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Thread: Converting Berdan brass to Boxer

  1. #41
    Hi folks, regarding the primer pocket being too big for a boxer primer. What about aluminum foil? I have removed the primer and eliminated the post in 7.62x39. Find 7.62x39 right now is very hard. If I took aluminum foil pressed it into the the primer pocket with a RCBS primer pocket uniformer, then inserted/swaged in the boxer primer. Would this work? Would the aluminum withstand the pressures generated by the reloaded cartridge? The primer blast would blow through the thin aluminum by the flash holes. Theoretically this could work if the aluminum can handle the pressures. ideas?

  2. #42
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2014
    The primer will back out.

  3. #43
    Boolit Buddy
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    New Jersey
    Anybody have any luck converting steel case?

  4. #44
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Kaneohe, HI
    I've wanted to try and do this.
    Have some nice 7.5 Swiss and 8 Lebel.
    With three flash holes in the case, two small and one big, could it be a problem with to much flame from the primer?????

  5. #45
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Denmark (a greasy little spot in Scandinavia)

    Go right ahead and shoot them.
    If you were going after super max. pressure loads then it might be a thing you had to account for in reducing the load slightly.

  6. #46
    Boolit Buddy

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Long Island , NY
    I recently took my turn at the conversion thing too. I used 7.62x39 yugo surplus brass. I wont beleaguer you all with my process.. but suffice to say I used a drill press for the lion's share of the work. Like others I found the LRP stood proud and were loose... my solution was a LPMP and red loctite ...With a generous dose of IMR 3031 a Lee 155g powder coated gas checked boolit I have found the primers stay in place without gas leakage and complete cycling of an sks... and the cases resizes without issues.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    i made a swage tool to swage the primer pocket smaller so that i could use standard LRP. it consisted of anvil that fit inside the case to support the base of the case and a mandrel that fit inside the primer pocket that had a ring that would force metal from around the primer pocket around the mandrel and this allowed the proper retention of the LRP.. you are left with a smaller primer pocket and a swaged ring around the primer pocket.. i used an arbor press to do this to the steel case 7.62x39. only problem was that i found the steel cases vary wildly in their internal capacity and this wreaked havoc with accuracy even with hand loads. should work with the brass cases too and being brass is softer should swage easier.

    but if the case has the indentation inside the case where the anvil is then it will let you use a drill bit the size of the standard flash hole and you can drill the anvil out. the indentation should keep the drill bit centered if you take your time. but pay attention and there will be a slight drop in resistance after you go through the anvil. stop there as you will go through the primer cup if you keep going. then take a small punch you can then pop the old primer cup out and then do what you need to do with the primer pocket and getting the primer to stay in place.
    Last edited by Mauser 98K; 06-02-2018 at 03:31 AM.

  8. #48
    Boolit Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    I'm with Mauser 98K. The following method is what I use to prep the pockets on dimpled eastern bloc cases of both 5.5mm and 6.5mm primers, but for 6.5mm (.254) primers (7.62x54), a bushing must be swaged from something like 1/4" soft copper tubing which can be easier than might be thought. For cases with 5.5mm (.213-.215) primers (all 8/57 I've seen), the following process will work to completion: The Eastern Bloc cases all have that dimple on the inside of the case between the flash holes which marks the center of the anvil. I use a 5/64 "aircraft" length drill bit (5") to reach down inside the case, get centered on the dimple and drill until it starts to grab and spin the case in my hand. At this point, the tapered anvil is drilled nearly through and very thin and the case can be deprimed with a conventional decapping pin which breaks off the tip of the anvil and punches out the berdan cup. A carbide primer pocket uniformer (Lyman, I think) is chucked up in the hand drill and used to remove the remainder of the anvil and cut the pocket to the correct depth. By the way, the eastern dimpled cases fortunately have pocket depths of approximately .120, handily allowing depth uniforming to .125 for boxer primers. Some foreign cases have pockets considerably deeper (see below). Now we have a clean pocket that's .213-.215 dia. or so which must be reduced to properly fit a .210 primer. This can easily be done by clamping a long 5/16 punch (Harbor Freight) in the vise with the end of the handle resting on the vise screw housing for support and the punch sticking straight up out of the jaws. The case is inverted and dropped onto the punch and a fat center punch (too big to slip into the pocket and ground to a shallow 30-45 degrees) is centered on the primer pocket and struck to upset the brass around the pocket into the pocket to reduce its diameter to less than .210. It doesn't take much - a good crack with a 4 oz. ball peen hammer will do. Pockets are then swaged to uniform diameter with a primer pocket swage tool (mine is RCBS) just like swaging out primer crimps and they are now ready to be primed. I've done this conversion with both brass and steel cases, using them at full power and have gotten good service from both. Having three flash holes doesn't seem to have any noticeable affect on pressures or accuracy. Most of my shooting is done with .311-.312 cast boolits paper patched with three wraps of drafting vellum, bringing them to a .325-.326 diameter, perfect for the 8mm. A PP'd 175gr 311041 cast of WW over 48gr of Rel 15 speaks with some authority and shows promising accuracy, but could probably use some tweaking, which is yet another thing on the overloaded to-do list. Sometime before Fall, hopefully.

    Two things about Turkish, Egyptian and other cases from non-eastern-bloc sources: The Berdan priming system does not rely on uniform pocket depth for proper function, rather the relationship between the anvil height and the priming pellet-and-cup thickness, so the pocket depth can often be deeper than .125. Some I've attempted to convert (Turkish) resulted in seated primers being .020 below the case head and unreachable by the firing pin, thus needing a disk of material to be pressed in place to make the pocket workable with boxer primers. Nice cases, but another step I'm not willing to do unless the cases are something exotic. Also, these generally do not have the dimple between the flash holes, so they must be converted by another process - hydraulic or mechanical depriming, center drilling with a flash hole drill guide which fits into the pocket for centering purposes, etc. (A 1"-1.25" 1/4-20 set screw with a friction nut set .125 back from the end with the threads spin-filed to .210 diameter x .125 long and bored through for the 5/64 flash hole drill makes a dandy drill guide. Insert into primer pocket over the tip of the anvil with the nut against the headstamp and you're ready to drill the flash hole.) British Radway Green 7.62x51 cases are high quality and have good pocket depth, so they can be converted by this method, but boxer 7.62x51 is ubiquitous and too easy to get. I haven't gone there beyond proof of concept experimentation.

  9. #49
    Boolit Buddy paul edward's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Quote Originally Posted by Pavogrande View Post
    To remove berdan primers I use an old lachmiller Berdan de-prime tool - now sold by rcbs -- If the berdan is smaller than large rifle primer -- 7.35 carcano -- I mash the berdan tit, which also closes the two flash holes, then redrill for .209 and a new flash hole --
    Just tried that on some SMI 7.35 cases. Mashing the Berdan anvil is a bit of a challenge. How did you do this? Also, How do I remove the step in the neck of this 1939 vintage brass?

    Just got a set of Lee dies and a batch of the Hornady bullets. Brass, however, seems to be scarce. Got this rifle in 1963 and am just now fixing to load for it. Original ammo seems to be more difficult to find today than it was back in the sixties.

  10. #50
    Boolit Grand Master

    Larry Gibson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Lake Havasu City, Arizona
    If you don't have a mill or a lathe you might try this simpler but very effective method;
    Larry Gibson

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

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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