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Thank you very much for posting that.
I have never been sure of how hot, or how far down the case to go.
Now I know. :)
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I'm going to "stick" it for now as we get a lot of requests for this type of information. Thanks for the effort.
 

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Well done!

I use a propane torch and a cordless screwdriver w/ socket bit. I put the case in the socket, rotate in the torch flame, then discard into a pan when the "color-change" takes place. I let the brass cool at room temp without quenching in water. FWIW....
 

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I got one of those little butane torches at Radio Shack. I use Ronson butane refills purchased at Walmart. I turn the brass on bamboo stickers, a package lasts forever. Put the sticker in the primer pocket till it wedges. I keep an old coffee can half full of water and a folding up terry cloth to drop the brass...then with the lights turned down I twist the brass with the neck in the flame. When the brass takes on a dull glow I immerse it in the water briefly and then dump it on the terry cloth to dry. It is a mistake to let it get too hot (red).
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Brass doesn't care how fast it cools in the annealing process. It is the heating, not the cooling.

Cooling quickly keeps the head from getting hot. That's the only benefit.

That it needs to be dunked in water to soften is an old wive's tale that can't seem to die.
 

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That it needs to be dunked in water to soften is an old wive's tale that can't seem to die.
That sounds right to me. As I understand it, the water is solely for the purpose of making sure that the annealing doesn't go farther down the case than it should.
 

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John Barsness posted a method of annealing using a candle and I've used it and it works very well and is also quick and easy. I copied several posts of his from another forum of him talking about the method:



First, brass doesn't need to be quick-cooled after annealing, unlike other metals. You can just let it air-cool, and the result will be the same as when dunking in water. The only reason to cool it quickly (or stand cases up in water when using a torch) is to keep the head of the case from being annealed as well.

Annealing with the candle method doesn't risk the head being softened, but wiping the necks with a damp towel gets rid of the candle-soot before it hardens.

Most older methods of annealing got the neck too hot, making it too soft. The candle method was developed by Fred Barker, a retired metallurgist, and gets the necks just soft enough. So does the Hornady annealing kit, and for the same reason: Heat paint is used. (Fred used heat paint to develop the candle method.)

In typical handloading, the neck of a case is worked three times per firing: one when fired, once when necked down, and once when bumped over the expander ball (or belled when loading straight cases). This quickly work-hardens the neck, the reason necks often crack after about 5 loadings. If you just toss brass after that many loadings then no, annealing isn't necessary, but if you want to load them more, then it is.

Also, if necks aren't all about the same hardness (or softness, pick your term) then accuracy tends to suffer because neck tension on the bullet varies. Annealing a batch of brass makes them consistent.

It's a really simple method. All you do is hold the case halfway down the body, then hold the neck in the blue tip of the candle flame until the case is too hot to hold.

Obviously this takes a different amount of time with different cases--and unless the feeling in your fingertips differs vastly from average, it works. Fred worked it out with a variety of cases.

Brass will actually anneal at 600 degrees, but it takes an hour. 725-750 is a lot quicker. Generally it takes about 10 seconds or so in the tip of a candle flame.

But I have also never had a case-neck crack since I started using the method several years ago.
 

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I've read that quick cooling stops grain growth, which can continue after the peak temperature is lost, further reducing tensile strength. However, I suspect that is mainly an issue with thick brass that holds its heat longer. I'm not convinced there is time for it to do much in thin brass. It would take some experimenting to see.

If you look at brass hardness curves for samples held at temperature for an hour, you find that stress relieving happens between 250°C and 300°C (482°F and 572°F) before Rockwell hardness goes down much, before grain growth starts, and when tensile strength is only reduced by about 40%. Heating further softens and weakens the brass more.
 

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I'd think it does. When using a torch or something like that that gets the brass much hotter than a candle, I can see where that'd be important to keep it from reaching the case head. Using the candle method it's not an issue as you only hold it until it's too hot to.
 

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Home annealing lash-up...

Cartridges are 300WSM and 300RUM. Cheap 17mm socket on a cheap 3/8-drive, six-inch extension. Cut off female portion of extension; file down in a lathe or drill to a skosh less than 3/8 so it will fit in your cordless drill. Weld drive end of extension into socket. Push a bit of newspaper down into the socket to get the case to stick out far enough to get the Bernz-o-matic on the mouth all good an' all. I have found each type of case will stick a bit if there is no paper in there because the bottom of the socket [I used] has a round portion down there which pinches the head just a bit, just enough to keep the shell from dropping out freely once the heatin' is done. Another thing: If that paper starts smokin', you is puttin' too much heat on it. Shorten the time under the flame...
 

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Deleted post. Pictures no longer available...
 

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The easiest method I've found is the one taught by my mentor ! Stand your deprimed brass in a cake pan of water that's about half way up the case . Heat the necks with a hand held propane torch ( Berns o Matic ) . When they change color tip them over and you're done ! Heat on at a time of course , it only takes a couple of seconds .
 

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I use a baking pan filled with water fill the cases to about 1/8" below the start of shoulder.
Heat until an even dull red and simply knock the case into the water has worked for me for years. And I can do about 100 cases in less than an hour
 
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