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    Member alamo308's Avatar
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    Question Berdan Primers?

    Anyone know the correct size Berdan primer for Swissicon GP-11 cases? To choose from, I have these available:
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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    .217"; just a whisker bigger than your basic .210" boxer jobs.

    MANY European military and sporting cases use this size.

    I have used RWS 5608, 5627 and the Vihtavouri "Kemira" Berdan primers in this size and LOT of the classic RWS 6000 for Brit and Oz "extra-large" (.250) primed .303.

    7.62 NATO, .30-06, 7.92 x 57, 7.5 Swissicon, .303 (FN made, post ww2), 7.62 x 54R, 7.62 x 39, for starters.

    MOST original "military" primers will be removable with the excellent RCBS Lachmiller decapper. Just remember to adjust the depth of the "spike' for the different case / extractor groove diameters.

    The prob elms start if you try this tool on Australianicon and Britishicon 7.62 NATO cases. The primer crimp can be extreme and you will either snap the "spike or distort its seat in the lever.

    Heavily crimped primers are best removed "hydraulically": messy, noisy , but if you then swage or cut away the crimp, the RSBS tool will work on subsequent reloads. Crude but effective version: Get a worn and "loose" "O"-frame press and mount it firmly on a robust support, preferably "outdoors". Get your most worn .308 Win die and remove the decapping spindle. Adjust the die so that it JUST touches the shell holder with the ram at top dead centre. Use a bit of "water-based" case lube on the brass. Run the lubed case fully in and fill it with water.

    You will need some very robust "pins". Mine are made from worn-out valves from the old Flat-head Ford V-8 engines; valve 'head is cut off, sharp edges removed and do forth. Reasonably close-fitting TOUGH "pistons". Slide the pin about half an inch into the neck. Take your trusty, copper-faced THOR hammer and apply a sharp blow to the "head of the "piston" pin.

    you should be rewarded with a loud, satisfying "CRACK" as the primer departs at high speed. If you are doing this in a "warm" place, it is a good idea to wear a leather apron over your shorts and T-shirt. See also: safety glasses and ear protection.

    Why bother? Brass is brass and even better when free or at scrap prices. It wouold be nice to be able to scatter Lapua brass around the countryside, BUT....If you use rifles that tend to heave the empties into the next state / county, cheap but robust brass is a good thing. It's a bit like the old 1970's "touchy-feely' poster about:

    "If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't............."

    I've been using various incarnations of the Lee Autoprime hand-tool to seat .217" Berdan primers for decades. Only mod is to shave a few thou' off the top of the priming pin to prevent seating too deeply. The last thing you want is heavily "pre-sensitized" primers being fed "smartly" into the breech. A Lee "Bench-Prime" will do the same thing and it can be easily modified to adjust seating depth.

    On a grander scale, back in the late 1970's, I was party to modifying a Dillon RL 1000 to feed and seat RWS 5608 primers in recycled Australian military brass. This included boring a clearance hole in the end of the prime rpocket swaging pin to clear the Berdan anvils. Like all such mechanical "adaptations", it took a bit of tinkering, but once working, was very satisfying.

    The fun part about all this primer caper is that Berdan was an American and Boxer was English!

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    Really Senior Member Sunray's Avatar
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    7 thou is a fairly big whisker. That'd be enough for the primer to not fit and be loose.
    In any case, reloading Berdan primers is far more trouble than it's worth. There is lots of Boxer primed 7.5 Swissicon brass around.
    Spelling and Grammar count!

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    Advisory Panel browningautorifle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunray View Post
    7 thou is a fairly big whisker. That'd be enough for the primer to not fit and be loose.
    Read what he said...

    He's comparing the two by size, not interchanging. You don't have any idea though...do you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce_in_Oz View Post
    .217"; just a whisker bigger than your basic .210" BOXER jobs.
    Regards, Jim

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    Really Senior Member Bruce_in_Oz's Avatar
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    While I still lave several 4-gallon buckets of (.217") Berdan-primed brass, and for as long as I can get the primers, I will keep using it.



    Oz military 7.62 NATO brass sort-of went "Boxer" about thirty years ago (long and odd story about converting SCAMP machines from 5.56 to 7.62) and that stuff is top-class brass.

    About two years ago, I picked up several drums of Berdan-primed Singaporean 7.62 NATO cases from a scrap dealer. As Oz seems to have dropped out of 7.62 NATO manufacture at present, it seems they import what they need for machine-guns. Easy to de-prime mechanically and seems to be good stuff. ADI / Thales do make nice, Boxer-primed 5.56 NATO here, and odd batches of brass seem to pop up at the scrap-yard on occasion.

    I scored a fair swag of once-fired, long-necked , 30-06, Berdan-primed brass blanks quite some years ago. It took a bit of work, but they made nice cases for 7 x57 "standard pressure" loads. Cam also be recycled into "theatrical blanks" in 7 and 8 x 57, 7.63 Argentineicon and several other cases in that head-size family, as well.

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