The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Skunkworks > Handloading, Reloading, and Bullet Casting

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old April 28, 2008, 05:57 PM   #1
Glenner
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 4, 2008
Location: Indiana
Posts: 127
Anneal your brass?

A guy told me he Anneals his brass every 4 or 5 loadings. He says the brass gets brittle which screws up neck tension. He says this really extends the life of the brass as well.
Anybody out there doing this???
How do you do it?

Thanks!!!
Glenner is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 06:08 PM   #2
Lavid2002
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 6, 2007
Posts: 2,568
Dont know about why you would do it or if it helps. Maybe to soften the metal? I dont know. I beleive you take a torch and hit the brass untill it glows orange, then either let it cool at room temp, or plop it in some water to cool of quickly.
Anyone know why? Or if it works?
__________________
Math>Grammar
Lavid2002 is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 06:20 PM   #3
DIXIEDOG
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 12, 2007
Location: Maine
Posts: 262
It softens the brass at the neck. I don't bother, by the time your necks are that brittle there has generally been a lot of brass flow also that can lead to head seperation. If someone has the proper equipment and keeps an eye on the brass flow you could get some more usable life out of brass, in my opinion brass is cheap and firearms aren't so I just toss it at the first signs of fatigue.
DIXIEDOG is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 06:59 PM   #4
totalloser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 19, 2007
Location: Fort Bragg, CA
Posts: 633
Annealing is usually done by bringing the metal to a set temperature (usually where the microscopic grain turns spherozoid vs crystalline) and cooling it down SLOWLY to keep that shape on a microscopic level. I don't do it with brass, but probably should.

Different materials are annealed and hardened with different processes, and brass has a tendency to "work harden" In other words, if you work it, (sizing, and fire forming when shooting) it hardens. If it hardens, it becomes brittle. If it becomes brittle, it cracks. Hence, if you anneal it, it will be soft and durable versus hard and brittle. Most references by persons practicing this process demonstrate greatly extended case life, especially with high pressure cartridges. Such that shells are tossed when the primer pocket wears out and is too loose for a primer.
totalloser is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 07:10 PM   #5
zxcvbob
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2007
Location: S.E. Minnesota
Posts: 4,185
Does anyone ever anneal the mouths of their big-bore revolver brass? The brass doesn't flow forward on those (like rifle brass) they just get brittle and eventually crack or split.
__________________
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"
zxcvbob is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 07:22 PM   #6
Wildalaska
Junior member
 
Join Date: November 25, 2002
Location: In my own little weird world in Anchorage, Alaska
Posts: 14,174
In my match loads I anneal at the first trim (about 6 loadings)...

WildloademupAlaska ™
Wildalaska is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 07:58 PM   #7
Shane Tuttle
Staff
 
Join Date: November 28, 2005
Location: Blue Grass, IA
Posts: 8,561
Quote:
Dont know about why you would do it or if it helps.
To save money and cut down on waste. Yes, it helps.

Quote:
Maybe to soften the metal?
Yes.

Quote:
I beleive you take a torch and hit the brass untill it glows orange, then either let it cool at room temp, or plop it in some water to cool of quickly.
Cool it by quenching in water. Don't allow brass to cool by room temp.

I haven't started on my brass yet. I helped my uncle years ago with rifle brass. At the rate he shot, it was beneficial to anneal the brass. Also, he did it as part of the hobby aspect more than saving a buck. You do extend the life of the brass and he did save money doing it. But, if you're a casual reloader that maybe cycles through your brass 5 times in a period of years, I'd rethink the notion of really saving much money...
__________________
If it were up to me, the word "got" would be deleted from the English language.

Posting and YOU: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/posting
Shane Tuttle is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 08:01 PM   #8
thallub
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2007
Location: South Western OK
Posts: 2,089
I never anneal my cases. When a batch of cases starts to split at the mouth they go into the recycling barrel.
thallub is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 08:13 PM   #9
dogfood
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 17, 2004
Location: Southwestern OH
Posts: 222
Quote:
Cool it by quenching in water. Don't allow brass to cool by room temp.
Actually, you can do it either way - although it certainly cools faster with water.

Cartridge brass becomes soft once you hit the recrystallization temperature. Unlike many steels, which get harder if you quench them in water (or oil) after heating, brass will stay relatively soft whether you quench it or let it air cool.

You definitely do not want to heat up the case head, since it will become soft as well, and you don't want to give up strength in this area. That's why most guys heat the necks while the cases stand upright in a dish of water. It keeps the heads relatively cool. Then they just tip the cases over to cool them (but, again, you don't have to do this).

dogfood
dogfood is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 09:03 PM   #10
jmorris
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 22, 2006
Posts: 1,600
It helps prolong the life of bottle neck brass. Start by filling a shallow pan with ¾-1” of water place cases upright heat with propane torch until the neck turns color and tip into water.
jmorris is offline  
Old April 28, 2008, 10:23 PM   #11
El Paso Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 4, 2006
Location: Spokane Valley
Posts: 327
Annealing will help in a variety of settings -

First, it will soften the brass that has been work hardened (repeated sizings and other things that work brass line up the crystals in the lattice and make them brittle).

