Best Way to Get Case Necks to a Known Temperature when Annealing?

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John Alexander posted this 3 weeks ago

By using the Lee Collet Die exclusively my brass lasts a long time.  However, the batch of over 200 I use for matches and much of my experimenting now has been reloaded 58 times and I have had two split necks in the last couple of thousand reloads so annealing the necks may make sense.

I had a nifty set up of an old 45 RPM turntable that rotated a cake pan of water. I set the cases in the middle and played a propane torch on them until dull red then tipped them over into the water.  Since i hadn't used it much since switching to collet dies it stayed in Maine when we moved.

I know the necks should be brought up to the right temperature not just guesstimated by the shade of red.  I have heard of dipping the necks into the lead pot with the lead set at that "right" temperature.  That method seems like the ideal way to get the temperature right.

Is anybody using this method?  What are the pros and cons?  What is the right annealing temperature for cartridge brass. Any information, advice, or suggestions will be appreciated.

John

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David Reiss CBA Membership Director posted this 3 weeks ago

I think the old dull red works before tipping over into the water. That has worked well for me for more than 40, so why change now.

David Reiss - NRA Life Member & PSC Range Member Retired Police Firearms Instructor/Armorer
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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 3 weeks ago

here is an interesting controlled test of annealing brass ... at 660 F. ... too cold for our purposes because of the time required to do single cases.   

http://che.uri.edu/course/che333/Annealing%20of%2070-30%20Brass.pdf

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A great discussion on practical annealing is on ppg 49 of Ken Howell's terrific book _Designing and Forming Custom Cartridges_    grab this book if you can find one.  he has actual drawings and measured dimensions of the cases, plus water capacity.  awesum ! 

Howell says blue ( 670-700 F. ) is the correct color, not red ... for annealing ENOUGH ... not dead soft.  he also mentions turning the case in the flame with either the case held in a lee trimmer shell holder, or ..... a cleaning brush down the neck !! ......  both spun by an electric drill motor ....   with the brush, dip the case by the brush in the cooling water, then remove the brush.   i like this drill motor idea, especially for a thousand cases.

oh, remove primers before heating cases.  a murphy thing.

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the above said, every loader i know heats their cases to just dull red then dunk .....  and it seems " so far so good " .

ken

 

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Ken T posted this 3 weeks ago

Tempilaq works well.It is available as a crayon or a brush on liquid and is made in various temperatures.Lots of info on it's use for case forming on the British Militaria Forums.

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TRKakaCatWhisperer posted this 3 weeks ago

"best" is the key word.

Many methods, you have to make the decision as to what is good enough.

Most folks turn the case in a torch flame in dim light.

Others are more precision oriented and use tempilaq.

Others will buy/build machines for larger volume or greater consistency.

One can use salt-bath and dip.

choose your pick.

 

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shootcast posted this 3 weeks ago

If you find a sure best way let me know. As already mentioned I use propane torch in dim light. I deprime  cases first. I found using a primer pocket cleaning tool to hold the case into the flame allows you to turn case and simply tilt it to release into a pail of water. Normally about four a minute. You can spend a lot of money if you want to. Don’t know if it’s any better.

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Brodie posted this 3 weeks ago

 

Ken,

Suppose if you heated your lead pot to 670to 700*F and made a rack or device to hold the cases neck down, and then dipped the cases into to lead until the temp. came back up to the target temperature , indicating the the entire pot- including cases- had reached the target temperature, and then quenched or just let the cases cool.  Would that not be a more accurate way to anneal the cases than turning them in a flame?

B.E.Brickey

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Ross Smith posted this 3 weeks ago

Hmmmmmm   Is that a new use for my digital 20lb magnum bottom pour ?

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John Alexander posted this 3 weeks ago

What I had in mind was to get the pot to the right temperature and hold the case by the base and dip the necks.  I would think that the neck would quickly reach the lead temperature of the lead before the base got very hot. I have read descriptions of shooters holding the case in their hand and rotating it in flame when red in dim light tossing it into water.  A salt bath would do the same but I have a lead pot.

I was hoping to learn from other's experience.  This isn't something I thought up I am sure I probably read it somewhere and has been rattling around in my head beause it seemed a good way to get the right temperature instead some color in dim light.  It could be checked with the right Tempilaq crayon to see that the neck was reaching the lead temperature.  I would have just tried it but if there are pitfalls it would be nice to know first. It seemed that it would be fast, accurate, and easy.  But maybe it is a terrible idea.

