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Old March 11, 2005, 07:42 AM   #1
frag
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berdan primed

Anyone ever try to reload berdan primed cartridges? I've been told it's possible, but difficult. Whadda ya think?
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Old March 11, 2005, 08:51 AM   #2
.45 Vet
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Don't waste your time, at the very least you run the risk of getting ONE piece of the berdan junk mixed with your other brass, and end up taking out a de-capper pin...
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Old March 11, 2005, 09:01 AM   #3
Jim Watson
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A friend bought a .450 BPE that came with some Kynoch Berdan primed ammo and brass. We loaded that until he could round up some Bell cases for Boxer primers.

I concluded that if you are shooting a scarce caliber that kicks hard enough that it doesn't take many rounds to have your fun, it is just barely practical.

The procedure we developed was to screw the seating die into the press upside down, drop the fired case in, and drive an awl into the primer indent at an angle flat enough to penetrate the cup without cutting into the anvil. Then pry out the primer. Resize brass with the decapping pin out of the die. Seat a fresh primer by putting it on a flat plate and tapping the case down over it with a rod and mallet. Charge powder and seat bullet normally.

I don't recall popping a primer that way. If you are going to do a lot, you can get primer punches of the right diameter and there was once one made with a stop system to seat the Berdan just to the right depth.

Berdan primers are even less common now than then. If I had an odd caliber normally made with Berdan primers, I would call Buffalo Arms and see if they had any reformed Boxer cases for it. I sure wouldn't fool with something common on the market.
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Old March 11, 2005, 10:56 AM   #4
Mike Irwin
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I have.

It's annoying on a lot of different levels.

There's also the issue that a lot of berdan primed ammo also uses European metric-sized primers, which can be a real beast to find in this country, and when you can, they are not cheap.
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Old March 11, 2005, 11:01 AM   #5
Quantrill
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Yes, I did. Back in the early 1960s. It is a pain. I would say that it is the last alternative to get ammo. Quantrill
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Old March 11, 2005, 01:11 PM   #6
road.warrior
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Drill a new hole?

Has anyone tried removing the primer and drilling a new hole
for a standard boxer primer?

Good luck? Bad luck? Any thoughts?

I have a couple 30-06 I'd like to play with....

BTW, I was a machinist for a while... so sizes and tooling is no prob.
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Old March 11, 2005, 04:03 PM   #7
Mike Irwin
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Road Warrior,

That's one suggestion that was made by, I believe, Col. George Nonte in his book on reloading and creating cartridges for hard to find calibers.

Essentially he suggested putting the case over a mandrel and then using a punch that just fits the primer pocket to flatten out the Berdan anvil. This would also serve to partially or totally close the off-center flash holes.

A small diameter bit would then be used to create the new, centrally located flashhole.

It will work, but there are a couple of issues with that, though, that have to be taken into account.

1. Primer pocket size. As I noted, most cases having berdan priming will use primers that aren't of standard US size, so you'll have to figure some way to either (ideally) enlarge the primer pocket to the proper dimensions, or to sleeve an oversized primer pocket down. Doable, but more work.

2. Primer pocket strength. You'd want to keep the charges with such a modified case on the low to moderate size just to ensure that there aren't any problems with the bottom of the primer pocket blowing out.

3. Time. At one time this might have been the only way to get a usable case for an obsolete cartridge, and the investment in time would be pretty high. Today, though, you can find new cases for just about any caliber you want. Bertram offered(s) cases for many obsolete rounds. Old Western Scrounger is another possible source.
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Old March 11, 2005, 04:45 PM   #8
Quantrill
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As Mike has pointed out, Nonte suggested that and that is the way I did it. This is the last alternative, trust me. Quantrill
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Old March 11, 2005, 11:13 PM   #9
444
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Sort of.

Several years ago, I bought a couple K31 rifles chambered for 7.5 Swiss. At the time, there wasn't a lot of selection of ammo. There was Swiss military surplus ammo that was very accurate, berdan primed, and expensive: very nice stuff. Then there was Norma (I think) that offered boxer primed cases and soft point bullets, and was even more expensive: locally that stuff was like $40 for a box of 20. Since the 7.5 Swiss uses a standard run of the mill .308" bullet, I figured handloading this cartridge would be a snap: as long as you had empty cases. I bought some of the Norma stuff: one box per payday. But I also looked into loading the surplus cases. These cases are real nice, but berdan primed. I bought a tool from RCBS to deprime the cases. I deprimed the cases and tumbled them, then I discovered that there was no where that anyone I asked knew, where to get the primers. A couple years went by and a guy I shoot with bought 6 thousand berdan primers of the appropriate size for the 7.5 swiss case from PMC. However, he didn't have any good way to deprime the cases. So, we struck a bargin. I gave him all my brass and the depriming tool. In return he provides me with sized and primed cases all ready for powder and bullet. I don't shoot the rifle a whole lot, so at this point, he is getting the better end of the bargin. Plus the fact, Graffs occasionally has someone manufacture brass in this caliber like once a year and I bought 500 virgin cases: however, the only thing I currently shoot are the berdan primed cases provided by my friend.
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Old March 12, 2005, 01:05 AM   #10
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I made some cases for my 7.5 Swiss using .284 Winchester brass, itself now a rarer and rarer commodity. Worked very well, but occasionally the smaller rim would skip the extractor.
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