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Thread: So close to a score of 7.92 brass but wrong primer

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    So close to a score of 7.92 brass but wrong primer

    Came across a half bucket of brass, and I thinks "that looks like 8mm" check for primer hole with a handy wire and I feel a clear depression, starting to smile

    Check the headstamp, 7.92 and a date, that be 8mm so getting close to the happy dance but then I think dated is military, and German/European military wouldn't be boxer primed, and why do they all have live primers? Led flashlight inside the case and a little more poking and scraping with the wire uncovers the two Berdan primer holes and a center dimple from casting or machining.

    I kid you not a few hundred cases of 8mm mauser that I can't use. Well back to making my own slowly, by hand out of 30-06 brass.

    My guess is it was mil-surp that someone got cheap and pulled down for the projectiles and maybe powder. Wish they had used pliers to crush the case mouth so I wouldn't have gotten all excited, heart can't take that kind of disappointment.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    If those cases are quality brass then my technique to convert them to take boxer primers may well be worth the effort.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ckets-to-Boxer

    Larry Gibson

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Man I've been there. Found a bunch of gorgeous 7.62 nato with a German headstamp. Did I mention this brass looked new? All berdan.

  4. #4
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    Graf's usually has bricks of berdan primers in stock.
    WebMonkey
    Retired 19D
    Psalm 91:9
    Honda 919

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Gibson View Post
    If those cases are quality brass then my technique to convert them to take boxer primers may well be worth the effort.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ckets-to-Boxer

    Larry Gibson
    Appreciate the suggestion. I have read that article, well written and useful. I had some 303 British brass, Berdan primed and someone suggested that article. I ended up sending that 303 brass to someone who had the tools, plus more time than funds. Me I know I would just set that on a shelf as a project to do "someday" that fellow was going to use it.

    I think this from the article will be a problem with this brass:
    "Process; letís start with the cases, they should have been fired with the service level load. This swages the sides of the Berdan primer to fit the primer pocket tightly. I tried some cases with the bullet and powder pulled and the primer just fired. This did not work as the Berdan primer always came out of the primer pocket."
    These cases have unfired primers and while in decent shape as far as brass is concerned they are not clean enough to load as is. I'm guessing the primer was corrosive so ammo was cheap enough someone bought it just to pull the projectiles, and maybe re-used the powder, then dumped the brass in a bucket for possible use "someday". They were sort of black and cruddy inside, some tarnish but not generally corroded from what I saw. Or it could have been someone who was set up to load Berdan primers. These could be already fired.

    I gave some thought to just loading them once as disposable since they had a primer, if the price was low enough. I was figuring corrosive primers are not a problem if I clean right after use. But decided the cases were not clean enough that I wanted to run them through reloading press. Luckily I recently acquired a full coffee can of military 30-06 and swapped some 308 brass with a member for a bag of military 06 so I have a supply of brass I can cut down and form into 8mm. Won't be doing without 8mm cases so that much is good but dang that would have been a sweet score.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    I have hundreds of .303 berdan primer cases I'd like to find a way to reload, but converting to berdan primer pockets is not likely to work on these because the primer pocket is of a very large diameter.

    If I run across berdan primers of the correct diameter I'd give it a go. The brass seems to be of high quality with no signs of having developed the annular internal ring that most .303 cases show on first firing in a rifle with loose headspace or oversized chamber.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Multigunner View Post
    I have hundreds of .303 berdan primer cases I'd like to find a way to reload, but converting to berdan primer pockets is not likely to work on these because the primer pocket is of a very large diameter.

    If I run across berdan primers of the correct diameter I'd give it a go. The brass seems to be of high quality with no signs of having developed the annular internal ring that most .303 cases show on first firing in a rifle with loose headspace or oversized chamber.

    Post above by Larry Gibson has link to your answer. I haven't done it but others have, essentially you use a couple of drilling steps and a primer pocket swage tool (pushes a sized and shaped rod into primer pocket to re-form) and it leaves enough of the old Berdan primer ring in place to act as a spacer so Boxer primers fit. One of the drill steps removes the Berdan anvil and provides flash hole for ignition to reach load.

