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38 SC, Federal #100 Primers

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I have just started testing loads for my new Open gun, Infinity 38 SC, and am using just south of 10 grains of 3N38 under MG JHP 124 bullets (with completely jacketed base), loaded to 1.245 and Federal #100 primers. (I have many guns and shoot revolvers too, so I have a stash of Federal primers.) 

 

At the initial range trip, I was getting exactly the correct power factor (my recipe is straight from the horse's mouth, the gun builder), but there was an indication of very slight cratering. When I moved my fingernail over it, I couldn't "feel" it, yet it did look different from what I normally see with "standard" calibers. Is this normal?

 

I found some threads on the topic, but they were older, so I'm not sure whether they are still relevant and whether there is some new consensus. What I found was a discussion about small rifle primers, so I figured it's better to ask, even if it's been discussed before. 

 

As a side issue, when I use the same primers in my .40 Limited loads, they tend to slightly flatten around the edges (not completely, obviously), but the firing pin imprint is very clean. For that load, I'm using again the recipe from the manufacturer, 4.7/8 grains of N310 under 180 MG FMJ (it's also an Infinity). With 38 SC it's the opposite - the edges are very "round," but the imprint doesn't seem nearly as clean. 

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I know people use small rifle primers. Any time you read a post about "whoops i mixed up my small primers" People will follow up with i exclusively load small rifle primer in my pistol. I think the major difference is the thickness of the cup. My first thought would be change brands, by a small box of CCI and see if you still have the issue.Every brand is a little different Ive used CCI exclusively. Ive never had a problem but I've never loaded major or anything greater than factory.

 

The downside of switching to small rifle with the thicker cup is depending on how strong your firing pin is there's a small chance the primer strike could be too light to set it off

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Federal primers have the softest cups.  Rounded primer edges with a shallow firing pin dimple at major means there is debris in the firing pin channel, too heavy a spring, using a Ti firing pin with too low a main spring, or too short a firing pin.  I had exactly the same issue.  Moving to a Dawson or Cheely extra long firing pin solved the problem.

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Not a problem my 38sc does the same thing with almost any primer, use federal if you have them. Tried fed rifle no noticeable difference. Also tried cci rifle about same, not really noticeable.  Now if you were shooting 9 major it MAY be an issue depending on load.

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He is shooting major.

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Posted (edited)

There is absolutely no reason to waste preciously soft federal primers in Open.

 

Save those for your wheelgun where they make sense, and load cheaper CCI 500s or a small rifle primer.

 

(Remember, next year is an election year. Stock up on components before prices get dumb. Don’t dip into your stockpile.)

 

Edited by MemphisMechanic

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Luckily most folks have learned from the obama years......supplies can get very tight and expensive. Luckily I learned my lesson from the clinton years.....so the obama years were manageable for me, and here is why:

 

Keep at at least one year of supplies on hand and that is your “zero stock limit.”  What does that mean - if you shoot 10K rounds a year and you order supplies like twice a year.....you need a minimum of 15K to start the year.  Because once you hit that 10K level, you are out, dipping into reserves, and etc.

 

So that way you will always have at least 1 year of supplies available and give you time to find them and find them at a decent enough price in those tough times.

 

In reality, I would argue to keep at least two years worth on hand as reserve.   That is a serious investment for some, I understand. But think of it this way - there is no shelf life of lead, primers (when stored properly), and thus you can easily sell the stuff if you need.

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I keep a 5 year supply on hand of everything but bullets. They simply cost too much to buy in such volume. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MemphisMechanic said:

There is absolutely no reason to waste preciously soft federal primers in Open.

 

To me this is absolutely hilarious.  I guess it depends on what part of the country you live in.  Around me, the only small and large pistol primers you can be sure to see when you walk into a store are Federal.  Plus they cost the same as CCI and Winchester which are pretty much hit or miss.  I'm talking cases here.  If all you want are 200 CCI 500, you have a reasonable shot, especially if there are two or more stores near you.

 

I basically gave up trying two years ago.  Shopping several stores all the time costs me more in gas than the shipping and hazmat.  So now I just order online.  A typical order would be 16 lbs. of powder and 10,000 primers.

 

I shoot multiple disciplines so I keep a lot on hand.  20,000 SP and 10,000 LP primers.  I buy bullets 3000 or 4000 at a time in 9mm and 40sw.  For bullseye I order 10,000 to get the same lot.  Powder depends.  For Open powders I order more when I open the next to last 8 lb. jug.  For non-Open powders I order when I open the last 8 lb. jug.  I have lots of different powders to use for minor and major loads, so I have backups if a particular powder is backordered forever.

Edited by zzt

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52 minutes ago, zzt said:

To me this is absolutely hilarious.  I guess it depends on what part of the country you live in.  Around me, the only small and large pistol primers you can be sure to see when you walk into a store are Federal. 

 

What is this “store” you speak of?

 

I’ve only bought components in 5,000-20,000 quantity lots online, because my local retailer’s prices are hilarious.

 

Both locally and online, federal primers carry two separate hefty premiums: they’re impossible to find, and the also carry a higher price.

