case annealing options

mitdr774mitdr774 MemberPosts: 846 Senior Member
edited March 6 in General Firearms #1
Currently I use a homemade rig with two torches and a pivot to pass a case through the flames.  While it works, it is not ideal and is not a very consistent way of annealing cases.  I have been looking at different options from a ready built setup using motors to hot salt systems. Im not super excited about a vessel of molten salt being in my work area, but am not opposed to the idea.  It would require doing my annealing outside though so as to minimize potential risk.  This method would also require that i only devote my attention to the annealing process.  Of the several propane torch setups I have looked at online, they all seem to be the same concept, but with different prices.  Having never had my hands on any of them I can only go by reviews, which can be a bit dodgy sometimes.


What have you guys used and how did it work for you?



I should add that this is mainly for my .458x1.8 cases, but I also need to be able to do longer cases such as my 6.5x55.  I doubt I will ever use my .458 WM or .300 WM brass enough to need to anneal it.

Replies

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,829 Senior Member
    A propane torch and a baking pan full of water...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 18,657 Senior Member
    I normally lose them before I get to the the point they need to be annealed
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 10,039 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    A propane torch and a baking pan full of water...
    That's the way I do it.  Just tip the round over once you get it hot enough.  Although I haven't done it in years, so I'm going on memory alone.
    Not too many problems you can't fix
    With a 1911 and a 30-06
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 846 Senior Member
    Jayhawker said:
    A propane torch and a baking pan full of water...
    Gene L said:
    That's the way I do it.  Just tip the round over once you get it hot enough.  Although I haven't done it in years, so I'm going on memory alone.
    I have not tried this method yet.  My intention is to eliminate the human error factor from this.  My current setup works okay enough for small batches at a time, but is very inconsistent as far as amount of time spent being heated and its not a consistent amount of heat around the whole case.  I figure re arranging the setup with a third torch head would even out the heating around the case, but it just adds more complexity and bits in the way.  Since I am cutting just about all the factory annealed section of the case off when I trim for the length I need, I would like a uniform annealing across all my cases.

    knitepoet said:
    I normally lose them before I get to the the point they need to be annealed
    This is mostly for when I make my brass for the .458x1.8.  I have not had a chance to loose it yet.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,548 Senior Member

    I could never figure out the role water plays in the annealing process of some people.


    I use a Giraud Annealer where I can load it with hundreds of cases and let it do its thing.  I babysit it because I do it inside and I don't walk away from an open flame, but does its thing very nicely.  I set it to about 8 seconds per case.

  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 846 Senior Member
    My understanding of the intention behind the water in the pan is to keep the body and head of the case from excessive heat.  It makes sense to me in that aspect.

    Have you had to make any modifications to your Giraud?   I have heard of people adding voltage displays to have a repeatable speed setting on a lot of the motorized machines.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,548 Senior Member

    Water is a very poor conductor of heat, especially compared to brass, so immersing the case in water does very little to nothing to prevent the body and head from excessive heat.


    As for the Giraud, I have not done anything to mine; I took it out of the box, attached a bottle to it and started playing with the speed setting to get the required time set.  I believe early or earlier models had issues with the rheostat, but that was addressed by the time Doug shipped me my unit.

  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 846 Senior Member
    I will have to look into that as an option.  Thank you for your opinion on the Giraud you have.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,422 Senior Member
    Water is a poor conductor of heat, especially when compared to brass. The secret lies in the ratio of brass to water. A cake pan with 3 lbs of water into which you insert an eighth pound of brass (each individual piece weighs practically nothing above waterline), and you're gonna have a very difficult time getting anything below waterline much warmer than the ambient temp of the water. 

    I water quench 3oz. chunks of 1800F stainless steel in a  plastic 5 gallon Home Depot bucket all the time. While there are, admittedly, a few "dents" in the bottom, nothing's come close to burning through.

    It's all about the ratio.

    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • jbohiojbohio Senior Member Posts: 5,499 Senior Member
    My father in law has an Annealeez.  He's happy with it.  I've used it, it works just fine.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,548 Senior Member
    Water is a poor conductor of heat, especially when compared to brass. The secret lies in the ratio of brass to water. A cake pan with 3 lbs of water into which you insert an eighth pound of brass (each individual piece weighs practically nothing above waterline), and you're gonna have a very difficult time getting anything below waterline much warmer than the ambient temp of the water. 

    I water quench 3oz. chunks of 1800F stainless steel in a  plastic 5 gallon Home Depot bucket all the time. While there are, admittedly, a few "dents" in the bottom, nothing's come close to burning through.

    It's all about the ratio.

    Mike


    Water does nothing for quenching brass during the annealing process, unlike steel.  That said, sticking a piece of brass in water and the putting a torch to it is akin to using the brass has a heating element for water, just like a tea kettle.


    The annealing process for brass stops as soon as the heat source is removed so water quenching is not needed; it just makes the brass wet and that's another thing you have to deal with.


    But if it works for you, go for it; why mess with success.

