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Thread: Guidelines for Case Conversion Annealing?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Guidelines for Case Conversion Annealing?

    In a recent thread I had reported on cracking brass after being converted from 30-06 to 7.63x54 Argentine Mauser 25 years ago and shooting them recently. My question is, what would be proper guidelines for when converted brass needs to be annealed. And does it need to be annealed before the conversion or after, or both. In the above listed conversion, the brass was never annealed during the process. But a substantial portion of the old 30-06 brass was cut off (maybe 0.4" of it) during the conversion to Argentine Mauser brass. On the other hand, I have converted many 6.5x55 Swedish Mauser brass to 7.5x54 MAS which takes minimal trimming and have never annealed them or had any trouble with them cracking. So, is the key to needing annealing is how much of the original case was trimmed off? I have converted many 30-30 cases to 32-40 also without trimming and have always had good luck with them.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    For me, it depends on the brass. Military brass tends to be harder than civilian, in my experience. Hornady brass seems to be excellent; when I made .35 Winchester out of their .405 cases, I annealed afterwards just because I felt guilty. Didn't lose a case.

    I give most cases a moderate anneal (colors; no red heat) if I need to set a steep shoulder back to any considerable extent, or reduce or expand a neck significantly. It's mostly a judgement call; if I have a lot of cheap cases to reform, I try a case or two to see what I can get away with.

    Generally, I reduce necks with dies, expand them by fire forming.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master

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    A cases annealing is not the same from top to bottom. We strive to anneal just the neck and shoulder with out changing the base and lower body. So you 30-06 conversions necks were formed from brass that was harder than the neck was. Look at the color fade. Also it was worked more in forming the shoulder into the new neck causing more work hardening. For me annealing is set fast and hard for at the start but on reformed cases I almost always anneal after forming and trimming to finish to remove what working them has changed. Some reforming projects or brass may benefit from annealing at the start or part way thru. For me the only way to know is to read up or to run a case thru the process to see

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    you only need to anneal the neck and shoulder on shells. if you go further down to the base you will weaken that area and make it dead soft and it will not withstand the breach pressure and swell or rupture.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by country gent View Post
    A cases annealing is not the same from top to bottom. We strive to anneal just the neck and shoulder with out changing the base and lower body. So you 30-06 conversions necks were formed from brass that was harder than the neck was. Look at the color fade. Also it was worked more in forming the shoulder into the new neck causing more work hardening. For me annealing is set fast and hard for at the start but on reformed cases I almost always anneal after forming and trimming to finish to remove what working them has changed. Some reforming projects or brass may benefit from annealing at the start or part way thru. For me the only way to know is to read up or to run a case thru the process to see
    Thank you very much for this well-defined explanation as I expected this was the case with my experience. With the 30-06 conversion to 7.63x54 I was probably trimming off most of the neck and shoulder annealed section and reforming the shoulder and neck below this area, causing my problems. I do have a home-made annealing setup with two propane torches that allows me to concentrate heat in a well-regulated dimension down the case neck and not on the base. Timing is my only problem as I do not yet have any Tempilak for temperature indication. I time the flame application so that there is just a slight hint of orange in the case neck, which seems to give me the same finished colors as factory made brass with the slight blue tint just down over the case shoulder a hair.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master 15meter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    Thank you very much for this well-defined explanation as I expected this was the case with my experience. With the 30-06 conversion to 7.63x54 I was probably trimming off most of the neck and shoulder annealed section and reforming the shoulder and neck below this area, causing my problems. I do have a home-made annealing setup with two propane torches that allows me to concentrate heat in a well-regulated dimension down the case neck and not on the base. Timing is my only problem as I do not yet have any Tempilak for temperature indication. I time the flame application so that there is just a slight hint of orange in the case neck, which seems to give me the same finished colors as factory made brass with the slight blue tint just down over the case shoulder a hair.
    I also use two torches, I do it in an almost dark room, when the color just starts to show dip them in water. My torches are set on the lowest flame that will keep them lit. That is more than enough heat and the lower volume of heat I think is more easily controlled. When I first started annealing, I used 1 torch set as high as it could go and in full shop light. I got ugly annealing.

