First loads after annealing, no neck tension

Discussion in 'Reloading' started by montana_native, Feb 20, 2010.

  1. montana_native

    montana_native Well-Known Member

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    I finally got brave and annealed some brass based on the video by Buffalobob. Everything turned out exactly as the video said it would. However, when I began to seat the bullets there was almost no resistance in the press when seating. If I let go of the handle, gravity would take over and finish the job. Some of the bullets could be removed by hand after seating. I measured neck tension and I was getting about 0.004" on all the cases. I tried a different bushing to give 0.008" neck tension with the same effect. It's as though the necks are too soft and there is no "spring-back" to hold onto the bullet.

    Can you over-anneal the necks? It's Winchester brass and I had the same problem with 7 Rem Mag and 223 AI brass.

    Thanks.
     
  2. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I think the answer is yes, the necks can be overheated. And when they are, the brass is damaged beyond use. When I watched the video, that's what I felt was being demonstrated, and happening. My research and investigation into annealing brass led me to this conclusion.

    I used some of the color changing welders paint sticks to determine how long my case necks needed to remain in the flame in order to reach the proper temperature for annealing. I spin my neck/shoulder joint in my propane torch flame for a timed 5 1/2 seconds and then quench in cold water. The cases are spun in a battery powered drill, with the case heads securely fixed in a Lee case holder sized to fit the specific brass.

    I also talked Ken Markle (K&M Services), and he confirmed my method was similar to his. If you overcook the brass the neck can become too soft - as you have experienced.

    I didn't want to be the spoiler. Everyone commenting on the video seemed so pleased with it that I decided to keep the peace. I wondered how long it would take for this problem to be experienced and posted here.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  3. boomtube

    boomtube Well-Known Member

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    "It's as though the necks are too soft and there is no "spring-back" to hold onto the bullet."

    Yep, over cooked necks. If you can see any red glow, it's too hot. If you see a clear glow, it's WAY to hot.

    There's no way back, toss it or use it for none critical ammo.
     
  4. bigngreen

    bigngreen Well-Known Member

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    Since brass work hardens, could a guy run it into a die with the expander ball in a few times and bring some tension back?
     
  5. montana_native

    montana_native Well-Known Member

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    That's what I was hoping to do. Fortunately I didn't anneal much if it does turn out to be junk.
     
  6. Eaglet

    Eaglet Well-Known Member

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  7. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    phorwath, roughly how many rpm are you spinning your cases in the hand held drill? or how many revolutions is your case making in the 5 1/5 seconds?
     
  8. Buffalobob

    Buffalobob Well-Known Member

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    I tried to be very plain about not getting them cherry red or heating them too long. The room needs to be darkened somewhat so you can easily see the beginnings of the color change.

    You also need to look on the case and see how far down it you annealed them. If you got too low then the sides will be weakened around the case head and then you can have serious problems.

    The cases that I annealed in that video were used to shoot F-class competition at 1000 yards. I have annealed those cases that way three or four times with very good results. There are three different brands of cases including Winchester that I use for F-class.
     
  9. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

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    For everyone---this is not rocket science nor can it be done by seat of the pants looking at just the color. If you are not consistent with every one you are wasting your time because of the different spring back after sizing. Like most things in shooting there are reloaders who use processes that are not repeatable or proven and then there are hand loaders who use repeatable process that work. Read Ken Howells book specifically the part on annealing or better yet read this The Art and Science of Annealing and I assure you that the BC 1000 works like a Rolex.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  10. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Thread starter annealed his brass all right.
    Problem is, annealed brass is ruined.

    What is desired, is stress relieving.
    This is way lower in temp, and for enough time that the metal reaches the correct temperature -throughout it's thickness.
    What many people do is put a couple thousand degrees to the outside of brass, hoping to CONSISTENTLY stress relieve all the way through to the inside of the brass.
    Does that make sense to you? How would that happen?
    Well, I doubt it does. But with careful timing brass could be made 'soft enough', and not 'too soft' -overall.

    I'm one of those 'supermen' referred to in the linked article, who lead dip stress relieve. And I can assure you, those writing that article are clueless about Lead dipping. I would bet they could not even do it correctly, and so wrote it off (as too dangerous).

    I don't like the torch approach, but am very interested in the inductive heating systems being worked out right now. With precise timming, these will finally meet our needs. You watch.
     
