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Over annealing cartridge brass

 
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2013, 12:22 AM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

I have had to anneal thousands of cases for customer ordering rifles in my 338 Allen Magnum when Jamison made my brass for me. They basically made me 375 Cheytac brass but with my 338 Allen Magnum head stamp. The problem was with one order of 5000 pieces of brass that came in with case necks and shoulders that were WAY to hard. When they were necked down and fireformed, small cracks would form in the neck/shoulder junction making the brass useless.

Normally, when you anneal brass, you want nothing more then a dull red color. If your seeing anything that resembles orange or yellow, your getting your case mouths to hot.

Now, how hot is to hot........ Well, that greatly depends on the brass at hand. The brass I mentioned above needed an anneal that I would consider FAR to hot and with most brass would completely ruin the case necks ability to hold a bullet at all. But with these cases, I had to heat the cases up this hot and it was perfect.

A couple things I have learned over the years annealing brass. First off, I do not use a fancy case neck annealing machine for couple reasons which I will not go into here but I prefer to use a drill press.

The case is simply mounted in the drill chuck and then you turn the drill press on, apply the torch flame directly to the case neck and then you simply adjust the position of the flame to determine the amount of heat you have on the neck. Heat the case up until the neck reaches the color you want and then, and this is different then most, I pull the flame and at the same time hit the case with about 100 psi of compressed air from my shop compressor. This INSTANTLY drops the temperature of the case to a low enough point that you get the proper amount of annealing locked into the metal of the case.

I like this method mainly because I hate getting water inside my cases. If they are virgin cases, not a huge deal but if there is any carbon fouling inside the case when you dunk it in water, you have to really be careful to make sure the inside of the case is completely dry and this usually takes a chemical bath or TIME and most of the time, I do not want to take that time!!!

One advantage to using a drill press is that you can adjust the RPM level which will help you control how fast the neck heats up. You can take a propane torch of a given BTU level, and on X RPMs it will heat a case neck up to the proper temp in lets say 7 seconds. Now, for the experienced annealer, this may be perfect, but for the beginner, it may be to fast, simple fix, adjust the RPM range faster. The faster the case is spinning, the longer it will take to get the temp up in the case neck and you will have more control of temperature as you will have an easier time visually monitoring the annealing process.

Now, about heat soak and its dangers. You only want to anneal the first 1/3 of the case. That being 1/3 the length of the case from the mouth down. Now, this is max, if you can get away with it, 1/4 total case length is better but as long as you do not see the case discolor more then 1/3 the total length of the case, you will be fine. In all honesty, as long as your finished cases are annealed at least past the case neck, in most applications your fine.

Using the drill press, the Drill chuck will act as a heat sink and you will know when its time to take a break and let the chuck cool down.

The key to using this method is to heat the case neck up as quickly as you can and comfortably monitor your neck colors during annealing and then cooling off as quickly as possible as well. This limits the amount of heat that works down the case body.

I have NEVER had a case that annealed more then 1/2" past the neck using this method. Always point the torch at least horizontal or slightly down, direct heat toward the neck of the case or neck/shoulder junction unless the goal is to anneal the case shoulder for a specific reason.

Most importantly, if your not comfortable annealing the cases, do not do it unless you have someone experienced with you to walk you through it for a while. Once you get experienced, you will know the color your looking for for the right anneal.

Now, back to the proper color for the case being used. What I have found is that most commercial brass should only be heated to a very DULL red color. Its best to anneal in a rather dark room with JUST enough light so you can see what your doing. The darker the room, the more accurately you will be able to monitor the case color and therefore, you will have a more accurate annealing job.

If you get a case neck to hot, it simply will loose its ability to contract in any way which means when you press a bullet into the case neck, the neck will expand to the point where it will not hold a bullet as you will be able to move the bullet by hand.

If you do this, that does not nessesarily mean you have spoiled the case. For example, if your using a case that is based on an entire family of chamberings, there is really a pretty simple fix. For example, say your annealing a batch of brass for a 270 Win and you get the necks to hot and they will not hold a bullet any longer. Simple fix, get a 25-06 FL sizing die and run your cases through that FL die so that the case necks are reduced to 25 cal but DO NOT bump the shoulder. Then run your cases through your 270 WIN FL sizing die again to neck them back up to the original dimensions. Usually, this will work harden the brass just enough that it will now hold a bullet solidly enough to fire and be useful. Once that case is fired with a high pressure load and resized afterwards, it will be good to go.

Have found that necking up a case workhardens a case more quickly but I have also found that necking up a VERY soft case will more often result in a collapsed shoulder.

Necking down first does not workharden the brass as quickly but its also easier on the case with less chance of shoulder collapse so I generally prefer that direction to try to salvage over annealed cases.

Sorry for the long winded post!!! Hope there is something worth a damn in here for someone out there!!!
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:01 AM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

I had to read that one a few times to make sure i grabbed everything. Kirby thanks for taking the time to share that with us, you answered all of my questions.
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2013, 11:56 AM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

Yes, thank you Kirby! That was very useful.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2013, 12:39 PM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

I also found this useful. Thank you Kirby

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  #19  
Old 10-09-2013, 01:07 PM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

I reread it this morning and it was a jumbled mess!!! Was not focusing to well when I made that post, anyway, hope there was something in there worthwhile. IF anyone has questions on my annealing process feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

There are many ways to skin a cat and there are many CORRECT Ways to anneal cases. I am not saying my method is best by any means but it works and works well for me and has never created any type of dangerous situation for me or my customers. And best for me personally, ITS SIMPLE!!! I like simple things!!

Good thread guys.
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2013, 02:28 PM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

even if someone feels you overheated your brass during annealing, simply run it in and out of your sizer die a few times to work harden it. should be good to go before next loading
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  #21  
Old 10-09-2013, 02:45 PM
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Re: Over annealing cartridge brass

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derek M. View Post
even if someone feels you overheated your brass during annealing, simply run it in and out of your sizer die a few times to work harden it. should be good to go before next loading
That will certainly work if its mildly over annealed for sure. If it got WAY to hot, will take many passes, faster to neck it down and then back up. If you have Redding does or Hornady dies, not have very nice tapered expanders which make this really easy on the brass.

You are correct though, just running them through a FL sizer a few times will certainly help.
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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