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Thread: Success of hand-annealing 45-70 brass (Starline)

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy gc45's Avatar
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    Why would you want to?

  2. #22
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    I hand anneal. There is a learning curve to overcome. Here's what I do: I turned a cold steel rod on the lathe to make a holder. On one end it's a stud appropriate to fit into my variable speed electric hand drill. The other end is bored out to accept the brass case with about 1/3 of the mouth end sticking out. I set up my propane torch and turn it on. With the case in the holder, I spin it in the flame to anneal. You have to have a certain rhythm to make it work. Too little heat and it's not annealed enough. Too much heat (like when it turns any kind of red) and you've roached the case. Takes only a case or two to see how long is long enough. I silently count to my self and break away at my particular count. For most .45-70 cases, I'd guess that to be about a three count. If you go until you see red, you've gone way too long. Ambient light has a little to add to the mix, here. Some darker lighting shows red hot before brighter lighting. Something old blacksmiths can attest to. It's easier than it sounds and is well worth the effort. As mentioned above, a socket on an extension bar can do the same thing. My way is just a little bit easier. Good luck.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    I hand anneal. There is a learning curve to overcome. Here's what I do: I turned a cold steel rod on the lathe to make a holder. On one end it's a stud appropriate to fit into my variable speed electric hand drill. The other end is bored out to accept the brass case with about 1/3 of the mouth end sticking out. I set up my propane torch and turn it on. With the case in the holder, I spin it in the flame to anneal. You have to have a certain rhythm to make it work. Too little heat and it's not annealed enough. Too much heat (like when it turns any kind of red) and you've roached the case. Takes only a case or two to see how long is long enough. I silently count to my self and break away at my particular count. For most .45-70 cases, I'd guess that to be about a three count. If you go until you see red, you've gone way too long. Ambient light has a little to add to the mix, here. Some darker lighting shows red hot before brighter lighting. Something old blacksmiths can attest to. It's easier than it sounds and is well worth the effort. As mentioned above, a socket on an extension bar can do the same thing. My way is just a little bit easier. Good luck.
    Thanks. I've been playing with variations on hand-annealing (e.g., holding it by hand, twirling it dropping it once the lower part gets hot - about 3 seconds). I have to be honest I'm concerned my in-built variabilities may make it worse than just doing no annealing. Just one example, but because of a central nervous condition I have some diminished sensation in my hands, esp. the fingertips. So I think there's likely a lag between when I pick up the heat by touch, and when it's already too late and fried. I've also tried a darkened room and for some reason, that didn't seem to do much good - I didn't see much of anything, and that was even with 10 seconds or so, so I know that's a non-starter.

    Hmm. I think at the end of the day with certain diminished sensory aspects, I either might need to find a more dependably consistent process, or forego annealing. I can't justify the purchase of an annealing machine. I think the best might be to build a semi-automated system with a motor (I saw using a microwave motor and cake pan, for instance), and perhaps Tempilaq indicator. Or just some variation on your drill method, but depending on the Tempilaq rather than my own judgment.
    -Paul

  4. #24
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    The DIY ones I've seen here and on youtube (linked from here as well), are awesome but I'm afraid my abilities here are very limited, so I'd need actual plans to build one.
    If you want plans you might check out this thread. I don't have a dog in this hunt just lent a helping hand to get the build file online.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...or-rifle-brass
    Steve,

    Life Member NRA

    Kilo Charlie zero Golf Papa Tango (kc0gpt)

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Minerat View Post
    If you want plans you might check out this thread. I don't have a dog in this hunt just lent a helping hand to get the build file online.

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...or-rifle-brass
    Thanks Minerat - perfect.

    On the other hand guys - when I read posts like this, I have the urge to throw up the monopoly board:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post4426139
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post4426065

    It's a conundrum, at least to me: brass is so difficult to come by and so expensive. So, anneal to preserve brass. But if in reality per the above two posts, I'm more likely to damage the alloy than properly anneal - well....not a clear answer.

    I know you guys have worked it out. Just having to sit with all this info, which seems to be raising more questions the more I read. I do appreciate your input, however, and wanted you all to know it.
    -Paul

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntinlever View Post
    Thanks Minerat - perfect.

    On the other hand guys - when I read posts like this, I have the urge to throw up the monopoly board:

    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post4426139
    https://castboolits.gunloads.com/sho...=1#post4426065

    It's a conundrum, at least to me: brass is so difficult to come by and so expensive. So, anneal to preserve brass. But if in reality per the above two posts, I'm more likely to damage the alloy than properly anneal - well....not a clear answer.

