Success! Converted Berdan Primed 8x57 to Boxer!


October 23, 2011, 01:09 AM
I have about 125 Yugo surplus berdan primed fired cases. I really hated to see this nice brass get wasted.

No worries about 8x57 brass now!

Simple procedure when you have the tools.


Primer Pocket Swager. (RCBS or Dillon) (I have the RCBS tool)
3/8" ball bearing.
BFH (Big Freaking Hammer, I used a 2 pound ball peen)
Strong press
Pointy punch
Loading press
.080-.090" drill bit
5/16" long shank punch or drill rod


Use very pointy punch to pierce fired berdan primer. Lever primer out of pocket once pierced.

Place ball bearing on a hard surface. Preferably with a divot to hold bearing from running away.

Place case with the primer pocket centered on the ball. Place the 5/16 punch or rod into the case till it bottoms.

Take BFH and whack rod as hard as you can multiple times. The idea is to collapse the rim around the pocket. The large rifle Berdan primers are .217" The standard Boxer large rifle is .210" in size. Only need to take up 7 thousandths of an inch.

Take that pointy punch and feel for a lip at the opening of the primer pocket. This is the brass that will be swaged back to form the correct size pocket.

Once you are satisfied with the lip run the case through your pocket swage tool. It should be on the tip of
the tool tightly when done pressing. You may have to keep adjusting your tool until it bottoms in the pocket.

Drill out center of the pocket for flash/decapping hole. Don't worry about the two little holes left in the pocket.

Resize the case per normal operation.

Check case for length, Trim if needed, deburr mouth of case.

Seat new primer. It should go in snugly just like a normal boxer primed case. If not carefully push the primer out and beat on the pocket some more. Repeat above steps if needed.

Done. Load it. Shoot it.


If you enjoyed reading about "Success! Converted Berdan Primed 8x57 to Boxer!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
October 23, 2011, 08:18 AM
I admire your tenacity.

October 23, 2011, 11:41 AM
American ingenuity never ceases to amaze me. Very neat idea, after all these years a solution.

Ball Bearing? Who'd had thought. HA

October 23, 2011, 11:44 AM
Very interesting. I would love to see a video of this. Have you ever made a vid and posted on youtube before? This would be a great one.

October 23, 2011, 11:57 AM
I seem to remember, back in the late 50s - early 60s, when there was tons of old surplus Berdan primed stuff around, there was a tool made to do that.
But, my memory is getting pretty bad and can't remember much about it.

October 23, 2011, 12:08 PM
Thanks folks. I cannot take full credit for this. I've just collected and put together a few ideas from others as found on the 'Net and through a fellow I swap gun stuff with. Just put them together in a way that I can do in my limited shop.

I did use my metal lathe to drill the flash hole. (almost sounds like cheating!) ;)

This would be a bit easier if you had either a really stout reloading press or a small hydraulic press to peen over the lip of the pocket.

Sorry folks I have no way to make videos. If I have some time this week I'll see if I can take some step by step photos.

October 23, 2011, 02:57 PM
I believe it was RCBS or Huntington that made the Berdan depriming tool. I was also very glad when I could afford to buy a couple of boxes of boxer primed 303 British so I didn't have to deal with the Berdan primed brass ever again. I wouldn't have cared less how good the Berdan brass was as it was going to be thrown away. good riddance

Ian Sean
October 23, 2011, 04:21 PM
This would be a bit easier if you had either a really stout reloading press or a small hydraulic press to peen over the lip of the pocket.

Would something like Dillons primer pocket swager work?

October 23, 2011, 05:16 PM
You could use the Dillon swager to reset the pocket size.

I do not know if it would work for the hard part of squishing the pocket initially.

When I said a more stout press I was referring to using the press with a ball bearing on the ram to squish the pocket initially. You'd need a die in the the press like the one used in the RCBS kit. Or you'd have to make a die with a rod inside to be the anvil the ball presses the case against.

My reloading press is a Lee Challenger with an aluminum 'O' frame. I'm afraid to try this light duty press for the initial swaging as I don't want to wreck it and be without a press for any time.

Smokey Joe
October 24, 2011, 12:43 PM
Ingenious. Neat. American ingenuity at work. Nice brass. Glad you're happy.

BUT (There always is that darn "but"...)

It still seems to me like an awful lot of effort to get some brass when there is plenty of that cartridge available.

To each his own. Glad you're happy.

October 24, 2011, 02:35 PM
True, however, I have no money. Time is an easy trade.

Also consider this. Some cartridges are very hard to come by. This procedure works with those as well.

October 24, 2011, 04:20 PM

Here's what I'd have done:

Thrown away/recycled the brass; what is it like $20 worth?


Purchased some correct for the case Berdan primers.

I have this agreement with my face, particularly my eyes... I don't cheap out on things that keep 50 KPsi gas out of them and they continue to keep working.

October 24, 2011, 04:47 PM
A: I don't have $20 to spend.


