Annealing Lapua brass

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by BrentM, Sep 17, 2013.

  1. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Looks like I am about ready to go into my 6th reloading of Lapau brass for the 6.5-284. I have not annealed before, I do have the paint.

    I don't know if the is right time to do it, should I get a few more reloads, etc. I have not done this before so it is my first adventure with fire and paint.

    Any thoughts? Is it time? I primarily have necked sized only with .002 neck die.
     
  2. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    I usually anneal any brass that I shoot after 3 reloads. Your cases are getting pretty darn work hardened after 6 firings.
     

  3. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I should be going on 6. 5 so far. I should be right at 500 rounds through this rifle.

    I am kinda of wondering if I am getting some pressure from a hardened neck. I recently started seeing some pressure signs that have not been there since I went down a full grain of powder.

    Guess I will give it a go tonight and try to not burn my house down.
     
  4. MagnumManiac

    MagnumManiac Well-Known Member

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    Although the neck and shoulder get the most work done on them, the entire case to a degree is also worked. I anneal every other firing with my long range rifles, and after 3 firings on everything else.

    The reason you are seeing more pressure signs is because as the brass hardens it doesn't 'spring' as much, either when it expands to grip the chamber, increasing bolt thrust, or when you size it back to smaller dimensions, annealing brings 'spring back' back to spec, increasing neck tension and decreasing some of the bolt thrust.
    Obviously you are only annealing the neck, but I allow the heat to flow about a third down from the neck into the body, just like factory Lapua brass looks like. This reduces bolt thrust a reasonable amount and the brass lasts longer.
    I have heard people say they get 20+ loads from their brass, that's fine, but if you get to the point where the 5th trimming is necessary, that brass is toast.

    There are plenty of videos on youtube on annealing rifle brass, if you're unsure, have a quick look before you start.

    Cheers.
    gun)
     
  5. 8andbait

    8andbait Well-Known Member

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    The biggest problem I have with annealing lapua brass is that I can't see it change colors. Other brass gives an obvious blue line that travels down the case but I don't get it with lapua. I will typically count to 10 while spinning the brass and it comes out pretty good. Obviously the time required will be determined by your heat source. I use a basic propane torch that is used to sweat copper pipes and such. I do notice the force required to seat the bullets is less once annealed and will need slightly more force once the necks start to harden.
     
  6. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Anneal first then size. Correct?
     
  7. 8andbait

    8andbait Well-Known Member

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    correct
     
  8. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    far as I'm concerned (and quite a few other posters on here that have b een around for a while) is mechanized annealing because the dwell time in the flame is precisely controlled, eliminating the human factor.

    There are a couple good machines out there but most of us use a Bench Source Annealer.

    I would never try annealing by hand or the pie pan/cold water method. Too much variance and it's a fine line between annealed and over annealed, even with Templaq.

    Too soft and your gun blows up. Why chance it.

    ..........but then, it's your gun and your face, not mine.:D
     
  9. Korhil78

    Korhil78 Well-Known Member

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    Just for your information...I use a benchsource annealer. It is very precise but expensive. Well worth it in my opinion. It is easy for me to tell when the case is hot enough with the benchsource annealer because the flame coming off the neck will start to change color. I have tested it with tempilaq and it works. I hate tempilaq though. That is the messiest stuff ever after you burn it.
     
  10. SidecarFlip

    SidecarFlip Well-Known Member

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    An IR thermometer (good one) works pretty well too. You need to keep the laser pointed on the case neck.

    Our LWS (Local Welding Supply) Airgas, also has crayons that aren't quite as messy as templaq, I agree, it's messy.

    None of the good machines are cheap but you get what you pay for.
     
  11. Greyfox

    Greyfox Well-Known Member

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    With my 6.5x284 using Lapua brass, I anneal every 4-5 firings, and also push the shoulders back at the same time since I neck size. I use a Benchsource annealer but it's not necessary to do a good job if your are consistent. It is very convenient, fast and consisent, particularly if you do a lot of shooting. I have found no difference annealing with accuracy or ES before or after other than it gives me one more cycle if I do it after annealing. One key point. After you anneal, you will feel a difference in bullet seating pressure. This is not caused by a change in the plyabilty of the brass, but a change in the surface structure of the brass. It will disappear after the next firing but if you size right after annealing you should use a little Imperial wax as to not scratch your dye bushing, particularly if they are untreated steel. If you expand, put a little right at the mouth of the case. I also use a very small amount on the bullet or mouth of the case to keep the bullet from requiring high seating pressure and possibly causing runout issues. I have scratched and ruined steel bushings and dyes whe sizing freshly annealed brass that was not lubed. I think that the annealing process causes crystals to form on the surface. If have noticed the same effect when using an expander with new Lapua brass. I do notice a discoloring of the brass similar to new Lapua brass after annealing. Using this process I can get 10-20 reloads with my brass. IMO.
     
  12. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Good info. I have a brand new batch of Lapau brass but want to use these up with this chamber first. Still undecided what a future build will be or I will just build a new barrel with same chambering. Thinking of hanging on to the brass for that. who knows.

    I will play with it tonight hopefully. I am leaving for another hunt Saturday and want to take the rifle in case we see wolves. This area has a quite a few generally so the chances are good. If you guys were closer I would just pay you to do it for me this go around.
     
  13. BrentM

    BrentM Well-Known Member

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    I have a lot of 20 test brass I use to develop loads I worked on last night. 650 tempilaq with my torch was 5 seconds. The more varnished the brass the more color it had. The freshly cleaned brass showed very little color.

    I ran paint inside the neck and down the outside of the case. Put flame at base of neck and shoulder area. The heat flow was on par with the brand new lapau brass, just not the pretty coloration with the shiny clean brass.
     
  14. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I hit my case necks at the shoulder joint for 5 1/2 seconds with my propane torch, with the cases rotating in a battery operated drill. A close match to your 5 seconds.