can rifle powder be used in pistol

Discussion in 'Ammunition & Reloading' started by nagarifle, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. nagarifle

    nagarifle New Member

    i am new to reloading and would like to know if rifle powders can be used to reload pistol rounds?

    also can rifle primers (small )be used for pistol ammo reloading?

    what would the reason be if the answer is no?


  2. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    NO on both accounts.

    Pistol/shotgun powder are much faster burning that rifle powder. Pistol powders are designed to burn really fast because they have as little as 2" to push the bullet.

    Again NO rifle primers can not be used to reload pistol ammo. I do believe small pistol and small rifle primers are different sized to boot.

    Maybe you need to get a few books and read.

    1. Get the ABC's of reloading.

    This is not some fly by night oh just fill the case and smash a bullet into it operation.

    Reloading is very serious and not to be PLAYED with. It can and it will KILL or maim you in a fraction of a second.

    I may sounds like a dick but we have to look out for new reloaders or bad things can happen.

  3. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

    Let me sound like a dick too!

    If it says small rifle primer, guess what it's application will be???

    Read your load tables and follow them to the "t".

    To stray from the printed data will result in what I like to call "Natural Selection".

  4. nagarifle

    nagarifle New Member


    thanks for the short and sweet answer. i will abide by the advice given. i had a wondering mind and it is no longer wondering. thanks again.
  5. Silvertip 44

    Silvertip 44 New Member

    Nagarifle, pay attention to what these guys just told you. Read and then re-read the manuals do not stray from them and never substitute.
    Reloading ammo can be a very safe, enjoyable and rewarding part of your shooting sport or if not performed properly and safely create serious harm and grief.
  6. crossfire

    crossfire Member

    If you are new to reloading, the best course of action is to go with what is in the manuals. Get your feet wet by using established test data. Experimentation comes after experience with known recipes.
    Having said that, I have a couple of corrections. Small rifle primers and small pistol primers are exactly the same size. The reason you don't want to use small rifle primers in pistol loads is because the primer cup is harder and a lot of handguns don't generate enough impact to detonate the primer. The result is a failure to fire.
    Please note, however, that some handgun cartridges are actually unsafe if made with pistol primers due to the pressure they operate at. The .454 Casull and .357 Maximum are excellent examples. Again, use what the manuals say.
    As far as faster rifle powders in handgun cartridges, the larger cases can and do work best with them. If you are looking at cases like the 9mm and .45 ACP up to the .38 Special, there simply isn't enough room to get enough rifle powder in them for any kind of velocity and pressure. Go to big bores and the Magnums and it changes. Lil'Gun for example is used in both rifle and handgun cartridges. So is AA-1680, SR-4759 and even Reloader 7. I have recently started developing loads for my .357 Maximum with Alliant 410, and it's a shotgun powder.
    A beginner reloader? Find all the info you can on the cartridges you use and don't stray until you feel comfortable enough in what you are doing. Get a chronograph and keep records...detailed records. Never start at maximum level loads; a simple mistake can be dangerous and most handguns don't have their best accuracy with maximum loaded ammo.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  7. nagarifle

    nagarifle New Member

    thanks for that, some very sound advice, which i will stick to. so no fear of doing something stupid thus the questions in the first place. not much to say at the moment as i am getting info.
  8. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    the reason behind all the sage advice is that rifle primers have more bang which means more pressure. more preassure means that the case can seperate causing damage to your weapon which can result in broken pistol parts and broken parts in your hands chest face area.

    same thing with rifle pistol powders used in incoorect applications. it can lead to incomplete combustion, hangfires, over pressure, or outright explosions of the wrong sort.

    knowledge is power. get a reloading manual.
  9. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator Lifetime Supporter

    IF a person should make the decision to deviate from established recipes when reloading, or not follow recipe at all, the other folks shooting at the range would appreciate him wearing a sign that says "I HAVE A DEATH WISH" in order that they may place distance, sandbags, truck body, etc between themselves and the future organ donor. SOME rifle primers are thicker than pistol primers- which CAN result in a "high" primer. Results of that may range from a jammed weapon, to a cartridge firing when it is not aligned with the barrel (revolver). When you change ANY component of a load- brass, powder, bullet, or primer- go back to the starting load, and work up.
  10. BILLYBOB44

    BILLYBOB44 Active Member

    ++1 To crossfire+C3shooter..

