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Thread: Convert berdan to boxer

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Aberdeen NC & Wellington FL

    Convert berdan to boxer

    Here is a very good set of instructions on converting 7,5x55 Swiss brass from Berdan to Boxer primers:

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  2. #2
    Boolit Master Wicky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Alice Springs, Australia
    Thats a different approach - the only way I had seen before this one was making up a new pocket and screwing it into the case.
    Thanks for the info.
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  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    I used a considerably simpler conversion for years to recycle Berdan 30-06 cases as boxer. I decapped hydraulically (which was a PITA) then used a jig to drill out the Berdan anvil: jig fitted over the anvil and had a 1/16" guide hole for the drill. Outside fitted in the primer recess much as shown on the website. After drilling the central flash-hole that way I used a flat-ended drill bit to machine off the stub of the old anvil that still existed around the new flash-hole, just doing this by eye since it didn't need to be centered. I didn't swage down the primer recess, just used soft primers and installed them pretty firmly in the oversize Berdan primer pocket - oversize is only .004" from memory. I don't recommend the omission of the swaging step though: that made the job a bit sloppy, and I'd get the occasional misfire from the squished-down primers.

    I doubt that it is necessary to use the expensive RCBS primer pocket swager. Just applying the ball with a bit of precision, so just the right amount of swaging occurs, then using a primer pocket reamer or another flat-ended drill bit to trim out the swaged pocket, should be sufficient. Depends how much of a cheapskate you are I suppose, but if you weren't cheap why would you be converting cases in the first place?

  4. #4

    I realize this is an older thread but would you mind putting up a picture of your decapping Jig, please Sir?



  5. #5
    Boolit Master at heavens range
    smokemjoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    I wished we would of had this set up 45 years ago, 43 spanish from the old hunter was like $18.00 a 1000, A R.R.B. rifle was .92 a pound. Most didnt go off, the good brass we drilled out the primer and glued in a shotgun primer. Thanks, Very interesting. Joe

  6. #6
    Boolit Master autofix4u's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    up on the hill by the james river in mo
    I had a bunch of 9mm largo brass (berdan primed of course). I converted a few weeks ago. had a chance to shoot a few today (25rds). loaded with a lyman 133grn rn & and a 3.5 grns of trail boss. All went well with no problems at all. I converted these by drilling a centerd flashhole from the dimple inside the case. Drilled through the anvil but not the primer. then used regular decaping die. The primer pocket on the Santa barbara brass is .0015" oversized but a little shallow. I just seated a SP primer till it was flush and that expanded it enough to seal and stay seated. I used trail boss powder because with the primer issues I wanted to keep pressures low.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Lesage WV
    I saw a tool guy made is on feebay now someplace it drills from inside and has a stop like auto said. the liquid primer seal will workto keep them in. finger nail polish works too if you coat inside of pocket and let dry

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

    lunicy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    PRNJ on the shore
    I have been converting cases for a bit. (I am a tinkerer.)
    I have used the nail polish method. It works
    I have also taken a ball bearing to "swage" the primer pocket slightly smaller to hold a boxer primer.

    I usually use my lathe to remove the berdan anvil and drill a new flash hole.

    I have taken the cheap steel 7.62x54r cases and drilled them out to accept shotgun primers. (cast loads only. Never done it with a full house jacketed load)

    I have turned down a tiny brass ring to downsize a berdan pocket to boxer size.

    I have soldered a brass plug into berdan brass and turned a new primer pocket.

    I have welded a steel primer pocket shut and turned a new pocket.

    BTW none of the above methods are really worth it. But I do like playing with my shop tools.

    If you have any questions, by all means post. I will try to answer them.
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  9. #9
    Super Moderator

    Buckshot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    So. California

    .................I made up a swage setup when I was forming brass from the Mag-Tech 32 ga brass shotshells to make brass for my Comblain. The Mag-Tech brass is now made as boxer primed and takes large pistol primers.

    The left rod sown inside the sectioned case is the support rod. It's long enough to set it's base on the arm of the moving jaw of a vise for support, and then the vise jaws are tightened against to hold it upright. A case is slipped over the arm, and then the rod with the swaging nose is set into the primer pocket. It's then give a solid whack with a 2 lb single jack. This flattens the anvil which also almost completely closes the dual flash holes.

    At the same time, there is a step at the base junction of the nose and body which displaces brass from around the top edge of the primer pocket, inward. After this is completed the single flash hole is drilled.

    I made an intermediate collet to allow the case to be held in a 5C collet. A #2 center drill is used first and then a number bit drills the flash hole to size.

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  10. #10
    Boolit Master leftiye's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Sagebrush flats, Utah
    Hammer the anvil flat, then drill the primer hole. Use a drill guide to center the drill in the pocket (guide fits tight so it won't turn).
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  11. #11
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Another way that looks like most of the other folks ideas.
    I do have all my brass laid in, but I was going to do it. I have a mess of .303 British brass that is Berdan Primed. Not quite sure what I will do with that, but I do have it in case I get an off the wall caliber that is rimmed.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Tippet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    San Diego
    Interesting,before this I'd only heard of drilling out the pocket and priming with shotshell primers

  13. #13
    Boolit Master at Heaven's Range 2010

    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    berdan to boxer

    I recently converted 7.35 carcano to boxer.I have the RCBS berdan primer tool then swedged the pocket with the RCBS tool in my Herter press.chucked case in lathe an drilled the flash hole.the carcano brass has smaller pockets than boxer as does jap 6.5 and 7.7.
    privi is going to have 7.35 brass in 2010.
    I sure do wish I had the south Bend 12 inch with lever collet closer and turret tail stock.had scroll chuck/4 jaw /3 jaw center rest and much more sold it to what I thought was a freind in need .the knife still hurts in my back.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check