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Old 09-23-2007, 20:42   #1
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Question Reloading Berdan primed brass

I`ve heard that it can be done, if it`s brass that can be resized. The million dollar question is how to remove the spent primer? Any ideas?
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Old 09-23-2007, 21:21   #2
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Check out this thread They discuss two different methods for removing and reloading Berdan brass. Right now the only difficulty is finding Berdan primers

http://parallaxscurioandrelicfirearm...om/topic/19841
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Old 09-23-2007, 21:54   #3
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Thanks for the link! I thought you could re-prime the brass with standard large primers. What exactly is the difference between berdan primers and regular (boxer) primers?
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Old 09-23-2007, 22:22   #4
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DONT try to use BOXER primers in a BERDAN case!

The difference in primers is that BOXER primers are all one unit. They have the 'anvil' built into them.

In the BERDAN system, the 'anvil' is part of the cartridge case.

BOXER primed cases have only ONE FLASH HOLE, right in the center.

BERDAN primed cases have TWO FLASH HOLES, off-center.

Using a BOXER primer in a BERDAN case would NOT be safe to do. Please don't try it, even if you DO manage to remove the spent BERDAN primer from the case DON"T replace it with a BOXER primer!

Reloading BERDAN cases is more trouble than it is worth. It can be done, but it is more labor intensive. BERDAN primers are harder to find as well.

I would just throw away, or take the BERDAN cases to recycling. Don't try to reuse them.

Stick with BOXER stuff.

Hope this helps a bit.
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Old 09-24-2007, 21:03   #5
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Well for most stuff I would throw away the Berdan cases but the swiss GP11 brass is excellent stuff and worth reloading if you can get berdan primers. They come available from time to time just watch gunbroker or other stuff.
Brass is now available for most calibers so there is no "need" to reload berdan stuff.

Here is a link to a guy that has converted berdan cases to boxer primed cases if interested

http://www.geocities.com/d_henry1@sb...dan-boxer.html

NWO was right though boxer primers have the anvil as part of the primer and there is only one flash hole in the brass. Berdan primed cases have the anvil as part of the case and have two flash holes. Also Boxer primers are .210 in diameter. Berdan primers are .217 in diameter so a boxer primer wouldn't even seat in a berdan case hence the modification linked to above.
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Old 09-24-2007, 21:12   #6
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Originally Posted by NWO View Post
DONT try to use BOXER primers in a BERDAN case!

The difference in primers is that BOXER primers are all one unit. They have the 'anvil' built into them.

In the BERDAN system, the 'anvil' is part of the cartridge case.

BOXER primed cases have only ONE FLASH HOLE, right in the center.

BERDAN primed cases have TWO FLASH HOLES, off-center.

Using a BOXER primer in a BERDAN case would NOT be safe to do. Please don't try it, even if you DO manage to remove the spent BERDAN primer from the case DON"T replace it with a BOXER primer!

Reloading BERDAN cases is more trouble than it is worth. It can be done, but it is more labor intensive. BERDAN primers are harder to find as well.

I would just throw away, or take the BERDAN cases to recycling. Don't try to reuse them.

Stick with BOXER stuff.

Hope this helps a bit.
I`m aware of the differences between berdan and boxer brass, I just thought that the primers were interchangable. Thank you for the heads up your input is much appreciated.
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Old 09-24-2007, 21:14   #7
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Originally Posted by 7.62Cavalier View Post
Well for most stuff I would throw away the Berdan cases but the swiss GP11 brass is excellent stuff and worth reloading if you can get berdan primers. They come available from time to time just watch gunbroker or other stuff.
Brass is now available for most calibers so there is no "need" to reload berdan stuff.

Here is a link to a guy that has converted berdan cases to boxer primed cases if interested

http://www.geocities.com/d_henry1@sb...dan-boxer.html

NWO was right though boxer primers have the anvil as part of the primer and there is only one flash hole in the brass. Berdan primed cases have the anvil as part of the case and have two flash holes. Also Boxer primers are .210 in diameter. Berdan primers are .217 in diameter so a boxer primer wouldn't even seat in a berdan case hence the modification linked to above.
I guess I`ll just toss the berdan brass. It ain`t worth the trouble. Thanks for explaining this!
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Old 09-29-2007, 19:35   #8
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I experimented with converting 7.62 X 39 berdan brass to boxer a few years back. Nothing like described in the article posted above, and certainly much less professionally done.

I drilled a hole through the center of the case from the inside (there's a dimple where the anvil is situated) right through the primer and then used a pin punch, awl or similar tool to pry the primer off the back. The bit should be about 1/16" or lessb ut it needs to be of smaller diameter than the anvil. I then used a larger drill bit to ream-out what's left of the anvil. You're left with a large hole flanked by the two smaller berdan holes.

Boxer primers are slightly smaller than the berdans used in these cases, and I had to use a sealant to keep some of them from coming out. This doesn't work 100% and there was blow-by in some cases.

Bottom line is that the proceedure would be feasible only if there was no other way to get ammo. VERY time consuming and you still lose many cases anyway. Accuracy and performance was satisfactory, but I used them in Kommie rifles that wouldn't have known the diff anyway.

