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Annealing tools?

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Wylie1, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    I have seen some annealing tools on the market but they are not cheap! I have also seen youtube videos of annealing processes, some I agree with and some I'm a little fearful of.

    So my question is would any of you know of a reasonably priced annealing tool on the market?

    The reason I ask is I am in the process of building my own and it really isn't all that hard to do. Granted it's a simple single brass case annealing tool so I have to do them one at a time but a fair share of the components are from stuff a lot of people throw away.

    It will be peddle operated and utilize a pan of water to tip cases into after they turn blue to cool them.

    So far the expense has been nothing but one bolt for myself as I have had everything I have needed to built this. Just a guess would put expense at about $100 or less. As I fabricate my annealing tool I am taking pictures so if any of you may be interested I can post it for you.
  2. soloban

    soloban New Member

    I've heard of people using the Lee shellholder that is used with the case gauge/trimmer chucked into a drill. Set a blow torch on the bench and spin up the case in the flame until it gets hot and plunk it in the water. Probably wouldn't be too hard to make a jig that you could strap the drill onto
  3. dsm

    dsm New Member

    Hornady makes an annealing kit with case holders, templaq and instructions. I used one for awhile till I got a benchsource machine. It worked well and runs around $50.
  4. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    Seen the case holders and sockets hooked up to cordless drills and just looked up the Hornady kit.
    Not that I really know much about annealing brass cases but both do not stabilize the temperature of the brass at it's base or primer end.

    I was checking out youtube videos on annealing and this guys video seemed to make sense to me being the bases of his cases are in water to stabilize temperature during the process. Annealing brass video.
  5. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet New Member

    There is a guy in the foothills of NC that occasionally builds annealing tools. He runs a custom gun shop and also builds top notch benchrest rifles... You might see if he has an annealing "machine" built.. His name is Leonard Baity..

    Here is a link to his gun shop
  6. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    Thanks Charlie!
    I'm far enough along with my build on my annealing tool now I'm just going to finish it up and roll with it.

    I'm waiting for some epoxy to dry now.

    My RPM reduction by means of an old fishing line spool didn't slow everything down quite enough but a router speed control made the difference. :D
  7. boommer

    boommer New Member

    OLD school has worked for me for years. Pan of water propane, torch and dark room. Why spend money and time on something that dosn't do any better of a job. I've done 1000's of cases over the years and never had any issues and some of my cases have been annealed 10 times or more. REMEMBER you can't let the heat transfer to base of the case.
  8. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

  9. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    That's what I thought, thanks Boomer!
  10. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    I missed your post while I was posting jmorris.
    Wow, now that's fancy! I'm going the simple route for mine but thank you for the offer!
  11. 280shooter

    280shooter New Member

    I just did a bunch of cases last year, I used a battery operated screw driver,,NOT a Drill..and quarter inch scokets. and a propane torch sitting on my bench, and a pan of water,,I run the cases right to the flame, and counted to a certain count, then dumped out of the scoket right into the water..
  12. dmazur

    dmazur New Member

    I found this article -


    and a quote from it -

    Quick, uniform, consistent application of high heat is the key to good annealing. When the brass around the mouth reaches a temperature of about 660 to 665 degrees Fahrenheit, its surface becomes light blue. This is as hot as you want to let it get. If you let the color run too far toward the other end of the case, you can ruin the head by making it too soft. If you let the color on the neck go beyond light blue, and the shine disappears, you’re on the edge of ruining the case, and you may already have gone too far. If you let the case get red, it’s a goner.

    But depending on getting the color just right is too loose and iffy to suit me. I prefer and recommend relying on something more dependable than personal color perception. The most reliable case thermometer I know is a 650 or 660 degree temperature-sensitive crayon called a temp stick.

    And here's a site that describes the lowest-cost rig I've seen -


    This individual is using a 750 degree temperature paint, and a 450 degree paint at the head (on one case) to verify that the head hasn't been annealed.
  13. Wylie1

    Wylie1 New Member

    Good information dmazur!

