unique
Federal MAGNUM Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 875.9 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.2 Grains Unique
Federal MAGNUM Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 922.65 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.4 Grains Unique
Federal MAGNUM Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 969.98 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.6 Grains Unique
Federal MAGNUM Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 1002.03 FPS

Mixed Headstamp
155 Grain Precision Coated .40SW
5.9 Grains Unique
Federal MAGNUM Small Pistol Primers
AVG: 1066.8 FPS

So by the data I accumulated, one can seem to expect an average of 237.38 FPS increase when all other variables (within reason) are the same. Same bullet, powder charge, OAL, barrel length...just the primer was different. In fact, if I wanted to be in the same neighborhood as my usual plinking round (the 155 precision on top of 5.9gr Unique) I would have to use around 4.8-5.0gr of Unique to achieve approximately the same velocity when substituting magnum primers for standard.

Don't forget also that primers vary by brand somewhat so this experiment would have been better with all Winchester or all Federal primers. If you try this, I would start from the ground up like I did.

With regards to powders, you may also have widely varying differences in results with super fast burning brands. I would not use them with magnum primers.

In conclusion, I think that using magnum primers in .40SW is a viable option in times of absolute necessity. The brass was fine too and did not exhibit bulging or deformed primer pockets. I would not seek any higher velocity though. The 1066 achieved at 5.9 gr Unique is more than I usually load to anyway.

-Mousegun380
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Old 04-05-2009, 10:55 AM   #2
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Sounds like you figured up some very viable loads good work.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:29 PM   #3
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THanks for sharing the data. Using mag primers has always been acceptable but, as you have found out, it does raise pressures & requires reworking oyur loads. W/O a chrono, this is very diff. So best to drop powder charges at least 5% when switching to mag primers. THis will vary of course w/ faster or slower primers. For faster powders than Unique, I would want to drop 10%. For slower powders, 5% will work fine.
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Old 04-05-2009, 12:54 PM   #4
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Interesting info, thanks.

Kind of a side thought, but what about the Standard/Magnum combo large pistol primers, are they a hybrid.?
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Old 04-05-2009, 03:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsr30 View Post
Interesting info, thanks.

Kind of a side thought, but what about the Standard/Magnum combo large pistol primers, are they a hybrid.?
That is a good question! I don't know...
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Old 04-05-2009, 05:06 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsr30 View Post
Interesting info, thanks.

Kind of a side thought, but what about the Standard/Magnum combo large pistol primers, are they a hybrid.?
WW started this back a while ago. They tend to run between most std. & magnum primers so work for both. You still should rework your load if switching to those primers, especially shooting uberfast powders like CLays, BE, etc.
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Old 04-05-2009, 08:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredj338 View Post
WW started this back a while ago. They tend to run between most std. & magnum primers so work for both. You still should rework your load if switching to those primers, especially shooting uberfast powders like CLays, BE, etc.
The primers are Winchester. I use them with W231, 4.6grs under a 230gr LRN & the same load for a 200gr LSWC.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:28 PM   #8
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Good job. I also worked up loads for mine using exactly the same bullets you used. I used Magtech mag primers because thats all I could get lately. I started out with 5 grs. of Universal and worked my way up to 6 grains. I dont have a crono so velocity is an unknown but the brass at 5.8 grains would still fit in the case gauge after firing so I know the pressure wasnt excessive.
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Old 04-05-2009, 09:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by imonfire View Post
Good job. I also worked up loads for mine using exactly the same bullets you used. I used Magtech mag primers because thats all I could get lately. I started out with 5 grs. of Universal and worked my way up to 6 grains. I dont have a crono so velocity is an unknown but the brass at 5.8 grains would still fit in the case gauge after firing so I know the pressure wasnt excessive.
On an unrelated note, how do you like the Universal? I like Unique a lot and I considered Universal as a sub if I could not get Unique.
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Old 04-06-2009, 03:14 AM   #10
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Thanks for the MAG primer evaluation. I had picked up 5000 SM pistol MAG primers a few days ago when no STD primers were available. I knew they would work, but with no chrono I would have many rounds to fire to get safe, quality loads. Your info gives me a good researched foundation for what to expect when building my loads (heavier bullet). Sorry, but I won't be able to provide any MAG primer load information for quite a while. Still waiting for my 40sw dies and powder order to be filled.
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