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Thread: Annealing brass?

  1. #1

    Annealing brass?

    How many of you do it? Is it worth it?
    I understand the extending brass life and there is lots of talk about consistent neck tension which help accuracy.
    Seems like Iíve read most of these test on modern bottleneck benchrest or hunting high velocity cartridges.
    What about the old straight walled beauties?
    Is it worth it in 45/70?
    Does it really help groups. I read a great article in a magazine discussing concentricity with some test results in the 45/70 and they were awesome.
    I guess I just donít always think of the tricks and voodoo bechrest shooters use on 6BR would cross over to 38-55
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J. Spangler View Post
    How many of you do it? Is it worth it?
    I understand the extending brass life and there is lots of talk about consistent neck tension which help accuracy.
    Seems like I’ve read most of these test on modern bottleneck benchrest or hunting high velocity cartridges.
    What about the old straight walled beauties?
    Is it worth it in 45/70?
    Does it really help groups. I read a great article in a magazine discussing concentricity with some test results in the 45/70 and they were awesome.
    I guess I just don’t always think of the tricks and voodoo bechrest shooters use on 6BR would cross over to 38-55
    Thanks!
    I reckon depends whether and /or how much you neck size

  3. #3
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    RedlegEd's Avatar
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    Hi. I anneal my rifle brass, especially for my .45-70s, and I definitely think it’s worth it. I use Starline brass and the first thing I do when I buy it new (unfired, unprimed) is full length size and anneal it. I found I get a better seal at the chamber/case mouth (even with light loads,) and minimal sooting. I haven’t shot them so many times that I can say with absolute certainty it prevents splitting, but I haven’t had a mouth split yet since I stared annealing. I also cannot claim that I get better groups due to annealing (vs some other factor,) but if it extends brass life, and doesn’t hurt, and it’s relatively easy to do, I’ll continue the practice. BTW, I only only anneal every 4th or 5th reload, while some folks do it much more often. Ed
    ______________________________________________
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  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I have annealed 223 and 300blk, but haven’t tried 45/70 yet, no reason just didn’t expect it would help a straight walled case. Can’t honestly say that tested for either case life or accuracy, was mostly interested in learning the process.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master



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    In a 45/70 with jacketed or when soft seating not much of an accuracy benefit, however, with lead bullet for my BPCR's I find significant benefit to anneal.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Anneal the 45-70 brass after three firings, use Star Line brass and shoot cast lead powder coated with a home made gas check bullets using Trail Boss powder. The rifle is a H&R Handi rifle that is light in weight. Have used the same brass for several years with no split cases. The annealing I think makes the brass last a lot longer.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    In a 45/70 with jacketed or when soft seating not much of an accuracy benefit, however, with lead bullet for my BPCR's I find significant benefit to anneal.
    What is “soft seating”?

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    i have perfectly fine .45-70 starline brass that has had dozens of full house 80 grain compressed black powder loads under 523 grain paper patched bullets fired in greaser chambered rolling block and sharps rifles. the fire formed brass is reloaded as is, no case or neck sizing other than a very Very slight taper pinch at the mouth to hold in a PPB that goes 1/8" into the brass. this is needed because that greaser chamber blows open the case mouth more than it would if the chamber were tighter, and made for PPB's. i would absolutely consider annealing if i was working the brass much more than this.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master




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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    What is “soft seating”?
    Probably thumb seating or just setting the bullet in the case without any sizing what-so-ever.
    I anneal mostly for BPCR rounds, for case sealing more than anything else. I have done it on 303 Brit cases since the chambers sem to be way oversize. I also neck size only, once they have been fired in a particular rifle. I have probably had more trouble with split cases on the 303 than anything else.

