Berdan primed cases, removing the primer crimp?


December 28, 2011, 08:01 AM
Now that Tula 7.62N primers are available, what is the easiest way to remove the primer crimp from the case? Has anyone modified a swage punch? Looking for adaptation to do lots of cases, not a couple with a pen knife.


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December 29, 2011, 07:26 PM
The generaly consensus is if it isn't boxer primer you're simply wasting your time.

December 29, 2011, 07:55 PM
I agree.

You could get a second job flipping burgers at McDonald's and use the money to buy new factory ammo and be money & time ahead reloading Berdan primed cases.

The only logical good reason to load Berdan is if you can't get cases for boxer primers anywhere else.


December 30, 2011, 07:41 AM
Appreciate the opinions, but with the price of new brass approaching 400/1000, will still explore options. Long cold winters up here, with time and saved once fired cases. Hopefully the availability of primers will drive some innovation.

RCBS has a decapping tool, which helps what appears to be the slowest part of the process. If other tools could be modified for the berdan cases, the rest should be the same as dealing with boxer once fired cases.

Anyone out there actually reloading berdan cases, specifically 308 ?

December 30, 2011, 07:55 AM
I have seen folks remove Berdan primers hydraulically. Fill the case with water and with a punch that just fits in the case mouth, pound the punch down. The water punches out the primer.

Kind of messy.

I agree with others, not worth the effort unless there is no other source of cases.

December 30, 2011, 09:00 AM
Appreciate the opinions, but with the price of new brass approaching 400/1000, will still explore options. Then use good once fired brass. $150/1000 at Powder Valley for unprocessed and $178/1000 at TJ Convera for processed and I'm sure you can find it cheaper still if you look around.

December 30, 2011, 11:18 AM
This is my hobby and I make a little bit more than a burger flipper or most other non-academical individuals:neener:.

I reload some 9x19 Berdan primed brass for the fun of it. To remove the primer crimp, I have used a simple RCBS swager.

I have to admit that when I am through the supply of RWS Berdan primers, I will stay with Boxer primed brass.

December 30, 2011, 11:29 AM
I always add another zero to the 400/1000 brass count ... if i use them in a bolt action ;)

December 30, 2011, 11:58 AM
I always add another zero to the 400/1000 brass count ... if i use them in a bolt action ;)
$4000/1000?!? Lapua is only $65/100 and even Nosler is less than $1 per case at $82/100.

December 30, 2011, 03:31 PM
LOL! $400/10000... it means that you have loaded 10 times 40 cents = 4 cent each shot ;) thats why i dont boder buying once fired brass IMO the only once fired that is good to get its the one that you get for free picking up at the range ... other than that if i buy brass it need to be better than the cases that i can get buy factory ammo ...

Lapua and Nosler in rifle and Starline in handgun :) hope this helps !

December 30, 2011, 07:02 PM
Bought once fired 308 brass once. Must have been from a machine gun and not worth the effort. About 1/2 of the cases did not survive resizing and the ones that did (the ones that could be resized to fit headspace)were good for one round.

December 30, 2011, 10:02 PM
Some enterprising individuals have converted berdan to boxer. Here's one:


Hondo 60
December 30, 2011, 10:20 PM
Sorry, but berdan primed brass goes in the brass recycle bin.
I then sell that to the metal recycler & use the $$ to by boxer primers.

December 31, 2011, 09:22 AM
By coincidence received the Tula Berdan 7.62 primers and RCBS tool yesterday. Following is some real live tried it experience (apparently more people have "heard" rather than done). Tried them on several different military crimped 7.62 brass, despite the instructions saying not to. Couldn't remove the primers from SA RIMI WA80 cases for love or money. The primers came out of the RIMI B81 brass with moderate effort. The primers popped right out of the Portugese FNM 93-4 cases easily. Very little crud in pockets, but cleaned them out with paper clip. Gonna need a quicker way.

Using a RCBS hand primer tool, with the feed channel cleaned out, the Tula primers seated without swaging the primer crimps.

Sized the brass, might trim them yet today and load em up. If they work good, definetly worth my effort for the Port cases, especially if they last a couple of loadings.

As usual, there is rarely any "always, definitive, declaritive" answer, as there are too many variables.

Hondo-how many cases and what kind do ya got saved up?

T Bran
December 31, 2011, 12:51 PM
I know some military ammo is asphalt sealed around the bullet as well as the primer. Sacrafice a piece that would not deprime and see if this is the problem I may be way off base just a thought. If they are sealed try a little bit of heat. Not enough to anneal the case but enough to soften the asphalt sealer. Say 150 or 175 degrees might loosen them up a bit.

