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Thread: Case Annealing

  1. #1
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    Case Annealing

    It's getting time to make more 357/44 BD cases. I have a 100 round bag of new brass. Setting here trying to figure out a way to turn the case to get even flame around the neck and quickly mount and dismount the case so not to take all week to work through the bag.

    Any ideas that work or you have tried?

    Ken
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  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've made a device that fits in my variable speed cordless drill. If you have access to a lathe, turn one end of a piece of bar stock to fit the chuck and the other end drilled to fit the body of the brass. Leave about 1/3 (neck end) outside of the chunk of bar stock. Drop a case in, spin it over a lit propane torch (3 - 5 seconds) and drop the hot brass onto a clean piece of plywood. There is a learning curve. Too much heat will cook the brass. Pull the assembly out of the flame before the colors turn. Expect to cook a couple until you get the hang of it.

  3. #3
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    There used to be a tool out there that looked like 2 wheels laying flat and the top one rotated.
    The top one had several holes in it, and 2 propane torches were aimed at one station on it.

    You'd put a case in at one end, but away from the torches, and rotate it.
    As the wheel rotated around, each case came between the torches,
    as you rotated the top wheel again, the hot case came over a hole and dropped into a bucket of water.

    For doing a bunch of brass, it shouldn't be too hard to make something like that.
    Or mount 2 torches on the bench, maybe duct taped to 4x4 wooden blocks,
    and hold a case with pliers in between them for the few seconds it takes.
    Last edited by Winger Ed.; 12-13-2019 at 09:33 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Have a look at how this guy does it using a deep well socket, drill bit adapter, or the like.:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QSxjWi_E4A

    Put in socket, spin in flame til blue but not too reddish, then drop into water in a bucket.

    Looks like a good method. Have not tried it yet, but I will in the future.

    I have tried the dipping the case with primer "not" removed in lead pot, ( Not removed to keep the lead out due to the air trapped inside) then drop into the cool water & keeping the water cool by adding more water if needed ,just like when water dropping cast boolits...
    it worked for me, but others complain about it. I reckon we all just have to try what we want, to get to where we want to be, sometimes.


    G'Luck! which ever method ya end up using.
    Last edited by JBinMN; 12-14-2019 at 01:43 AM. Reason: Fixed/explained sometihng
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  5. #5
    Boolit Buddy
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    Deep well socket that case fits loosely in spun with drill is what I use. I do it in the basement with just enough light to barely see. when you see the faintest red you are done. Tip the drill and the case falls out.

  6. #6
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The socket and extension work well 1/4" drive is better 1/2" drive gets heavy quick. A nice handle can be made from rigid copper tubing and a coupler. A 7-9" length for the handle and the coupler makes it big enough to do most cases including 45-70. Cut a disk from a flattened piece of tubing to fit in the coupling and insert between tube and coupling this keeps smaller cases from falling thru.

    Another trick to help ( and it speeds up the process). use a hole saw and cut two holes to fit your propane bottles spaced so when lit the two flames just touch each other. Use a band or hose clamps to hold in place. With the holder insert cases at the point where flames meet and rotate to desired color change. The two flames will cover most of the case neck and rotation isn't as critical.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    You’ve tried dipping in lead? Seems to me that you probably have all the stuff for that, maybe you’ll want to get some tempilac to calibrate your dipping tempo.

  8. #8
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    G'morning, Pressman! I'm a died-in-the-wool annealer, and an owner/proponent of the machines purveyed by Giraud; the Hornady; the Holland; and, a host of others not to exclude the socket with a 1/4-20 bolt/nut through it chucked in a variable-speed cordless drill. I have never been a fan of the "stand cases in a cake-pan with water which one heats with a torch and then knocks over" method.
    For *ME* -- perhaps just "me" alone -- I'd NOT anneal any brass without a product called Tempilaq. (It sounds costly, but one jar seems to last 'forever') There are volumes on annealing, so I'm not going to rewrite, here. I suggest you Google the subject; perhaps a good read is at, http://www.massreloading.com/annealing.html . Click image for larger version. 