John

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 3 weeks ago

hi Brodie .. yep, the hot lead pot would seem to be a great idea ... i don't have any experience with that method, but i see where others have tried it.   hopefully we will get some reports here using a lead bath.

wonder if it requires special case prep ?  ...  will lead solder to ... or in ... the brass ? .....

ken

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Mike H posted this 3 weeks ago

I use a small butane torch in a darkened room,hold the base of the case in one hand,between the thumb and next two fingers,rötate  the case foward and backwards and direct the flame onto the shoulder of the case.When the colour reaches a dull reddish colour drop the case into a tin of water.Shake to dry,if you have compressed air,blow the water out of the case,particularly in the primer pocket and flash hole,if you don‘t a skin can form in the flash hole.I have used this method with.223 and .308 cases,naturaly the .308 case need more time in the flame.

The best machine is an AMP made in New Zealand,for what you are doing,I would keep it simple and use the torch method.

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mashburn posted this 3 weeks ago

Hello Ken,

You are correct about the blue temperature. I form a lot of cases for some of the odd ball cartridges that I have come up with. If I take them to the red temperature here is some of the problems that happens. When you have a small cartridge with a 40 degree shoulder and you go to seat a bullet it will crush the shoulder down and ruin the case. When using a mandrel neck sizer it will at times hang enough to pull the case neck up and you no longer have a 40 degree shoulder. I have had some of the same problems with larger cases such as the .257 Roberts Improved. If you use the blue this don't happen.

Mashburn

David a. Cogburn

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mashburn posted this 3 weeks ago

I stand them up in a large pan that has enough water in it to reach up  to about 3/8 inch below the shoulder, I vary this with smaller cases. I get the shop fairly dim and heat the cases with a propane torch and when the color I want is reached I tip them over into the water. Sometimes you have to change the water height depending on how the cases are reacting to getting to the color desired. The little 40 degree shoulder cases that I was talking  about are one to vary. I take the water all the way to just barely below the shoulder.. Some cases for some reason take longer to heat up. I'm sure the best way to anneal cases would be to have the cases spinning. Someone in this thread said he put them in a deep well socket. That sounds like a good idea because the socket would act as a heat sink. I'm going to experiment with that idea. In the final it takes practice and experience to do anything and the longer you work the better the result. I've been doing this annealing process for better than fifty years and I must say,  "I'm  Better Than I Used To Be." To the best of my knowledge, Remington has the cases running on a conveyer belt standing up and right before they get to the end of the conveyer there are two sharp flamed torches, one on each side that the cases pass between and then they drop off of the conveyer into the water. By the way, when my water in the pan starts to get hot I pour in out and put in cool water. But like my Dad used to say.  "Son There Is more Than One Way To Skin A Cat."

Mashburn

 

David a. Cogburn

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OU812 posted this 3 weeks ago

I spin case over propane torch flame by holding the case using cordless drill and 1/4" drive socket.The deepwell socket easily holds the case before dumping hot case into water. In darkroom I watch the case neck and shoulder turn cherry red then dump case into water so that heat does not travel into lower parts of case and soften.

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OU812 posted this 3 weeks ago

I once knew how to anneal 45/70 cases by dipping in hot "pure" lead pot. One of the tricks was to leave the spent primer in case and coating the case with some type of oil before dipping? Tin in lead will cause it to solder to case. I forget the process, but it worked without lead being soldered to case mouth

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Rich/WIS posted this 3 weeks ago

I use the deep well socket and cordless drill method, aiming the flame at an angle so the blue center flame hits the base of the neck and angles forward at about a 45 degree angle.  I watch the area below the shoulder for a change to a light straw color and then dump the case into metal pan.  All dumping into water got me was wet cases, annealing stops as soon as the brass is removed from the flame.  How precise this is I don't know but it seems to work okay.  One thing I did find was that it is better to anneal sooner rather than later,  about 7-8 reloadings worked best for me. I tried at ten reloadings but was getting split necks by ten.  Given the myriad of ways people are going this suspect that annealing of brass is pretty forgiving operation.  

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Wineman posted this 3 weeks ago

I follow Rich's method. I only do a seven count for 30-06 and the brass just looks like it is annealed color, no red etc. A metal pan works fine but I usually use a pie plate with a block of "blue ice" under it. Even with this method, the cases are too hot to pick up (dropped one on the floor and forgot what I was doing). If you watch industrial annealing for cases they never get to any color but brass.

Dave

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OU812 posted this 3 weeks ago

Annealing will reduce neck tension, but it makes no difference...does it?wink

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John Carlson posted this 3 weeks ago

I use the drill and deep well socket method.  Semi darkened room, just barely start to see red.  Drop onto a piece of tilted cardboard so they roll about 2 feet, drop onto another piece of cardboard tilted back the opposite direction, then drop a few inches into a pile.  No water.  

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GWarden posted this 2 weeks ago

Tempilaq is the best way to get the exact temp you are wanting to use for uniformity case to case. Brownells has it. Been using it for many years.

Bob

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