Strange 9mm case

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by stev32k, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. stev32k

    stev32k Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Mobile, AL
    I was de-priming a batch of 9mm cases when the Lee (Guaranteed Unbreakable) universal de-capping die pin broke. The case that broke the pin looked like it was a dark colored brass. Inside it had two flash holes one on either side of the center, but none in the middle. The way it was made there was no way it could be de-primed with standard dies. The head stamp said 603, 9mm Luger and nothing else.

    The more I looked at the case the more it didn't look right. I finally tested it with a magnet and the case was steel. It looked like it had been coated with some kind of (almost) brass looking material. The finish was smooth and kind of slick feeling.

    Anyone know what it is?
  2. todd51

    todd51 Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2009
    Central, Ohio
    stev, I suspect that 9mm was a Berdan primed case. Google it and you can get the history. But don't feel bad about breaking the pin, most of us have been there and done that, ha. I now keep an in case supply of pins for when I do something like that.

  3. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Guest

    Looks like you hit a comblock or other steel cased non reloadable case. Could be any of a thousand different manufactures.
  4. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    yep. 2 flash holes is berdan primed and will break decapping pins.
  5. stev32k

    stev32k Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Mobile, AL
    Thanks guys. Learned something new. I try to separate out all the steel and aluminum cases, but missed those two because they looked so much like dark brass.
  6. jim brady

    jim brady Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2009
    Simla, Colorado
    That's a great lesson. First thing to look for in fired cases is whether it's BOXER (single flash hole = reloadable) or BERDAN (two or more flash holes = not really reloadable). Most European brass is Berdan primed, while we use mostly Boxer cases in the U.S.

    Not to say it isn't reloadable, but need special tools and special primers. Some U.S. makers do produce non-reloadable cases. As you say, some are aluminum. Toss those right away. I'd toss any steel cases, too.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2012
  7. gdmoody

    gdmoody Moderator Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2007
    Athens, Georgia
    I have searched all of the head stamp web sites that I know (and a couple I didn't know about) and I cannot find any reference to the head stamp using the numbers 603. I did find 602 and 604 but not 603, oh well, but as every one else has said, definitely berdan primed.
  8. stev32k

    stev32k Well-Known Member

    Oct 19, 2012
    Mobile, AL
    I did the same thing and learned more about the 9mm case than I really wanted to know. Like you I found references to the numbers 602 and 604, but not 603.
  9. time2shoot

    time2shoot Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Brandon SD
    It's time consuming, but a quick peek inside the case will tell ya if it is berdan.
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