  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,727 Senior Member
    Pegasus said:
    Water is a poor conductor of heat, especially when compared to brass. The secret lies in the ratio of brass to water. A cake pan with 3 lbs of water into which you insert an eighth pound of brass (each individual piece weighs practically nothing above waterline), and you're gonna have a very difficult time getting anything below waterline much warmer than the ambient temp of the water. 

    I water quench 3oz. chunks of 1800F stainless steel in a  plastic 5 gallon Home Depot bucket all the time. While there are, admittedly, a few "dents" in the bottom, nothing's come close to burning through.

    It's all about the ratio.

    Mike


    Water does nothing for quenching brass during the annealing process, unlike steel.  That said, sticking a piece of brass in water and the putting a torch to it is akin to using the brass has a heating element for water, just like a tea kettle.


    The annealing process for brass stops as soon as the heat source is removed so water quenching is not needed; it just makes the brass wet and that's another thing you have to deal with.


    But if it works for you, go for it; why mess with success.

    I 'think' Mike is referring to dropping the case in water after heating the neck to anneal it. He'll have to expand on his statement for confirmation, though.

    Now as to that bolded part of your post. You're wrong as to heat transfer stopping as soon as heat is removed. You can do a simple experiment to confirm. Take a 6 inch piece of #14 copper wire and stick it in a candle flame while holding the other end between thumb and index finger. Bet you don't hold it long. Heat transfers fast in brass and copper, and it WILL flow from hottest to coldest part of brass. You might fool yourself, but you can't fool physics of heat transfer.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,548 Senior Member
    tennmike said:
    I 'think' Mike is referring to dropping the case in water after heating the neck to anneal it. He'll have to expand on his statement for confirmation, though.

    Now as to that bolded part of your post. You're wrong as to heat transfer stopping as soon as heat is removed. You can do a simple experiment to confirm. Take a 6 inch piece of #14 copper wire and stick it in a candle flame while holding the other end between thumb and index finger. Bet you don't hold it long. Heat transfers fast in brass and copper, and it WILL flow from hottest to coldest part of brass. You might fool yourself, but you can't fool physics of heat transfer.


    I totally agree with you and we are saying essentially the same thing.  The thing is that annealing starts at about 500F, and there is a close relationship between time and temperature.  So at 500F, it would take hours to anneal a case, whereas it takes about 8 seconds or so at 750F.  As soon as you take away the flame, the annealing process slows down rapidly, essentially stopping as the brass radiates a lot of heat.


    On another forum, someone was arguing that he could anneal a case using a single candle while holding the case with his bare fingers.  My thinking was that all he was doing is warming up the case for some unknown reason; plainly deluding himself.

  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 14,829 Senior Member
    Just for the sake of conversation...how much did your annealing set up cost? 


    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,939 Senior Member
    Check this one out - Bench Source:  http://bench-source.com/id81.html

    My Dad does a lot of oddball black powder era stuff and for those guns, you frequently have to make Cartridge Case B by re-forming Cartridge Case A.

    He acquired this Bench Source unit about a year ago now and has been very happy with it.  It seems to be a pretty good company to deal with as well - early on, one of the little circuits/transistors/microchip switchy things blew.  He said it would have been easy enough to replace had they sent him one, but Bench Source said "Nuts" to that and paid shipping to swap out the entire machine.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • Johnny rebJohnny reb Member Posts: 426 Member
    The annealing made perfect which is very pricey$$$. Is the best thing I’ve used. I do not own one because of the price. I have used a buddy’s and I’m tempted to put the sheclkles together to purchase one. If someone does a lot of annealing and wants everything g extremely consistent this is it.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 25,727 Senior Member
    Bigslug said:
    Check this one out - Bench Source:  http://bench-source.com/id81.html

    My Dad does a lot of oddball black powder era stuff and for those guns, you frequently have to make Cartridge Case B by re-forming Cartridge Case A.

    He acquired this Bench Source unit about a year ago now and has been very happy with it.  It seems to be a pretty good company to deal with as well - early on, one of the little circuits/transistors/microchip switchy things blew.  He said it would have been easy enough to replace had they sent him one, but Bench Source said "Nuts" to that and paid shipping to swap out the entire machine.
    Mikey likey! That looks like a nice machine.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.


  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,978 Senior Member
    I use a Bench Source
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 846 Senior Member
    Any idea on pricing for the Bench Source?  I do not see it on their website, just a click here for availability and pricing, which sends you to a contact page.  

    Annealeze is around $300

    MRB is around $450

    Giraud is around $500
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 6,939 Senior Member
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • mitdr774mitdr774 Member Posts: 846 Senior Member
    I like the layout of the Bench Source.  It is the costliest of the bunch in this thread.  Hopefully it lives up to the expectations.  I will have 100 pieces of .458x1.8 brass ready for initial annealing by the time it arrives.  Turns out my initial idea wasnt working so good.  Some of my first pieces of brass are cracking when I started loading the heavy cast leads.  
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.