    Larry spells it out well with pictures and drill sizes and step by step.
    If those cases are quality brass then my technique to convert them to take boxer primers may well be worth the effort.

    http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ckets-to-Boxer

    Larry Gibson
    Some links to primer pocket swage tools, also used for military brass to remove the crimp that held the primer in originally so that brass can be primed. Also used in the steps Larry outlines in his article link quoted above.

    https://squibloads.wordpress.com/rel...the-crimp-out/

    https://www.ch4d.com/products/equipm...ming-tools/psk
    https://www.midwayusa.com/product/23...swager-combo-2
    https://www.amazon.com/RCBS-Primer-P.../dp/B0063IDAX2

    One never knows who may come along and read one of these threads or find it from Google so sometimes I include information that may be well known to the poster or reloaders because this might be read by someone just learning. Don't know how many times I have Googled some topic to find myself on archived page from this site.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I think you misunderstood. The primer pockets of this brass are far larger in diameter than the common large rifle primer. Swaging the pocket out larger would not be of any benefit and any attempt to reduce the diameter of the pocket would leave a case head that might not hold up.

    I do have a few Berdan primer .303 cases that use a primer very near the diameter of a standard large rifle primer, but not enough of those to bother with.

    .303 military ammunition can be found with several different sizes of Berdan primers according to when it was manufactured and by whom.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


    Larry Gibson's Avatar
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    A few different cartridges I've converted from Berdan to boxer primers. Left to right; a couple 7.65 Argentines, a South African 303, a 7.62x54R and an 8mm Austrian........have done others including some very nice 8x57s from South America.

    Attachment 197192

    Larry Gibson

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    PS to the above

    An example
    Kynoch .303 British MK-7 K 60, K61, K68
    0.250 outside diameter

    0.205 inside diameter

    0.109 height

    Copper material

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    The spent primer stays in the case and is made into the pocket for the smaller boxer primer. Small hole drilled into the existing Berdan primer is what gets expanded with the pocket swage tool. Not expanding the existing pocket, expanding a hole in the Berdan primer itself.

    That is what stops using the brass I found, the Berdan primer wasn't fired with the pressure of a full load so it isn't expanded into the pocket tightly.

    I found a few that were fired, look like Turkish or Arab symbol on the headstamp. Might try the drill thing with those just to try it.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    Most of the .303 berdan cases I have are already deprimed.
    I would not trust using the remains of an old primer to form the wall of a primer pocket.

    Altogether its far less work to simply obtain the proper size Berdan primer.

    If this was a long obsolete cartridge with no other option for obtaining cases it might be worthwhile.

    Hatcher wrote of work hardening of the case head due to a defective staking die causing split case heads of .30-06 ammunition in the 1920's.
    The method may work flawlessly for thousands of reloads but it takes only one split casehead to destroy a rifle or cost the shooter an eye.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    So did you deprime using the "can opener" tool or the water and plunger method to remove the Berdan primer? Then too are the tools for seating primers the same?

    I would much rather cut down and size 30-06 brass to 8mm than drill a new primer hole and pocket. That said sometimes it is worth finding out how an alternative approach is done with a little hands on. One of these days I might need that approach or want to advise someone on how it is done because they have a need that this addresses.

    I have about 35 cases where I mistook the pit where the anvil is for a boxer primer hole. These have been fired and show a pressure flattened primer. I may set those aside for trying out the drill, or take them to a guy I know that loads Berdan, he sells small bags of cartridges loaded with cast bullets at a local gun show. So he will use them, I might let them sit for long enough I forget why I have them. But it would be interesting to try drilling.
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I punched a hole in the firing pin indentation of the expended Berdan primers with a shortened upholstery regulator probe with handle, I then just pried the primers out. They came out fairly easily.
    The point of the regulator did damage the anvils of some cases, but not badly.

    These particular cases seem to be thicker than commercial cases and of a more malleable brass alloy.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master


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    Well, I've fired the converted 7.65, 7.62x54R and .303 cases from 5 - 8 times now with standard cast bullet loads using a C312-291 (Lee GB mould) sized .314 over 28 - 30 gr 4895 w/Dacron filler now. I haven't had a single problem. They don't need special primers now and the depriming is done with a standard NS die when NSing.......just like with normal boxer primed cases.

    Given I also convert '06 cases to 7.65 and 8x57 will I convert the 1500 8x57 cases I have or any more 7.65 Argentine? I don't know. I've not found converting '06 cases to be any easier than converting the primer pockets. Once converted both are working just as well as the other. On the other hand some cartridges are more difficult to find and some are almost impossible to find with boxer primers. Those, such as the 8mm Austrian I converted are easily converted to boxer primed. How much of that quality 8mm Austrian brass has been thrown away? Such a shame as it is perfectly useable.

