Posted On: 11/13/13
By: T. J. M.
A: Both of these questions are directly related to eachother. From a shooter's standpoint, you will not notice any difference in appearance or performance between Boxer primed ammo and berdan primed ammo from the factory. Berdan primed could be considered an opposite of Boxer primed ammo, or "the other one". There is also Rimfire, commonly seen in .22LR ammo, though this is considerably different it is not comparable to the two above. Rimfire will not have any other variations.
Boxer primed brass will require boxer primers. Berdan primed brass will require berdan primers.
The main noticeable feature between these two would be the opening (flash hole) in the brass where the primer sits (primer pocket). If you were to remove the primer on a boxer primed rifle or pistol round, you would see one hole almost center going through the brass. This is a flat surface on the other side of the primer that we do not see when inspecting ammunition that is ready to fire.
If you were to remove the primer from a berdan primed round, you would see two holes instead of one. These two holes would be smaller than the one boxer hole. Additionally they would be pointing outward towards the wall of the brass and this surface is more of a dome than flat. Looking through the bottom of a round (if you removed the primer) it would be like looking at the ceiling inside a sports dome/arena etc.
A majority of brass ammunition will feature this Boxer primed brass as manufactured by Remington, Winchester, Federal among others. Berdan brass will be found on steel cased ammo such as Tula, Wolf and Brown Bear. It would be a safe bet to assume all steel cased ammo is berdan and all brass cased ammo is boxer primed. There will be exceptions.
Those who reload ammunition will require the use of Boxer primed brass and boxer primers. There are different tools used for the reloading of berdan though it is uncommon enough to the point it is hardly worth mentioning.