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Old June 14, 2002, 08:02 AM   #1
dfaugh
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Has anyone ever tried....

1) Modifying Berdan Primed cases to accept Boxer Primers?

2) Reloading Steel Case surplus ammo, in any way shape of form?

Mostly curious, probably not worth the effort to do either, but seems like someon on this board has treid EVERYTHING at one time or another!
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Old June 14, 2002, 08:48 AM   #2
Johnny Guest
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dfaugh - - -

1. No experience/no information whatever. Seems it COULD be done. Hope you get some input from others on this, because there are some obscure (in the USA) calibers for which there is NO Boxer primed brass. I suspicion, though, that one would be better off getting the gear and primers and just reloading with proper Berdan primers.

2. I have some information on this, somewhat to my own grief. In the late 1960s, I ruined an old C-H sizing die (Anyone here under age 55 remember THAT brand?) in trying to recycle some steel case EC-43 cal .45 cases. Not content to leave well enough alone, I then tried it with my (then-) cherished Lyman carbide die. I learned:
a. It CAN be done--with hand-lubed cases and going very slow, and VERY careful use of a small round file to remove the crimp. Normal crimp-removal methods do not work on the steel cases.
b. It is just flat NOT WORTH THE TROUBLE!
c. I came close to ruining even the carbide die, as well.

Oh, yeah, I broke two decapping pins inthe process, as well . . .

Best of luck,
Johnny
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Old June 14, 2002, 09:34 AM   #3
Mike Irwin
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C-H?

Sure, it's now owned by Dave.... Dave... Damn, can't remember his name, but he runs 4-D in Mt. Vernon, Ohio.

Yes, you CAN convert Berdan cases, I've done so.

You need an anvil (steel rod that closely fits the interior of the case) and a punch the same size as the primer pocket.

Put the anvil in the case mouth, making sure you're centered, put the punch in the primer pocket, and flatten out the anvil in the case.

Then, either clear out the existing flash holes with a twist drill, or drill a new, central flash hole.

WARNING! Cases that are drilled with a new, central flash hole should be used for low power rounds ONLY! At that point, you have essentially 3 flash holes, which substantially weakens the primer pocket. I've seen 1 case failure in a case so modified, and it wasn't good for the rifle. Cracked the stock.

There's one problem that has to be examined, though, before you go to all of this work. Avilability of properly sized primers that are set up for Boxer cases. Many European cases use odd-size primers, which may not be available in Boxer configuration.
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Old June 14, 2002, 01:13 PM   #4
C.R.Sam
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What Mike said with a twist or two.
BRASS berdan cases.
Some have slightly smaller than .210 primer pocket.
Use anvil and punch to flatten the berdan anvil, thoroughly.
This usually closes the berdan flash holes. Drill new hole in center.
Ream pocket to take .210 Boxer primers.
If done carefully, good to go.

Do NOT grind the Berdan anvil off. Usualy formed by dimpling from the inside and will then be too thin.

Sam
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Old June 14, 2002, 07:11 PM   #5
Southla1
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Ditto on Johnny's attempt to resize 45ACP steel cases. I ruined a Lee Loader sizer trying (that's the one where you hammered the case into the sizer die. It went in with the help of a BIGGGGG hammer ....................... coming out was another matter! Had to buy me a new Lee Loader. Cost around $8.95 IIRC. Hey don't laugh y'all. Do you know how much beer $8.95 would buy in the NCO club at that time(mid 60's)??

The foolish part about the whole deal was I could have (and did) pick up not hunderds but thousands of empty 45ACP brass (real brass-- not steel) at the range!

Believe me when I bought my RCBS press and 45ACP dies, at about the same time as the steel case experience, steel cases did not come close to those dies ......................... I still use that press and those dies to this day.
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Old June 15, 2002, 07:42 AM   #6
stans
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Steel cases cannot be reloaded. They are coated with a laquer that lubricates the case just enough to allow it to be exracted from the chamber. Brass is very ductile and can easily be resized. Steel is not as ductile and would require excessive pressure to resize, then it would need to be recoated after stripping off all of the old coating.
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Old June 15, 2002, 10:19 AM   #7
Mike Irwin
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Actually, yeah, steel cases CAN be reloaded. But it's seldom worth the hassle, as Johnny notes.

I reloaded 100 rounds of 8x56R steel case for a friend some years ago.

Holy crap, never again.

Used "motor honey" as a lubricant, a Hollywood turret press, and a piece of steel pipe over the handle. I didn't need to go to the gym for a month.
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Old June 16, 2002, 11:19 AM   #8
dfaugh
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What about

Annealing the steel cases? Used to do a lot of welding, know that steel (especial stuff that's been "worked") can get REAL soft when annealed...Again probably not worth it, but I'm curious....
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Let's roll for freedom, let's roll for love.
We're going after satan, on the wings of a dove.
Let's roll for freedom, let's roll for truth.
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Old June 17, 2002, 06:57 PM   #9
Watchman
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Annealing case mouths are one thing...

annealing the base is probably not a good idea.

one thing...the case mouth just has to let the bullet go and the annealing process should be done in water to protect the rest of the case...

the base contains all the pressure

if it blows out it could be hard on the gun,not to mention the face

too many uncertainies I think and not worth it.
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Old June 20, 2002, 09:52 PM   #10
David Wile
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Hey defaugh,

Some months ago I was considering trying to reload Berdan brass in 7.62X54 and 8mm. I came up with a couple of problems that required more effort and more problems than I was willing to take on.

First: if I wanted to simply replace the Berdan primers with new Berdan primers, removal of the spent ones is more of a pain than I am willing to go through. Worse yet, the supply of new Berdan Primers is very limited, and that means the price of new Berdan primers is simply through the roof.
Second: I tried to retro fit the Berdan primed cases as described above - flatten the anvil, drill a new hole, and then ream the opening so a Boxer primer can be used. This, too, was just way too much trouble for me.

I am not saying that either of the two above mentioned alternative cannot be done, I am simply saying they both require more effort and/or expense than I personally was willing to expend. I finally decided to order five 20 round boxes of both cartridges made by S&B with Boxer primers. I forget offhand what supplier I used, but you can check the S&B website for their distributors, check the prices on line, and order same. If S&B makes the cartridges you are interested in, then buying them may be a viable consideration. It was for me. Besides, a hundred good quality brass cases in 7.62X54 and 8mm will last me the rest of my life since I do not load them hot. I also use S&B brass in 303 British, and I have found them to be quite good.

Reloading steel cases? I never tried it and would not be inclined to do so for the reasons mentioned by the other folks here. For me, they are just not worth it. I use a lot of surplus bullets and surplus powders, but I am not a fan of surplus cartridges in spite of their low prices. I generally am not one of those "You get what you pay for!" snobs, but I have to admit that I do not like surplus ammos.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
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Old June 20, 2002, 11:31 PM   #11
cheygriz
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When I was young and very poor, I had the good fortune to be given a case of 1,000 rounds of steel cased Milsurp .45 U.S.G.I. ammo.

I shot it up and CAREFULLY reloaded the cases about 5-6 times. I used a steel Texan die. (Anybody under 50 remember them?)
I finally settled on STP for a case lube. If you want to have some fun, try getting that crap off of the cases.

Like the previous poster said, it just aint worth the bother! Sure it can be done, but unless you just can't get brass cases, forget it!

If you must reload Berdan cases, get a Berdan decapping tool from RCBS and buy Berdan primeers from The Old Western Scrounger.

Again, it just aint worth the bother!
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