    I also polish the cases to the extreme then wipe the necks with a paper towel dampened with acetone. the cleaner the case the better looking the anneal job. Mine now come out looking like a factory anneal job.

    I also use a pliers to hold the cases in the flame, my fingers that close to the flame scares the willies out of me. A splint second of inattention/flinch/bug bite and you have third degree burns.

    I've damaged my hands enough over the years I don't need to add to the carnage.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 15meter View Post
    I also use two torches, I do it in an almost dark room, when the color just starts to show dip them in water. My torches are set on the lowest flame that will keep them lit. That is more than enough heat and the lower volume of heat I think is more easily controlled. When I first started annealing, I used 1 torch set as high as it could go and in full shop light. I got ugly annealing.

    I also polish the cases to the extreme then wipe the necks with a paper towel dampened with acetone. the cleaner the case the better looking the anneal job. Mine now come out looking like a factory anneal job.

    I also use a pliers to hold the cases in the flame, my fingers that close to the flame scares the willies out of me. A splint second of inattention/flinch/bug bite and you have third degree burns.
    I built a stand that holds both of my propane torches facing each other, and move them around until the flames are at the same level tilted up a little bit. And in the center between the torches, I've built a stand with an axel passing horizontally through a piece of 1/2" electrical conduit with a wooden knob on the end so I can rotate the conduit vertically. With a spacer in the enter of it, I can place a brass case in the tube and rotate it into the center of the flame. After the correct timing period, I dump that case out the back side and rotate to the other end, loading another case on the way. So if I time 7 seconds in the flame, and a few seconds to load and position another case in the flame, I am annealing a case about every 10 seconds. And dumping them away from me either on a soft towel or a bucket of water.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    I built a stand that holds both of my propane torches facing each other, and move them around until the flames are at the same level tilted up a little bit. And in the center between the torches, I've built a stand with an axel passing horizontally through a piece of 1/2" electrical conduit with a wooden knob on the end so I can rotate the conduit vertically. With a spacer in the enter of it, I can place a brass case in the tube and rotate it into the center of the flame. After the correct timing period, I dump that case out the back side and rotate to the other end, loading another case on the way. So if I time 7 seconds in the flame, and a few seconds to load and position another case in the flame, I am annealing a case about every 10 seconds. And dumping them away from me either on a soft towel or a bucket of water.
    That sounds a lot like a commercial one made in Florida. Also sound a lot easier and faster than my deep round cake pan with water in it on a table top lazy susan. Head can't get too hot because of the water coming at least 3/4 to an inch up the case but I have to rotate pan with one hand and hold torch with other. Knock case over into water with the next case going in for heating. Not too slow for doing 50 mauser from 30-06 but I doubt it will ever be used for doing 500 cases in .223

    https://www.cartridgeanneal.com/relo...cessories.html this is the tool I was saying sounded like what you made. Anneal-Rite, you have to purchase different size holders one included and the other 9 sizes run from $22 to $30 have to go to shopping cart to see the prices of the holders. To do the calibers I would want to do requires two additional holders so it runs about $175 with torches and while I don't believe for a minute I "save" money reloading I still have a lot of resistance to big ticket purchases I don't have to have. Besides an electric driven one can be had for about $100 bucks more and at for that sort of purchase more money for better sometimes makes sense. http://www.annealeez.com/dbprod/annealeezannealer.asp
    Last edited by RogerDat; 01-18-2018 at 08:23 PM.
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
    That sounds a lot like a commercial one made in Florida.