January 1, 2012, 12:47 PM
T Bran-thanks, it be appreciated and will try. It seems the primer sealant on the RIMI 80 cases are what is making it more difficult, the stab crimps don't seem any different than the 81 cases.

January 2, 2012, 03:41 AM
Having fooled with a lot of Berdan primed cases this fall (that link above is to a thread I posted about converting berdan to boxer...)

I'd not worry about the crimp too much. I primed and reloaded about 100 berdan 8MM Mauser cases this evening. Many had crimped in primers originally. Other than removing the spent primer I did nothing else to the primer pockets on these cases. 98 of the new primers seated without issues. An acceptable trade off of time vs losing a couple of primers.

The few cases I came across that would not for love or money release the primers were indeed glued in with some sticky crap.

I made a tool to remove the primers out of a 6" long section of stainless steel car radio antenna. Grind a sharp tip on one end, drive into the primer, lever the old primer out. Easy.

January 2, 2012, 08:44 AM
Anyone out there actually reloading berdan cases, specifically 308 ?


First post here. Certainly not my first post anywhere though. :neener:

I reload Berdan .308 quite a bit. Looks like your thread, Zeke, may not have a lot of folks that are interested in it. I LIKE to sit in the hovel and do little time consuming things that go with reloading. I will throw a few things at you as food for thought. Feel free to email or pm me.

Most DAG headstamped brass (not all) will help you learn new cuss words. I save mine for hard times.

R1M1 is the easiest, closely followed by FNM and MEN.

MEN is soft. Upon first FL sizing it will likely be so long it will not fit between the end of the leade of the chamber and the bolt face. Trimming is needed of course.

I cut the crimp out with a box knife. I have learned a skill in this little operation and as practiced as I am, I can cut about four to six a minute. Have not cut myself yet. Have done about 500 so far.

Not all Berdan pockets are of equal diameter. Some are so small they cannot be re-used (with the supply of PMC primers I have anyway) short of chucking them up and cutting them (lathe). Most of them are ready made to accept the primers I have. Probably work with the TULA offerings. Some are too tight and need swaged even after cutting the crimp. I copied the large primer RCBS primer pocket swage punch on my lathe. Of course, I adjusted dimension a little as Berdan primers are a couple three thousandths (nominally) larger than boxers. I cut a hole in the center of the punch of course to clear the Berdan anvil. I made it from a piece of 1" 4140 drop I had laying around. I intended to harden and temper it, but never got around to it. I have used it to process the 200 - 300 cases that have needed it and it's original hardness hath sufficed.

I clear the flash holes with a torch tip cleaner, by the way.

I trim them with a Lee trim rig. I took a .308 pilot and cut the flash hole pin completely off. I chuck the shellholder in my battery drill and using practiced dead reckoning, cut them easily to within .005" of "spec". Whose "spec" ? MY damn "spec", thank you very much. lolol. I use a Lee factory crimp die after seating bullets. A word on this:

Lee claims that you do not have to worry about case length when using their factory crimp die. One word- "BOLLOX". You DO. Just not as precisely as with a roll crimp. Hence, my "VFR" trim method works fine.

I have a lot of 50 pieces of Berdan brass I am working with for the fun of seeing which headstamp lasts longer. There is R1M1, FNM, MEN, DAG, O-O, RG and maybe another one or two. This lot of fifty has now been fired a total of four times. My recipe is a 147 FMJ over 42 grs of IMR 4895. Nobody has failed yet, even though my FNFALs are hell on brass.

Thanks to so many people considering Berdan brass as no good, I will have brass to use for longer than I shall live. For free. I have likely more Berdan primers than I will ever use, but that remains to be seen.

Life is fun. Funner for some than others. :D


January 2, 2012, 09:19 AM
Gentlman-thanks much for the help, it be appreciated. Got 50 cases sized, trimmed and primed. After snow removal obligations, will try to get to range after it warms up a little. Am also interested in seeing how long the cases last, as my short FAL is hard on em.

Getting better using the depriming tool, but every batch of cases seems different. Should have expected that.

Took a small rcbs primer pocket cleaner brush and wedged an opening in the center. Works good, although still visually check the flash holes.

A special swage for Berdan cases sounds like good idea, maybe will try to get one made for the Dillion swager.

Anyone know if the berdan primers are comparable to standard or mag primers?

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