started annealing rifle brass today

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by z7, Jul 5, 2014.

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  1. z7

    z7 Member

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    i have been reading this and several forums about annealing and the possible benefits and the definite dangers of annealing. i decided to give it a try with a drill, deep socket and propane pencil torch. i plan, for now to anneal for .308 and .223 occasionally. my 308 brass source is 240 MG fired, but i can get a few hundred pieces a year for free ;)
    i also read the 6mmbr article on annealing at least 4 times
    http://www.6mmbr.com/annealing.html


    Process:
    place the neck only, with the flame at about a 60 degree angle blowing towards the open neck of the case (away from head), into the flame with the drill slowly rotating. i rotate the case quickly as I can but still see details on the case neck and closely watch the color.
    when the case changes color to a different shade of gold with hints of green/blue showing up i tip the case out of the socket into a bucket of water.
    for 308 it took about 5 seconds (me counting) and for .223 it took ~3 or 4.
    i was able to get fairly uniform heating and it didn't travel down the case body very far (I missed the bucket and was able to use my hand on the case head to pick it up)

    attached is a picture. if anything, i am believe that I might have under annealed, which i understand can be a waste of time, but it was only 15 mins this time and i got to play with fire so i am not complaining.

    Question: when annealing, is there a way to tell if you have over done it? i undestand if the case glows orange or if you apply the head to the case head etc then you messed up, but with a short duration of flame only on the case neck, how can you tell when enough is enough?

    thanks for any help

    Note: in the picture you can see a few differences in the cases, this is due to me partially experimenting with flame angles distance to the blue tip, its a work in progress
     

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  2. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
  3. z7

    z7 Member

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    Dprice, I have looked at the machines, watched the YouTube videos and drooled at length. I simply don't want to spend that much $, and if I did it better make a good pillow because the wife might me sleep with it considering I am about to buy a rifle scope this summer. I don't think I will go through the volume to justify the expense either.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Only thing that jumps out at me in the pictures is,
    The shoulder color changed to the right colors, but the neck color didn't.

    The neck is the part that needs to be annealed, more so then the shoulders.

    It's probably just a camera illusion, as I don't know how you could anneal only the shoulders without the necks being just as hot without a tiny pencil-tip torch.

    Anyway, I'm not convinced annealing brass is the exact rocket science some sources make it out to be today.

    I used to just stand them up in a pan of water, heat them to a dull red in dim light, and tip them over in the water with the torch.

    Worked perfectly for hundreds of re-formed from GI 30-06 to 25-06 cases for me years ago.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2014
  5. Txhillbilly

    Txhillbilly Member

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    This subject always opens up a big can of worms,with many different opinions,and ways that people anneal their brass.
    Your picture doesn't look like you heated the brass much,to me.

    I've always heated mine up until it starts to glow,and it's worked for me for over 20 years. I've also never dunked my brass in water after annealing - it does nothing but get your brass wet. I just toss mine into an ammo can,and then resize/deprime it afterwards.
    I anneal all of my brass after every three firings,and have always had very long brass life with all the different rifle calibers I shoot.
     
  6. NCsmitty

    NCsmitty Member

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    +1 for rcmodel.

    The 308 necks do not appear to have been touched much. Concentrate on the necks and the heat will take care of the shoulders.
    I too have used the pan method, and it works great, and protects the rest of the case. You might need a larger flame front, instead of a pencil flame.


    NCsmitty
     
  7. z7

    z7 Member

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    Thanks again.
    I am going to experiment a little and see how it works for me while being careful to not over heat the cases. And from what I understand annealing for brass occurs as a factor of heat and time. Temps from approx 450-800 will anneal it and the deciding factor is time lower temp requires more time to achieve same results. Quenching it does nothing other than speed up the cooling process and the pan of water tip over method is used to prevent the case head from heating up along with the neck
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Zactly!

    The standing in water method takes All Risk out of getting the back of the case & head too soft and creating dangerous brass out of safe brass.

    rc
     
  9. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2014
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    This is what was taught 40+ yrs ago. The way I do it when I had too. Worked then still works now.
     
  11. kwg020

    kwg020 Member

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    Propane torch and an old coffee can full of water. You don't have to get the brass glowing, just change the color. I focus on the shoulder area as that seems to be the spot where I get most cracks. If you focus on the shoulder area the neck will take care of it's self. I try to get my brass annealed every 3rd reloading. kwg
     
  12. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Using propane for the flame, just watch the flame color. You want the case out of the flame right before it changes from blue to orange.

    Obviously this is a lot easier if you are using a machine that does the exact same thing over and over.

    This video shows how the flame changes when you over cook them.

    th_annealer.jpg

    This video shows what you want. Flame remains blue the entire time, case can be held right out of the flame and even color around the neck and shoulder.

    th_nottoohot.jpg
     
  13. homatok

    homatok Member

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    Annealing case necks by dipping them into molten lead that is held at about seven hundred degrees ‘F’ works well. Wheel weight alloy, which is approximately eighty nine parts lead, one part tin and ten parts antimony, melts at six hundred and nineteen degrees ‘F’ so you can safely set your lead alloy temperature at seven hundred degrees ‘F’. The use of a thermometer will take any guesswork out of the process. The reason for using lead for annealing is to keep the temperature low enough for proper uniform annealing, and that is simply not possible using the torch method. With a torch the case is often heated on one side more than the other, temperatures are not readily repeatable from case to case, and in falling over into the water, one side is quenched before the other.

