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Has anyone performed A/B comparison testing of identical bullet and powder charges in Berdan and Boxer brass? I'm posting this question because I recently began reloading Swiss GP11 brass with the Tula primers. Subjectively, it appears to me that my GP11 reloads are shooting a bit tighter grouping than the same bullet and powder in Prvi brass. I don't have either a chronograph or lead sled at this time, so my observation is less than scientifically precise. I'm wondering if the Berdan ignition system, where two ignition sources initiate the propellant, may have an advantage over the Boxer's single initiation point. (I realize that the different brass can play a role too.)
 

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Wasn't there some comparison testing done by the benchrest crowd a few years back? I would think that if berdan had a slight advantage you would see all the benchrest shooters using berdan primers.
 

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Well, not having done any such testing.......................The 2 holes in a Berdan case are very small, much smaller than the one hole in a Boxer case.In seeking "uniformity", are you more likely to get "uniform" ignition from one source-point, or from 2?Is there any way, or likelihood, to be able to "balance" the ignition efforts from both openings?I have my great doubts that there is anywhere near to enough difference to be able to find, let alone have it make any difference that is meaningful.........................
 

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The real efficiency of the berdan primer ( especially in the early days of Black Powder, was the reliability of the primer strike ( virtually anywhere on the primer) and the added efficiency of Two flash holes for flame dispersal into Black Powder. The FP impact problem was noted in "angled" firing Pins, especially in later Boxer cases used by modern day reloaders...the small ("c/f "large diameter berdan) LR primers tend to misfire, when .250 or bigger Berdan primers almost always fire.

IN later (Modern) .217 diameter Berdan, the advantage is cost and mechanics of manufacture, as well as reliability in extremes of climate...

And the Czechs (under German control) found that a single flash hole in a Berdan case did not change the ignition efficiency of the ammo ( see the single flash berdan of the 1944-45 period.."St-" markings...old idea, as Roth, in the 1880s, had patented is "Single flashole-anvil Berdan primer design, and it worked well in a lot of Smokeless Calibres ( 8x50R, 6,5MS, 6,5x53R Dutch/Romo, .303 British, 7mm, 7,65mm and 7,9mm, and even 8mm Kropatschek, not to mention a swag of BP cartridges.

Benchresters would not go over to Berdan even if they proved to be better than Boxer, as most BRs are US people, and pooh-pooh the Berdan out of hand ( even if Berdan was an American and Civil War Officer.)

Regards,
Doc AV
Berdanner since starting reloading (1967)
 

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IN later (Modern) .217 diameter Berdan, the advantage is cost and mechanics of manufacture, as well as reliability in extremes of climate...
Regards,Doc AV, Berdanner since starting reloading (1967)
Doc, is UK and Aussie military ammo all boxer primed nowadays? Is Russia and China the last hold outs of former ComBloc to still make berdan cased ammo ?
 

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Leon,
I don't have any opinion on your berdan primer vs. boxer primer question but I have seen groups get better and worse by just using a different primer. Just recently my friend substituted one brand of large rifle primer for another. The switch was not intentenal but was caught before use. The load was well within safe limits so he decided to use them but test fire them at the range first. He was very pleasantly surprised to find his groups went from just over 1.5" to just under 1". This is a .270 Win. caliber hunting rifle.
Motor
 

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Another aspect of "efficient" would be how effective the Berdan primer is, as touched on by the Doc. The prime difference between the two systems is the Berdan has a much larger quantity of compound present. Comparing the early Boxer primed Mark I .303 cartridge it had 0.2 grains of composition. The later Berdan primed cartridges through to the Mk VII had 0.6 grains of composition or three times as much. This would make a huge difference in the power of the primer.

Looking at the small vs large hole idea, several makers are now producing brass for benchrest shooters with non-standard small rifle primers instead of large rifle. Does the SR have a smaller ignition hole?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
swedeM63;2076237... The prime difference between the two systems is the Berdan has a much larger quantity of compound present. Comparing the early Boxer primed Mark I .303 cartridge it had 0.2 grains of composition. The later Berdan primed cartridges through to the Mk VII had 0.6 grains of composition or three times as much. This would make a huge difference in the power of the primer. ...[/QUOTE said:
Guys: thanks for giving my enquiry your interest. Using Ockam's Razor - the simplest reason is usually the right one - "swedeM63's" observation that the Berdan primer packs more oomph seems to answer my question. With more hot primer gas vented through small holes, the main propellant charge undergoes more tamping before it begins to burn and generate pressure in the case.
 

