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Thread: Annealing Question

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Annealing Question

    Came across some brass that had been annealed by hand. Neck near end had a small amount of blue color. The ploslished brass stopped about 3/16 below the shoulder from there on out through neck it was a dull brass color--no shine. is there any danger in using this brass?

  2. #2
    Boolit Man

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    That is what annealed brass should look like. Factory brass you buy has just been polished. Should be able to run brass though a tumbler and the shine will come back.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
    rancher1913's Avatar
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    annealing just the end where you seat the boolit is ok and helps with brass life.

  4. #4
    Boolit Mold
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    i shoot 7.92x33 have reloaded cases about 3 times tops have lots of brass several thounsand. i have a annealing device i bought several years ago think it was around $600 for the revolving annealing table. i have never used it . when or how do i know its time to anneal? thanks

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    When I question annealing -- wrongly/too much down to bottom annealing may be down right DANGEROUS!!! -- I take a Vice-Grip Pliers -- no other tool I'm aware of work as well -- and back out screw until the jaws just contact the questionable cases' neck. Open the handles, and turn the screw in one to two turns, maximum. Then, repeat placing the case neck in the closed vice-grips. They should squnch/bend the neck in just a noticeable tad, which springs back. (You can compare this to an UN-annealed case, where similar happens, but it takes much more force with the Vice-Grips so to do.)
    If the brass easily bends in, and does not spring back -- it may have been over-annealed -- e.g., too soft. In my opinion the case is now junk -- with major challenge being its now inability to hold a bullet when loaded. In any case, if this occurs, move the vice-grips -- adjusting, of course, for case size near bottom -- and if the brass is equally soft as in the over-annealed tip -- you may very well have a catastrophic accident waiting to happen if you load and shoot said round!
    Again -- this is my opinion from both my annealing LOTS of brass -- my main machine is the Giraud one, but I have used Hornady's, deep-wall sockets in a drill, the Reloader's Den circular torch, and even tried a plain-Jane Bernozomatic torch on cases standing in a cookie pan with water to keep bottom from getting annealed. Obviously, using the socket wrench method, circular torch, and other similar can indeed get the base of your cartridge annealed -- again, a no-no!
    From your post, it SOUNDS like you'll be OK -- but, if I didn't do the annealing myself -- I'd surely do the Vice-Grip pliers test as described. Imho, there's tooooo much pressure real close to fingers and eyes to take a chance.
    BEST!
    geo

  6. #6
    Boolit Mold
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    so let me get this straight, using a pair of vise grip pliers place them around the case neck, just barely making contact with metal ,just enough to hold it in the jaws. Now remove the pliers and turn adjuster knob in 1 or 2 turns tighter, now grip the case in the same spot as before . the case should bend slightly but when you release the grip the brass should reform .if not it means its too soft and should be annealed . Thanks henry buckeye

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    henryb Let me start with a "whoa!!!" -- if the brass does NOT spring back, it is too annealed: junk!!! It has been over-annealed and now too soft to hold a bullet. I know of no way to return it to a usable state.
    Your first sentence, however, is right on -- exactly as you typed! The brass we need for reloading has to have some spring to it, or it will no longer hold the bullet where we wish it -- crimped helps, of course. If you bend steel back and forth -- e.g., work it -- it gets soft. Brass, on the other hand, gets harder and more brittle as it is worked -- hence you experience case necks splitting, and the like, over time. So, the theory and practice is -- by getting the brass case neck up to ~ 750*F for a few seconds -- the little molecules in the brass rearrange themselves to return to the springy metal before first loading and subsequent shooting. As mentioned in my reply, above (#5), one of the REAL DANGERS, however, is if you get the case bottom to this temperature/time, the case bottom metal is now too soft to be safe for shooting!
    Again, try the Vice-grip pliers on a brand new, virgin case to experience the "spring". Then, try the same on your annealed case. They should be similar. I have purposely over annealed military brass case necks for the making of ceremonial blank .30-'06 rounds, and can assure you there is no spring back on these cases.
    Good luck --some basic instructions came with my Giraud unit ( http://www.giraudtool.com/annealer1.htm ) you may wish to read; Sinclair Int. has a one-pager at https://www.sinclairintl.com/guntech....htm?lid=16032 ; and, there are many, many REAL articles worth your while reading. Most sadly, imho, this is one area abound in myths and legends; fortunately proponents of these are indeed rare on this wonderful site -- but I again repeat, when we squeeze the trigger we surely are way too close to fingers and eyes to risk injury or loss to either!
    Some bench rest shooters anneal after each, up to third firing, who I know. Me? Generally the third is the charm. Some criteria include the scarcity of the particular caliber of brass -- e.g., .32 Remington is harder to replace with new than, say, .223; the "hotness" of the load -- this surely works (and hardens) the brass quicker; and, your own gut feeling that it won't hurt, but may help. Once again I defer to the Vice-grip plier testing -- most third-fired rifle brass has nowheres near the springback of virgin. I wish I could be more specific -- but, I hope this helps.
    geo
    Last edited by georgerkahn; 03-06-2018 at 11:44 AM.

