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Thread: Annealing Setup?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Annealing Setup?

    I have heard references to annealing brass cases from several sources, especially after reforming rifle cases. I am in the process of reforming some cases from 30-06 down to make 7.63 Argentine cases and wonder what the process to anneal them should be? Can anybody give me a source of data for how to do it or what kind of equipment is needed? Or can anybody go over the process for me? I would appreciate it.

  2. #2
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    The easiest way for me without spending tons of money and time is to use a propane torch (the type and hardware store sells) with the screw on nozzle.

    I turn mine on and set it on the table, I take a drill with a long drill bit, take the case mouth and put it on the drill bit all the way till the drill bottoms out on the bottom of the case.

    After that just turn on the drill and hold the brass to the torch at the end of the blue flame (the hottest part of the flame) and make sure the flame is hitting the newly created shoulder and turn on the drill. Usually takes me 6-8 sec for each case I anneal.

    Hope that helps

    I'm sure others will chime in and give you more ideas.
    Click to see what I'm doing and have available, this takes you to the VS (Vendor Sponsor) section of the site. Currently..25Rem,30Rem, 32Rem, 35Rem, 257Roberts, 358Win, 338Fed, 357 Herrett, 30 Herrett, 401 Winchester, 300Sav, 221 Fireball, 260Rem, 222Rem, 250 Savage, 8mm Mauser (AKA 8x57), 25-20WCF

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  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    I took an old Lee Primer Pocket cleaner and ground off enough of the part that cleans the carbon out of the primer pockets so that the shoulder fits flush on the case head.

    I spin the case using a hand drill front of the flame of a propane torch, at the neck and shoulder area in until the case changes color, about 2-1/2 to 3 seconds and no more. This will give you a good, cheap way to anneal any case,
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    I've heard of dipping cases in the lead pot, about an inch past the shoulder. They still have spent primers in the pocket, so an air lock is created and the molten lead doesn't go inside the case. From people who do this, it only takes a second or 2 in the lead to bring them up to anneal temperature.

    Makes sense to me- you have an annealing medium of a known temp. No way to overheat. Haven't tried it myself, but I've been thinking about it.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Propane Torch - Spin the case with the index finger and thumb - when mouth turns a dark straw color - drop them into a metal pan to cool

    The Art and Science of Annealing ... http://www.6mmbr.com/annealing.html
    Regards
    John

  6. #6
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    I set mine, de-primed, in a pan of shallow water, heat up the neck / shoulder until color change then tip them over into the water. Works great for the 7mm TCU, my .30-30 improved and forming my 7.5 MAS from 6.5 Swedish.

    Forgot to mention that it's harder to get an even neck / shoulder heat unless you can turn the cases as you heat them. Never get the case so hot that is starts softening the base. That's why I set them in water up to about a third of the case.
    Last edited by rexherring; 05-14-2012 at 04:38 PM.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    6mmbr has an article on annealing brass that's spot on.
    i lost the link.
    if you can't find it try searching
    the bench source annealing machines sight they have a good one too airc.
    i use thier machine and tempilaq
    it's the same stuff hornady has in thier kit.
    but the shoulders come out blue like new military cases have, instead of the dead soft overly annealed most get from the torch and glowing brass trick.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  8. #8
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    here you go R5R
    http://www.6mmbr.com/annealing.html

    there is a sticky for an auto annealer in the reloading section like the bench source

    I use a setup kind of like this http://www.meachamrifles.com/page.php?id=76
    with a cordless drill and tempilaq

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    yeah that's the 6mm link, thank's..

    you can make the second one with a cordless drill and a deepwell socket set-up.
    the proper temp is the key,and keeping it in the right place is essential.
    the time is not important.
    it's all an educated guess,,,, till the trigger is pulled.

    this opinion brought to you by mister low-tech solution..

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    Smile I made this

    I made this out of a broken microwave.
    Takes some work, but easy to do.
    Used the turntable to spin the shells. Pan of water keep the base cool, and just tip them over to quench.
    Propane tourch to heat just till I see the color ring past the shoulder.
    Works great.
    One problem I did find though.
    Watching the thing go round and round, made me a little dizzy.
    Last edited by abunaitoo; 09-06-2012 at 03:51 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Man
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    If you have very many to do - putting the temperature gook on will become a pain in the hand. The deep well socket the size to fit the case will get a more even anneal, easier to dump in water, and is easier on the hand. Watch the color closely. You will ruin a few at first but will get the hang of it. It is just a couple of seconds from the right amonut to too much. I will do hundreds a year this way and have some brass with over 20 loads through them. Have found if they turn cherry red they will cool a very dark rust color almost black. I throw them away. If a little is good then a whole lot must be better - WRONG. You can do it. Just make sure the brass is dried out good after quenching.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master Lead Fred's Avatar
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    My ole man used to stuff a pencil up inside the case, and his was vise mounted.
    He would twirl the pencil slowly,with the should in the flame.
    Kinda like you would a marsh mellow.
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master