 

(Given that all of my guns are striker-fired or AR9’s which hit hard enough that I can feed them CCI Magnums, there’s no benefit to Federals in my specific case.)

 

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2 hours ago, zzt said:

He is shooting major.

 

Correct - I forgot to put that down, I'm aiming for "just above 1,350 fps," which is a touch south of 10 grains of 3N38 and gives about 168 PF (still working on setting up the powder drop and getting consistency). It's not "9 major," though, so I have extra room in the case to work with slower powder (can you even make 9 major with 3N38?)

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Just now, IVC said:

 (can you even make 9 major with 3N38?)

 

That might fall into the “tie gun to a tree and pull the trigger with a string” category of load development. 😂

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As for component availability, I can only dream about "walking into a store" - I live in CA, behind the iron curtain. The only way for us is to order online and it's limited to reloading components now since online ammo ban went into effect this month (there is a way that some of us can still do it, but it's a workaround.) 

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2 hours ago, MemphisMechanic said:

There is absolutely no reason to waste preciously soft federal primers in Open.

 

Save those for your wheelgun where they make sense, and load cheaper CCI 500s or a small rifle primer.

 

I'll get some harder primers and try it out. I got Federals for very close to the cost of other brands - maybe $20 over for 5,000, so half a penny. They are sometimes on sale and when it coincides with "no hazmat fee" it's time to stock up. 

 

Do you change your recipe when changing primers, or do you just confirm on chrono that it's "close enough"  

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Posted (edited)

Only if you are using magnum primers ,they run about 20 FPS faster than pistol or rifle primers in my load of 10.2 3n38 1.245 with federal. Other brands may be different, only testing will tell.

Edited by jstagn
Add info

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MemphisMechanic said:

What is this “store” you speak of?

 

Local stores.  Maybe not so many use Federals around me, so there is no premium.  $150 a case.  That's what they were charging the last time I was in King's Shooters Supply.

 

I just looked on Grafs.  $148, cheaper than Win, but a little more than CCI.  Where's the premium?  Plus they are in stock.

Edited by zzt

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1 hour ago, IVC said:

can you even make 9 major with 3N38

 

Yes, if you load long like 1.161"+.  Pressures are low.  I don't use it because it is so bulky.  I need 9.4~9.5gr to make 9mm major and I can't compress the powder enough to get a bullet in and stay put.  I bought 12 lbs. when it was scarce, because all the Open shooters told me it was the cat's meow.  Well I finished building my 9mm major Open gun and went to load some ammo.  I opened the first jug, weighed out 9.4gr 3N38 (manual says good for 1480fps) and tried to pour it in a 9mm case.  It didn't fit.  I had to pour some, tamp, pour more and tamp again.

 

Turns out all the Open shooters saying it was the cat's meow were all 38 Super/SC shooters.  That case is so big you can fit a major charge and a small vacuum cleaner in it.  So my 12 lbs. sits on the shelf waiting for some local 38SC shooter to want some.   I'm using Major Pistol powder and have no such problems with it.

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3 minutes ago, zzt said:

 That case is so big you can fit a major charge and a small vacuum cleaner in it.  

 

😂

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1 hour ago, jstagn said:

Only if you are using magnum primers ,they run about 20 FPS faster than pistol or rifle primers in my load of 10.2 3n38 1.245 with federal. Other brands may be different, only testing will tell.

 

I found no difference in velocity between CCI 500 and 550s in a 135-137pf 9mm minor load. I would err on the side of caution in an Open load and work back up, just in case.

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Posted (edited)

Save the Fed #100's for the revolver. Federals #100's have a softer cup (one of the reasons why their the "go to" for worked revolvers). Thats proved by the tendency for them to show more flattening when compared to other SP standard primers in the same load. I personally use SP Magnum primers in my 38 SC, usually CCI (Ive also used standard Win & CCI with no problems). The reason I use the Magnum is its a balance between; reducing the slight risk of pierced standard primers in major 38 SC loads and the failure to seal a small rifle primer with their harder cups. I also found because of the slower powders we use in 38 SC the extra heat from a magnum provides more uniform ignition as my ES was better. The velocity was a touch higher but nothing drastic.

One tip I'll give you, because you are a Fed #100 revo shooter (like me) if you go the sp magnum primer route buy another brand other than fed. That way you wont have to worry about grabbing magnums by mistake after a long week getting ready for a revo match and kill your day with FTF's. Im totally speculating that possibility of course.  

Edited by BallisticianX

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1 hour ago, BallisticianX said:

That way you wont have to worry about grabbing magnums by mistake after a long week getting ready for a revo match and kill your day with FTF's. Im totally speculating that possibility of course.  

 

^^^ Now that's funny right there. 

 

I'll look into getting some CCIs and compare the performance. Won't go to magnum yet, at least not until I confirm that I cannot solve the problem with harder SP primers

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1 hour ago, IVC said:

 

^^^ Now that's funny right there. 

 

I'll look into getting some CCIs and compare the performance. Won't go to magnum yet, at least not until I confirm that I cannot solve the problem with harder SP primers

Just get the magnums (remember CCI)...some piece of mind for the same cost. Go ahead, I dare you lol

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