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Old April 12, 2013, 06:02 PM   #1
Jerry45
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Annealing and sizing to quickly.

A few months back I annealed a 30-06 case. Heated and quenched. Went straight the full length sizing die and the neck crushed down into the shoulder. Case was cool enough that it never left my hand. I figured I had just over-softened the solder. Last night I did almost the same thing only this time I used my Lee neck sizing die. The neck gaul to the to the sizing rod and pulled it off the shoulder, separated the the neck at the solder. I think I need to let them cool a little longer next time.
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Old April 12, 2013, 06:09 PM   #2
capodastro
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this happened to me with 45/70. its not that you need to let it cool longer, you heated it too long and over anealed/softened it. it needs to JUST start turning orange. there is a certain temp. but how would you measure that, it has to be eyeballed, its very tricky. if you under heat it it does nothing, it has to be just right. good luck.
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Old April 12, 2013, 06:39 PM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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Yeah, there's no way that it wasn't cool enough. Those cases were EXTREMELY over annealed.

There's no "just start turning orange" either, unless you're in a PITCH BLACK room and you shouldn't see only the SLIGHTEST indication.

I've come to a very simple method.... I hold a case in my fingers about 1/2" below the bottom of the shoulder, put the shoulder/neck junction in the "inner flame" of a propane torch and rotate it. When it's too hot too hold, I drop it in water. If I can still hold it, there's NO WAY it's hot enough to do damage.

A more precise way is to use Tempilaq or similar heat-sensitive, color-changing markers.
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Old April 12, 2013, 07:20 PM   #4
Lucas McCain
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when you are annealing use a temp-stik. Its like a crayon and when you get to the correct temp it disappears.
Its very hard to go by color. There are some good annealing videos on U-tube also
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Old April 12, 2013, 07:23 PM   #5
Jerry45
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Could have sworn I just let the neck start to turn red. It's odd that it has never happened with any of the hundreds of cases I've annealed then allowed to stand until the water that was in the case evaporated. It only happen with the 2 I dunked and went straight to the dies with. But OK if you say so.
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Old April 12, 2013, 07:37 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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Brass is an excellent conductor. It gets hot very quickly and cools very quickly when it hits the water. It is within a few degrees of the water temperate within seconds of being submersed.

I have dropped an annealed case in the water and immediately reached in and picked it up by the neck. It MIGHT be luke warm if you're quick.

I've also annealed brass, drained the water, shaken the brass around in a towel and gone to immediately size it. I've never had a problem.
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Old April 12, 2013, 08:03 PM   #7
mehavey
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I don't know why folks want to still try judging "... as as it turn some color..." even in a dark room.
Even when one doesn't overheat it, there's no consistency to neck tension after that -- your eyes
just aren't that good.

Please get the temp stik mentioned above, or Hornady's Annealing kit -- or just put some 750°F
Tempilaq inside a couple of necks until you get the timing down for THAT batch with THAT flame
at THAT distance
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Old April 13, 2013, 11:24 AM   #8
myfriendis410
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I use the darkened room, cake pan of water method and have had no problem. When I start to see the flame off the top of the case start to change it's hot enough. It's pretty subtle, but I get very consistent results. I also disagree that you can't be as consistent by eye as you can with an aid. I used to be a glass blower (scientific glass) and had to use a temperature device called a Pyrometer that heated a wire to a calibrated temperature you viewed against the hot object. With experience once could reach a target temp within +- 10 degrees C. If you are running to the same point visually with all your brass it's going to be pretty consistent.

My own experience with the 45/70 confirms a measurable increase in accuracy and lower SD in velocity by annealing in this manner.
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Old April 13, 2013, 01:07 PM   #9
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I used to work for a company that made pyrometers, but they were a low mass black target with a temperature sensor in a housing with a fused quarts window. Infra-red radiation passing through the fused quartz heated the black target. In that way it measured temperature increase in the target due to the IR radiation, and the temperature being measured was derived from that and was read directly on a scale. Pretty much a precursor to today's modern IR thermometers. So I'm thinking the heated element you describe was controlled to a particular temperature by means of feedback from a pyrometer.

At any rate, that heated element would clear up the whole problem with visual temperature judgment, which is variable ambient light conditions. The reason some low number Springfield '03 receivers suffered burn embrittlement was the heat treating oven temperatures were judged visually without such a reference. Despite the workers being experienced, when they got a pyrometer in place to check temperatures, they found the visual judgment was missing by up to 300°F or so just depending on whether it was a sunny or overcast day or if it was early or late in the day, because of how the difference in ambient light affects visual perception.

Those who own a lead melting furnace that's temperature-controlled could set it to 725°-750° and then turn the lights out to get a visible temperature color reference. Indeed, that's probably a good thing for them to do at least once so they can appreciate just how dull the red should be. Once you go beyond that you are growing the metal grain structure and losing more tensile strength.

The methods recommended by Fred Barker in a 1996 article in Precision Shooting as safe, which he describes in one long sentence in all caps {I've not used the caps here}, is:
"(1) Lead Pot Method: heat lead to 725°-750°F; dip neck into powdered graphite and then—holding body of case in fingertips—into molten lead: when case body becomes too hot to hold slap case into wet towel; or

(2) Candle-flame method: Hold case body in fingertips, place case neck in flame and twirl case back & forth until case body is too hot to hold, then slap case into wet towel; wipe soot off neck % shoulder with dry paper towel or 0000 steel wool."
Apparently the candle flame has a very hard time causing the brass to overheat, whereas the faster sources of heat (i.e., torches) can supply heat fast enough to overheat or even melt the brass if you don't use a temperature indicator. One sign of overheating is when the oxide stain formed on the neck is dull looking. A number of people have learned to anneal by polishing the brass first, then just watching for the oxide color to be right. I am leery of that approach because of the ambient light condition variable. They would need some kind of reference again.
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Old April 13, 2013, 03:40 PM   #10
Jerry45
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I learned how to anneal using Tempast or Tempek, or however it's spelled, it's in the shop at home and I'm at work. Yellow liquid like fingernail polish. Changes color.

Now I hold the cans between my fingers, heat the neck while "twirling" and just as it starts to turn red I dunk neck first. The portion I'm holding doesn't even get warm. I've done hundreds of .223. 308 and 30-06. "ONLY" the two that I have gone straight from dunking to the die have had a problem. So I won't go straight from dunking to sizing anymore.
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Last edited by Jerry45; April 13, 2013 at 04:05 PM.
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Old April 13, 2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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Try the candle trick just to be sure. It doesn't cost much. The red you see today and the red you saw last time could be a couple hundred degrees different if the lighting wasn't identical.
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Old April 14, 2013, 10:59 AM   #12
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Thanks for the informative response. The pyrometer I used many years ago was an optical pyrometer with a wire superimposed over a small viewing scope. The unit heated the wire to a specific temperature and you overlaid it on the object to be measured. When it "disappeared" you were on the correct temperature. This was for getter firing on vacuum dewars.
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