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    I've posted previously in this forum my method for checking (good) annealing: To wit, you NEED a pair of vise-grip pliers. Use the end screw to get the jaws snug on your brass; open handles; and then turn screw ~ one and one-half turns. Re-close handles, and what was a perfectly round piece of brass will now get a bit egg-shaped -- e.g., no longer round. When you open the handles, the roundness WILL be restored. SADLY, if too much heat is put on brass it will be permanently softened/ruined, and will NOT spring back to roundness. (Imho, this brass is now totally ruined -- not suitable for loading/shooting.)
    Again, for me -- to apply the correct amount of heat to accomplish this consistently is way too risky for me -- without a scant drop of Tempilaq previously painted on the brass. One of my greatest FEARS is, if too much heat is applied, and it migrates down to the case head -- you now have quite soft brass in the head area which, I have been told, is a VERY dangerous paradigm. One of the challenges to annealing is that it is a "heat AND time" process -- e.g., the correct amount of heat applied for a given length of time. One can increase heat for a short time interval, or, within reason, apply a lower heat level for a longer time -- to accomplish similar results. (Once again, the need for Templilaq )
    Lastly -- another gizmo I own and use on generally short brass is a tool -- basically a perfectly round "head" for a Bernzo- torch which was made/sold by Tod Kindler (Woodchuck's Den in Ohio) -- if you can find one, it may indeed be a perfect match for your 357/44 BD case project.
    Good luck and best wishes!!!

    geo
    Last edited by georgerkahn; 12-14-2019 at 09:04 AM.

  9. #9
    Boolit Grand Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    You’ve tried dipping in lead? Seems to me that you probably have all the stuff for that, maybe you’ll want to get some tempilac to calibrate your dipping tempo.
    You used to hear a lot about annealing using molten lead. But not so much anymore. I've done it and it works.

    Melt a pot of lead, flux it and skim off any trash. Pick up a case in your fingers, dip the neck and shoulder in thin oil, dip the neck and shoulder into the molten lead and begin to count thousand 1, thousand2, ect. It takes a little experimenting to get the time right. With pistol cases you probably would want to us gloves.

    I use an annealing machine now days but the molten lead worked well.

  10. #10
    Boolit Man
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    Here is what I put together after I got tired of messing with the sockets and dipping. I adjust for a slight glow with the lights out.

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    Lathe turned socket in a drill motor. Propane flame.

    What makes it easy and repeatable; I put the drill motor in a swiveling vise. The propane torch is stationary. The torch sits on the bench so that when the vise is swiveled to a "stop" the spinning case is always in exactly the same orientation/distance in the flame. Do the one thousand one,one thousand two routine based on previous testing. Then turn vise out of the flame and pluck the case out of the socket with a gloved hand. Not fancy but pretty durn easy and very precise. Good luck with your project.

  12. #12
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    Thank you everyone, I had completely forgotten about the drill and socket procedure. Looks like I will go that route.

    Case life is short with these anyway, annealing may help a little.
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  13. #13
    Vendor Sponsor MOA's Avatar
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    I went the drill and socket route as well.



    The setup.


    The torch and water pan in the sink ready to receive the cases.


  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    I like the lead dip method. Dip the mouth in oil to keep any lead from sticking then with the lead temp at about 800, using bare fingers dip the neck until you can't hold it any longer then drop in water. You won't be able to hold the brass long enough to soften the base. Next use pliers to hold the brass and dip for the same count as the first and drop in water to stop heat transfer. It shouldn't take more than 4 or 5 seconds each to anneal them and the heat is uniform around the neck and you cant overheat them.

  15. #15
    Boolit Bub
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    I use the Lee case holders that come with their trim length pilot. Chuck the case up and turn with a drill motor for 3-5 seconds with my map gas torch flame directed towards case mouth. Then dunk the case and holder into a pot of water to kill the heat movement to the head of the case. Consistency in the time in flame is important for uniform results.

  16. #16
    Boolit Buddy


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    Templilaq, this product and a Lee shell holder for trimming brass, spin with the torch in subdued lighted are, it works for me. Good results in 7mm BR, and 44 may. Put case's in a loading block set them at an angle, and a little dap of Templilaq, let dry and hit with the torch, doesn't take long at all. YMMV

  17. #17
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    Prior to making my annealing machine I used an automotive electric window motor, a 12 volt power supply, couple of deep sockets, a hinge, and a screwdriver clamped to the motor to rig up this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Worked well, heat it up and flip the case using the screwdriver into a pot of water.

    Slim
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  18. #18
    Boolit Bub
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    I use this
    https://annealeez.com/ along with Tempilaq. Quenching in water is not necessary and just makes a mess.

  19. #19
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pressman View Post
    It's getting time to make more 357/44 BD cases. I have a 100 round bag of new brass. Setting here trying to figure out a way to turn the case to get even flame around the neck and quickly mount and dismount the case so not to take all week to work through the bag.

    Any ideas that work or you have tried?

    Ken
    here is the way I do it may not be rite or proper but hey neither am I
    I chuck mine up in a cordless drill and use a propane torch to anneal the brass
    in low light so I can see the change in color
    then when done I open up chuck and drop them in water
    Hit em'hard
    hit em'often

  20. #20
    Boolit Master brstevns's Avatar
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    I remember the old days where you stood your brass in water to shoulder then used a torch to heat necks til red and then push them over into the water.

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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