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I've been advised by someone who does a lot of 38 special reloading for a Marlin 1894c that they get better results using small rifle primers instead of small pistol primers.

Is this safe ? Loads would tend to be light target/cowboy loads near the lower end of the loading data.

The reason I'm asking is I happen to have 2000 small rifle primers and if I could use them instead of getting more small pistol primers, then it would be a nice saving at this point.
 

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I've always been told: " pistol primers for pistols and rifle primers for rifles". The only exception I've found was in the 357 Max, rilfe primers!
I've loaded rifle primers for 38 wad cutters ( to shoot in my MAX ) and have had no problems! I think the only place there is a problem is using rifle primers in pistols, where the pistol may not strike the rifle primer with enough force for constent ignigtion. Of course this is just my two cents :wink:
 

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You need to stay with pistol primers. Read your manuals, and they'll instruct you to the dangers...
 

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I read something about your very question recently in published material. If I can find the source again, I'll let you know.

Here's my take on the idea, of course it bears the following disclaimer:

*****THIS IS NOT A RECOMMENDATION OF THIS SITE OR MYSELF SO WHAT YOU DO IS YOUR OWN DECISION AND IS ENTIRELY YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!********

My take is this, I am normally careful about what goes on in regard to components especially when operating at the highest pressures for the gun's design. in the case of the 38 Special, when fired in a weapon intended or also designed for the 357, I am less concerned about exact components. So, in a case like yours I might try it and see what results you get compared to what you get with recommended components. I have used standard small rifle primers in a 38 revolver (Ruger SP 101) which also handles full power 357s. It works just fine uncluding in the double action mode. A Redhawk I have won't reliably fire even some (brands of) pistol primers in the double action mode. (I am only using them because I have no small pistol primers and can't buy them anywhere locally.) I'm not sure that I am getting the desired accuracy the gun is capable of though. Again, I can't check that against factory ammo since neither local store carries 38 SPL ammo in any form. I will say I got my best groups when shooting jacketed bullets with W296 (for which Sierra is the only source I've seen for data with this harder to ignite powder.) Several cast bullet loads were disappointing in terms of accuracy.

Do what you will but I would look for pistol primers if they aren't difficult to get. You can always use the small rifle primers as they were intended (unless, or course, they are "Clinton" brand - those have a limited shelf life. All others last a very long time when properly stored.) :D
 
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