B: Good luck finding primers.

October 24, 2011, 06:31 PM
Twmaster, thanks for sharing. I'm slightly surprised it took this long for the na sayers to emerge.

This should be a great help to those who wish reload 7.62 x 39.

October 24, 2011, 06:41 PM
I have thought of suing the ball bearing trick myself. I wonder if it will work with steel cases. Other thing is if the pounding weakens the case head.

October 24, 2011, 06:57 PM
Personnally I think taking this to steel cases is going to far.

October 25, 2011, 01:37 AM
Nullcone: Thrown away/recycled the brass; what is it like $20 worth?
20 brass cases at midway $15.49
Cheaper than dirt: 8mm Mauser Unprimed Brass 50 per Bag
(no reviews)
Our Low Price: $26.46 All plus shipping so say about $70 for 125 of these.
PS Saturday I picked up WWII Turkish surplus 350 rounds for $80 at a local gun show.

October 25, 2011, 03:55 AM
I stand corrected both on the cost of (new, boxer primed) 8x57 brass and the availability of berdan primers... but I'm still keeping my face away from such shenanigans.


October 25, 2011, 06:45 AM
I will be trying this with the 7.62X54R berdan primed brass casings I have saved (2K+). I used to buy the 330 round tins of it for about $20 not that long ago.:mad: Yes I am sure they are solid brass, I saved them in hopes of getting berdan primers some day. I have all the stuff to do this on hand already and I will have some spare time over the winter so this will be a fun adventure. +1 on the 7.62X39, 8MM, and surplus 303BR also. Guess I am just cheap by nature but time I would otherwise just be watching the TV or on the net that I could be spending working on ammo reloading is a win in my book.

October 25, 2011, 09:39 AM
This idea will work well with GP11 brass for the K31. It is match grade brass BTW. Shame it gets tossed after firing. Good idea for the surplus crowd! I think I saw something similiar on or something like that.

October 25, 2011, 10:41 AM
Guys, what we do on our benches is not always about cost effectiveness.

Sometimes it's all about the desire to find a way.

Good job, Twmaster!

October 25, 2011, 10:49 AM
Ooooh... 7.5 Swiss surplus "match" cases cry out for this!

October 25, 2011, 04:33 PM
That 7.5 Swiss is a perfect example of what this process is good for.

And bad news for the 7.62x39 guys.... Most if not all of these cases are not compatible at all with large rifle boxer primers. The primer pockets in these cases is too shallow.

October 25, 2011, 05:16 PM
There's Tula berdan primers to be had at

$133 for 5000 KV24N is the 7.62x39 (.217" ) Low cup size, for 7.62x39 cases ( all makers); it is filled with a smaller charge of priming composition, suitable for Fast Powder of the smaller case. It will give erratic results with the slower Powders of Larger capacity cases

$156.00 for 5000 KV762N is the Nato (.217") size and correct Cup height for all .217" Berdan Pocket cases of "European Military Rifle" calibers (7.9mm, 7mm, 7.65mm, 8mm Steyr, Euro .30/06, Euro .303 Br., 7.62R Albania, Czech, etc. 7.5MAS, 7.5 Swiss, 6.5 Swede, 7.62 Nato.)

October 25, 2011, 06:01 PM
I've been in contact with that vendor. Add $46 to that price for shipping and hazmat fees. And they are not in stock. Expected delivery was October, now November.

October 25, 2011, 10:36 PM
Sounds like a nifty idea but i would load a few with light loads and try them. Blown primers are no fun and could be a problem with cases made that way. If they work that's great just be careful. Don't wanna see anybody getting hurt.

October 25, 2011, 11:12 PM
I've been in contact with that vendor. Add $46 to that price for shipping and hazmat fees. And they are not in stock. Expected delivery was October, now November.
i am sure that eventually primers will arrive from somewhere.

In the past I have reloaded foreign 30-06 with berdan primers and I very long ago reloaded some odd ball 7.62x54R cases with berdan shotgun primers. These pockets were about .254 inch diameter. Problem was the mosin firing pin would puncture the too thin shotgun primers, but other wise with moderate loads it worked fine.

October 27, 2011, 10:10 PM

Good job. You have added to the knowledge/experience base some useful information. Don't worry about the naysayers. It's not always about the least expensive or most efficient. Its about knowing how to get by if and when you need to. Thanks for the info.

October 27, 2011, 10:19 PM
Good for you Twmaster... I enjoy those who are willing to try. I got a good chuckle out of your signature also.
Mike in Peru

October 28, 2011, 09:15 PM
Ooooh... 7.5 Swiss surplus "match" cases cry out for this!
This process works very, very well with GP11 brass; I've done it.

It also works with surplus 8x56R brass, though the primer pockets on those are not quite deep enough so you need to cut them a little deeper.

If you enjoyed reading about "Success! Converted Berdan Primed 8x57 to Boxer!" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!