Berdan vs boxer primers-explain please


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Tropical Z
August 14, 2005, 01:43 PM
I've always wondered what the differences are.How about a good explanation. :)

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SMLE
August 14, 2005, 01:50 PM
"Boxer" primers are the most commonly used commercial priming system. The primers itself has a cup and "anvil" and the primer pocket in the case has one flash hole in the center of the pocket. This makes it easy to punch out the old primer with a simple pin punch.

"Berdan" primers do not use the "anvil", it is formed into the case head and thus there are two flash holes on either side of the anvil. This makes the Berdan much harder to reload.

Boxer primer:
http://www.afte.org/Journal/aftejournalfall01_files/tem4DAseg103.jpg

I couldn't turn up a pic of a Berdan primer.

iamkris
August 14, 2005, 02:09 PM
What he said

Only thing I have to add is a quirk of history. Berdan was an American military officer (I think) who came up with this priming system. The Boxer system was developed in Europe. Boxer systems, however, were primarily adopted in the US, while Berdan systems were (not sure they are anymore) the primary priming system for European manufacturers.

Mk VII
August 14, 2005, 06:06 PM
Most European and communist bloc military ammunition remains Berdan-primed, although 5.56mm is usually (though not invariably, and I've got an FN one here to prove it) Boxer. From the military user's POV there is little to choose between them.

esheato
August 14, 2005, 06:10 PM
I know it's quite large, but check it out. Berdan:

http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/berdanflash.gif

rockstar.esq
August 15, 2005, 01:40 AM
A little off topic, but I couldn't help mentioning that Jeff Cooper and friends experimented with a priming system that had a tube leading from the flash hole forward that ignited the powder charge more in the "middle" which allegedly lead to slightly improved consistency. The idea was largely scrapped when the cost of brass was compared to the paltry performance gains. I find it interesting that Knights muzzleloaders uses a similiar system that they call the "power stem" or some such that has shown considerable benifit in that application.
Back on to topic, can one load a boxer primer into berdan cases? Additionally is there a source for berdan primers? I ask in regards to the 7.62 x 54R which I plan on obtaining brass for reloading.

USSR
August 15, 2005, 11:29 AM
Actually, Elmer Keith originally experimented with that tube igniting the powder column near the front back in the 20's or 30's.

Don

Onmilo
August 15, 2005, 12:13 PM
You cannot load berdan primers into boxer cases nor can you load boxer primers into berdan cases.
Size difference is one problem with this and berdan cases are made with the 'anvil as an intregal part of the case.
The two holes in a berdan cases anvil insure a reliable jet of flame and a long lasting anvil.
One single hole in the berdan case anvil would cause excessive burnout of the anvil and primer pocket.
It was tried and failed.
The anvil-included boxer primer actually jets the flame into three seperate streams that are forced through the single hole in the boxer type case.
An ice pick type tool or hydraulic pressure in the case body are required to remove berdan primers while a single post punch-type tool can remove the boxer rpimer through the single case hole making boxer cases far easier to deprime, another big advantage of the system and why it became so popular in the USA.
Most other countries, then and now, severely restrict the ability of their citizens to reload cartridges in large quantities.
Something we here do as a matter of course.
If you did find a boxer primer than fit the hole of a berdan case, it would likely explode when you attempt to seat it as the anvil in the boxer primer will contact the anvil in the berdan case and expolde the priming before the primer fully seats into the promer pocket.
Spectacular things will happen, especially if you are using a primer feed tray or tube and injury will occur.

Think of a berdan primer as a percussion cap for a cartridge case because that is precisely what it is.

Trebor
August 15, 2005, 02:08 PM
Generally, Berdan ammo is regarded as unreloadable by most U.S. shooters.

I have heard of a few die-hard reloaders who have reloaded Berdan ammo. The technical problems of getting the primer out and modifying reloading equipment to handle Berdan can be solved. The problem is that I'm not sure if there is anyone currently selling Berdan primers commercially in the U.S. If you can't get the primers, you can't reload. Importing the primers would probably be as expensive as buying the loaded ammo.

Check into it and let us know what you find.

Tropical Z
August 15, 2005, 06:23 PM
Good answers-Thanx

MachIVshooter
August 16, 2005, 12:42 AM
Only thing I have to add is a quirk of history. Berdan was an American military officer (I think) who came up with this priming system. The Boxer system was developed in Europe. Boxer systems, however, were primarily adopted in the US, while Berdan systems were (not sure they are anymore) the primary priming system for European manufacturers

Colenol Hiram Berdan, US Army

Colenol Edward Boxer, British Army

Jim Watson
August 16, 2005, 12:47 AM
Colonel

There is some evidence that the Berdan primer is superior for applications not calling for easy reloading of the empties.
Cost. The anvil is formed in the brass, part of its manufacture, so no separate anvil to make and insert in the cup.
Power. There is more room for priming compound in the usual sizes of Berdan primer. That mattered more in the early searches for noncorrosive primers than it does now but it does give some flexibility.

