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Discussion Starter #1
All Italian military surplus ammunition is Berdan primed (in a rather peculiar way, with the two flashholes narrowly situated near each other in a domed anvil). It is reloadable as other Berdan primed cases are, and it is also possible to salvage military duds (frequently, older primers go inert).

For those interested on doing so, I would first like to insert a link to a very remarkable webpage by David A. Cushman on "Decapping (uncapping) Spent Berdan Primed Cartridges". It was previously referred to in another forum of the Old Board:

http://www.dave-cushman.net/shot/berdandecap.html

This page links to another interesting site, which IMO is not quite as good:

http://www.surplusrifle.com/shooting2005/berdanreloading/index.asp

Now, back to our board. There was a very good thread on the old "Reloading Handloader's Digest" forum, called "Berdan Decapper??", that deserves to be saved:

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BigBill
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 03:29:41 AM
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Does anyone make a berdan decapper?? With all these reusable berdan brass flying around its a shame to waste it. BigBill



geekay
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 06:59:12 AM
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The RCBS berdan decapper works real good on rimless rounds like 308, 30.06 and so-on but not so well on 303 and other large rimmed rounds. The angles are too acute, many broken pins (which I think are made of gold going by Australian prices). Don't be put off by the unwashed herds (knockers), reloading berdan cases is fun and requires some ingenuity and considering the price we get the brass for is not overly expensive.



Silicon Wolverine
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 11:11:42 AM
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For the little berdan i reload i took a large "ringshank" nail and ground the tip down to fit. It took about five minutes and cost me a whole 4 cents.



JA
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 12:41:04 PM
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I use a RCBS berdan decapping tool on all rifle/pistol berdan primed brass. Ran into a problem using the RCBS tool on the rimmed Russian Barnaul 410 steel cases.
Here is a pic of the tools I made to deprime Russian Barnaul 410 steel cases. I turned a steel rod down and drilled a #60 hole in the end off center using the berdan flash holes as a guide from a cut off case. Turned the drill upside down and inserted the shank into the hole and cut if off so it stuck out of the cut of cases flash hole a little more than the thickness of the primer. Then staked the cut off drill bit in the end of the rod with a center punch. Turned a base out of aluminum to hold the rim of the case with a hole in the center so the primer can drop free. Set the case on the base and insert the rod. Spin it around till you feel the pin drop into a flash hole and tap it with a hammer.
One of these tool sets would be easy to make for any rimmed case.

#1 is the cut off case
#2 is the base
#3 is the depriming tool
#4 is a tool to get the case mouth back round after being bent from ejection out of my Saiga 410 semiauto shotgun.



mtnboomer
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 3:17:17 PM
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Once upon a time, there was a hydraulic Berdan decapper. It used water pressure to blow our the primer. They said it was messy, but effective. I don't remember who made it, it's been out of production for years.



Ross
Posted - 06/03/2004 : 11:25:35 PM
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The Wamadet Berdan primer remover is apparently no longer made, but should be easy enough for a home shop project with instructions from David Cushman's excellent beekeeping site. (seems an unlikely site to find this kind of lore) http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman

It appears to be not very messy, fairly speedy and does not mar the case at all.
I've been using the Lachmiller for years before RCBS bought it out. The learning curve is not long, but it is best to start with throwaway cases to learn on. The largest case I decap is the 24 gauge brass I use reformed in my Martini Henry and Snider. It gnaws the rims a little, but I have learned to avoid shearing the anvil, usually.
Cheers from Darkest California,
Ross



budda1954
Posted - 06/04/2004 : 10:35:47 AM
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ross: i tried to find that site, but could not bring it up. i'm not too computer literate. am i doing something wrong? thanx mark



jim in Oregon
Posted - 06/04/2004 : 12:19:19 PM
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Hydraulic Berdan decapping can be done cheaply and simply. Here's how I do it on milsurp bottleneck rifle cases.

I have TWO of the inexpensive Lee RGB die sets, in this case for the Swede 6,5x55.

On one of them, I took the sizing die apart and then using a Dremel cut off wheel, removed the boxer decapping pin on the end of the sizing mandrel.Re assembled the die.

First step is to lube the case like you normally would and place the Berdan primed case in the press shellholder.Then you resize the Berdan case.The primer will remain in on this first pass.

Now, take the case out and fill it with water and re-do the re-sizing operation.I use a Lee hand press with a old towell on the floor in the shop and the mess is not worth mentioning.

With the neck-case resized from the first operation, this second operation uses hydraulic pressure to pop the Berdan prime out.It takes hardly no force and even staked primers pop out.

Then you clean primer pocket, insureing the two Berdan flash holes are clean and reload as you normally would using ( in the case of most Berdan primed rifle cases) the .217 DIAMETER Berdan primers.

