Berdan Primers


December 31, 2011, 06:49 AM
Is it possible to buy them to re-load with or is it juat a waste of time,expese ect..I read on another thread converting them to Boxer is a waste of both.Just wondering because I ordered a bunch of Swiss 7.5x55 Brass cased Berdan primed 174gr.and cancelled my hornady's after I saw the performance between the 150gr.Hornady Superformance was negligible compared to the Swiss fo price.

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December 31, 2011, 08:32 AM
It takes time & patience but can be done . Deprimung is done 2 ways ,1 ya peirce the primer & pry it out (search berdan primer tools) or 2 ya fill the case with water & qwiky insert a dowel into the case thus hydraulicly dislodging the primer (usually not on first try) & hope the swiss brass is`nt crimped primers !!!

Seating is different also ,easier to smash the mix into a useless state, not a slam dunk kinda deal as with boxers.

I`ve never converted any to boxer but I mite would try a few if I had it to do over & a plenty of time !

December 31, 2011, 08:43 AM
IMHO getting the darnd berdan primers let alone in the correct size is the main problem.:cuss: Seems we are in a dark hole on this matter. A couple sites say that they will sell primers but to date have not produced any.:mad: I spent the $$ for a RCBS tool and it works sweet even on the crimped/staked ones. I have a but load of brass in several foreign calibers as well as 308/30-06 ready to load up IF the primers ever become available in the future.
Waiting patiently

December 31, 2011, 08:48 AM
Here you go Rick

Look under Primers/Tula

December 31, 2011, 05:10 PM
Reload berdan primed ammo? Say it ain't so. I just sold off two 5 gallon buckets of it for brass scrap that was all berdan primed before christmas. :banghead:

Hey FROGO207 you got a link to that tool? The ones I find say they won't work on crimped in primers.

Next thing I know you guys gonna tell me its worth while to reload steel cases too. :uhoh:

December 31, 2011, 05:18 PM
There are more sizes of Berdan primers used all over the world then Lady GaGa has costumes!

See this, then tell me which size Tula is selling, and which size Swiss 7.5x55 brass uses??


December 31, 2011, 07:44 PM
I can come up with buckets full of Yugoslavian 7.62x39 once-fired brass.

Okay, primers are available for it. and the tools to deprime it too.

They were corrosive primers. Would that cause a problem?

December 31, 2011, 08:32 PM
They were corrosive primers. Would that cause a problem?Not at all deprime,wash,dry and tumble and there ready to prep and load. I have about 2000 pieces of berdan primed Lapua X39 brass I'm hanging onto.

January 1, 2012, 11:41 PM
I am not savvy about links for you. The tool was by RCBS for removing Berdan primers and was the only one RCBS offered. I have seen them offered at Midway USA and Natchez Shooters Supplies. I was successful removing both crimped and staked in primers with the tool no matter what the instructions said. At first I was gouging out the center raised up portion of the brass but after a few I got it figured out and now do OK. Never did figure how to remove the crimp as my tool is not the correct size for the pockets. I am going to measure the primer pockets again and see if the primers offered will fit as my brass was not made by Tula and therefor might not fit. Thanks for the primer links.:)

Smokey Joe
January 2, 2012, 01:56 AM
Beak 50--What with (1) multiple primer sizes, (2) of shall we say, "variable" availability, of primers that are (3) at best a hassle to remove once fired, and (4) considerably more expensive than Boxers, while Boxers are
(1) of only 2 sizes, or 4 if you count pistol vs. rifle, all of which are (2)easily available both locally or on mail-order, and (3) easily and cleanly removed once fired, and (4) cheaper due to far greater demand and therefore supply, (conclusion) I can't see why anyone bothers with trying to reload Berdan-primed cases, with the rare exception of a very unusual chambering for which there is literally zero Boxer-primed brass available.

Even rare, obsolete, and unusual cartridges are normally available, Boxer primed. Not at your LGS, of course, but they don't carry the Berdan primers you'd need, either.

Save yourself an expensive hassle. Scrap out the Berdan brass and buy yourself some Boxer brass and get on with your life.

The people who reload Berdan-primed brass are in the same class as the ones who reload steel cases. It's awkward, difficult, expensive, hard on the equipment, and the results aren't as good, but they do it "just because they can." I have no quarrel with their doing it, but they are not saving time, or money, or anything else. If it makes 'em happy, fine.

But if what you really want is to reload some cases and go shooting, well, it seems to me the choice is obvious.