  8. #8
    Boolit Man

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgerkahn View Post
    ... if the brass does NOT spring back, it is too annealed: junk!!! It has been over-annealed and now too soft to hold a bullet. I know of no way to return it to a usable state.
    Resizing the brass & re-expanding it a couple of times ought to stiffen it up a little. (This has worked for me in the past, using pistol brass. YMMV, of course.)

    +1 on not annealing the base. If that happens, you have yellow brass scrap metal.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
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    Can annealing be done to cases that have been reloaded 3+ times, is it not worth the trouble. Ive never annealed my brass before. Looking at the different equipment that people have made to do this

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    evoevil -- the short answer to your question is YES! Cartridge brass is made by a mixture of primarily copper (~70-75%) and zinc (25-30%) which has other metals mixed in, albeit in small percentages -- e.g., as we may add antimony to our bullet mix -- for different proprietary reasons by different manufacturers. So, the cases -- across the board -- are not a "constant". Nor is their initial state when first loaded and fired in a firearm. Soooo many variables, and then added in is exactly what was done to work the brass after its initial firing.
    I guess what I'm trying to allude to is, indeed, pretty much a mystery where we may know the results -- e.g., the hardness of the brass -- but, that's about it! Once again, I put forth the Vice-grip Pliers "test" as I outlined in previous posts (#5 & #7 here above) as the conclusive way to determine the state of your brass case. The number of firings is a second order variable to this.
    Re equipment, I know of several -- over ten -- different methods ranging from the standing in a pan of water using a torch flame on necks; dipping necks in lead pot; putting cases in deep-wall socket wrench sockets that has a nut/bolt chucked in an electric drill; and several more (I endorse none if these) -- without getting into the fairly expensive annealing machines. I have over $500.00 in my Giraud -- and that's fairly inexpensive compared with many others -- not necessarily including the new kid on the block: the induction annealer.
    *I* look at it as a great plus to our hobby; if YOU have but a few "cases that have been reloaded 3+ times" -- if it were me, I'd first read up on the art and science of annealing (I provided a couple of quick links, here above); and then perhaps use the case in pan or case in socket method just to see/learn. In any case, I'd do naught without that trusty set of Vice-grips!
    Brass is one of the more costly components in our reloading, and -- in my personal case -- a bit of "my" brass is of either totally, or on the way to becoming obsolete. I reckon I can at the least double, or more, the useful life of my brass by annealing, as well as actually increasing accuracy potential of the loaded rounds -- so it is, again to me, very much worth it!
    As a suggestion -- I hope to add a photo of the Hornady system can readily be duplicated with the auto wrench sockets and a nut on a bolt. VERY critical to annealing is the temperature you bring the brass to, as well as the time at said temperature. Hence, a jar of TempiLaq -- they also sell it in crayon form -- surely would be in order. The BIG NO-NO is the inadvertent annealing of the cases' base. The TempiLaq in Hornady case of to indicate hopeful below-this near case base. In addition, I use another temperature -- 750* -- at case neck to ensure annealing was in fact done.
    Not really rocket science -- try annealing some of your brass... you, too, may get hooked on it Click image for larger version. 

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    geo
    Last edited by georgerkahn; 03-07-2018 at 09:32 AM.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master



    atr's Avatar
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    I tip my hat to georgerkahn.....that is a cleaver way of testing brass.
    atr
    Death to every foe and traitor and hurrah, my boys, for freedom !

  12. #12
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Factory annealed should look more like solder, then a blue 'ring' and brass color. It's a surface color change only so goes away when polished. Mil. used to want it 'colored' so inspectors knew suppliers did it right. Manufactured brass is annealed several times in the process - only bottleneck get the last one after shoulder forming. Anneal some Cu GCs - they will flash silver before 'red'.
    Whatever!

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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