I modified the Lee manual case trimmer similarly so the correct trim is obtained without having the pin fit thru the flash hole..just shortened the pin on the case length pin of the trimming tool.
Total cost for the extra die and manual trimmer less than 25.00 dollars.One could simply have Lee send a spare decapping mandrel-pin and it'd cost less than 10 bucks..rather than getting another die for use with Berdan cases.
Remember to clean and lube your dies and press after hydraulic decapping..

BTW, PMC supposedly received their Russian made Berdan primers several months back.I spoke with Allan Martel and he said they only rec'd 20K rather than 200K so they are presently STILL awaiting the inport shipment of the .217 diameter LRB Berdan primers..Jim



JA
Posted - 06/04/2004 : 3:58:39 PM
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I just got off the phone with Carlo Fiocchi at PMC. They are exspecting the shipment of berdan primers from Russia in July. Along with the .217" large rifle will be some .254" primers. This is the size that the Barnaul steel case 12 gauge and 410 shotshells use. The price quoted for the primers was $15 per 1000.
So I am emailing my order this afternoon.



bitsnpieces1
Posted - 06/06/2004 : 3:30:53 PM
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For the dave.cushman site try:
http://website.lineone.net/~dave.cushman/
Main page.
http://www.dave-cushman.net/shot/berdandecap.html
Berdan decapper page. Les

Found this: decapping tool
http://www.midwayusa.com/rewriteaproduct/245983



DocAV
Posted - 06/10/2004 : 7:07:36 PM
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I started Berdan decapping in 1967, using a piece of .303 barrel and a 3/4 inch Pipe cap with a 5/16 hole concentric with the primer position. The plunger rod was a piece of 5/16 Bolt ( old style, where the bolt was actually 5/16 inch diameter, not the undersized crap you get now). And the rifling on the barrel stub was reamed out with a 5/16 reamer.
I must have decapped close to 50,000 .303s by that method alone. (as well as 7,62 Nato with a similar barrel stub reamed to .308 chamber.)

Lately (last 10 years) I have ("Parallel development") used a modified Wamadet design, with a fixed sleeve tube, and a "brass picker" ( a tapered rod) to extract the decapped shells without having to half disassemble the entire mechanism. With my decappers (one extra large ( Large rimmed ) one standard ( for .303 and Mauser rimless cases) and one small ( Pistol/.223 cases) I can do all the Milsurp cases that come my way (by the thousand). Average rate for crimped cases about 100 per half hour, and uncrimped cases about 150 per half hour.
The above mentioned "Offset pin" decapper will work only on shotshell type Berdan primers: any sign of a crimped-in metallic case primer will lead to a punctur of the cup and subsequent need to "chisel" the cap out. Aussie 7,62 Berdan cases are notorious for heavily crimped primers, even defeating the Hydraulic type decapper, unless the cup is "Crushed" first. ( I use a cupped nailset fitted in an arbour press to "deform" the cup, so that is is loose enough to slip out of a heavily crimped Nato case.

All you spendthrift US milsurp shooters will rue the day when the WW II era milsurp is all gone, and cases are not available, either. All that Berdan brass that was simply trashed will be sought after , to no avail....and good rifles will sit on racks or be consigned to "Bubbaland" for lack of fodder.

Regards, Doc AV.



budda1954
Posted - 06/10/2004 : 7:43:48 PM
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doc: i agree with you 100%. why doesn't some reloading company (rcbs, lee, etc.) make a decent berdan deprimer for a fair price? why doesn't some primer manufacturer in the u.s. make berdan primers? i would think with all the milsurp guns out there, there should be some profit in it. mark



DocAV
Posted - 06/13/2004 : 10:23:47 AM
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I started making my version of the Hydraulic decapper some four years ago...I sold two sets (standard Rifle and Pistol sizes) and the rest are still in pieces in the workshop (enough parts to make 10 more.) I was selling them at AU$100 for a set; Only the really keen milsurp shooters use them.
I suppose lack of advertizing is the problem...



geekay
Posted - 06/13/2004 : 1:03:21 PM
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Doc, a few years back I bought a DeBond hydraulic decapper for my 303 dies. Quite a few hundred cases have had the treatment and I've wet my pants on every occassion. Fiddly and messy but also fun and effective.



bitsnpieces1
Posted - 06/13/2004 : 4:30:18 PM
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DocAV, What does $100AU translate to in $US. More or less that is. Just thinking.



Andy_P
Posted - 06/14/2004 : 07:30:01 AM
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Here's a $2 Hydraulic Decapper that I use.