    BTW; some Berdan primed cases use the larger Berdan diameter primer which is converted to take LR boxer primers........same process. I've had numerous "split heads" with commercial cartridges over the years.....never blew up a rifle and obviously didn't kill me. Yes those were factory loaded cartridges right out of the box. I've not had a split head with any case I've converted from Berdan to boxer but given I use the cases for cast bullet loads where the psi is in the low to mid 20k's I'm not concerned. I have loaded the 7.62x54R and the 303 Brit converted cases with top end jacketed loads just to test and see what they would do.........they did fine with no problems.

    Larry Gibson
    Last edited by Larry Gibson; 06-10-2017 at 10:43 AM.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Deleted because of issues with shipping primed brass.
    Last edited by Eddie2002; 06-10-2017 at 02:45 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Since split caseheads have historically been the major cause of catastrophic failure of Mauser, Springfield, and Enfield rifles I'll continue to do what I can to avoid them.

    Some Mauser and other designs handle escaping gas very well but most early models do not.
    The Lee Enfield bolt head has at times fractured due to a split case head sending metal shards into the face of the user.
    I guess we all know about the LN Springfields and the problems of defective WW1 era cases.

    Which reminds me. If converting .30-06 cases to 7.92X57 it might be a good idea to find a way to permanently mark the case head, X-ing out any .30-06 markings if any and marking these as 7.92 or 8mm.
    A common cause of failures of both M1903 and M1917 rifles was inadvertently putting a 7.92 cartridge in a .30-06 chamber.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master


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    I differentiate between a "split" case head and catastrophic case head failure.

    How do you know when a case head will "split" of "fail" before you fire it?

    As I stated I've had numerous split case heads over the years in factory ammo that had nothing done to it other than shoot it. Those were in Mausers, Springfields (assuming you mean M1903s), MNs, M70s, M700s and an Enfield. All the rifles are going strong with no damage. While I have had numerous case head separations other than an annoyance no damage to me or the firearm occurred. I have also had a couple SEEs over the years and have been present when a few catastrophic case head failures occurred; most in semi auto handguns and two in M2 Machineguns.

    Concur it's a good idea to avoid the obvious. Do you realize most motor vehicle fatalities and injuries occur while operating or riding in a motor vehicle? Maybe we shouldn't operate or ride in a motor vehicle? Then again all fire arm Ka-booms occur while they are being fired.....maybe we should fire any of our firearms.......

    Larry Gibson

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    The 7.5 Swiss gp 11 brass is unfortunately berdan primed. It is such nice brass that I thought I would try to reload it. I bought a hydraulic tool off ebay to try but it never really worked good. The RCBS berdan decapper pry's the berdan primer out very easily. I can decap GP11 very quickly. I am using a Russian berdan primer and my old Lee ram prime in a press to prime the brass.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    " Do you realize most motor vehicle fatalities and injuries occur while operating or riding in a motor vehicle? Maybe we shouldn't operate or ride in a motor vehicle?"

    All accidents caused by a blown out tire result from a tire being blown up, so why not avoid blow outs by making sure your tires are in good condition, suited to the road conditions and properly inflated.
    That might not eliminate blow outs entirely, I once ran over a valve stem that had no business being in the road, but proper care and maintenance can greatly reduce the probability of a blow out.

    A case head split is almost certainly going to vent gas directly back into the bolt head and receiver ring.
    A tiny crack might not be a big problem , not much worse than a leaky primer that scars a boltface, but to my mind a split denotes something far worse than a tiny crack. Crack = leak , Split = jet of extreme high pressure gas at thousands of degrees capable of cutting through hardened steel that is already being subjected to tens of thousands of pounds of pressure.

    Its seems to be a matter of definition. Actual split case heads are extremely rare, tiny cracks only slightly less rare. Split case bodies above the case head are not quite as rare and in most cases don't propagate down through the case head.
    For a case head to split the brass must be work hardened by mishandling or a manufacturing defect, otherwise the brass would flow before it could crack or split.

    Due to an error in loading a bullet with a much greater bearing surface than that used in a load proven safe with a bullet of the same weight I subjected a Norma .303 case to excessive pressure. The primer pocket swelled, the head stamp was almost erased, but no cracks or splits formed, because the brass was not work hardened beyond the necessary shallow hardening caused by the headstamp.

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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