REmoving Berdan Primers


September 12, 2008, 08:39 PM
On another forum a guy was asking about converting berdan primers to boxer then asking on removing berdan primers. Well i used to mess with them. there is a quick method that does not envolve a lot to deprime. I believe RCBS used to make a tool. However here is how i used to do it.

1. Pull out the tool box. Start looking through sockets to get one where the shell casing fits in it. To hold it still. This serves to hold the shell casing and gives you some where to put the primer.

2. Legg work. you need to get a rod or dowel that will fit loosely in the neck of the case just a tad loose.

3. Get some cleaning patches and a bowel of water.

4. Get a paper clip and bend it to make a long hook

1.put the shell casing in the socket and fill it with water.
2. Wet the patch and put the patch on the case mouth and drive the dowel down the case mouth. You should have a tight seal with the patch in place.
3. When you drive down the dowel the water pressure will push the primer out.
4. Drive down the dowel past the neck part so the patch is in the lower half of the case. You should be able to pull out the dowel.

5. Now tap the case upside down to remove excess water and patch.

If the dowel is too loose you wont get a good seal to force the water down. You almost want to get the water all the way filled up. This will force the primer out easily.

Do it outside on a bench. Just keep a bowl of water handy. If you are using wooden dowels you may need to keep extras.

There you go

Oh as far as modifying them. all i can say is its not worth it.

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September 12, 2008, 09:31 PM
Used to decap Berdan cases with water and some steel rods made for me by a machinist. It got pretty messy with water going all over the place when the end of the rod was hit a sharp lick with a hammer. Now i do it this way:

September 12, 2008, 09:32 PM
"...believe RCBS used to make a tool..." They still do.
Mucking about with berdan primed brass just isn't worth the effort. You cannot convert berdan primed brass to boxer. The primer sizes aren't the same and whatever hole you drill will be too big.

The Bushmaster
September 12, 2008, 10:52 PM
Why bother...To what purpose do you wish to reload berdan primed cases when there are so many quality boxer cases...? Seems like you might get wet with your method and I'm adverse to gettin' wet.

Iron Sight
September 13, 2008, 12:03 AM
There was a thread on here a while ago. Someone trying to obtain/buy berdan primers. Wasnt having much luck finding any?

September 13, 2008, 12:06 AM
I've loaded lots of different calibers with Berdan primers, especially those where Boxer brass is or has been expensive.

Lately most of my Berdan reloading has been 7.5x55 Swiss, 6.5x54 and .303. The Swiss and FN brass is excellent quality. Loads with it have been very accurate. Berdan reloading takes only one more short step. I see no reason to scrap it.

What really takes a lot of time in reloading is trimming brass. Because of that I have a Giraud trimmer.

September 13, 2008, 01:22 AM
I have re-primed about 3000 7.62x51 cases and some 7.5x55. The RCBS berdan tool works great after it's adjusted correctly. I got lucky and stocked up on primers when I could. I check all know sources at least once a week and haven't seen any for some time now.

The process I have seen to convert to boxer was done by reforming the primer pocket then re drilling for one flash hole. The re forming was accomplished hammering a ball bearing down onto and inside of the pocket to bend the walls inward thus making it small enough to hold the smaller boxer primer in place.
I have zero faith in this method as the base would be weakened and only the top part of the primer pocket walls would be holding the primer in place as the internal walls would now be on a slight angle.

tools for decapping and cleaning berdan

altered bench primer converted to accept the larger berdan primer

What happens to the anvil if you don't adjust the decapper pin correctly, I did this to enough cases to merit making a "anvil uniformer"

September 13, 2008, 05:00 AM
Midway USA carries what you need for these primer repairs etc

September 13, 2008, 12:11 PM
just for kicks,I've used Doug Henry's method of using a 22 case as a bushing for berdan to boxer. little time consuming but it works.I have about 100 pieces of GP11 brass that I converted to boxer. jwr

September 13, 2008, 12:53 PM
MAGNUM44......Midway USA carries what you need for these primer repairs etc

Perhaps you could post a link, so we could see what it is you're referencing to


September 13, 2008, 01:03 PM
here is a link on the way i used to do it.Worked out good. Water getting all of the place was marginal especially if you put a wrag around it.

September 13, 2008, 04:10 PM
Are new Berdan primers (if you can find them) corrosive?

September 13, 2008, 07:50 PM
The ones I have made by PMC are non corrosive

September 13, 2008, 07:53 PM
i think if you can find them best suites

September 13, 2008, 08:52 PM
My assumption is regarding as to why this forum keeps getting inquiries regarding Berdan is the potential for SHTF and the "what ifs". Ragnar Benson in Guerilla Gunsmithing address this issue. Interesting.

I guess if I had to re-manufacture a primer (I'm a chemist by the way), it would be simpler to reprime the Berdan because the anvil is external. I also hope I never have to. Also with a little work, check threads ect., Berdan brass can be (with a heck of a lot of work, not volume, not hobby here) made to accept boxer.

I have removed a few Berdans, just for grins to see if I could, with the water method on some 303 Brits and 7.62 X 54. Here is what I used. The priming rod from the 303 Classic Reloader and the case holding tool. It fits the neck of the cases very well and I simply squeezed my palm around the case top, used a polymer hammer and drove the primer out. It was simple if a little wet.

(Regardless, another reason to have some of those unbeloved Classic Lee Loaders around.)

I was going to add some primers (caps from a cap gun), but haven't got to that yet. Should work. I am also going try to dig out my stash of stricke anywhere matches and see if the heads work as predicted.

September 13, 2008, 11:58 PM
Make your own tool out of a chain saw file $3

Berdan to Boxer conversion

September 14, 2008, 09:34 AM

Great article. Thanks.

September 14, 2008, 12:30 PM
good article.

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