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Old May 3, 2011, 08:59 PM   #1
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Annealing on the cheap

I decided to get my feet wet with annealing using the basic set up of:

1. 12 mm deep socket wrench
2. 3/8 drill driver
3. Drill
4. Benzoatic torch (fine tip)
5. Bucket of water

Don't have Tempilaq but do have IR thermometer with an automatic targeting system (10 year old son and shooting partner).

Thinking about the 400 odd dollar annealing units and I know it will speed up things no matter if I anneal 100-200 cases a month (which is want I use) or 1,000. But will have to think about that for a while.

Does anyone else use this set up?

Brings me to the question I want to ask:

Can I practice with fired military brass that's not deprimed (Berdan) before I risk ruining by reloadable brass?
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Old May 3, 2011, 10:35 PM   #2
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I was thinking of using the same setup (minus the 10 year old). One thing I can't seem to get a strait answer on is at what temperature it should be annealed to. I've heard everything from 450 to red hot.
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Old May 3, 2011, 11:39 PM   #3
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here's a great thread on snipershide:
You may be whatever you resolve to be. - Gen. TJ "Stonewall" Jackson
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Old May 4, 2011, 12:05 AM   #4
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This works for me.
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Old May 4, 2011, 08:06 AM   #5
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I use basically the same setup.
I've tied everything from as hot as the torch will get it, to barely heating it.

Personally, I like to turn the lights down low and heat the brass till it just barely starts to glow, then quench it and drop it from the drill. This works good for me, tho some guys say to never, ever anneal without the tempature stuff on it. Thats horse pucky. I'm sure it would be ideal, but I'm mainly interested in case life, so this works great.

Dont ever get your brass red or white hot. EVER. It gets so soft you can pinch it closed with your fingers and ruin the brass.
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Old May 4, 2011, 04:01 PM   #6
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Hold the casehead between your thumb and fingers, rotate the neck in the hottest part of the flame. You will 2 changes in the brass that look like a wave moving from the neck towards the base, the first is the moisture being driven offf the surface, the second will be a slight discoloration. Once that second wave hits the bottom of the shoulder, dump it in a bucket of water.

If the brass gets hot enough to burn your fingers, you aren't heating it fast enough and/or are leaving it in the flame too long.
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Old May 4, 2011, 04:17 PM   #7
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IR thermometer with an automatic targeting system
You need to make sure the IR thermometer is set for the correct emissivity of the surface you are measuring.

They can be pretty far off (especially at higher temperatures).
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Old May 4, 2011, 05:11 PM   #8
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This is an interesting topic; is there any advantage to annealing straight walled shells like .45 ACP or Long Colt? From what I'm getting here this is something you do after a certain number of uses, I assume to extend the life of the brass??
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Old May 4, 2011, 07:47 PM   #9
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I built my own machine to anneal as I too thought $400 was high. I can tell you any "glow" is over done. Using propane if the Flame changes from blue to orange you also have gone to far.
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Old May 5, 2011, 01:14 AM   #10
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Interesting reads here. I've heard the term annealing and I understand it extends life of brass. I reload at lot of .223 Rem along with a few other Calibers. I don't ever reload hot rounds, i rarely even reach max loads.

At what point do you guys recommend I anneal my cases? Obviously it will vary depending on pressure differences. . I was checking out a couple of the setups with a drill and sockets or pipe fittings, I think i'll try it out but not sure at what point I should start.
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Old May 5, 2011, 07:35 AM   #11
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It doesn't take a lot of pressure to expand the case to fit the chamber. Then you reduce its size back to original when resizing. Annealing allows you to bend the metal back and forth without it breaking. Some of my cases have seen 10x use before cracking compared to not annealing.
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Old May 5, 2011, 08:45 AM   #12
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Ditto reloader28
I use the same method with no problems.
I've also used this to anneal brass for other uses such as bearing material. A little experience and the right touch does just fine.
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