    To minimize the likelihood of lead ‘soldering’ itself to the brass case it is best to use as close to pure lead as possible (although any lead alloy will work). Anneal your cases with the fired primers left in, as that forms an airlock that keeps lead away from the inside of the case. With respect to annealing cases using molten lead, basically you: set the thermostat on your pot at seven hundred to eight hundred degrees ‘F’ pick up each case by the head and dip the neck of the cases about a quarter-inch into some powdered graphite or light oil (vegetable oil is fine). The oil keeps lead from sticking to the brass but, any lead that does stick is easily removed by a quick twist in steel wool while the case is still hot. Shake off any excess oil, dip the neck, shoulder, and about a quarter-inch of the case body into the molten lead and just as you begin to feel an uncomfortable degree of heat in your fingertips, drop the case into water. If you hold the cases in some other way than with your bare fingers, leave them in the molten lead from eight to twelve, but not more than fifteen seconds. When the case is hot enough that the lead does not cling to it, it is annealed. Pull the case up out of the lead, tap on the side of the case to remove any bits of lead (if the lead is really sticking, the case isn't annealed!), then drop it mouth down (straight) into a container that is mostly full of ice water. Following the anneal, it would be wise to closely inspect the inside of the case both visually and with a bent paper clip just to make sure there are no lead drippings adhering to the inside the case.

    If you are left-handed, have the cases on the right side, the lead in the middle, and the ice water on the left. The cases go only one direction, to the left, and you use only one hand. If you are right handed, reverse the set-up. Because it only takes a few seconds per case, you can anneal hundreds of cases in an hour with this method. After the annealing process, remove the cases from the water, shake them out and use a piece of bronze wool to clean the annealed portion. This removes any residual lead and/or burned oil. Then, dry and tumble the cases to remove any traces of residual oil and they are ready to process.
     
  14. Peter M. Eick

    Peter M. Eick Member

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    I have been looking at the Giraud trimmer and annealer for a while but have not developed a real need for one. I just don't shoot enough rifle for it to matter in general if the brass lasts that long or not. But, I do like reloading tools and they seem like they are nicely made.

    I just noted something neat.

    Giraud is just down the road from me. He is actually close to my vet. I see a side trip to his workshop sometime so I can save on shipping. I will have to remember that next time the pets come up for checkups.
     
  15. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    z7 my cases end up looking very similar, but I generally pull out of the flame immediately after the neck has regained it's original golden glow. If I had a BHN tester I'd compare the hardness of the case head before and after a proper, lengthy annealing in an appropriate oven but I have neither the BHN tester or the oven.

    Seems to me the main concern is going to be splitting of the neck, and I have never had this problem, even after annealing cases several times for a standard .255" chamber neck.

    Good luck, hope you find a system that works for you.
     
  16. z7

    z7 Member

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    Thanks again for all of the responses. I am going to try the water pan next, and between the drill method and water pan I will figure out what I like and the range report/brass life will have to speak for itself to see if its worth it. I am a low volume loader/shooter, so time isnt a huge factor, and playing with fire can be fun
     
  17. Sunray

    Sunray Member

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    "...until it starts to glow..." Too hot. Only needs to be heated until the brass changes colour and only when you get one cracked neck/case mouth. You don't need to anneal if the case mouths aren't cracking. And it's the necks and shoulders that get annealed.
    Even once fired MG brass.
     
  18. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    1zd2gc9.jpg

    Quit mucking around.
    Get some 450-500° Tempilaq
    Paint it ¼" below the shoulder
    Spin it in a drill
    Be done w/ it.
     
  19. ironworkerwill

    ironworkerwill Member

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    1 battery operated drill, Lee trimmer shell holder, el'cheapo propane torch, and a good size bowl of water.

    Once YOU figure out how many seconds to spin the brass(4 sec for .308 to start) in the flame, put the whole thing just past the Lee holder in the water. KEY: do them all the same way.

    I'm goin cliché - Just do it!
     
  20. MEHavey

    MEHavey Member

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    What's the water for ?
     
  21. kwg020

    kwg020 Member

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    When the brass changes color I drop it in to cool it. I see not everyone quenches their brass while annealing. I continue to use the water method. kwg
     
  22. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    The water method makes sure you do not damage the case head where it could be annealed, making the case unsafe (maybe).

    If you are using the "glow" methods it would not be a bad thing, at least you cannot make brass that is too soft where it should not be.

    Nothing is gained or lost with quenching brass in water. It gets softer with heat and harder by working it. Brass does not change hardness when dropped in water only temp.

    As you burn out the other elements in brass like zinc (the flame color note in my above post) you get it closer to copper.

    Using the heat effected paints, you will find that they change at the instant before the flame color changes, Unless you have torches set quite high and/or are using a fuel other than propane.
     
  23. docsleepy

    docsleepy Member

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    Dropping in water allows you to set a definite end point, as the annealing is time and temperature related. Degree of annealing will impact your neck tension, which you want to be very constant for best accuracy if you are a benchrest shooter
     
  24. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    Consistant time and temp is what the machines are for, the end point for heating is when the case moves out of the flame(s).
     
  25. spitballer

    spitballer Member

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    I have tried with and without water. To anneal without water, I spun the case in a folded wet paper towel, held about halfway down, insulating the case head and allowing the neck to air-cool. It didn't seem to make any difference for me either way, so I've just been using the water bowl for simplicity. I still suspect that my method amounts to heat-treating, which is different from proper annealing. Nevertheless my only concern is preventing neck rupture, and so far I've had good luck by simply restoring the original glow of the brass every few firings. If my only concern were softness I might have ended up using a different method. My last set of cases were loaded about a dozen times in a standard chamber neck with absolutely no problem, and I'd still be using them if I hadn't replaced the cases when I replaced the barrel recently.
     
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