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Doc, is UK and Aussie military ammo all boxer primed nowadays? Is Russia and China the last hold outs of former ComBloc to still make berdan cased ammo ?
Aussie 7.62NATO went from Berdan to Boxer but then they quit making it and now purchase that caliber. I don't know for sure but I think their 5.56 is Boxer. UK 7.62(RG) was Berdan and some of that was overseas contract which it all may be these days.

Many ComBloc and NATO nations still make Berdan primed Military ammuntion. The list of those who use Boxer primers would be the short list. It is cheaper to make a berdan case and berdan primer so there is a cost savings for BULK production.
 

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IN later (Modern) .217 diameter Berdan, the advantage is cost and mechanics of manufacture
The limited research I've done on the subject supports this. To establish a clearly superior ignition "efficiency" of one over the other would require extensive testing under tightly controlled laboratory conditions, and I suspect the differences are likely to be so miniscule that they would be classified as statistically insignificant.
 

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All of the Blazer aluminum revolver ammo that I have seen is berdan primed
Also here. But Blazer now markets some brass cased cartridges under the name Blazer Brass that is boxer primed and fully reloadable.
Found several boxes of 45acp, 230gr hardball awhile back for a very good price at WallyWorlds. Last few times I have checked they had none. Either they have quit carrying them, or someone has quicker feet than I do.
 

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My understanding of the Berdan Priming on the Aluminum Blazer is to prevent reloading.. that aluminum is not concidered safe to reload.
 

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Benchresters would not go over to Berdan even if they proved to be better than Boxer, as most BRs are US people, and pooh-pooh the Berdan out of hand ( even if Berdan was an American and Civil War Officer.)

Regards,
Doc AV
Berdanner since starting reloading (1967)
Catch 22 --- its a pain to get the primers here, rarely in a store so you have the horrid hazmat fee to buy them online (which somehow stores manage to avoid, decrease, or bulk buy in a way that neutralizes the issue). Its a pain to get equipment to deprime them. Its a pain all the way around. If I could go to my local shop, pick up a berdan deprimer die & a box of primers for cheap, and if there were some brass that used them laying there to pick up on the range, and they were not corrosive (yes, I know the modern ones are not), I would be glad to use them. Such is not the case.... no brass on the range (some steel, alum, and plastic but nothing worth using), no primers in the shops, and so forth. Its not some sort of american jackassery (we have plenty of that, but its not the problem here!) where we all think this design is no good, its just at the consumer level, its not a convenient option for us.

So we pick up the boxer brass for free, buy the boxer primers that the stores DO have, and work within what is available.

By the way, I do not know about BR shooters, but casual shooters love the imported cheap steel, alum, plastic, and other ammo! It is cheap, and that makes it very, very popular in the states right now.
 

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I agree with Jonnin, and I do believe the bench rest guys WOULD use them if there was an advantage. After all the things they do to get every little bit of accuracy they can, if using a berdan primer helped they would ALL be using them.
Motor
 

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Catch 22 --- its a pain to get the primers here, rarely in a store so you have the horrid hazmat fee to buy them online (which somehow stores manage to avoid, decrease, or bulk buy in a way that neutralizes the issue). Its a pain to get equipment to deprime them. Its a pain all the way around. If I could go to my local shop, pick up a berdan deprimer die & a box of primers for cheap, and if there were some brass that used them laying there to pick up on the range, and they were not corrosive (yes, I know the modern ones are not), I would be glad to use them. Such is not the case.... no brass on the range (some steel, alum, and plastic but nothing worth using), no primers in the shops, and so forth. Its not some sort of american jackassery (we have plenty of that, but its not the problem here!) where we all think this design is no good, its just at the consumer level, its not a convenient option for us.

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That was my situation until the planets came into orbit: Dagammo imported Berdan primers & sold at my local gun shows, I got a K31 and had a deep supply of fired GP 11 brass and then bought even more.
 

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I have reloaded Blazer 45 ACP many times and they work very well, some as many as 4 times. I have done about 200 rounds and had only 5 fail . 2 on sizing, 2 on seating, and 1 split from the neck when fired. I've had many brass casing do the same when they are beyond their useful life. I also converted some Berdan 44 specials to Boxer and they do not do very well. They all fail within a few loads in the same way, they split at the neck. Keep in mind these are moderate to relatively low pressure rounds with a larger diameter. 9mm don't work because of small diameter and high pressure. I don't plan to experiment on magnum or rifle pressure rounds. I did learn a lot about the limitations of aluminum without incurring any unusual risks.
 
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