January 2, 2012, 09:19 AM
Just because I can is sometimes a good experiment for the "just in case we need to" thing.:D Also why I have made my own black powder in small amounts and rebuilt old primers using match heads. Also made lye soap and cleaned brass with it. That works also but a small can of fine sand that I can shake is better/faster. I know what works and what is a waste of time when doing this now.:cool: My goal is to learn something new every day. On a good day I learn more than one thing.:D

January 2, 2012, 10:18 AM
I figured it would be a waste of time and $.I just wanted to know if it woul of been worth it.I guess not so I'll just go about it the normal way.Thank's for your in-put everyone.Beak

January 2, 2012, 10:32 AM
I can't see why anyone bothers with trying to reload Berdan-primed cases, with the rare exception of a very unusual chambering for which there is literally zero Boxer-primed brass available.

The people who reload Berdan-primed brass are in the same class as the ones who reload steel cases. It's awkward, difficult, expensive, hard on the equipment, and the results aren't as good, but they do it "just because they can." I have no quarrel with their doing it, but they are not saving time, or money, or anything else. If it makes 'em happy, fine.


Obsolete cartirdges can often be formed from readily available brass. So there are other and better alternatives for obsolete cartridges.

While you have no quarrel with people reloading berdan primed cases, I have quite a problem with your ignorant remark concerning the quality of berdan primed reloads.

Smokey Joe
January 2, 2012, 11:09 AM
Pz Gren--Perhaps I should have expressed myself more clearly. In the instance of reloading steel cases, the results when firing aren't as good as brass cases, due to the less elastic nature of steel compared to brass.

I did not mean to imply that Berdan-primed reloads are of less quality than Boxer-primed reloads, all other factors being equal. Once it's correctly inserted into the correct brass case, a primer is a primer. My apologies if I misled you with my wording.

I stand by my statement that if what you want is to reload some brass and go shooting, doing all the fiddle-work--and acquiring all the equipment--necessary to reload Berdan-primed brass is a waste of time and $$.

For those who want to reload Berdans "just to see if it can be done," or "just because I can," or "just for the challenge," or "just for the pioneering spirit of it," hey, knock yourself out. I can't see it, but if you want it, go for it.

My hobby is shooting. I augment that by doing my own reloading. Efficiently. I believe that this is the case with the vast majority of reloaders.

'Nuff said.

January 2, 2012, 12:52 PM
I've reloaded a lot of Berdan primed cases, and they can give spectacularly good results, but there are a lot of caveats. I could afford to shoot all factory ammo, but I like working with my hands, I'm rather tight with a buck and Berdan primers let me lower my brass cost effectively to zero. For the same .217" diameter, you will find many different heights, hardnesses and explosive strengths. DAG has brought in TulAmmo KV-24N and KV-762N, both made by Murom in Russia. The former is intended for the 7.62x39, is shorter, harder and has less explosive strength than the latter. The latter is intended for 7.62x51-class calibers, is taller, seems softer to me, and has greater explosive strength.

Batches of these two primers have been brought in before. Both are made by Murom in Russia. PMC brought in a lot of the KV-762N about 12 years ago, and I have shot them in 7.5 Swiss, FN and SA .303 brass, Albanian and early Bulgarian 7.62x54R and other calibers. They worked great in every bolt-action caliber I tried them in. Swiss 7.5x55 brass loaded with them has been used by me in 4 of the 5 Vintage Military matches I've shot in at Camp Perry, and I got a Gold medal every time. They seemed to get really flat as I approached book maximum loads and velocities, indicating to me they were pretty soft, so I was afraid of using them in loads for semi-autos without firing pin retraction springs.

I have purchased a bunch of the TulAmmo-marked KV-7.62N, also made by Murom, but have not shot any yet, still working on the PMC-marked ones.

Several years ago a batch of TulAmmo KV-24N primers were brought in, and I bought a lot of them. I tried them in Lapua Berdan 7.62x39, Yugo 7.62x39, and Swiss 7.5x55. I used 680 powder in the 7.62x39 loads, and with US jacketed bullets the Lapua shot better than the Yugo in an SKS. With the 7.5x55, I got mostly hangfires and duds even with easy to ignite 4064. Others have told me that if they opened up the flash holes on 7.5x55 brass, these primers worked fine.

As an experiment, I primed 7.5x55 cases with both primers and snapped them in a K31 rifle. The KV-762N gave two violet colored, 3 inch tongues of flame out the muzzle. The KV-24N showed just a little orange flame out the muzzle.

If you are going to use the RCBS tool to decap, buy spare pins, as you will break them. Do not use the mandrel RCBS gives you for holding cases, use a Seating die. For many calibers, the pin length is critical for successful primer removal. Try not to mash the anvil in the case: it looks like hell, but I can't see any difference on paper between cases with mashed anvils and non-mashed. Regardless of how well adjusted you have the tool, you will mash some anvils. There are some cases where primer removal will be incredibly hard: South African .303 from about 1980 used a sealant that must be epoxy, and I believe I've heard that Australian 7.62x51 is really hard.

