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Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

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professrh
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Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#1 Post by professrh » Tue May 15, 2018 2:36 pm

So, I've been reloading for a few years, but have yet to take on annealing brass.

I've read a lot of internet lore--often conflicting--about the process, and think I've identified the basics needed for safe, affordable, manageable, and effective brass annealing.

I went on YouTube and pulled down a couple of (I think) fairly trustworthy videos, and would ask for your input on each--as well as tips of your own, if you're so inclined.

Thanks in advance!

Video #1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiONYceWlY8

Video #2:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uPlbB6LHKE

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#2 Post by slowbob2 » Tue May 15, 2018 3:32 pm

Neither person in either video annealed the brass . The first guy did not get it hot enough to anneal it . The second guy did not water cool the brass after he heated it . The quenching is what softens the brass . Letting it air cool does not . So two people who had no idea , BUT felt they needed to make a video .

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#3 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 5:49 pm

You're absolutely right about there being a lot of conflicting (& wrong) information out there.
Let me do some brush clearing with illustrations for you.
You need to apply heat to the neck & shoulder area ONLY.
You need to apply it evenly round the whole cylindrical form.
It needs to be controlled heat, you can have too little, which doesn't hurt, but doesn't do anything either.
Too much will actually damage the brass by effecting the zinc in the brass, making the alloy permanently too soft.

Ok, here's a rig I made from plastic plumbing parts from Lowes. The wood base is a spare old chipboard shelf. The SS Bowl is from a yard sale.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#4 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 5:51 pm

Thew "shell holder is a deep well socket of the right size to drop the case into, but let it fall out when you tip it up.
The 2 "crayons" are THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE PROCESS a way of actually measuring the temperature of the heated area. you need between 500 ~ 600 degrees to properly temper brass.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#5 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 5:58 pm

To use simply put about 1/2 a bowl of tap water in the bowl. (more on that later).
Light the torch & back the flame off to the smallest you can get with the "electric blue" cone in it.
Clamp the "shell holder" in your power screwdriver or electric drill as long as you can keep the speed down. I have a Black & Decker screwdriver I use & its perfect.
Scrape the temp stick of choice ( It also comes as a liquid & you can paint a dab) on the neck of the case. You can see the orange here & how deeply the case sits inside the deep well to protect the rear of the case which MUST remain un-annealed.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#6 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 6:03 pm

DSCF0525.JPG
Start the rotation first, then slide the case neck & mouth into the flame, you want it a little past the tip of the blue flame.
Watch the orange dab, while timing the seconds. (I just count 1 hippopotamus, 2 hippopotamus . . . ) As soon as the orange turns black immediately remove the brass from the flame & tip the holder mouth down over the water.
If you do this in subdued (room) lighting you'll also notice the flame color will change as well becoming more orange.
You can see the melted temp indicator here. & the discoloration of the brass indicating it has annealed.

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#7 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 6:06 pm

Now you simply repeat the load~rotate~insert round~drop sequence for all your other shells in that batch!
You can see he discoloration from the annealing in this short test run.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#8 Post by Tommy Atkins » Tue May 15, 2018 6:12 pm

OK wrap up:
1: "red hot" is too hot.
2: If the brass changes color like these, its annealed. (In my setup usually 5~8 seconds depending on circumstances, which is why you need the templi-sticks), which you can get from your local welding supply place.
3: you do not need water to quench, that's a misunderstanding because you need water to quench steel when annealing, but not brass.
I do use water, but only to keep the large volume of brass I like to do at one sitting from contact over heating of other case bases while its sitting in the bowl having more hot brass dumped in constantly.
I liked the second guys machine, if I didn't have the electric screwdriver I'd go with it. He also mentioned the Tempi-Laq, which is the liquid version of the sticks I use.

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#9 Post by slowbob2 » Tue May 15, 2018 7:30 pm

Brass and steel are not the same , you have it backwards . Quenching hot steel makes it harder [ like case hardening ] , you air cool it to make it softer . Quenching brass makes it softer . Just look it up , it quit being top secret over 120 years ago after the Germans first figured it out with their cartridge cases .

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#10 Post by Tommy Atkins » Wed May 16, 2018 11:16 am

Sorry but its not me that has it reversed:
"The temperature range for process annealing ranges from 260 °C (500 °F) to 760 °C (1400 °F), depending on the alloy in question."
"In the cases of copper, steel, silver, and brass, this process is performed by heating the material (generally until glowing) for a while and then slowly letting it cool to room temperature in still air. Copper, silver[1] and brass can be cooled slowly in air, or quickly by quenching in water, unlike ferrous metals, such as steel, which must be cooled slowly to anneal. In this fashion, the metal is softened and prepared for further work—such as shaping, stamping, or forming."

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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#11 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 16, 2018 2:50 pm

IMHO - Yes, of course Tommy you are correct.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#12 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 16, 2018 3:14 pm

Oh, wait a minute Tommy...on the ‘permanently soft’ part...are you saying that after one burns the crap out of the brass, like melting it, it can't be work-hardened after it cools down?

I guess your 'too soft' may have something to do with what you may be saying.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#13 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 16, 2018 5:24 pm

Okay, Tommy, I think I know what you may be saying. This is the way that I understand these things. Point being that if brass is heated to the point of melting, the zinc starts to evaporate from the mixture, (solid mixture) and then the new alloy can not be hardened back to the hardness of the alloy before this evaporation started. Because the proper mixture of copper and zinc can be work-hardened harder than some alloy with less than this certain amount of zinc in the copper-zinc ratio. In the practice of molding brass it is usually poured as quick as possible after melting to reduce losing the zinc...or replaced as necessary.

I guess you are saying that actually there would be a small percentage of zinc evaporating even if the brass alloy is below this melting point...but this point would be darn hot, wouldn’t it?

But in the actual process of making the case, the brass is ‘too’ hard because of all the work-hardening, and typically it is usually annealed as uniformly as possible at the neck for a uniform bullet holding pressure.

Will you agree with this, more or less? I have a DIY neck annealing thingie in the garage...but I don’t bother. Actually I do it just like the guy in the first link was doing – heat the neck until I have to drop it in the water – just another compromise.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#14 Post by OLDGUNNER » Wed May 16, 2018 7:01 pm

Okay Tommy – Now I think I see what you were saying...If the brass gets too hot or annealed too much it will be too soft to hold the bullet correctly and maybe let the case get crunched up when seating the bullet, yes, yes, of course.
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Re: Advice on annealing--and YouTube posts to evaluate

#15 Post by Tommy Atkins » Thu May 17, 2018 9:06 am

Actually melting the case is a bit over the top.
It used to be you'd heat to cherry red, that excessive! Now there are ways to actually measure the real temp which is way better.

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