    Bob
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  10. #10
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    I never anneal my brass unless I'm reforming brass from another caliber, and it takes numerous steps to form it. That usually work hardens the brass, so I lightly anneal it afterwards to soften it again. But I see more people ruin good brass from too much heat during annealing, and that's never good.
    If you don't full length size, or over work your brass when reloading it, there's no reason I'd ever anneal it. I've got brass that I've fired and reloaded for decades and never lost a case at the low pressures I shoot.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master

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    I anneal my bpcr cases (38-55,40-65, 45-70, and 45-90) not only to extend the life on what can be some expensive brass but also to keep it consistant. Sizing and expanding with good results requires the same "spring back" in the cases if not all the same you get different tensions, crimps and concentritity. I anneal every other loading. I very seldom have a neck split on any brass other than some handgun brass that gets a tight crimp for the loads. Another benefit of annealing is it removes stress and makes brass more stable over time. Removing the "memory", softening, and relieving the stress from the cases makes it worth while to me. I have thought about getting some dry ice and freezing some brass ( similar to cryrogenic treating we had done on some tooling at work and stress relieving barrels) to see what effect that has on the cases. A strofoam cooler with a couple small holes cut in the sides or lid. Put the dry ice in and brass then seal lid with duct tape and let the ice disapate thru the small holes over a few days.

  12. #12
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    Get a cheap battery operated drill and an attachment to hold a 1/2" deep socket with a 1/4" drive. Turn until you get a dull red then invert in to a pail of water. Your guns will tell you if they like it.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by MT Gianni View Post
    Get a cheap battery operated drill and an attachment to hold a 1/2" deep socket with a 1/4" drive. Turn until you get a dull red then invert in to a pail of water. Your guns will tell you if they like it.
    Doesnt that defeat the purpose of annealing if you water drop it at the end? Wouldnt that harden it back up? I was under the impression that it needs to slowly cool in room temp to anneal properly.

    I'm not an expert on annealing though. I tried it but didnt see the enough benefit to continue. If you have good brass that you want to keep or if you are using wildcard calibers with expensive brass then it would make sense. For me .223 brass is everywhere so for my ARs I always have enough .223 and 300AAC so I dont have to worry about adding one more step in my reloading.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master

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    Non ferrous materials soften from heat and or quench. Ferrous harden from quenches. Bras can be quenched to stop the transfer to the head of the case quicker than air cooling. Annealing is a heat versus time at operation. Dull red hot may be more heat than you really need or want.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master Grmps's Avatar
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    watch the color change on the case when it goes past the shoulder as far as you want quench and move on

  16. #16
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    What is “soft seating”?
    In a centerfire cartridge firearm the bullet is seated long with almost no neck tension. The bullet pushes back into the case when it contacts the lead angle. I don't know if any lead bullet shooter do this, but, it is fairly common for BPCR shooters using black powder to use a card wad and a compression die. They don't size the brass and they hand seat the bullet just before the shoot it.

    https://singleshotexchange.com/there...bullet-by.html

    "I found long ago, after about a year of experimenting, that the easiest way to get the maximum accuracy out of a black powder cartridge rifle with soft lead bullets is not to size the cases, but simply clean them and load them. This has to be done with the proper bullet though."
    Last edited by M-Tecs; 08-08-2018 at 03:32 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master Tripplebeards's Avatar
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    I aneal all my rifle brass but not pistol. You'll get a lot more case life out of them by doing so. I don't do it for accuracy just to extend case life.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by M-Tecs View Post
    In a centerfire cartridge firearm the bullet is seated long with almost no neck tension. The bullet pushes back into the case when it contacts the lead angle. I don't know if any lead bullet shooter do this, but, it is fairly common for BPCR shooters using black powder to use a card wad and a compression die. They don't size the brass and they hand seat the bullet just before the shoot it.

    https://singleshotexchange.com/there...bullet-by.html

    "I found long ago, after about a year of experimenting, that the easiest way to get the maximum accuracy out of a black powder cartridge rifle with soft lead bullets is not to size the cases, but simply clean them and load them. This has to be done with the proper bullet though."
    Interesting, thanks.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master marlinman93's Avatar
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    If you anneal a case until it turns red you just over annealed that case. I turn the lights out and use just a small task light to see what I'm working on. Annealing the cases in dim light will get them the correct softness. Doing so in good light will over anneal them.

  20. #20
    Boolit Master

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    heating a brass case to red is its kiss of death and not good for the shooter, either. to help learn what brass heated color is best, paint a stripe of 475* tempilaq on the case body and observe the change of color to both the neck and body.

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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