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Thread: Annealing and case forming questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy

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    Annealing and case forming questions

    I'm new to BPCR, with a beautiful M71 Mauser I am itching to play with. Although I am a well experienced hand loader and caster, I'm new to case forming and annealing.
    I started with new Starline 45-90 brass (for 43 Mauser). I stood a handful of brass on a brick and heated with torch until cherry red, then let it slow cool. Now I am wondering if I should have had the base in water, concerned that when fire formed the primer pocket may be soft and grow?
    I will stand the base in water from now on.
    I am trying to form and size minimally, and let the fire forming do the rest. I found that if I only size the neck down about a half inch, then I can chamber it in the rifle, and when I close the bolt (which is easy, not much force needed), the brass is nicely shaped to the shape of the chamber. It must be dead soft.
    Which brings me to my 2nd question...Should I heat it back up and dump in water to attempt to harden it? Or will repeated firing do the job?
    My plan is to never resize again, and only seat the bullet by dropping it in on top of the charge / card.
    By the way, I found that full length brass fits in the rifle, so I see no need to trim it down.
    Thanks, Dan

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by oconeedan View Post
    I'm new to BPCR, with a beautiful M71 Mauser I am itching to play with. Although I am a well experienced hand loader and caster, I'm new to case forming and annealing.
    I started with new Starline 45-90 brass (for 43 Mauser). I stood a handful of brass on a brick and heated with torch until cherry red, then let it slow cool. Now I am wondering if I should have had the base in water, concerned that when fire formed the primer pocket may be soft and grow?
    I will stand the base in water from now on.
    I am trying to form and size minimally, and let the fire forming do the rest. I found that if I only size the neck down about a half inch, then I can chamber it in the rifle, and when I close the bolt (which is easy, not much force needed), the brass is nicely shaped to the shape of the chamber. It must be dead soft.
    Which brings me to my 2nd question...Should I heat it back up and dump in water to attempt to harden it? Or will repeated firing do the job?
    My plan is to never resize again, and only seat the bullet by dropping it in on top of the charge / card.
    By the way, I found that full length brass fits in the rifle, so I see no need to trim it down.
    Thanks, Dan
    Ouch!!! I hope you only did a few ! I believe you killed them - cherry red in the open light is too much and NEVER anneal the solid head .
    The first sign of dull red in a poorly lit room is plenty - if you neck annealing or neck and shoulder stand the case halfway up in water
    I am just one opinion let some others comment before you panic

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy

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    Thanks Indian Joe, I only did about 20.
    Mods, if this needs to be moved to case forming, please move.
    Thanks, Dan

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master

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    The big problem annealing is consistency even in a dark room the eyes adjust and what your seeing changes. SOme aint the insides of the necks with 750 temp plaque. When it discolors they drop them. On the BPCR cases a piece of copper tubing and connector can be used to make a holder set case in it roll in flame to blue shade or temp plaque burns and dunk into water holder and all dropping case. this keeps the holder cool also.

    My set up isnt overly expensive and does good. I have a lyman big dipper with a round rack and ring of holes around it this pot is filled with very fine silica sand. It is preheated to 750* and cases are pushed into the sand thru the rings holes working around When I get to one hole the next case comes out and a one inserted working around until the batch is done. I do drop into water. Do to the temp and time being consistent the annealing is also.

    Annealing isnt hard to do but is hard to do consistently. I anneal my BPCR cases every third loading. on this manner.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    You can't harden/temper brass. There's no carbon present so that idea won't wash. Easy way to anneal brass and never overheat it is to just hold it between your thumb and fingers, twirl it in the flame of a torch. When it gets too hot, you'll drop it unless your a masochist and it will be annealed plenty. Is it super accurate, no, but it works just fine. Been doing it that way for decades and I've never had the first difficulty..

    I've been shooting an 11.15 X 60R for years in a double rifle and have read of several using 45-90 brass, which I also have. How are you going to account for the Mauser A base or does it matter in a bolt rifle? I have read of guys making a die and basically bending the rim forward which evidently works admirably.
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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    my two cents '71 bolt face is flat, the '71/84 is sort of a cup and may give trouble over time with the flat case head. I like the sand box for annealing. Molten lead also works but it seems there is always a bit of lead stuck in a case somewhere.

  7. #7
    Boolit Buddy

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    Thanks everyone!
    The 71 Mauser bolt face is flat, and I only beveled the edge of the base to be a little easier on the extractor. I did have to trim the rim down a bit, just chucked in a drill press by hand (no chuck key) and filed while spinning, until rim diameter is right. Easy.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    I didn't anneal at all. Just ran them thru the dies. Didn't lose a single case. I also made a rim bending tool, but the problem was that the rim straightened itself out when inserting primers. So for headspace without the correct rim, I run the bullet in to the rifling. You're going to need that relief on the base too. Lucky me, I've got a lathe.
    The only amendment the Democrats support is the 5th.

