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Thread: Case annealing

  1. #1

    Case annealing

    I want to anneal my cases, mostly to increase case life. I'm getting about 30% split necks from Federal brass in my 243 after 4 loadings. I'm going to see if annealing gets more loads out of them. Also, it can't hurt accuracy to have more even neck tension.

    I've read up about it a bit, and have built a turntable to rotate the the brass so the heat will be even around the neck while I hit it with a blowtorch.

    My question is regarding temperature. I know I don't want to heat it very hot - well cooler than glowing. Looking at the photo below of split cases I tested on - which case is best? 2nd or 3rd from the right? 1st is not annealed, 2nd is a bit of heat - you can see the colour has darkened a bit aournd the neck and shoulder, 3rd is warmer - the neck and shoulder have taken on a copperish colour almost like rose gold. I'm thinking this is the colour I want? The last I heated the **** out of...
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  2. #2
    Harry 243 federal brass does nto appear to very good. I too have seen the necks split on the 20 I was playing with after the 3rd or 4th reload. Weighing the cases they are 12 grains heavier than the Remington R.P brass I am now playing with.

    The classic way to anneal cases is to stand them in a dish of water with about 1.2 the case clear of the water and with a torch heat the necks until the turn red then knock the case over into the water. Job done.

    Dry the cases some place them in the over at about 50 degrees to dry them out. I usually place them on top of the radiator for a day or so or in the direct sun in warmer times..

  3. #3
    I was told an interesting method of annealing a while back tho I have never used it... but will try eventually. Hold the case in a common candle flame, horizontally, while rotating the case back and forth between two bare finger on the case head (not rim) area. When the case gets too hot to hold, drop it in bowl of water. Supposedly it works quite well. ~Muir

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Brithunter View Post
    The classic way to anneal cases is to stand them in a dish of water with about 1.2 the case clear of the water and with a torch heat the necks until the turn red then knock the case over into the water. Job done.
    It works - but I would say if it glows bright red you may be over-heating the brass.
    Try some of this stuff http://www.waltersandwalters.co.uk/html/tempilaq.html
    For info - this site contains lots of information too The Art and Science of Annealing

  5. #5
    Yes I've heard red hot is too hot. That site Jabail is what started me off in the first place. I found another good video for anyone that's interested - Annealing Brass In HD - ammosmith.com
    Think I'm ready to give some a go now
    "A man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition." -- Rudyard Kipling

  6. #6
    Hmmm well the red is dull red and not a bright cherry red and it's the way I have annealed cases when they needed it for several decades. First started doing it with the turned 577/450 cases from NFDS as if you didn't they split on sizing. Turns out soemone had messed with the new dies at Fultons and mixed them up. NFDS did several sizes to suit the various chambers found in this chambering and my set was all miss matched. At a Bisley show I saw the chap who made them and he was a bit stroppy but did sort them out. I did point out that i just brought the dies from Fultons as is and only used them.

    Hence I had to learn to anneal cases so as not to lose them as 50p a pop I think it was which was a horrendous price back them. The brass must reach a certian critical tempreture for the grain sturcture to alter.

  7. #7
    Its not as easy as just heat up until red , I believe the temp is critical around 600 degrees from memory.
    You also need a way of heating that only heats the neck,as that is the part you are trying to anneal.
    Its no good using a flame thrower that heats up the whole case , a needle flame is required to concentrate the flame to the neck only.

    I believe you can get wax type crayons that metal workers use that melt at various temps .

  8. #8
    Donít Know if its of any use and I know its a different metal, but an old coach builder I know used to anneal aluminium by covering the metal with soot from an acetylene flame and thereafter heating the metal to the point that the soot burnt off, apparently the point at which the soot burns is the annealing point for aluminium, probably isnít the same for brass but might be worth a try. (I used to use acetylene lighter for blacking sights many years ago, donít suppose any one does that now).

  9. #9
    Actually it's very easy to heat until dull red using a propane torch I used to use the gas cannister ones. Using the tray o water stops the lower part of the case getting hot. Of course doing this in bright sunlight is not a good idea as you cannot see the colours properly. This really is not rocket science just basic heat treating infact ist was taught early one in City & Guilds Engineering.

  10. #10
    Basically, its important not to heat the body of the case, only the neck/shoulder (which is the reason for heating the cases standing in a tray of water as stated above) and not to overheat the brass. I guess the potential damage relates to the relative pressure of the cartridge being fired after annealing.

    From the article in the link above:
    The critical time and temperature at which the grain structure reforms into something suitable for case necks is 662 degrees (F) for some 15 minutes. A higher temperature, say from 750 to 800 degrees, will do the same job in a few seconds. If brass is allowed to reach temperatures higher than this (regardless of the time), it will be made irretrievably and irrevocably too soft.

    Brass will begin to glow a faint orange at about 950 degrees (F). Even if the heating is stopped at a couple of hundred degrees below this temperature, the damage has been done--it will be too soft.
    Borrowed these pics (from carolinamarksman.com) to illustrate


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