Dating gun cartridges
Military ammunition from European and Asian manufacturers usually use the Berdan system because it is cannot be reloaded easily and is slightly cheaper to manufacture.They also often use corrosive compounds for the primer, in order to keep costs even lower.The firing pin is aligned to strike the cartridge at the center of its base, where the primer cap is located.There are two forms of primers that are in use today.The one that is commonly used in many European (and Asian) made cartridges is the Berdan and the one used in American made cartridges is the Boxer.
The rest of the cartridge case is filled with gunpowder and there is a bullet attached to the other end.
Most manufacturers sell the anvil and primer cap as one part, even though they are really two different parts.
Cartridges using the Boxer system were originally more complex to manufacture, due to the fact that the primer has two parts (anvil and priming cap).
Note that centerfire weapons can fire cartridges using either the Berdan or the Boxer system, as long as the cartridge sizes are the same.
In the Berdan system (patented in the US, March 20th 1866), the cartridge has a small bump in the bottom of the case, with a couple of vent holes. The priming material is placed in a small metal cup that is placed on top on the anvil and sits flush with the base of the cartridge.
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The United States Government does not discourage cartridge reloading and a user can save over 80% of the cost of a cartridge by reloading it.