  9. #9
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    Thanks everyone. I used the burnt finger method as suggested by Sharps45-90, and it seems to have worked well. Kidding on the burnt fingers.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    dan, as already mentioned, that brass you lit up cherry red is destroyed and unsafe to use. there is a narrow band of heat range, and time frame for the brass to linger in that heat for proper annealing brass. it's about consistency and that's why at the least it takes a machine to best anneal with a flame. i wouldn't bother annealing, just load up with BP and fireform the brass.

    "Owning a handgun doesn't make you armed any more than owning a guitar makes you a musician." - Jeff Cooper

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy

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    I felt I HAD to anneal, as squeezing down the 45 brass to 43 it was squeaking bad and threatening to get stuck. Yes I lubed. The Starline brass is pretty hard. After annealing the top half of case, it sized down much easier. From now on, I don't plan to size or anneal any further, after the cases are fire formed to my rifle.
    RFD, I do not plan to use the brass I ruined, lesson learned.
    I now have 25 rounds loaded and ready for the range!
    I used Lyman 446110, and seated it long as it would fit in the rifle long, it is not into the rifling yet but close. I determined the amount of black powder to the base of the bullet is 77gr weighed, I used a drop tube I made. So it is compressed about the thickness of the 1/8" card.
    After fire forming, I will see if accuracy was bad, and will see if I can get 446110 powder coated in it if it is. When I made dummies with powder coated bullets, it bulged the brass and would not load. So I used plain bullets and spg lube. I also made a blow tube. I assume you blow every shot?
    Thanks, Dan

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    If it were me the ones that were flamed would be destroyed. It is unfortunate that college is rarely cheap but you still have all good body parts. Yes the rim/base is not correct but will work okay if shouldered properly. Turn your rims to .585" like before and then trim to about 2.40" and then set your die up way up. You should get a shoulder a hair over 1.60" from base, take a black sharpie and from base of a case 1 1/2" color a wide stripe towards front out a ways. I like H Oneshot for lube in and out, then scratch a 90% line at about 1.70" from rear of case and size down to there. Get rifle and start turning die down 1/8 turn checking each turn with chambering up to real difficult bolt closure. Once you can just close bolt set lock ring real good, run them through and final trim and chamfer. Prime, load, shoot.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy

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    Gtek, the ones that were flamed are in the garbage, once I realized I screwed them up I didn't want to get them mixed in.
    Thanks, Dan

  14. #14
    Boolit Bub
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    I form a number of different Starline cases to other calibers and have also found them very hard and difficult or impossible to form without annealing. When I form 45-90’s to 8x58RD, the first step is to anneal the case using a Lee 45-70 trimmer holder and stud to allow spinning the case in my torch flame. I direct the flame from the middle of the case forward towards the neck and do a count for heating time until I see the neck and future shoulder area change color similar to what is seen in the above video. A count of 5 to 8 seconds is generally sufficient to yield the desired heating. Then, I Immediately plunge the heated case into water all the way to the drill chuck. This way, the heat migration to base area—which if not stopped could anneal that area too—is stopped. This also keeps the shell holder from getting hot and allows it to continue acting as a heat sink to protect the shell head.

  15. #15
    Boolit Buddy
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    I would not have thrown out the over annealed cases. I would have tried loading and firing one case to see how it goes. Fire formed and now only neck re-size.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master Lead pot's Avatar
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    A couple full-length resizing after firing them would re harden. We all have been through this from time to time.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master slim1836's Avatar
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    Hold my beer, give me your over annealed brass, and watch this. It gets destroyed so others won't ever think it's any good at all.

    My life and limbs are worth more to me than a few casings. YMMV

    Slim
    RETIRED
    NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim1836 View Post
    Hold my beer, give me your over annealed brass, and watch this. It gets destroyed so others won't ever think it's any good at all.

    My life and limbs are worth more to me than a few casings. YMMV

    Slim
    Sat em on a brick and went cherry red! Bin em! $30 bucks gone - lesson learned.

    Yeah ya can work harden the walls back - but its likely the solid head is softened - bin em!

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy

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    OK OK over annealed in garbage.
    UPDATE...took to range today, and NO BANG. Very disappointed. I'm getting light firing pin strikes. I am almost certain the brass is moving forward during the firing pin strike, which means I likely bumped the shoulder back too far. I tried to only size until I could chamber it. I also left brass full length, as it would chamber. I only beveled the outer edge of the back side of the brass to make it easier for the extractor to slip over the rim, I did not reduce rim thickness from front edge at all. I also seated bullet in deep enough to not get into the rifling, and it is long as you can see from the pics.
    What are my options?
    I'm thinking wrapping some teflon tape around the front of the rim, forcing the brass to sit flat on the bolt face (which is flat, M71).
    I could also pull bullets, add a 1/8 card, and reseat, which should put the bullet into the rifling.
    Hopefully, after fire forming, this is not an issue.
    Any thoughts?
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  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    If the cases are moving forward under strike,do what the 303 guys do ,and get some of the little rubber bands that are in hair curler sets from the supermarket......I dont have any guns with that problem ,but another way of curing this ,is to fill in the rim recess in the chamber with something like a spot of superglue.....just a spot ,or you will be scraping it out.

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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