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Annealing
Aug 1st, 2020 at 12:15pm
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Hi there - cheeky request, has anyone in Hamilton Cambridge Te Awamutu got an annealer or access to one, I’ve got 40 cases in desperate need of annealing and I have no idea what I’m doing - happy to spring for a few beverages as payment😎
  

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Re: Annealing
Reply #1 - Aug 1st, 2020 at 1:44pm
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get a map gas torch a battery drill with a socket to hold your case and look up how to on u tube.
id say 6 or 7 seconds each (+-) should do it. Do it in shaded area so you can see if it turns red cause you really shouldn't let it get red. just hit the neck and start of shoulder only. Don't need to quench, job done ......
or correct me if im wrong
  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #2 - Aug 1st, 2020 at 5:10pm
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Annealing can be quite an art, but I've been doing mine with a candle for years - look it up  Smiley

P.S. - I get twenty shots/case before retiring and anneal every third firing - and I can't remember last time I lost a case through neck splitting.
  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #3 - Aug 1st, 2020 at 8:36pm
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Bit nervous about doing it myself - using 7mm08 cases on 3rd firing  might play with some older cases until I feel confident enough to use my ‘good’ cases👍🏼
  

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Re: Annealing
Reply #4 - Aug 4th, 2020 at 8:15am
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The last batch I did was 270 cases to 30/06.
I heated them up with a gas torch on a small camper gas bottle, not the hotter torch you can get for silver soldering, mine is about 20 years and still goes.
I hold the case with a pair of pliers, rotating the case to get even heating and when it is just below the red heat quench it in water, i.e.: drop it into a bucket of water.
Brass will soften when quenched, different to steel.
  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #5 - Aug 4th, 2020 at 8:22am
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There's no metallurgical need to quench.
The only reason to quench is to cool them quicker if you wish to handle them sooner.
  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #6 - Aug 5th, 2020 at 8:04am
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I included all of this as while it covers engineering practice beyond this discussion it is also of interest to the the engineering minded readers on this forum

Description
This section is from the book "Modern Shop Practice", by Howard Monroe Raymond. Also available from Amazon: Modern Shop Practice.

Hardening And Annealing Brass
The process of hardening and annealing brass is exactly the reverse of that used with steel. Brass is hardened when it is heated and allowed to cool slowly ; it is softened or annealed when heated and cooled suddenly. When annealing brass, care should be taken that it is evenly heated throughout and that it is evenly cooled.

Casehardening is the process of making a hardened steel case around a piece of iron. To do this the outer shell of the iron is converted into steel. The depth to which this conversion takes place varies from 1/64 to 1/32 inch. It depends upon the temperature to which the piece is subjected and the time during which the heat is continued. There arc two methods of doing this work ; the prussiate of potash and the box methods. The former is the more rapid; the latter the more reliable.

In casehardening with prussiate of potash, crush the material to a very fine powder. Then heat the steel to a red heat and apply the powdered chemical to the surface to be hardened The powder may be sprinkled on with a spoon and then rubbed over the surface with the back of the same. The iron must be hot enough so that the potash will melt, and run freely. If, during the process, the iron cools so that the potash is not kept hot, it must be put back into the tire and again brought to a red heat. It is then cooled in cold water. This process makes a very hard (MM: one that cannot be touched with a file. It is, however, expensive. Therefore, it is not used where a large number of pieces are to be hardened. Neither is it suited for surfaces that art) large or irregular in form. When hardening with prussiate of potash the heat decomposes it and the contained carbon unites with the iron. This forms a steel which in turn is hardened when it is suddenly cooled.

When a number of pieces or one single large piece is to be hardened, the box process should be used. This is a simpler and safer method. It is more easily executed and there is not the same danger of excessive warping as in the first described process. More or less warping, however, does occur whenever a piece of iron is case hardened.

In the box process of casehardening, the pieces are packed in a box with the hardening material. The box should be of wrought or cast iron, preferably the former- It should be of such size that all of the pieces may be packed without any of them touching the top, bottom or sides. In packing, first put a layer of the hardening material in the bottom. Next put in a layer of pieces to be hardened and pack the hardening material about and over them, ramming it down. Then put in another layer of pieces and pack in the same way. Continue until the box is filled. Fasten on the cover and fill all openings with fire clay so that the box is absolutely air tight. Now set the box and its contents in a furnace where it will be subjected to an even temperature. Raise it gradually to a bright .cherry red and keep it in that condition for twenty-four hours. At the end of that time, remove it from the fire, and upon opening, cool the contents in cold water.

When the pieces are taken from the water they will be found quite hard and slightly warped. They may be straightened by springing them in a press.

In this work care should be taken to place the largest articles at the bottom of the box. They should all be so packed that as they settle during the process, they will be so held that one piece does not bear unnecessarily upon another and thus cause a needless amount of warping. When cooling, put the pieces in edgewise so that the cooling may be uniform and the amount of warping made as small as possible.

Various materials are used to assist in hardening. The most common and the one that is the cleanest and least offensive is bone dust. There are a numher of compounds upon the market, which are all prepared and ready for use. These usually have bone dust as a base with other ingredients added. It is better and cheaper to buy these pronations than it is to attempt to make the mixture. Excellent results can be obtained from them. Where it is desired to do case hardening, and bone dust is not available, other materials may be used. Hoofs, old leather, salt and urine make an excellent casehardening mixture. To use these materials, cut the leather and hoofs into pieces of from ˝ inch to 1 inch in largest dimensions. A satisfactory proportion will be 20 pounds of old leather, 15 pounds of hoofs, 4 pounds of salt, to which a gallon of urine may be added after the packing is completed.