I reloaded those cases 6 or 7 times with the same results, if I could find them. There are still about 80 rounds in my stash, but I've since started buying boxer cases from friends who pick-up brass at shooting locations.
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Old 07-31-2008, 19:08   #9
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A trick to make the smaller boxer primers fit (boxer ID appx .210 berdan is .215, boxer primer is a .002 press fit at .212) is to take a 7.62x51 rcbs swager and cut the face of the upper pin back a little to make a larger surface area, and take the swager end, cut the face back and square the shoulder. This will allow you to squash the brass down to shrink the primer pocket to less than .212. It will leave a ring similar to a full circle military crimp.

A way I am having better luck with is a punch down the case and the case on a solid steel surface, but neither method works very well.

EDIT: The link posted below by dominicfortune00 appears to me a much more effective method. I will give it a try. My advice is try that one first. Mine appears much less effective, and perhaps more difficult. I still suggest going with a smaller drill for the flash hole, though.

Another option is to buy the "case saver swage" from Midway. Part #911-104 I am not familiar with the operation of this machine, but it performs a similar function.

If you drill the center of the primed case through the primer at .076", it will nearly eliminate the "anvil" and give you a pretty good hole to pry out the primer. It will also be a slightly smaller hole than normal boxer, but large enough to mechanically deprime in the next pass. The flash hole surface area of this setup will be .006sq vs the boxer .005 square inches, so your flash will be theoretically 20% larger. This does not account for gas friction, and the flash, as I see it, could be more OR less powerful. More from more SA, or less from less velocity of gasses through the ports. I do not know which, but would lean to a light charge of slow burning powder to have a little bit of failsafe as this is kind of sketchy experimentation.

Oh, the reason I get away with the .076" drill is I am performing the operation on a lathe, so it lines up nicely. You can do the same if you use a case length gauge to hold the shell and drill on a drill press. It becomes a little ticklish to get it perfectly centered, and you must clamp your fixture (gauge) to not wiggle. Once set up, however, you can use it for all your berdan cases by tapping out the finished cases with a rod from the bottom of your drill press.

PS I have read that the primer of the Boxer is longer. For large primers the depth seems identical. .125 on case and .120 on primer for a .005 deep primer when seated. And once I get my chrono, I'll be posting some comparisons. This will NOT be a good enough measure of safety, however, as there could potentially be pressure spikes exceeding factory specs WITHOUT excessive velocity. Be aware this is potentially dangerous tinkering.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS LINK: http://users.ameritech.net/mchandler/primer.html It's from the swiss rifles link below. But THE KEY TO REMOVING THE ANVIL is to drill the hole with the old primer IN. The dimple from the dead primer almost perfectly lines up the drill, and holds it in place while it drills out the anvil. Once the anvil is out, and the flash hole is drilled, you are left with a primer with a .076 hole to pry it out! I am convinced that this ball bearing method will work.
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Last edited by totalloser; 08-19-2008 at 11:49.
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Old 08-18-2008, 21:27   #10
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Reloading Berdan primed brass

Try this one for converting berdan to boxer.

Looks pretty easy.

http://theswissriflesdotcommessagebo...com/topic/4324
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:52   #11
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Welcome!

And thanks for the fantastic link!
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Old 08-20-2008, 18:54   #12
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At 85 cents a pound, that Berdan brass is worth something. If you throw it away, throw it to me. My trash brass bucket can always use more...
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:18   #13
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If you're still out there..... I have been reloading Swiss RUAG GP-11, 8mm, 7.62x39, 7.62x51 and other berdan-primed cases for quite awhile. You might ask, Why?... well, mostly, just to see if I could do it, plus I cringe to see once-fired brass get heaved.
Some time back Grafs offered PMC Large Rifle Berdan (LRB) primers. These are 0.217" and came cased in a box marked "PRIMERS Standard Non-Corrosive KV-7.62 Large Rifle For 7.62 NATO Cartridges P/O 17, Murom, Vladimir region, 602267, RUSSIA"
Generally, most cases can be decapped with water, using the basic Lee decapping punch (you probably have a few with busted pins, yes?) and base tool. The GP-11 is super to work with, decaps very smoothly. Wolf steel 7.62 decaps pretty easily, too. Some of the surplus 8mm and S.African x51 is tough. You may need to necksize to get a good seal or punch with a plastic bag over the case mouth. Those that bulge and refuse to decap can be scrapped. (Scrap prices are way down currently, but build your supply for better days... see Kitco.com for spot base metal prices).
Another route is to use the RCBS decapping tool. I find it isn't 100%, but it does get some of the otherwise rejected brass to be of use. You need to adjust the cutter precisely else you may snap it off or damage the anvil. The tool does tend to mar the rim area to a slight degree, too, but it doesn't render it unusable.
As mentioned by others, the availability of LRB's is the kicker. Once my meager supply is gone I'll be out of business, too.

Last edited by CTSixshot; 12-06-2008 at 10:24.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:40   #14
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Incidently, Large Rifle Berdan measures 0.217", Remington Large Rifle (9 1/2) measure 0.210"
Also, you may find berdan cases with 1, 2 or even 3 flash holes. I haven't come across 3-holers yet.
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Old 12-06-2008, 10:43   #15
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My best brass price was $1.77 a pound, six or more months back. I don't know if they'll even accept it these days (many scrap yards don't take it even when I segregate the nickel-plated, deprimed etc....go figure. Needless to say, you have to shop around.
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