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Berdan to Boxer conversion jig
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When I bought my Smith Corona, I also picked up a 250 rd. can of NATO ball and AP loads. My intent was to pull the bullets and salvage them and the brass. Not paying attention to the head stamp, I bought European NATO ammo. Berdan primed. D@m!

So, I made a jig and developed a procedure for converting the berdan brass to boxer brass. I can now salvage the brass. If anyone is seriously interested in this, let me know and I'll post what's needed in tools and the procedure.

Puncher

[ 12-31-2002, 17:15: Message edited by: Puncher ]
 
Posts: 234 | Location: 40 miles east of Dallas | Registered: 21 December 2002Reply With Quote
<Bart52>
posted
I would love the conversion,as it sometimes kills me to have to toss the brass ,especially if it is in some caliber that is a little hard to find.
You boys sure look civilized ( Chief Dan George-Outlaw Josie Wales)
 
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Puncher - I'd love to see the process if you have pictures - you might also want to post them on CASTPICS as well.

Tim K
 
Posts: 621 | Location: Virginia mountains | Registered: 25 December 2002Reply With Quote
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READ THIS: Inspect the primer of the spent case. If the firing pin indent is not centered on the primer, you may have difficulty drilling the case.

Dimensions for this jig will accomadate berdan primed 8 MM, Nato .308 and Nato .30-06. I will be doing more work perfecting this jig and procedure and will post as I make progress.

Start by cutting down a piece of maple or similar HARD wood to 2" X 2" X 3". The grain should run with the length of the block. Cut and/or sand to insure that all faces and corners are SQUARE with each other. Cross mark one end to find true center. Drill through the length of the block with a 1/2" bit. The bit needs to be sharp, if not new. Drilling needs to be done on a press if at all possible. The hole needs to be on axis with the block.

Next, the block is rip cut on the center through it's length. A band saw will do, but great care must be taken to "stay on the line". If you have access to a table saw with a thin blade, this will work better. BE SURE you are ripping down the center of the hole you drilled. This is critical.

After ripping, lightly sand the two cut faces. This is best done by placing the abrasive you choose on a hard, flat surface and moving the faces across the abrasive. It is important that the inner faces of the block remain FLAT.

Bring out a fired Berdan primed case. Lay the case in the groove of one of the blocks with the base of the brass just barely sticking out past the end of the block. No more than the extractor ring showing will work perfect. Lay the other block, upside down, over the case. The case should be nestled between the two block halves. There should be a slight gap between the two blocks. If not, resand one or both inner faces some more. The slight gap is required to grip the case in the block halves.

We are about to convert the case. The two block halves must be clamped together with the case trapped in the grooves. This can be done two ways. The jig can be clamped in a vise and and the primer and pocket drilled by hand or the jig can be C clamped and then drilled on a press.

A 5/64" bit is required for the drilling. Make sure the bit is SHARP. Go buy a new one. They're not that expensive. With the jig clamped in a vise, chuck the bit in a hand drill and CAREFULLY drill through the firing pin indent in the primer. Drill ALL THE WAY through. If you are going to use a drill press, clamp the jig with a C clamp and and drill through the primer.

5/64" bits are tiny and will snap RIGHT NOW. Be careful and GO SLOW. When the hole is drilled, remove the clamped jig from the press but leave the jig clamped up. If you are using a vise, leave the jig in the vise.

A 1/16" point tapered finishing nail punch is used to remove the old primer. Place the point of the punch in the drilled out primer and CAREFULLY pry out the old primer. You're done.

This procedure WILL work. I have 25 fired .30-06 berdan primed cases on my bench resized, trimmed to length, deburred and ready to load.

The jig I made today is a prototype. I intend to perfect this method and will post as I make progress on it.

If anyone needs more information, You may contact me at OCTAGUN@YAHOO.COM.

Puncher
 
Posts: 234 | Location: 40 miles east of Dallas | Registered: 21 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Hello;
Earl Naramore in the definive book on reloading, "Principles and Practice of Loading Ammunition", way back in 1954, mentions a method of doing this conversion. Like him, I have to ask, is my time really so cheap, that I want to do this , except in really exceptional situations?
Griz
 
Posts: 4211 | Location: Alta. Canada | Registered: 06 November 2002Reply With Quote
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Puncher,
I got to ask. What about the other 2 holes in the case now? you have 3 holes for the flame to get to the primer from and 3 holes for pressure to push back on the primer after firing. Most people I know convert berdan to take shotgun primers. I would guess you will have to keep pressures low. Just some thought from somebody who loads using berdan primers for obsolete calibers. Keep us informed on the results. Orygun
 
Posts: 210 | Location: Willamette Valley | Registered: 11 March 2001Reply With Quote
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Puncher,
I've got to ask, most of my rifle Berdan brass is 5,5mm or .217" diameter. The .210" large rifle primer is way too small. The Berdan primers seem to be made from .014" to .015" stock, way too thick to punch out to make hoops to bush for LR primers. Perhaps those hoops could be swaged in situ to .210". Turning or boring them would be a job for the horologists among us.
Cheers from Grayest California,
Ross
 
Posts: 159 | Location: Oroville,California,U.S.A. | Registered: 14 May 2001Reply With Quote
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Mark & Ross,
I have brass on the table but, no, I haven't fired it yet. I have seated LR primers in the cups and they haven't fallen out, but we'll see what happens next Sat'day.