  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #7 - Aug 5th, 2020 at 10:08am
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Another reason to quench is brass is a really good heat conductor - if you heat the neck and shoulder to the degree you guys are talking - that base is gonna get really hot quite quickly - so dump it in water to keep it cool.

I do my snider cases over a candle, that's a .600" diameter case neck on a nearly 2" long case and that base rim is burning my fingers by the count of thirty - so I drop it in water real quick.
The neck shows no colour change (other than sooty black), it barely hisses when it hits the water, but I really work the top 1/16" of that case and have something like 25 reloads without any case damage at all.

I do my 7x57 and 6.5x54 cases over a candle too, but I probably wouldn't do a really short wide necked case over one.

From the Norma 1965 Gunbugs guide .........

"When neck annealing cases, stand them in a pan of water, to about 3/4 of their height. The primers should be removed, permitting the water to enter the case. With a blow-torch or a bottled-gas burner, heat the case necks to cherry red, at which temperature the brass has reassumed its maximum softness. As soon as the correct temperature is reached, tip the case in the water to cool quickly. There is no such thing as hardening taking place with brass, and the quick cooling is necessary to keep the heat from creeping down into the lower part of the case, destroying its correct hardness."

Just did some looking on candles and brass annealing out of interest ..............

The dark brown/red bottom part of a candle flame reaches 1830*F (!000*C).
The red/orange middle/top part of the flame is 1470*F (800*C).

At 600*F (315*C) it will take brass one hour to anneal.
At 800*F (426*C) brass will anneal in a few seconds.

Must have read all that all those years ago when I started using candles to do other things than shed light ........... like annealing Smiley


  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #8 - Aug 5th, 2020 at 10:45am
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I just read a really boring article on what degree of temperature your fingertips can withstand before an object becomes too hot to hold, it involved sensors and mentioned Raynaud Syndrome which is triggered by cold rather than hot, so can be largely disregarded.
I didn't find a specific answer, so I'm gonna suppose that the boiling point of water at 212*F (100*C) is somewhat beyond what we can comfortably hold - unless of course you have leprosy - in which case you'd probably need to drop your case when your fingers start smoking.
Couldn't find what temperature in *F or *C that starts happening either.

Google surprisingly, doesn't have all the answers.

Anyway - I know thirty seconds is sufficient to start burning my fingers, so to save me that discomfort I pop the skinny end of the de-priming tool into the primer hole of the case and comfortably twirl in the candle flame for that thirty seconds - or a bit longer before quenching.

  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #9 - Aug 5th, 2020 at 12:01pm
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I could post a huge essay on annealing plus zillions of links re not requiring quenching but nah...
If people wish to quench, so be it but basically annealing brass is about temperature an time.
Also, if there are concerns re overheating the base get some tempilaq and understand how your method affects the base.
I was present at the range when a guy fired a shot with overcooked brass. It was quite dramatic.
A quote -
"So annealing brass in practice simply involves heating the neck of the case for a few seconds until it hits the required temperature. That's it. There are several machines on the market, including the popular Bench-Source model, that make that process easier and more consistent, but I have yet to try one. Recently, we've also seen some induction based machines come on the market, which is nice since they don't use flame.

To Quench or Not to Quench

Notice that there was no mention of quenching the brass. To anneal brass, all that is required is heat and time. Once you have allowed the structure of the brass to transform, it's done. You can cool it as slowly or as quickly as you like and it won't matter."

The myth that you need to quench brass comes from the requirement to do so when heat treating some kinds of steel. Those steels harden by a very different mechanism that has nothing to do with brass or work hardening at all."

  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #10 - Aug 5th, 2020 at 10:37pm
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Not arguing re-quenching - I largely do it as a pot full of water is a tidy place to dump them when I'm done.
I will admit I'm a little leery of the base getting too hot which is very unlikely with a candle, even with a torch perhaps - so, it's habit ......... and probably a memory from that old Norma Gunbug guide - re tipping over the cases.

Noelf gave quite a nice talk on 'case hardening' which I understood as I operated quite a well set-up 'hardening bay' in Seaview, Petone, but I did get somewhat lost when he said that brass is hardened when it is heated and allowed to cool slow.
To my knowledge brass can only be hardened by working or moving that brass, by work hardening it.
To anneal, it just needs to be brought to temperature which alters the grain structure then quenched, or not quenched - makes no difference.
Temperature makes no real difference either as long as you attain 700 +*F and don't melt it.

My point through all this is pretty much that annealing brass can be complicated or incredibly simple - I just like simple  Smiley

  
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Re: Annealing
Reply #11 - Aug 6th, 2020 at 10:52am
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De-cap first, do nothing else to the case before annealing.
I use the drill, deep socket method (adjust case depth with nuts & washers on the m6 or m8 bolt that you put thru socket base). the depth of the socket prevents you from the flame annealing the base and you are using the quick localised heating method before case has time to conduct heat into the base.
Gas MAP torch, set up in kitchen over sink filled with water (because I can), dim the room (not blacken) during the day.
With spinning you can see the anneal line form and progress along the case where the flame is and with practice know when to stop and when it becomes too hot (not a dull glow but bright red) Also when this line forms you know you are close and ready to "pull out".
Mine is a two part operation done in batches, anneal, followed by case washing (quick neck brush, in and out, dish washing liquid & lemon juice, rinse in hot water) as I don't tumble. nice day out in the sun after a roll in a towel will dry the cases. At some latter date I will do the re-sizing etc.

It's easier done than it sounds
  
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