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Thread: Depriving Berdan Primers with Lee Dies

  1. #1

    Depriving Berdan Primers with Lee Dies

    All.

    I'm very very new to this reloading game, in fact I'm doing research before I take the plunge. However I am confused so thought I would ask .

    Having read about Boxer and Berdan primers it appears, to me at least, that due to the differences in the design (the positioning of the flash hole or holes) you cannot use the depriming pin in the Lee Dies to remove a Berdan primer.

    Is this correct or do I have this completely wrong?

    If what I have stated isrrect, how do you use the Lee die to remove a Berman primer? I would assume you would need to remove the depriming pin but what next?

    As I said I'm a complete novice at this so there is probably an explanation to this that's been stated a million times before. But I'm budgeted if I can find it

    Thanks all

    Kerry

  2. #2
    Do you have any Berdan primed brass? Regards JCS

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Dudders View Post
    All.

    I'm very very new to this reloading game, in fact I'm doing research before I take the plunge. However I am confused so thought I would ask .

    Having read about Boxer and Berdan primers it appears, to me at least, that due to the differences in the design (the positioning of the flash hole or holes) you cannot use the depriming pin in the Lee Dies to remove a Berdan primer.

    Is this correct or do I have this completely wrong? You are correct!

    If what I have stated isrrect, how do you use the Lee die to remove a Berman primer? I would assume you would need to remove the depriming pin but what next?

    You leave Berdan primed cases alone.


    As I said I'm a complete novice at this so there is probably an explanation to this that's been stated a million times before. But I'm budgeted if I can find it

    Thanks all

    Kerry
    There are several ways to deprime Berdan cases but will require more specialised tools and then can you easily get the Berdan primers? they are a different size to Large Rifle Boxer primers. My best suggestion is to forget about Berdan and just stick with Boxer.

  4. #4
    Ask and you shall receive.

    Your comments made me rethink and I have probably made a wrong assumption here. Told you this was new to me

    I had assumed that ammunition supplied for the European market was primed worth Berdan Primers.

    Your comments would suggest that boxer are the norm and my assumption is incorrect. In that case no problem with Lee Dies

    Thanks for your replies all and for not making the newbie feel an idiot.

    Apologies for the autospell errors in the initial message

  5. #5
    Dudders

    Not a problem. I've read about Berdan primers and Berdan primed brass, but I don't think I have ever handled any (yet).

    Merry Christmas.

    JCS

  6. #6
    Very little or maybe even no commercial ammo is loaded with berdan primers, its usually the domain of obscure military surplus ammunition.What calibre will you be reloading for? Ian.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dudders View Post
    Ask and you shall receive.

    Your comments made me rethink and I have probably made a wrong assumption here. Told you this was new to me

    I had assumed that ammunition supplied for the European market was primed worth Berdan Primers.

    Your comments would suggest that boxer are the norm and my assumption is incorrect. In that case no problem with Lee Dies

    Thanks for your replies all and for not making the newbie feel an idiot.

    Apologies for the autospell errors in the initial message
    Most commercial sporting ammuntiion will be boxer primed however the Eastern Bloc and Russia seems to be fond of Berdan priming as do the military. I examined some Wolf (Russian) .223 cases at the range the other week and it was Berdan primed. A new shooter was trying out one of the clubs rifles and I awaiting a place on the line to try a 6.5mm rifle so picked up a case to have a look at it.

    Years ago there used to be a hydraulic tool for depriming Berdam primers but have never actually seen one. Read tests and articles on them many years ago. RCBS do a hardened hook that digs into the primer and pulls them out.

    As for being a newbie ! Everyone has to start some where so every one is a newbie at some point

  8. #8
    It's only cases from European military or military grade ammunition that has been Berdan primed in recent years. For instance nearly all European military spec 7.62 NATO was Berdan. American 7.62 though was Boxer, US government arsenals (as was - all sold off or closed now like ours) were Boxer having used this form from the late 19th century. The move to 5.56 NATO though saw the Boxer form adopted as standard across western Europe too. You will find Berdan 7.62X39 and 7.62X54R ammo from eastern Europe, although as it usually employs copper washed or lacquered mild steel cases you wouldn't wish to reuse it anyway.

    All commercially produced brass, western European and US with maybe one of two exceptions has been Boxer primed for at least a couple of generations now. The only sporting or match ammo I can think of that was Berdan over the last 40 years or so was budget CCI Blazer pistol ammo that used aluminium alloy cases. As the cases weren't regarded as safe to reload, the manufacturer used the Berdan method to remove temptation or to protect those who never read warnings on cartons.

    You could reload Berdan brass, and I can remember people doing this with all the free .303, 9mm Para' 7.62 etc that came from range pick-ups. As you say, conventional loading dies cannot deprime such cases. It was done in a couple of ways - hydraulically either with a press, mandrel type die and soapy water or with an expensive tool, the Hydro-Punch, which was placed inside the case with its exit side against the case-web and its top end given a sharp knock with a soft face mallet. It used a small drop of water only to expel the primer forcing it through the twin flash-holes at very high pressure. The other way was a pick type tool employed externally that punctured and levered the primer out of the pocket. RCBS made one for many years, but it's long since gone such is the small demand to reload this type of case nowadays.

    You should note too that Boxer and Berdan primers are quite different as the latter's 'anvil' isn't incorporated in the primer cup, but is formed inside the case primer pocket. They are also different sizes. Although Berdan primers are still manufactured, anybody using them likely has a hard time getting a retail supplier these days.

  9. #9
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    Mr Boxer was an Englishman. Mr Berdan was an American. Yet we in Europe ended up with Mr Berdan's system and America with Mr Boxer's system.

    So what's the difference? One small extra part. The anvil in Boxer's system is a separate component that comes already assembled in the ready to use primer and the "flash" it generates passes into the body of the case through a central flash hole.

    On Berdan's system the anvil is made as an integral part of the case when the cases is "headed". So there cannot be any central flash hole as the anvil occupies that space. Instead there are two, or three smaller holes between the anvil and the sides of the cap chamber.

    Thus Boxer's system is easily decapped as the hole is on the axis of the case. It is centred.

    But on Berdan's system decapping is usually done with a hydraulic decapper that uses water to pass through the holes and eject the primer of by a claw that digs (from the back rear of the case) into the primer and levers it out.

  10. #10
    I used to have one of these loitering around
    RCBS Berdan Decapping Tool

    Still made. Still available.
    I leave Berdan brass where it lays....~Muir

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