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Old June 8, 2014, 08:26 AM   #1
30cal_Fun
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Changing out (corrosive) primers on surplus ammo???

Is it possible to change out the primer of (corrosive) surplus ammo (for a non-corrosive one)?

Oke, before I start, I think this is a stupid and potentially very dangerous idea. I have no intention of even trying it at this point, but I thought this would be an interesting question to discus.

Let me explain why I came up with this question:
I have Czech 1967 7.62x54R silvertip and Chinese 1974 7.62x39 steel core that both shoot pretty well out of my Mosin and AK47.

Non corrosive, modern production 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R is 2 or 3 times the price of surplus here in The Netherlands.
The problem is that all the 7.62x54r and 7.62x39 surplus (we have) has corrosive primers.
Primers aren't that expensive, about 4.5 cents per round, changing out the primer would give clean ammo for half the price of modern, non-corrosive ammo.

The problem is that surplus 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R has berdan primers, which means you'd have to pry out the primer with a sharp object. Pushing/hammering a sharp object in the live primer of a live round is of course a very stupid idea.
The secondary problem is that most berdan primers have odd dimensions which doesn't lend them well for reloading. My Czech 7.62x54R surplus has 6.48mm primers, which I haven't seen anywhere.

So, not taking into account the primer size problem; can it be done safely? Has it been done (safely)?
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Old June 8, 2014, 09:23 AM   #2
F. Guffey
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I have 30 cal. ammo cans full of Berdan primed cases (new never fired), I pulled the bullets/saved the powder and then formed 30/06 to 8mm57, cost of the case? From .01 to .08 cents each.

Years ago I pushed Berdan primers out with water then Called The Ol Western Scrounged for primers. He talked me out of the notion because of the cost of Berdan primers.

I would chamber the cases after removing the bullet and powder, close the bolt and pull the trigger, remember the case can run to the front of the chamber and the primer can be separated from the case making the job of punching primers out half done, if that is what happens.

Corrosive? Why do you want to avoid corrosive primers?

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Old June 8, 2014, 09:35 AM   #3
g.willikers
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Yeah, at that price difference, it makes sense to apply a little elbow grease to a good cleaning after shooting them.
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Old June 8, 2014, 11:50 AM   #4
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I don't even know where to buy new Berdan primers, and you won't be able to use Boxer primers. Besides size differences the flash hole(s) are different.
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Old June 8, 2014, 11:54 AM   #5
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You want to safely deprime Berdan cases with live primers in them?

Hmmm..hydraulics might be the best bet. Case full of water, tight fitting rod in the case mouth, compress and water pressure will pop out the Berdan primer.

Only makes sense, IF you have an economical supply of the CORRECT primer to put back in the case, though. And if the total cost of labor and non-corrosive primers is less to you than the labor of cleaning after firing corrosive ammo.

Otherwise, just shoot the stuff, and clean properly to take care of the corrosive residue.
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Old June 8, 2014, 01:21 PM   #6
Bart B.
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I, too, have bought corrosive primed .30-06 cases, but not as cheap as Guffey's 12 to 100 of them for a penny.

Pushing out corrosive primers with slow moving decapping pins was totally safe (according to Western Cartridge Co's factory rep regarding the ones used in some lots of .308 Win match ammo) Just moved the case slowly up with the primer's anvil hard against the decapping pin and they finally fell out of the primer pocket. My RCBS pocket uniformer under the smack of a 20-oz. flooring hammer swaged those crimps well back into the pocket profile.

Tulammo Berdan primers are still available in the USA as far as I know. Powder Valley seems to have them:

http://www.powdervalleyinc.com/
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Old June 9, 2014, 04:53 AM   #7
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Thanks for all your input!
It's always enlightening to have other shooters thinking along.

So far breaking down the rounds first and re-using some components seems like the best idea.