    https://www.cartridgeanneal.com/relo...cessories.html this is the tool I was saying sounded like what you made. Anneal-Rite, you have to purchase different size holders one included and the other 9 sizes run from $22 to $30 have to go to shopping cart to see the prices of the holders. To do the calibers I would want to do requires two additional holders so it runs about $175 with torches http://www.annealeez.com/dbprod/annealeezannealer.asp
    This is exactly what I have built. My brackets are all made out of wood since the torch flames don't come anywhere near the torch or cartridge holder supports. And I think I only paid about $10 or $12 for each of the pushbutton start torches, plus $6 or so for the propane bottles. And that is all I have into the whole setup. The rest of the stuff was just materials I found in my shop. I just cut and glued and screwed the wood together and used a rasp to shape a square block into the handle to rotate the brass shell holder, which was made out of a piece of electrical conduit. Different sizes for different cartridges. And all of that just rotates pretty easily on a chrome plated bolt. Its easy to use and fast. But I would like to get some Templiq so I can be assured of the temperatures I am getting to on the cases. I tried finding some at the local welding shop I deal with, but they don't have the 750 degree type.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    This is exactly what I have built. My brackets are all made out of wood since the torch flames don't come anywhere near the torch or cartridge holder supports. And I think I only paid about $10 or $12 for each of the pushbutton start torches, plus $6 or so for the propane bottles. And that is all I have into the whole setup. The rest of the stuff was just materials I found in my shop. I just cut and glued and screwed the wood together and used a rasp to shape a square block into the handle to rotate the brass shell holder, which was made out of a piece of electrical conduit. Different sizes for different cartridges. And all of that just rotates pretty easily on a chrome plated bolt. Its easy to use and fast. But I would like to get some Templiq so I can be assured of the temperatures I am getting to on the cases. I tried finding some at the local welding shop I deal with, but they don't have the 750 degree type.
    Would love a picture. So you have different size (diameter) and lengths of conduit? Do you place cases on both ends? I thought it sounded like as one end rotated down you loaded the other end with a fresh case.

    Templiq 750 at Amazon (you have to pick your temp from drop down to get right item and price)
    https://www.amazon.com/Tempil-Tempil...s=Tempilaq+750
    Je suis Charlie
    Scrap.... because all the really pithy and emphatic four letter words were taken and we had to describe this way of getting casting material somehow.
    Feedback page http://castboolits.gunloads.com/show...light=RogerDat I do trade a bit from time to time.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master DonMountain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RogerDat View Post
    Would love a picture. So you have different size (diameter) and lengths of conduit? Do you place cases on both ends? I thought it sounded like as one end rotated down you loaded the other end with a fresh case.

    Templiq 750 at Amazon (you have to pick your temp from drop down to get right item and price)
    https://www.amazon.com/Tempil-Tempil...s=Tempilaq+750
    Thank you for the source for Templic. I made the center case stand with holes drilled at various heights so I can move the case holder up and down. And so far I have 1/2" and 3/4" electrical conduit as the case holder, with a piece of wood dowel in the center to space the cases to the correct height. And it rotates so I can place cases in both end, as one is dumped another one is being loaded and then rotated up into the flame.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Tempilaq is cheaper($18) at Brownell's but they don't have 750 listed, only 700. The co. that makes the Annealeez device has 750 for less than Amazon($23.95). I am a big fan of Amazon but their price($31.83) is highest of the three.

    Would 700 work?
    John
    W.TN

  13. #13
    Boolit Master


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    Quote Originally Posted by DonMountain View Post
    So, is the key to needing annealing is how much of the original case was trimmed off?
    Some pretty good answers so far. I'll add my two bits.

    The key to how much annealing is needed depends, as country gent states, on how much the brass is worked in the reforming process. So if reforming involves radical shape and/or diameter change (trimming or no trimming), annealing is probably called for.

    I have to add another "key", and that's "when". Annealing done too early can result in cases collapsing while being forced into reforming dies. But sometimes the reforming process involves so many steps that annealing is necessary to avoid work hardening. If no annealing is done during die forming, then annealing right before the first fire forming is a good idea.

    One more thought. Through experimentation I have found heating brass to red-hot is not necessary for annealing, and can result in too-soft brass. I heat until I see mottled colors moving over the brass surface, then quench. (The moving mottled colors are kind of hard to explain, but when you see it, you'll know).
    I give loading advice based on my actual results in factory rifles with standard chambers, twist rates and basic accurizing.
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  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I formed many 7.65x53 cases from USGI SL-54 cases and had a few crack the neck. So I had to learn to anneal them. I found the right temperature color was the "wet appearing" aquamarine. I spin the cases with a drill and count to 4. Four seconds with 1/2" from the end of a 1" long center flame cone is all it takes. The wet appearing aquamarine color runs down to about 1/8" past the shoulder.
    If you vary the process vary it to less annealing heat.
    If you anneal too much the shoulder can accordion. Too little is no big deal. The next anneal cycle should fix under annealed necks.
    EDG

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