Puncher
 
Posts: 234 | Location: 40 miles east of Dallas | Registered: 21 December 2002Reply With Quote
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Puncher,
You've gotten a Berdan size with which I'm unfamiliar. Just what is the headstamp on that stuff, and what is the diameter of the primers? There may be a goldmine there.
Regards from Grayest Kalifornian Kansantasavalta,
Ross
 
Posts: 159 | Location: Oroville,California,U.S.A. | Registered: 14 May 2001Reply With Quote
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I've been converting 8X56R brass for use with boxer primers pretty much like Puncher does. As far as the 2 holes- I use a punch to flatten the "humps" in the Berdan primer pocket into the holes. Then I center drill the new primer pocket in my lathe. As far as the smaller boxer primer fallin out, I just insert a sheet of typing paper between the primer and the primer pocket as I'm priming using the Lee Ram Prime. The paper makes a sort of gasket with strands of the paper filling the void on the primer sides and holding the primer in enough for shooting. So far anyway. The primer blows through the paper easily so, no duds, and using my keenly trained powers of observation, ( I check for flatening), I see no pressure problems thus far.
 
Posts: 43 | Location: St Lawrence Valley NY | Registered: 01 January 2003Reply With Quote
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Ross,
The headstamp is "F N 58" or "F N 60".

Here's an update on my research on this. The primer cup in this brass just barely creates a press fit for a LR primer. Except for the remainder of the berdan post in the botton of the cup after drilling, I think I could thumb push a LR primer in.
I have ten rds. primed and ready for charging and loading. I touched a spot of super glue to 5 of them and let it set up. I'm going to charge these cases with WC 860 milsurp powder. I'll get a reasonable M/V with very reasonable pressure.

I'll let y'all know where it goes.

Puncher
 
Posts: 234 | Location: 40 miles east of Dallas | Registered: 21 December 2002Reply With Quote
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I have read of those who want to shoot cast bullets in the 50 BMG but do not want to use the BMG primers that cost more than 16 cents each. These primers are also a lot bigger in diameter than the Large Rifle size. The case head is drilled out to the depth of the existing primer pocket, then threaded with a fine pitch and then the cut off head of a .308 case, which is also threaded, is screwed in with loc-tite. Now any large rifle primer can be used. I have not tried this is as it would be a bit of work. By the way, those folks were paper patching the bullets but 50 cal gas checks are also available. I realize this is of no help for smaller cases but thought it would be interesting.
 
Posts: 138 | Location: Hubbell, Michigan, USA | Registered: 05 October 2002Reply With Quote
<Desert Rat>
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Orygun Mark

I'd like to hear more about the shotgun primer conversion. I've been thinking of this for some time, but as usual, have more projects than time.

What calibers do you know it was used on, and how well does it work?
 
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Desert Rat,
This is what Buckshot does for the conversion. It is from shooters.com cast board: WEAR EYE PROTECTION! Buy a letter size B drill (0.238 inch diameter) and a 5/16 inch spot facer with a letter size B pilot and depth stop for this job. The depth stop is important so all your counterbores are the same depth. A miniature hose clamp will work if you are careful. When I convert Berdans to shotshell primers, I drill out the primer pocket FROM THE INSIDE with a letter B size drill, then counterbore the cartridge face with a 5/16 inch diameter spot facer to a shallow depth of 0.025 inch to accept the shotshell primer flange so it is flush with the surface. The reason I drill out the primer pocket from the inside is that the cartridges are very accurately "centerpunched" on the inside. This centerpunch is actually the underside of the Berdan primer anvil. Your cartridges should be this way, also. If not, drill the pocket out from the outside, but you will have trouble getting it centered as the pocket bottom is so shallow your drill tip will touch down on the anvil tit and keep the tapered cutting edge of your drill from centering properly in the primer pocket. About shotshell primers handling pressure, the loads I fire in converted cartridges are the most mild, except for one. The caliber that I convert most often is 7.62x53R Finnish.
I just found out today that the Old Western Scrounger isn't buying anymore RWS berdan primers. I don't know who might carry these now so this maybe the only way to use those berdan cases. Orygun
 
Posts: 210 | Location: Willamette Valley | Registered: 11 March 2001Reply With Quote
<Bob S.>
posted
I used the shotgun battery cup conversion 30 years ago when I got a .43 Spanish rolling block. At that time, there was no Bell or Bertram brass, and the only option was the original box of UMC ammunition that came with the rifle. It was commercial, ballon head, loaded with rather large berdan primers. I heard about the shotgun conversion method from George Nonte (I think), and it worked great, but I only used it for black powder loads. I fretted just a bit about the possibility of the original berdan primers being mercuric, but those cases have been fired over 200 times each (resized I think only three times). I just filled the case with 50 grs (bulk) black, pushed a sheet of TP over the powder, thumbed a 439186 into the neck, chambered and fired. Three shot 100 yard groups with no cleaning were consistently about 1-1/2". I pushed the spent primer out at the bench with a small screw driver, started a new one with the thumb, and seated it home with a wood dowel and small rawhide mallet, a la Lee loader.

BTW, before my special order 439186 came in, I used .44 mag Keith bullets "paper patched" with one wrap of masking tape and smeared with alox-bw. I only shot these at 50 yards, but three shot cloverleafs were quite common, and there was no sign of tumbling.

Resp'y,
Bob S.
 
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<Desert Rat>
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Thank you very much. I intend to try the shotgun conversion on Nagant revolver brass, which seems perfect for this. I love the idea of masking tape paper patching! I will have to try it!
 
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