  11. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    The Lee Case Trimmer shell holder and assembly securely holds the rim of the cases by screwing the shell holder onto the piloted base plate. The shaft on the base plate is chucked into the drill. End result is the case can be spun concentrically at high speed with very little wobble, allowing one to keep the neck-shoulder joint in the focused part of the propane flame.

    Answer to question: I spin the case maybe ~200 rpm. The whole point is to ensure all sides of the case are exposed to the heat uniformly. So if you spin the case say - 3X per second - that should be sufficient to apply the heat uniformly.

    The uniformity of the applied heat to all sides of the case and the ultimate temperature the neck/shoulder joint the brass is heated to are the two key points to good neck annealing. The idea is to bring the case neck brass up to temperature quickly, before the case head has time to get hot. Then quench the case in cold water (I use ice water for uniform temp of 32F) quickly so the heat doesn't ever reach the case head area.

    The 5 1/2 seconds. Logically the time to keep the case neck-shoulder joint in the flame depends on the temperature of the flame. I use a standard propane torch. I adjust the flame so that the focused deep blue flame is 5/8-3/4" long. I steady the drill with both hands while seated at the kitchen table, with a large second hand clock in the background. Hold the neck-shoulder joint (maybe a bit more on the shoulder than the neck) at the tip of the deep blue flame (about 3/4" from the mouth of the torch) for 5 1/2 seconds. No more than 6 seconds. Quickly submerse about 3/4 of the forward part of the case in the container of ice water to draw the heat off the case before it travels back to the case head.

    Eaglet mentioned don't heat the case neck/shoulder of the cases above 750F. The ideal annealing temperature is about 660-670F. The cases have already been overheated by the time they begin to glow red, based on my research and understanding. Over-anneal and the brass turns to a charred soft mush. Useless. Toss'em in the trash. Under-anneal and the brass is never softened up.

    There is some lattitude surrounding the ideal temperature, which allows the annealing to be done successfully by the handloader if care is taken during the heat application process. But too low of a temperature doesn't get the job done and too high destroys the brass.

    NEVER heat the case head area. Annealing softens the brass and you'll destroy the brass by heating the case heads any higher than ~450F, because the primer pocket will then expand under high pressure and you'll get a face full of 60,000 psi gas in the face when you pull the trigger.

    PS: Anneal with deprimed cases. That way when your hot cases are quenched in the cold ice water, they blow less hot air into the ice water bath. Also easier to shake the majority of the water out of the cases without the spent primers present.

    PS2: If you're reaching the correct temperature, the heated area of the brass will have lost it's luster, yet not be cooked too dark in appearance. They will look similar to Lapua case necks in color, or Lake City brass that have been annealed at the factory.

    PS3: I've read about the lead dipping annealing process. Molten lead is the ideal temperature for case neck annealing. From what I've read, I decided not to even try it. I just didn't want to deal with the health aspects of breathing lead fumes without having a fume hood, and the risks of messing around with a pot of molten lead. It's the ultimate heat source for annealing, but I personally would start over with new brass before performing the research and then purchasing the equipment to set up to safely anneal with molten lead.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2010
  12. Chas1

    Chas1 Well-Known Member

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    phorwath, great writeup...this is the first time I've been able to read about annealing and now have a picture in my mind of how fast to turn, how close to the flame, how large a flame and so on. I know this took more than a few minutes to put together and I want you to know I appreciate it. Pretty thorough too, right on down to the primer pocket safety tip. Thanks, thanks so much. Take care.
     
  13. trueblue

    trueblue Well-Known Member

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    I would say if you are going to error, error on the side of under annealing.
     
  14. montana_native

    montana_native Well-Known Member

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    I hope it didn't seem like I was casting stones at Buffalobob. Given it was my first try, I am the only one to blame.

    I think that most of the stuff I annealed will be OK. I don't think I got it as hot as I initially thought I did...at least with the 7 mag stuff. I believe the 223 brass to be shot. I ran the brass through a full length sizer with expander ball twice and it helped quite a bit with the neck tension issue. The primer pockets are still nice and tight. I took it out and pulled the trigger with a string for 5 rounds to see if there was any adverse affect. Then I fired the rest of the loads as usual. I ended up with the best groups I've ever had out of the gun with no problems.

    I guess the 30 rounds of 223 that I discarded are a cheap learning experience. I am confident the 7mm stuff is OK. I will have to use those welder's color sticks in the future.

    Thanks for all of the discussion.