Enough has been written about the debate on shooting corrosive ammo, so I won't get into that.
I just want to know whether the idea itself would have a possible and safe way of doing so.
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Old June 9, 2014, 10:33 AM   #8
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That would be an awful lot of work...

I think proper post-shooting cleaning of the gun would be a LOT less work.
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Old June 11, 2014, 12:28 PM   #9
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I started out thinking I could do shooting on the cheap and easy.

12 years ago I was pulling military bullets and powder from corrosive Berdan primed cases.

Now I don't waste my time with cheap bullets, powder, cases, barrels, scopes, screws, epoxy, etc.

I have plenty of exposure to engineers who are good at calculus, but think their time is free. "Stupid is as stupid does" -Forrest Gump.
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Old June 11, 2014, 01:02 PM   #10
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Is hot, soapy water scarce now too?

I guess I don't see why a little hot, soapy water is such a big deal - is it scarce now too?

And there are easier to use products available for a few $.

Corrosive primers are not a big deal - certainly not worth trying to change out primers.
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Old June 11, 2014, 02:28 PM   #11
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I agree that just shooting the ammo and cleaning the rifle would be far easier than pulling the bullets, dumping the powder and reloading, even with Boxer primers and a supply of new primers of the right size.

As for trying to decap live Berdan primers, even from empty cases, I would not do it; just too dangerous.

Jim
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Old June 11, 2014, 05:00 PM   #12
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Yeah, but he'll need to do a complete detail disassembly with the AK to clean the gas system and the primer residue that blew back into the mechanism all with soapy water or a water-based gun cleaning solvent, and then relube it. I can appreciate that it's a lot of work to do very many times. And if he's got access to the right size Berdan primers in Holland, then he's probably going to reload these and may want to avoid having to clean the cases and primer pockets as carefully as he would want to do in order to get all the salt residue out. Ultrasonic cleaning in soapy water for the cases as well as the gun parts might be in order, then.

The hydraulic method is easiest for knocking Berdan primers out, IMHO. If you have a mandrel die, you can set it up on your reloading press, then use thin motor oil for the fluid and let the mandrel create the pressure to pop the corrosive primer out. Put a bucket under it to catch the oil. A Hornady Cam Lock type puller is fastest for production pulling.
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Old June 11, 2014, 05:09 PM   #13
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I would also recommend just pulling the bullets, saving the powder and using them as reloading components. Yes, it takes time (Istart by running the Mislurp through a seating die, set about 1/16" - 1/8" deeper to break the bullet loose. Then I either use a Kinetic puller or my Hornady collet puller.

I've done this with several thousand rounds of 8 X 57 and it's perfect for an off-shooting season afternoon.
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Old June 11, 2014, 07:54 PM   #14
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I dunno, it doesn't take much to break down an AK and clean it. We've had corrosive primers around for a very long time and I don't recall anyone complaining about cleaning 30cal US service rifles.
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Old June 12, 2014, 08:04 AM   #15
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"Yeah, but he'll need to do a complete detail disassembly with the AK to clean the gas system and the primer residue that blew back into the mechanism all with soapy water or a water-based gun cleaning solvent, and then relube it."

If the Russians, North Vietnamese, Chinese, North Koreans, Egyptians, Finns, Cubans, Syrians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, East Germans, Yugoslavians, Peruvians, Romanians, Yemenis and many, many others could fire corrosive ammo in their AKs and then clean it, so can anyone.
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Old June 14, 2014, 05:44 PM   #16
lee n. field
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Quote:
Is it possible to change out the primer of (corrosive) surplus ammo (for a non-corrosive one)?
Possible, I suppose. But, it sounds like a lot of work. You would need to disassemble the round, remove the primer, replace the primer, and re-assemble the cartridge. (Not to mention finding berdan primers, and the appropriate priming tool.)

If you have the equipment to do that, you'd be better off accumulating some reloadable brass (Czech S&B is, I'm pretty sure), and assembling your own rounds with bullets pulled from the cheap surplus ammo.
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