Annealing brass

desertcj

Handloader
Sep 27, 2010
816
57
I've been reloading for quite a few years and I never bothered with annealing. I never saw the need, but I decided to try it out. I tried some 5.56 LC brass and I just used a propane torch with a deep well socket on a 1/4" extension chucked in a 1/2" drill. I did 6 seconds with the flame on the neck/shoulder junction and then dropped the brass in a tray of water. That was enough to turn the necks dull red. I noticed that there's a point where the flame coming off the brass changes from blue and gets some orange in it. I'm thinking that is the point to stop and it was at about 4 or 5 seconds in this case. I guess the water isn't necessary either and I'll probably try no water next time. Who anneals their brass and how do you do it?
 

Bigborefan

Beginner
Dec 2, 2019
11
1
I tried some 5.56 not long ago just like you did. It did not turn out very well, the necks got too soft and would not provide nearly enough tension.

How did yours turn out?

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Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
16,772
1,788
LOL. I'm the caveman of annealing, I use a candle. When the brass gets too hot to hold, it's done. :)

Actually works really well... Slow, hurts, but all that just reminds me of the Marine Corps, so all is well.

:wink:
 

sako2

Beginner
Jan 5, 2019
233
52
Guy I'm with you on this 1. I use a torch. Burnt my fingers a couple times. LOL
 

frankm

Handloader
May 10, 2009
420
25
I do the torch Mapp gas method also. I dim the lights so I can better watch the color on the case neck. When I start seeing the end of the neck turning a hue of red I stop. Usually takes a count of 3-5 ( roughly seconds) depending on size of brass, caliber and brand. I ve found 3-4 seconds is usually sufficient for 223/5.56.

BTW Mapp gas has more heat than propane. Old junk brass is good for practicing your technique!!
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
31
I have a slotted drum with a speed control. Brass loads through the slot and falls out through the slot.

You want 650f for a temperature on the neck. Tempilaq melts at 650f.

I used it for a while, but it seems you see that little flame color change about the same time. So I’ll eyeball it. 6 seconds is about right for my brass. When it falls out of the drum, it drops in an old metal bread pan which I move to the concrete floor when it fills. I have a second pan so I can continue. 300WM takes more space than 223rem.

This video is not mine, but this is basically what my neighbor built for me. There are some cases where 1 size doesn’t fit all. 45/70 needed a bigger slot. If I make the slot big enough for 45/70, 223 rem falls through. So I have a couple drums.
This guy quotes $100 in parts, I am not sure we hit $50.

https://youtu.be/k0xE-6bSwME

I started with the candle method and got tired of the soot and the time required. I can knock out 10 pieces a minute.. so start to finish 100 pieces done on 15 minutes and no burnt fingers!

300 WSM made me do it. Lost too much brass too quickly, and it was so easy, I’m doing all my rifle cases every firing.

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desertcj

Handloader
Sep 27, 2010
816
57
Bigborefan":2qgg5l84 said:
I tried some 5.56 not long ago just like you did. It did not turn out very well, the necks got too soft and would not provide nearly enough tension.

How did yours turn out?

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Most seem OK, only a few seem a little on the toasty side but I haven't seated any bullets yet. I did run them through a Lee collet neck sizing die with no problems. I will probably try a 3 or 4 count next time vs the 6 count. Probably in my garage at night with the lights off also...
 