There are a bewildering number of diameters, heights, hardnesses and strengths that have been imported and many are still made in other parts of the world. The former management of Old Western Scrounger brought in a lot of RWS primers, which were uniformly excellent. Fiocchi used to send to the US a heck of a lot of sizes. Getting someone to import them has been the problem. I wish someone would import .254" primers for most 7.62x54R, and .250" for most .303.

January 2, 2012, 04:28 PM
I just tried an interesting experiment. I made me a little pin punch by grinding down the end of a piece of 1/4 inch drill rod to the size of a flash hole on Berdan primed 7.62x39 brass. I also made me a shell holder jig to mount in a vise to hold the brass steady.

I just put the punch down in the mouth of the shell, and wiggle it around until it falls into the flash hole. Once the punch falls into the flash hole, a very light tap on the punch knocks the primer out completely intact.

It takes a little patience and time to find the flash hole with the punch, but I bet I could deprime shells faster and neater with that than I could with that RCBS contraption.

Hondo 60
January 2, 2012, 08:59 PM
Personally? I think it's a waste of time.
But to each his (or her) own.

Sometimes it's fun to thumb your nose at convention & do it, just cuz you can. :neener:

January 3, 2012, 12:25 AM
For those that aren't familiar with the berdan depriming tools, here is a photo. The tool at the very bottom is the primer pocket cleaner for Berdan primed brass, while the one above is for boxer primed brass.

Jim Watson
January 3, 2012, 12:37 AM
A friend and I loaded Kynoch .450 BPE until he could line up some Bell brass with Boxer pockets. We clamped the sizing die body in a vise and dropped a fired shell into it. We then drove a common awl into the primer dent and pried it out. A shallow angle kept the point from gouging the anvil. At the time OWS still had the right size RWS primers.

About 40 years ago, one of the few British reloading equipment companies made a decapper based on the leadchucker design. It was a universal decapping die body with a spindle kind of sloppy in its threads so you could wiggle the offset pins to hit the Berdan flash holes. It was sophisticated enough to have two pins adjustable for spacing to hit both flash holes of whatever you were loading. Readily replaceable with pieces of piano wire when you broke one, as you were bound to do.

There was the Hydro Punch which put a fitted nozzle down against the flash holes and popped the primer out with only a few drops of water spilled, not the mess of a case full of water in the expanding die or a hammer and punch.

The winner was the Power Punch. Which also put a fitted nozzle over the flash holes, and fired a Boxer primer into them, blowing the Berdan out with pyrotechnics.

The real trick is buying Berdan primers.

January 10, 2012, 10:16 PM
Here you go Rick

Look under Primers/Tula

Thanks for the link, res45. After several years of not being able to find berdan primers anywhere, I was pleased to see that Powder Valley had them in stock. I ordered a few boxes last week and they arrived yesterday. I'm looking forward to testing them out.

April 18, 2012, 01:26 AM
Thanks for the tips. Though difficult, I've been thinking of delving into berdan reloading for years. It appears Cumbersome but fun.

April 18, 2012, 08:54 AM
What is so hard about steel cases. I have only done the Tula .223 but the size, load, & shoot the same as brass.

When I first bought the 223 I didn't have much brass & there was a big pile of the steel just needing something done with it. I've never bought factory for ether of my 223 rifles.

April 18, 2012, 02:31 PM
It only takes me about 10 seconds per piece of brass longer to prepare Berdan primed Swiss GP-11 brass for reloading than it does to prepare Boxer primed Swiss 7.5x55 brass. The photo below is just a small portion of the GP-11 brass I have prepped or reloaded over the past 14 years. I currently have enough Berdan primers and GP-11 brass to last me a lifetime, but still refuse to toss GP-11 brass from rounds I shoot myself or those given to me by friends and family. I guess I must have it really bad, but I just can't see brass of this quality being scrapped without it being reloaded at least 5 or 6 times.

Old Grumpy
April 18, 2012, 04:02 PM
Being the scavenger that I am I can not pass up an unclaimed case. I have picked up hundreds of odds and ends, much of which is berdan primed. All the cases get tossed into the tumbler to be cleaned and then sorted. The calibers I don't reload go into boxes seperated by caliber and set aside. All berdan primed brass cases go into the recycle can. The steel and aluminum cases will some day be used for something but not reloaded.

While I hate to waste cases, berdan primed cases (IMO) are not worth the effort to reload.

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