Annealing, How to Article/Video by Ken Light


Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2007
Wilmington NC
If you want to know what annealing is and is not, what it does and does not, and how to properly do it. Click on this article written by Ken Light, who makes the best annealing machine out there.

you can search on 6br and there are about 10 articles on how to by the top shooters but this is by far the most complete, with pics and videos.

Lot of bogus information out there about home ways to do it that are just not right and often result in worse accuracy or lose of cases.

They show correct temperature ranges, how to check softness etc, plus how to do it correctly without the high dollar annealing machine.

The Art and Science of Annealing

Wow, Thanks! I guess I will let this soak a bit and then decide if I want to try this or replace my brass.

Any afordable machines out there that do a good job?


The numbers that are listed in that article are a wee bit shy of what is commonly listed under the physical properties of 'cartridge brass' (70% copper, 30% zinc), available multiple places on the 'Net (various metal suppliers, engineering references, etc.) I'd be curious where he pulled his numbers from.


The Hornady kit works reasonably well - although you could probably duplicate it with a deep-well socket and extension chucked in a hand drill. It' not automated, but it's simple enough to drop a case in the socket, stick it in the flame while spinning (and watching the time), remove it from the flame, tip the case into the 'done' bin, and pick up a new case and drop it in the socket.

The bottle of Tempilaq is considerably lower rated (475°) than the stuff most people use w/ their annealing setups; if you read the directions it's intended to be applied 1/4 below the shoulder, the theory being by the time that point reaches ~475 and melts the paint, the neck will be pretty close to 'done' ;)

One of the tricks from the Brassomatic annealing machine (alternative to the Ken Light machine mentioned above) manual is to get a few different temp ranges of Tempilaq and paint them on a test case... and get a visual feel for how far down the case the heat really travels before it dissipates. With a Winchester (thin) .308 Win case, it drops below 500 about 1/2-5/8" down from the shoulder... well above the poin where I'd even remotely worry about the case web or head.


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