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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To start off: I know that you are not supposed to reload steel cases, and if successful, I would not have fired the case. I was more so curious about how the case behaved, so I wanted to do some tests to understand.

I took a case that I picked up after a nice day shooting on Saturday and lubed it up and ran it through my FL die expecting the case to crack or have the neck deform. To my surprise, I actually bent my decapping pin instead. I guess I will need to run to Sportsmans and get a new pin.

From what I can see inside the case, the flash hole seems to be smaller than a regular flash hole which prevented me from depriming the case. But on an interesting note, the case didn't crack as I thought it might. However, I did try seating a bullet in the case and the neck tension was pretty weak and I was able to pull the bullet out with my fingers.

Now I understand why this is frowned upon.....
 

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What type of case, was it berdan primed and not boxer. I have come across some brass berdan and nearly busted a decapping die.
 

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What type of case, was it berdan primed and not boxer. I have come across some brass berdan and nearly busted a decapping die.
Also, make sure the primers are not crimped in.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Both of these.^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Steel cases are usually military and not intended to be reloaded, it can be done but it usually turns out to be a bigger pain in the rear than the case is worth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You guys are already giving me insight on things I hadn't considered. They were .223 Tul Ammo (Russian) cases so I assume they are Berdan primed. I didn't see any crimps / stakes so I don't think that was the problem.

Lonetree, I actually didn't know that Berdan primers would require a different decapper. That is interesting.

Ultimately I wasn't doing this with the intent to actually reload steel cases but more so as an exercise in understanding the case limitations and behaviors. I was especially interested in knowing how much the case stretched after being fired.

Cool insight guys! 8)
 

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If you want to see what kind of primer it has in it there is a easy way to get them out as long as it doesn't have a crimp on it.

Get a wood dowel that will just fit into the neck of the case. A 1/4" one will work but you might need to shape it a little. Then fill the case with water and place the base on something that is solid enough and has a space for the primer to go into. Then you can insert the dowel into the case neck and hit it with a hammer and drive it into the case. Hydraulic pressure will pop the primer out and then you can take a look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cool suggestion Critter. I have seen that in a different context when hydro forming 7.62x39 cases into 6.5 Grendel cases, but I never considered using it to pop a primer.

Cool idea!
 

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West side Utah Lake
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You guys are already giving me insight on things I hadn't considered. They were .223 Tul Ammo (Russian) cases so I assume they are Berdan primed. I didn't see any crimps / stakes so I don't think that was the problem.

Lonetree, I actually didn't know that Berdan primers would require a different decapper. That is interesting.

Ultimately I wasn't doing this with the intent to actually reload steel cases but more so as an exercise in understanding the case limitations and behaviors. I was especially interested in knowing how much the case stretched after being fired.

Cool insight guys! 8)
Yep tula steel is berdan. That will break a decapper every time. On some of the milsurp boards some guys have figured out how to reload them but unless you plan on getting into doing a lot of them they're a bigger pain than they're worth. I do a lot with 7.62x39 and 7.62x54 and 7.62x51. Whenever I come across a berdan I just chunk it. I have a few sources for really cheap range brass and most times I get at least 3 reloads out of one and usually more than that. I hate the x51 because most of it is from a machine gun and it's crazy hard to resize them. However when someone gives you 500+ free then you just gotta make do especially with the Ishapore that takes x51 ammo.
 

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West side Utah Lake
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If you want to see what kind of primer it has in it there is a easy way to get them out as long as it doesn't have a crimp on it.

Get a wood dowel that will just fit into the neck of the case. A 1/4" one will work but you might need to shape it a little. Then fill the case with water and place the base on something that is solid enough and has a space for the primer to go into. Then you can insert the dowel into the case neck and hit it with a hammer and drive it into the case. Hydraulic pressure will pop the primer out and then you can take a look at it.
I just shine a light in there, it's pretty easy to tell by looking at the holes inside if it is berdan or boxer.
 

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You will also need Berdan primers. The Berdan system has the anvil as part of the case, the Boxer system that we know and love has the anvil in the primer cup. They are not interchangeable.
 

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The question of steel vs. brass aside, there are some videos on youtube showing schemes for reloading cases with Berdan primers. Usually it comes down to altering the cases to be able to accept boxer primers. One part of the scheme is to drill a new flash hole. Depending on the size of the Berdan primer, it sometimes also includes inserting a sleeve in the primer pocket.
 
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