    Between my little sewing machine motor not liking my router speed controller much and centrifugal force it looks like I'm back to the drawing board. It would work but I would guess I'd burn the motor up quickly.

    Being out the expense of one 5/16" bolt :rolleyes: really wont have me looking for a stiff drink but it was fun anyway and I have learned a few things along the way. I haven't bothered to cut the DVD cover shorter acting as a pan for water and brass.
  14. GLOOB

    GLOOB New Member

    I've only annealed a few cases before. Did them like this. But now you got me thinking. Why not trim/chamfer/anneal, all at the same time?

    Just like this:
    But keep a propane torch on the bench. After the chamfer, spin it in the flame, then drop into a container of water.

    Another +1 for the Lee trim system?

    I'm 99% sure a pan of water to cover the casehead isn't necessary at all. Brass doesn't transfer heat nearly that well to worry about it. By the time you have softened the head, you would have fried the case mouth. You can anneal a case with a propane torch, holding the casehead in your fingers, for crying out loud. Just make sure to dunk in water right away, and there's zero chance for ruining the casehead. You will know you are getting it right because the case neck will turn blue, afterwards. So what if you mess up a couple cases while finding the rhythm? My 2 cents.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  15. Nasty Ned

    Nasty Ned New Member

    I read somewhere, about 40 years ago, that the simplest way to anneal your brass is to dip it in your lead pot with your fingers. You won't hurt the base of the case as your fingers won't let you hang on to it long enough to do so. When it gets warm on your fingers, drop in water. Too simple maybe, no fancy electronics needed if you have a lead pot. You can adjust the lead temp quite easily.

    Be sure there is NOTHING in your cases prior to dunking.
    Works for me.
  16. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Tray of water, case necks sticking up out of the water. Heat till it colors and shake the tray to knock them down and submerge.

    Don't get much simpler than that.

    You only want to anneal the neck.
  17. Trent

    Trent Resident Wiseguy

    Also, it goes without saying, don't anneal until you start to lose brass from splits. :)
  18. Captcurt

    Captcurt Active Member

    I agree. This worked swell when I made 308 Norma out of 300 H&H. Only cost me a few cents in propane.
  19. jmorris

    jmorris Active Member

    The idea of sitting cases in water or dropping them into water comes from over heated cases. If you are going to heat them more than you have to at least you won't make them dangerous. However, it's a waist of time if you do it properly. They say a picture is worth 1000 words so videos must be even better.

    In this video you can see the flame color change from blue to orange, that is the first sign that you are over doing it.


    This is what you are looking for. Flame stays the same blue color the entire time and the base of the case remains cool enough to remain unaffected.

  20. GLOOB

    GLOOB New Member

    I wonder how far you'd have to go to damage the casehead, using a propane torch focused on the neck. I'd imagine you'd have to try pretty hard to do that, by getting the entire neck glowing cherry red. IOW, I am betting you would ruin the neck well before the casehead, water tray/quench or not. If you even managed to get the annealing coloration to go halfway down the case, I bet the neck is already ruined.

    Also, I'm not an expert, but I am guessing it would be way more beneficial to spin the case and/or use multiple flame sources to evenly heat the neck, versus sitting it in a tray of water and blasting the neck with a single hand-held torch.

    If you look at milspec brass, the annealing coloration always extends well past the shoulder. I don't believe it would be a practical improvement to limit the annealing to just the case neck.* The chamber supports the brass, except for the casehead. You just need a strong enough casehead to contain pressure, and a pliant enough case neck to supply neck tension and gas sealing without collapsing during sizing/seating.

    *In fact, in addition to case neck tension/longevity, another reason for annealing cases is when the shoulders aren't bumping back, enough. So sometimes it is beneficial to anneal the shoulder of the case.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013

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