Thebear_78

Handloader
Sep 30, 2004
2,954
350
c7981bd4ec88305a8a470306780f9d11.jpg

This is my annealing setup. Works great


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jimbires

Handloader
Aug 16, 2011
2,505
476
annealing is not a black art , voodoo , or witchcraft . I don't think it's needing to be as exact as a lot of guys make it out to be . Hornady sends along 650* tempalaq with their kit , about everything I read says 750* . I bought 750* when I bought my machine . it didn't take long to see this was not working well , as soon as the flame hit it , it flamed up . so I started to paint it on the inside of the neck , and this kind of works , still flames up some . I'm to the place now I set up on old brass and watch the color change in a dark room . I see the blue and orange flame come off the brass too . I'm not sure it's any indicator of temp though , I've often thought it could be carbon in the neck burning . you want to get up to temp quick , so heat doesn't travel down the brass and soften the case head . I've read different places this should stay under 400* . I don't think I'm in the flame longer than about 6 seconds on my 338 Lapua , and this is the cartridge that takes the most time for me . if you want to test for over annealing , you can take a pair of pliers and just gently try pinching the case neck edge ( mouth ) , and watch for spring back . be gentle , it's only a couple thousandths movement we're watching for . there are a few different annealing set ups . flame machines , electronic machines , and hot salt dip . electronic machines are expensive , salt dip is the least expensive , it has fumes , and I worry about corrosion . so here we are with flame machines . I think a guy could do a good job with a torch and socket , once he gets things figured out . keep the socket cool , so you don't over heat the case head and body . get a good way to time the process . keep a set distance between the torch and brass case . I'm thinking a jig to hold the torch , and the drill would make things more consistent . if your process is not consistent , your brass is not consistent . there is no need to cool the brass in water . I set my machine on the basement floor . the hot brass falls through a hole in my annealer . I set a cake pan under the hole to catch the brass .

PB120232.JPG

PB120233.JPG


if you're a handy fella , there are a lot of plans online to build a annealer similar to Bears . google " Skips annealer machine "

there is probably plans to build something similar to mine. it's kind of known as a saw blade style.
 

Cleveland48

Handloader
Jul 28, 2015
1,939
65
Guy Miner":7e2af1du said:
LOL. I'm the caveman of annealing, I use a candle. When the brass gets too hot to hold, it's done. :)

Actually works really well... Slow, hurts, but all that just reminds me of the Marine Corps, so all is well.

:wink:
Guy, I used the candle method for quite a while and it works great. Also tried it the same way but with a torch, burnt my finger a lot that way [emoji23]. I would still be doing it with the candle if a friend had not gave me a deal on the induction annealer that I could not pass up. I believe he had close to $1,000 in this setup, and sold it to me for $300. Most brass is done between 1-2 seconds and being water cooled it is 100% duty cycle. So u can anneal as fast as you can put them in there.
b14ec9822d7a88da946712a969c9e7b9.jpeg



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Teknys

Handloader
Jan 14, 2008
719
33
I'm not too technical... I use torch and socket that's just wider then brass and no longer then half length. cordless drill rotating slowly... about 2 -3 revs and drop into bowl of water. I've done mostly WSM WW brass and 243W. This in the past is what in shot the most. Now it's the 243 and the 6.5x284. I have not done the 284 brass yet.
 

ShadeTree

Handloader
Mar 6, 2017
2,913
1,610
Desertcj, I use about the same method your doing. Except I don't use a deep well, just a standard length 3/8 drive socket chucked up in a drill. A 12mm socket fits standard size cases about right.

3-5 seconds depending on the type of brass. I'd say 4-5 seconds is what works out best for most brass in the Remington line.....softer brass would take some less. I run the heat close up against the brass with the 2 bottom points of flame right on the neck/shoulder junction and the upper part of the flame more on the neck itself. I try to run the flame straight across or if tilted down, very slightly. You don't want the heat line too far down the case. Maybe 1/4 of the way below the shoulder at the most, if higher than that, that's good also.

I don't put them in water. Just grab them out of the socket with my gloved left hand, and toss them into an aluminum pie plate to cool. It works well for me. Take your time and experiment on old cases if need be. You'll get it.
 

elkeater2

Handloader
Jan 5, 2009
745
40
I kind of brought it up on a different thread, but since this is annealing 101 I'll ask here: if you're loading at not quite max or max even, (my 25-06 for example) and using brass that has been fired several times without annealing -- will you get a little carbon, discoloration, or soot on just the neck? Like maybe the hardened brass doesn't expand enough on firing? I know that usually it's a sign of a wimpy load combo, but this load isn't all that wimpy.
 

Dr. Vette

Handloader
Apr 16, 2012
1,336
71
I get carbon on various loads even if annealed.
I think you'll see more consistency if you anneal. I anneal after every firing, but I have a Bench Source which makes it easy.
 

mjcmichigan

Handloader
Dec 26, 2016
2,263
31
I see carbon too. I think it’s unrelated to annealing, but admitting, I’m no expert on bullets combustion or annealing.


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