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    Propane torch with the case held in the fingers and the shoulder and neck held in the blue part of the flame. Rotate the case with your fingers. When the case gets too hot to hold let go and drop it into a bucket with a lot of water in it. Rapid cooling anneals brass and hardens steel.
    WARNING. if the case touches the little inner white cone on the end of the torch proper you'll get a copper colored spot that is dead soft and a candidate for the trash or recycle bin.
    I've tried the lead pot method before and never could get all the lead off the case -a bummer.
    If you start with a clean case this method will give you the nice bronze colored shoulder of new military cartridges

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by john hayslip View Post
    Rapid cooling anneals brass and hardens steel.
    True for steel, not true for gliding metal. Speed of cooling makes no difference.
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master GabbyM's Avatar
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    Like john hayslip I hold mine bare handed then just twirl them over the propane torch flame. Never had an issue with softening the case heads. However I can see why some people may not have any luck with it. Ones personal sensitivity may decide if you get burned or not. But it’s pretty hard to soften a case head if it’s in your fingers. Obviously the machine depicted in the 6mm BR link would be superior as to consistency and speed. 6mm BR brass is very short so it indeed may not work hand held at all. 223 and 308 based cases work fine. If one was fifty dollars I’d get one.

    Propane torch and a can full of water. Do it at night with the room light turned off. I leave the door to the house cracked open for just enough light so I don’t fall over myself in the dark.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by edler7 View Post
    I've heard of dipping cases in the lead pot...
    I have heard many people talk of the lead bath method, but never one who said they tried it and it worked well. It cannot be denied though that dipping into liquid has some pretty large advantages, so I modified the technique by using a Lee pot to melt a salt bath. It is more mess and up front cost than using a cordless drill and a torch, but it is much faster than that method and a whole lot cheaper than buying one of those Rube Goldberg contraptions that are on the market now. In terms of precise temperature control, it has every other method beaten.

    Unless I only have a couple of dozen cases that need doing right now! (in which case I use the spin-in-flame method), I save up my annealing jobs until I have several hundred cases and I do it like this:
    http://s262.photobucket.com/albums/i...alingdemo2.mp4
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by BattleRife View Post
    ..... using a Lee pot to melt a salt bath.
    Salt bath? What salts, what's the mixture? Where do you get the ingredients? How do you control the temp? This uninformed soul want to be enlightened, PLEASE!

  18. #18
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    Ed in North Texas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Smith View Post
    True for steel, not true for gliding metal. Speed of cooling makes no difference.
    Beat me to it. Air cooled or water quenched, makes no difference - the brass will still be annealed. As stated, that isn't true for steel, water quenching hardens steel, the opposite of annealing.

    Ed

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BattleRife View Post
    snip It cannot be denied though that dipping into liquid has some pretty large advantages, so I modified the technique by using a Lee pot to melt a salt bath.
    I'll second daboone, how about some specifics. Are you using sodium chloride (table salt for those in Rio Linda), or some other salt? What is the concentration of salt, or ratio of salt to liquid - or are you heating the salt to the liquid state? The pot controls the temp, but as quickly as your video shows you running them through, what temp are you bringing the bath to? I guess you make a different plate holder for each cartridge diameter, or group them in general dimensions? Do you place the plate down further in the pot for shorter cartridge cases? The lack of a sound track makes these questions necessary. Thanks for giving us the answers, and any other answers where we might not have thought of the questions.

    Ed

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed in North Texas View Post
    I'll second daboone, how about some specifics.
    I can do that.

    The salt is USP grade potassium nitrate, which was easy enough to buy a couple of years ago but is probably harder now to find (in Canada, anyway). Cost was $17 for 2kg. A blend of potassium nitrate with sodium nitrate would probably be preferable, as it has a lower melting point. These ingredients are pretty common on the industrial market and they would be easy to obtain if there was sufficient demand.

    I find the temperature doesn't need much controlling, once you find the right setting on the pot the temperature only fluctuates by 2-3C whilst sitting, then drops about 8-10C when you start running the cases through full speed. I am moving pretty fast in the video, only giving the cases a 3-4 second residence time. Five seconds would probably be better, and would still process about 1000 cases an hour.


    The melting point of the pure salt is almost the same as lead, about 320C. When I have a thermocouple handy I try to run about 500-550C (the above photo was taken during an early test, before I settled on a temperature), unfortunately the multi-meter I use as a thermocouple reader was non-responsive when I went to make the video. My eyeball method is just to keep the pot hot enough that a 3-second immersion doesn't result in any appreciable salt sticking to the case. A tiny amount of salt always adheres to the brass, which is one reason the cases are dropped into a bucket of water in the video (out of view). The salts are fully water soluble and a quick rinse leaves them ready to dry and load.



    I have only made one holder, which I have used quite a bit with 5.56mm and 7.62 NATO cases. I see no reason that any case from .222 to .35 Whelen wouldn't work.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --BattleRife

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check