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Thread: Reforming primer pockets on South African 303 brass.

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016

    Reforming primer pockets on South African 303 brass.

    There was a u-tube video that showed depriming boxer primers on a centerfire case and using a tool to reform the primer pockets which had become loose. In essence once the old primer is out it's set on a mandrel locked in a vise. The tool has a hemispherical head and
    that is placed on the opening of the primer pocket And hit with a hammer. Size of the altered primer pocket is checked with a pin gage. If not small enough another session with the tool and hammer is called for. Again primer pocket hole is checked with the same pin gage and the author was shooting for .309". You can see s circular ring all the way around the primer pocket hole
    when this is done. Was wondering if anyone had done this. The original case was a boxer primed magnum case. However the South African case is berdan primed so you would have to deprime the case and flatten the berdan anvil and close off the two holes used with the berdan primer. And then drill a new hole for the boxer primer. Has anyone tried this?. The South African brass is good stuff and doesn't show the case bulge like U.S. Commercial 303 cases. I'm down to my last 600 rounds and it would be a shame to just throw it in the scrap bucket. The SA primer is .217 in diameter just in case someone asks. Frank

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    I did some Berdan 8 mm cases using a punch I made, to swage the primer pocket a bit smaller. The punch was about .300 dia., with a short section machined down to .200 dia. , to fit the primer pocket with a little clearance. after putting the case on the mandrel, start tapping the punch in a circular patern. You have to hold the punch at a small angle, so it drives the brass towards the center of the pocket, not straight , as that would tend to upset the brass in all directions, not to the center where you want it. After that I used a RCBS primer crimp remover to size it for a boxer primer.

    I saw a video where someone used a ball bearing and a hyd. press to swage down the pockets, that looked like a fast way to do it if you had a press.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    You could sell the brass to someone with a lot of Berdan primers and use the cash to buy boxer primed brass.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Way up in the Cascades
    Or, maybe, search for and buy the appropriate size Berdan primers? The hard part has always been getting the Berdan brass de-primed.

    Another route to go is to convert Berdan to Boxer using a liner (usually a short piece of tubing), covered extensively in other threads.


  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    some SA 303s converted to SR boxer primers. On 5th firing with cast bullet load. Method explained in this thread; http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...ckets-to-Boxer

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Larry Gibson

    “Deficient observation is merely a form of ignorance and responsible for the many morbid notions and foolish ideas prevailing.”
    ― Nikola Tesla

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Read the first page of a rather extensive how to on converting from Berdan to Boxer but have to get up early in the morning. Rest assured that I will catch up. Was thinking of making up a split collar. With only one slit to use in the lathe like a small chuck. This would hold the case without marring the brass. Thanks for the info. Now I have to dig all the Berdan SA 303 cases out of my scrap bin. Frank

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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