444
August 16, 2005, 12:48 AM
I reload Berdan primed cases.
The primers are readily available from PMC.
The decapping tool is readily available from RCBS.
Nothing hard about it.

Trebor
August 16, 2005, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the update. Do Berdan primers come in different sizes like Boxer primers, or is there only one set size? How pricey are they in comparision?

I have a bunch of once fired Berdan 7.62 Nato brass that I've been trying to decide if I was going to toss or save.

Mk VII
August 16, 2005, 12:18 PM
there are Large (Kynoch #81) and Small (Kynoch #69 [I think]) sizes, and there is also the larger size used in British cartridges (Kynoch #126, RWS #6000)

MachIVshooter
August 16, 2005, 07:48 PM
I reload Berdan primed cases.
The primers are readily available from PMC.
The decapping tool is readily available from RCBS.
Nothing hard about it.

Except that you have to align the decapping pins, which slows the process. And Berdan primers are ofter crimped in, so you have to dewburr the pocket as well. But there is really no good reason to fuss with them. Plenty of cheap boxer primed brass for all cartridges. 7.62x39 is not worth reloading You'd spend as much in Powder alone as the bulk ammo costs.

cracked butt
August 16, 2005, 08:01 PM
You don't aligg any pins for decapping berdan. A berdan decapper has a little claw that sort of gouges the primer out, kind of the reverse of a church key can opener.

The crimp isn't really an obstacle either, millions of boxer primed crimped miliary brass are reloaded every year, the crimp can be trimmed or swaged out.

Removing primers hydraulically is very easy. FL Resize the brass without the neck expander ball in place. fill the case with soapy water. Run the case back through the die with the expander ball in place. The primer pops out effortlessly.

cracked butt
August 16, 2005, 08:05 PM
Everything you need for berdan reloading: http://grafs.com/search?PHPSESSID=84787262e600a05d6654b4085ee9345b&PHPSESSID=84787262e600a05d6654b4085ee9345b&q=berdan

444
August 16, 2005, 09:59 PM
"But there is really no good reason to fuss with them."

Another TFL absolute statement of fact: not an opinion.


Several years ago, (5 ?) Schmit-Ruben K31s were sort of unusual. Not many people had them and ammo was hard to find. At that time, you could get Norma, and you could get Swiss military surplus. Both were expensive. Military surplus was selling here locally for $39/60 rounds. Norma was $39.95/20 rounds.
The Norma stuff was nice boxer primed ammo which obviously was selling for $2 each. And, it wasn't easy to find. I bought some and handloaded it.
The military surplus stuff was superb quality ammo. If you check out the forums that discuss loading 7.5 Swiss you will find very few people that ever come up with a handload that equals the accuracy of this mil-surp ammo. Further more, it comes in beautiful brass cases which are Berdan primed. Obviously, they cost 65 cents/ round. Even before I tried handloading them, I saved the cases because this was really nice brass: I couldn't bare throwing it away.
I shoot in a sport where we compete with bolt action military rifles without modification. In this sport, the K31 is a very good rifle. Very few rifles can match it's accuracy. The straight pull bolt makes it very fast and the stripper clips work as smooth as butter. Long story short, the K31 was my rifle of choice in this sport and I wanted to handload for it.
So, I looked into what it would take to handload Berdan primed cases. I found out that RCBS makes a tool for depriming the cases, so I bought one. I polished the cases, trimmed the cases, and deprimed the cases, but I had one thing holding me back, no primers. Shortly thereafter, a guy that also shoots these vintage bolt action rifle matches told me that he just purchased 20,000 Berdan primers from PMC (a local company located in Boulder City Nevada). So, we struck a deal. I gave him all my cases and promised him that I would scrounge every 7.5 Swiss case I could at these matches. I would also give him my decapper in exchange for him returning to me a reasonable amount of primed brass. This arangement has been working now for a year or more.
So, I have what I consider to be a good reason for handloading Berdan primed cases and I don't really care what the internet crowd thinks about it.

P.S. There are no decapping pins to line up. And the primers arn't crimped in. However, I process thousands of .30-06, 7.62 Nato, and 5.56 Nato cases with their boxer primers crimped in. I have a Dillon tool to remove the crimp. Again, no big deal.

CollinLeon
February 8, 2011, 06:12 AM
Removing primers hydraulically is very easy. FL Resize the brass without the neck expander ball in place. fill the case with soapy water. Run the case back through the die with the expander ball in place. The primer pops out effortlessly.


Sounds potentially messy... Probably not something that I would want to do on my progressive press...

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