    As a newbie to hand-loading do+use as listed in load books when it comes to size, weight,and overall length. You can vary your mfg. of primers, cases, and sometimes bullets. The best policy is to stay as close to the book as possible. After some press time, you will find where you can change things, and where you can't. The point is=get started--:D
  11. BillM

    BillM Well-Known Member Supporter

    Small rifle primers in pistol ammo.

    Yes, they are the same size as small pistol. They are commonly used is
    Practical Pistol reloading in ammo for Open division guns. They are harder
    than small pistol, and will flow less at the pressures generated in major
    power factor 9mm and 38 super ammo. Pistols may have an issue with
    setting off small rifle primers, especially striker fired guns such as Glocks
    and the Springfield XD's.

    Large rifle is a different size, and should NOT be used in place of large pistol.

    NEVER use pistol primers in rifle ammo, unless it's a pistol caliber rifle--
    38 special lever gun as an example.

    Rifle powder in pistol ammo. Generally no. Rifle powders generally have a
    burn rate much too slow for pistol ammo, and pistol powders are generally
    much too fast for rifle loads. There are a few powders that are used in both
    pistol loads and some small capacity rifle loads, but they are the exception.
  12. JonM

    JonM Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    i have seen those organ donors at ranges in the past and actually was present on a shooting line when one of em blew up a revolver using incorrectly loaded ammunition with the high primer situation. got himself an ambulance ride, a nice chat with the cops, and a range ban for life.
  13. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Large rifle primers are "taller" than large pistol primers. The rifle primer pockets are deeper. Small pistol primers are dimensionally the same as small rifle primers, BUT rifle primers are harder, thicker and hotter. Rifle powder is harder to ignite so there is more priming compound in a rifle primer. That results in a hotter, longer lasting flame. Rifles develop higher pressures than pistols. Using a pistol primer in a rifle cartridge is very likely to result in (at best) a hang fire or (at worst) a pierced/blown primer.

    CAN a small rifle primer be used in a pistol case. Yes. Is it a good idea (except in the case of an EMERGENCY like the end of the world as we know it)? NO. There are many variables that must be taken into consideration not the least of which is you may end up with ammo that will not go "bang" in a pistol.

    There are some small capacity rifles that "can" use pistol powder like the .30 Carbine that can use W-296. There are some large capacity handgun cartridges that can use rifle powders (.44 mag or 454 Casull can use IMR 4227).
  14. cpttango30

    cpttango30 New Member

    Robo why don't you just lock the thread when you reply to them?
  15. robocop10mm

    robocop10mm Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    Tango, the thread was 5 days old before I even chimed in and "killed" it. If you can't have your fun in 5 days, well...
  16. Jpyle

    Jpyle New Member

    So it is written...

  17. trex1310

    trex1310 New Member

    One more "diskish" comment that new reloaders have a tendency to want
    to do. Don't start out with a maximum load listed in a manual. Start
    below maximum and work up. Most guns are different and handle loads
    differently. Reloading is a serious business and should be approached as
  18. animal44

    animal44 New Member

    AYKM no advice

    Slow burning rifle propellant in handgun or shotgun?
    Surely it will not blow up if you follow the faster handgun loads initially?
    I am interested in a load for a shotgun for instance, hey, why not for a .45 as well?
    One powder, in a if you can carry only one tin.... :D

    Any serious advice on how? :confused:
    Don't look into the light is not working.
    YES YES YES quick propellants (like pistol propellants) in rifles are super super bad, same or worse than smokeless in a black powder gun.
    I can get loads for black powder for my rifle, shotgun and .45 .... (and that's a really quick powder)
  19. Dallas53

    Dallas53 Well-Known Member Supporter

    unless the powder manufacturer states specifically the powder can be used in different applications, i would not suggest doing so. there are very good reason there are different powders for different applications.

    failure to heed that, could, or will result in catastrophic equipment failure, or possible injury of death.
  20. CaptMidnight

    CaptMidnight New Member Supporter

    This thread is older than a good wine. Maybe a new thread on this subject would be informative.:)