Brass Annealing Guide

Roy Allain

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Feb 25, 2020
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Just so ya'lls know (I'm from S/E looserana) New Orleans that is. I'm 82 years old and been shooting rifles since 14 years old.
I shot benchrest but no longer. I shoot a 6PPC; a 6.5x47 Lapua and a .308 all blueprinted Rem 700 Actions and Kreiger barrels and all are bug hole shooters.
I have been annealing my brass for over 20 years with a Burnzamatic torch. I use a 10" dia. aluminum plate on a homemade turntable for quenching the brass (in 1/2 inch of water); as I cannot afford the expensive machines.
Some of the PPC & 6.5 brass have been fired over 300 times with no sign of failure.

Roy Allain in Harvey, La.
 

Ryridesmotox

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Mar 15, 2019
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Since someone else resurrected this. I was doing some research about annealing the other day and found this article... https://vacaero.com/information-res...rmation-and-annealing-of-cartridge-brass.html

It seems as though we aren't getting it hot enough. I'm not a material engineer, and I'm not sure of this actual dude's credentials. But he uses fancy words and colorful pictures... so it had me intrigued.

It seems like we need to get the brass much hotter for the timeframes we want to work with.
 

epoletna

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Mar 19, 2020
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No matter what that guy writes -- and I will not argue with his conclusions as he has good credentials for his authority -- the measure of whether or not annealing is working for the average reloader should be measured at least in part by the increased number of reloading we get. I have been annealing (Salt bath) about a year now and from anecdotal evidence would say I manage to keep the brass softer. It has more consistent neck tension and I am getting more reloading from my brass. I suppose I could leave it in the salt bath longer, but I'm happy with what I'm getting now.
 

ken4570tc in WY

Gunny Sergeant
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Aug 30, 2018
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Wheatland, Wyoming
My experience with following the six second recommendation for the salt bath was that it wasn't long enough. My neck tensions when seating the first batch was all over the place and es/sd's confirmed what I felt. The second hundred, I doubled the time to twelve seconds and quenched to stop heat migration too far into the case body. Much better, the seating force needed was much more consistent, with es/sd's dropping significantly.
 

epoletna

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Mar 19, 2020
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I've been using 8 seconds since my first batch, about 800 pieces of brass back.
 

epoletna

Sergeant of the Hide
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Mar 19, 2020
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Oh, and I still use 8 seconds. I guess I could try more. . .
 

epoletna

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Mar 19, 2020
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There's a heat-up period associated with salt bath. annealing that you would not have using flame annealing, but even given the hour or so it takes for the salt bath to reach 500 degrees C., I'm willing to start it up for as few at 30 pieces of brass. Probably wasteful, but there you are.
 

Ryridesmotox

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Mar 15, 2019
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I nearly went salt bath, but I'm glad I went induction. My home made one was around the same as a salt bath
 

epoletna

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Mar 19, 2020
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Ryridesmotox: Is there a set of plans for a home made induction annealer? How do I get them?
 

Ryridesmotox

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I followed this guide...

 

schleeb

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Apr 10, 2020
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I guess I might as well throw my 2 cents worth into the annealing subject. Here is what I've been taught about annealing brass... We anneal cartridges because, with use, the brass tends to get work hardened. Hard brass gets "springy", can crack and doesn't size very easily. Hence the need to anneal (soften) it. My method is to use a cake pan with about an inch and a half of water in it. (about half the height of the cartridge) I stand my brass up separated by about a half an inch between cartridges. Now... the trick is to get the brass to the proper temperature for it to anneal, without overheating and ruining it. The easiest way I've found is using a propane torch... BUT do it in the dark. Yes, line up your cartridges, get out your torch... ( I use one with the push button igniter for convenience)... get it lit, then turn off the lights so the room is dark. Heat the cartridge shoulder/neck area until you just see the faintest bit of red appear in the brass. This is hot enough... If you overheat it you will ruin the brass. As you go along, use your other hand to tip each cartridge over so it is immersed in the water. This quenches it. Its a simple, quick method and the result is what you want. If you want to check to see that it is annealed, just take a typical pair of pliers and pinch the neck flat and compare the effort needed to crush it, verses a cartridge that you haven't annealed yet. The difference is quite promounced. I usually anneal my brass (6.5 Creedmoor Lapua cartridges) after about 5 or 6 firings.
 

epoletna

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Mar 19, 2020
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I've been annealing after every firing. I'm liking the brass life and the way it fits into the chamber!
 

schleeb

Private
Minuteman
Apr 10, 2020
5
2
6
Since someone else resurrected this. I was doing some research about annealing the other day and found this article... https://vacaero.com/information-res...rmation-and-annealing-of-cartridge-brass.html

It seems as though we aren't getting it hot enough. I'm not a material engineer, and I'm not sure of this actual dude's credentials. But he uses fancy words and colorful pictures... so it had me intrigued.

It seems like we need to get the brass much hotter for the timeframes we want to work with.
Yeah, its great info, but putting his recommendations into practice are something completely different. I don't have an annealing oven and I doubt most people do, so heating it to X degrees and holding it at temp isn't very practical for me. The final result should be... does it soften the brass? If so, you are good to go. Just don't overheat it and "burn" it. You can do a simple crush test on a cartridge neck to see if you are accomplishing anything. It will validate your annealing method. Use a factory new one as a comparison