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V.I.P. Member
Posts: 136
(11/15/01 6:58:53 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del All ammo question...primer type identification
I'm not a reloader. However, I'm considering starting to save the brass, for possible reloading (or may give it to a buddy who reloads).

Just bought 2000 rds. "Hirtenberger .308" surplus ammo off the internet. It was advertised as "boxer primed, reloadable", However, when it was delivered, was a paper label on the box indicating "berdan primer".

So my question is: Is there a way to identify the type of primer just by looking at an unfired round? Or, do you have to pry out the primer on a spent or dissasembled cartridge? And then, how do they look different?

Thanks for your help!

Senior Chief Moderator Staff
Posts: 1334
(11/15/01 7:02:26 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del
Re: ammo question...primer type identification
Most Berdan primers have a rounded appearance rather than the typical flat appearance of American Boxer primers. That is not an absolute, however.

I would advise AGAINST trying to pry the primer out of a live round... in fact, read that sentence again. Since you bought it to shoot, shoot one. Then look into the case. Two flash holes = Berdan, one flash hole (centered) = Boxer.

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V.I.P. Forum Host
Posts: 298
(11/16/01 8:35:42 pm)
Reply | Edit | Del Re: ammo question...primer type identification
Do the following outside.

Shoot one round.

Drill a hole in a 2x4 slightly larger than the primer, but smaller than the rim of the case. Get a wooden dowel that will fit snugly inside of the case mouth. Fill the case with water. Put the dowel into the mouth of the case 1/4 inch or so. Place the base of the case over the hole in the 2x4. Whack the dowel with a hammer. Hydrostatic pressure will force out the primer. Water will splatter all around.

If there are two small offset holes in the bottom of the primer pocket then the case is Berdan primed. If there is one centrally located hole then the case is Boxer primed.

Easier is to just look into the fired case...

Edited by: NeoDebo at: 11/16/01 8:40:00 pm
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