Second, if you are forming an obsolete caliber from parent brass it can help with the process and save split brass. I use this in forming .357 mag into .256 win mag. Without annealing, the cases split (a lot). I also use it in forming 32-40 from 30-30 brass as well as forming 35 Whelen from 30-06 (270 etc).

The process is basically to heat until the neck glows dim red and then quench in water. This is backwards from carbon steel where you heat red "until the shadows disappear" and then quench in water, oil, or whatever is recommended for hardening the type of steel. Only then do you temper it by heating to a given temperature and then slowly cooling. Annealing steel is heating it until it is a dull red and letting it cool slowly.

Hope this is some help.
El Paso Joe is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 09:33 AM   #12
BerettaFox
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 26, 2008
Location: Greenville, SC
Posts: 144
It's supposedly hard to do, and I hear that most people who do it, aren't doing it correctly. Not to start any arguements. But if you feel like it works for you, then I'm not gonna tell you it isn't.
BerettaFox is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 10:10 AM   #13
TexasSeaRay
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 19, 2007
Location: Texas
Posts: 810
Quote:
It's supposedly hard to do, and I hear that most people who do it, aren't doing it correctly.
My wife and I took a little day trip to fly out to see my old unit's (retired) armorer. Among the subjects that came up (besides Imperial Wax and stuck cases) was brass annealing.

The guy told me that what most reloaders do wrong is heat the brass too hot. By the time you see the neck glowing in normal light, you've over-heated it. Other than that, it's not hard to do--much easier on larger cases. Smaller cases like .223 (which are also plentiful) is a pain.

Jeff
__________________
If every single gun owner belonged to the NRA as well as their respective state rifle/gun association, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in today.

So to those of you who are members of neither, thanks for nothing.
TexasSeaRay is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 10:52 AM   #14
zxcvbob
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2007
Location: S.E. Minnesota
Posts: 4,185
Does anyone know what the transition temperature is for cartridge brass?
zxcvbob is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 11:05 AM   #15
Slamfire
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 27, 2007
Posts: 4,085
Here is a phase diagram. Cartridge brass is 70% CU





Don't know if this will help


Slamfire is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 11:34 AM   #16
L Puckett
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 2, 2002
Location: Mid-Tennessee
Posts: 150
Proper annealing is a matter of temperature AND time.

You can anneal at 650-700 deg. but that requires several minutes and the result is poor and increases the possiblility of the case head/web area becoming too hot.

Ideally, 750-800 deg. for 10 seconds gives the best results with a quick quenching immediately after attaining the temperature.

As previusly noted, bringing the case to an orange glow in a lighted room is TOO HOT. Glow starts around 950 deg.. With experience you can detect a change in shine/dullness and a slight color change when the temperature is correct. I suggest learning with Tempilaque or Tempilstick indicators.

Annealing results in uniform neck tension and extended case life. Your ES and SD's will appreciate it.

No wind,
LP
L Puckett is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 12:06 PM   #17
zxcvbob
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 20, 2007
Location: S.E. Minnesota
Posts: 4,185
Thanks. I was thinking a quick dunk (maybe a second or two) in my lead pot, set at about 850 or 900 degrees.
__________________
"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun"
zxcvbob is offline  
Old April 29, 2008, 11:45 PM   #18
amamnn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 13, 2006
Location: WA, the left armpit of the USA
Posts: 1,323
Quote:
It's supposedly hard to do, and I hear that most people who do it, aren't doing it correctly. Not to start any arguments. But if you feel like it works for you, then I'm not gonna tell you it isn't.
Annealing is done by match shooters in order to extend the life of their brass and to uniform the bullet/case neck grip. There are BR shooters who anneal before each and every loading.

Rifle cartridge brass is annealed best by QUICKLY heating to 650 - 700 degrees and allowing to cool slowly. A single propane torch heats the brass of a typical cartridge neck too slowly, so overheating is required in order to reset the crystalline structure of the metal. We don't want the case body to be reset so, at this point we quench the brass in cool water to stop the heating process. Trying to anneal brass that is standing in water using a propane torch is an exercise in futility. The water acts as a heat sink and wicks away the heat as fast as you can apply it.

Certainly annealing can be done properly with a propane torch. It takes a bit of experience to get it right, but it is not rocket science. The Ken Light annealing machine works quite well in my experience, especially when you use the two torch option. Frankford Arsenal expects to market a similar (cheaper) unit this summer through Midway USA which will also have the two torch option.

http://www.6mmbr.com/annealing.html
__________________
"If the enemy is in range, so are you." - Infantry Journal
amamnn is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.10763 seconds with 9 queries