    I know you guys have worked it out. Just having to sit with all this info, which seems to be raising more questions the more I read. I do appreciate your input, however, and wanted you all to know it.
    Here is a video for you - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Url1QguVhHE

    Note it is a long 3 second count when the color changes. With the hand blow torch method, I am a believer that as long as you stick to the long 3 second count, you will not ruin your brass. I've been annealing 45-70, 30-06 and 30 WCF and have not ruined a case. In terms of 45-70, if you don't resize and crimp, your cases will last a super long time even without annealing. Lots of guys don't do anything but just reload their BP 45-70 and have some pretty old brass. Now if you are shooting smokeless and it has a much higher velocity (hence, raising pressure significantly) then your case life shortens. A BP load at 1300 fps vs a Hornady load at 2000 fps is big difference in the beating the case takes. Hope that helps a little.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief TC View Post
    Here is a video for you - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Url1QguVhHE

    Note it is a long 3 second count when the color changes. With the hand blow torch method, I am a believer that as long as you stick to the long 3 second count, you will not ruin your brass. I've been annealing 45-70, 30-06 and 30 WCF and have not ruined a case. In terms of 45-70, if you don't resize and crimp, your cases will last a super long time even without annealing. Lots of guys don't do anything but just reload their BP 45-70 and have some pretty old brass. Now if you are shooting smokeless and it has a much higher velocity (hence, raising pressure significantly) then your case life shortens. A BP load at 1300 fps vs a Hornady load at 2000 fps is big difference in the beating the case takes. Hope that helps a little.
    Thanks Chief, that does help. I'll give it a try. Better to under-anneal and do nothing, I guess, than fry the brass so I'll just approach conservatively and I can understand how your 3-count is almost certainly safe. My tests on bad 45-70 this morning actually showed just about that - I was using my fingers, so there's a bit of an issue - but the video also helped because I see the color change v. any "red" development, too.

    Probably another dumb question, but I presume I fire, clean, size, trim, bell - then anneal, right? Just before priming and loading? Or say I'm at whatever firing I go by (let's say, every 5th). I shoot, clean, then anneal - followed by the resizing/trim/belling?
    -Paul

  8. #28
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    Lol, alright, this is pretty stupid and comical, but also timely. By way of illustration, I was demolishing an old unused microwave for its guts (esp. the turntable motor, for building a DIY annealer), and.....I did this. Pretty deep gash, might need stitches. I don't feel stuff like this - didn't know I did it until I see blood all over the place, hence my trust in picking up "hot" at the body and head v. "toast" is a bit less than perfect. "Sigh."

    Click image for larger version. 

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    -Paul

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by gc45 View Post
    Why would you want to?
    Dunno why anybody would want to (anneal cases) however some might NEED to - if you running short pistol cases and blackpowder (45 colt, 44magnum, 357 magnum etc ) annealed cases will help prevent the innards of your gun filling up with black soot from blowby at the case neck. I NEEDED to neck anneal a bunch of winchester brass for a 22/250 - after about the third reload this stuff work hardened something awful - I NEEDED to anneal 348 W cases in the process of forming 45/75

  10. #30
    Boolit Master
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    One might anneal to:
    extend the life of the brass
    create a more uniform release of the bullet to increase consistency - hence accuracy

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntinlever View Post
    Thanks Chief, that does help. I'll give it a try. Better to under-anneal and do nothing, I guess, than fry the brass so I'll just approach conservatively and I can understand how your 3-count is almost certainly safe. My tests on bad 45-70 this morning actually showed just about that - I was using my fingers, so there's a bit of an issue - but the video also helped because I see the color change v. any "red" development, too.

    Probably another dumb question, but I presume I fire, clean, size, trim, bell - then anneal, right? Just before priming and loading? Or say I'm at whatever firing I go by (let's say, every 5th). I shoot, clean, then anneal - followed by the resizing/trim/belling?
    The typical method is to anneal after cleaning and before reworking the brass to reload.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    One might anneal to:
    extend the life of the brass
    create a more uniform release of the bullet to increase consistency - hence accuracy
    kinda comes under NEED to rather than want to though !

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by 725 View Post
    One might anneal to:
    extend the life of the brass
    create a more uniform release of the bullet to increase consistency - hence accuracy
    AGREE
    Most serious BPCR shooters anneal after every firing. I started doing it to extend the life if the brass. My brass is worked more than a single shot. I only shoot 45-70 in lever guns now. So it has to have a crimp IMO.

  14. #34
    Boolit Buddy Rrusse11's Avatar
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    I use the finger twirl and drop in water when reforming 45-70 to
    33WCF. Essential in keeping rejects to a minimum. I did just buy some 40-65 and 38-56 dies to step it down more gradually.
    I may well do more than one anneal in the process. Quick and ez.
    A population of sheep will beget a government of wolves.

  15. #35
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    Thanks for the posts, guys. I've decided on giving hand annealing a try by the "finger twirl" method mentioned (thanks again for the vid, Chief). I've a couple hundred cases that have so far been champs, just a few rejects over somewhere around 10 firings. I understand now what the routine I follow can really put the hammer on brass, so will try every 5 firings or so re-annealing.

    I have 50 new cases arriving later today. I'll be accumulating more from time to time, but suspect with annealing my brass will last me longer than my barrel. Thanks again.
    -Paul

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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