I deprime both 303 British and 8mm. Some have tried to deprime 303 brass using the "hydraulic method" with a 5/16" (.3125) rod, but the fit is too loose, so buy 8mm barstock (.315), or buy a letter size "O" drill bit (you might have to call around, but it will probably be easier to find than 8mm barstock). "O" drills are about .316 in diameter on the shank. Should be a good fit, but if too tight, mount upside down in a drill and carefully sand away evenly on the shank until the fit is such that without water you don't have to force it into the cartridge, but it does have some resistance and compresses the air which leaks with a hiss and when you pull it out it "pops". The proper fit means everything so spend some time on it - too loose and it will just leak, too tight and it will get stuck. Grind the point of the drill bit flat and use a rubber mallet when you hammer it. Fill the round with water to within about 1/2" of the top (about 3cc for the 303), and place it either in a shell holder, or better yet the primer chamber for a Lee Loader for 303 or any belted magnum (7mm, 300 Win, 375 H&H etc.). The hits should be straight down and with authority - weak hits will just cause the water to leak out over three or four raps. For 8mm, I use a "P" letter drill bit and have to remove less than .001 off of the shank.
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Andy
www.8mmARPWildcat.pridham.ca
www.8x63swedish.pridham.ca



Ross
Posted - 06/14/2004 : 7:24:18 PM
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Bitsnpieces,
100 AUD = 68.79 USD today.
That may take quite a few stamps, though.



DocAV
Posted - 06/15/2004 : 08:55:26 AM
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If anybody over the Big Pond (the Pacific) in the US etc. wants the designs for the AVB Berdan Decapper, just contact me and I can supply "Inch" designs and materials list, and instructions on assembly by Email. All you need is a friendly machinist (or your own lathe) and a electric arc or MIG welder. Materials can be picked up at any junkyard or scrap metal stockist; most can be scrounged as offcuts from general engineering works.

Materials required:
Base: Piece of flat plate, 6"x6" (or 5x5) x 3/8ths" thick
Body: Piece of 3" or 4" Water pipe (galvanised) or 4 inch square Hollow section
Cylinder base: Old 1 inch Square or Hexagon NUT, with slots cut in it (at least 4) to make it look like a castellated nut (like a tower top in a medieval castle) Or if you are lucky, a 1 inch castellated NUT ( the type that use wire or cotter pin locks)
Cylinder: Piece of 1 inch round bar ( lathe drill a central hole etc)
Piston: 1/2 inch or 9/16 bar, with 1 inch head ( also round)
Piston seals: teflon or PVC cylinders, 1/2 inch plus or 9/16 plus & 1 inch;(Turn these up from stock or scrap block PVC.
Case Picker: 3/8 inch rod, tapered in lathe to a point (so that sides of taper ( about 2 inches long) "grab" neck of case in cylinder bore.

That should whet the appetite of those wishing to proceed further....
Email me for complete details ( as soon as I get the exact specs into printable form, and maybe some photos and drawings...

BTW, cost of the materials is about $5 US (as scrap, anyway); The real cost is in the preparation and welding up of the parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
An interesting one about depriming live cases:

DocAV
Posted - 12/05/2004 : 6:24:35 PM
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In all this discussion about decapping LIVE primers, it seems one major factor has been overlooked. PRIMER CRIMPING.

Whilst I agree that Commercial ammo primers can be reasonably safely decapped using a large press and slow pressure, any attempt to remove a Boxer primer which is Militarily crimped (.30/06 or 7,62 Nato) is inviting diasater.

The .30 M1 Carbine is an exception ( as mentioned re Talon remanufacuring) as the M1 Carbine Military load is hardly crimped at all.

The best solution is (a) Snap the primer or (b) proper hydraulic decap in a Purpose built tool.

Uncrimped Berdan primers MAY come out with the wood dowel treatment (I stress "MAY") but Military Crimp Berdan (whether European or British are strongly crimped in place.

I had only one occasion of success with press decaping Boxer Military cases, back in the late 1960s, with a couple of Hundred Israeli 7,9mm cases which I wanted to remove the Corrisive primers...I had only two go off from the lot, but their crimp was about zilch. PS Those cases are still in service now (Converted to 7,7 Jap back in 1968, over 30 reloads for one 100 round lot; ( Military FMJ Load, neck size only.)

I strongly advise against decapping Live primers, in any way which does not involve Hydraulics.
BTW, The Oil method of deactivation is 50/50 at best. I prefer to use Vinegar ( eyedropped into the Flash hole, the acid eats away the lead foil in the primer, and deactivates the Priming compound. The the oil can be added later. In any case, soaking should be for some days (not just overnight).

Regards, Doc AV
 

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Of course, getting any berdan primers is hard at best; this oddball size even harder. Given the supply of Grafs and PRVI and the often brittle nature of the carcano brass, it's not something I'd undertake unless I had a ready supply of primers.
 
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