Annealing

Annealing

This is a discussion on Annealing within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; I had heard that when you reload at some point the casings will need to be annealed. What exactly is this, how can it be ...

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Thread: Annealing

  1. #1
    Member Array Danger Mouse's Avatar
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    Annealing

    I had heard that when you reload at some point the casings will need to be annealed. What exactly is this, how can it be done, and most important, when?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    Try this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annealing_(metallurgy)

    Personally, I've never heard of anyone doing it to spent brass.

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  3. #3
    Member Array Danger Mouse's Avatar
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    OK, I thought I had heard or it, I could be wrong. Whats the life expectancy of say a .45 ACP casing?
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    I don't have reloading equipment, but used to use my Dad's when I lived with my parents.
    I remember loading the same .38 Special / .357 Mag brass at least 5 or 6 times... I'll ask my dad next time I talk to him. Just make sure the cases aren't too thin/long, and don't show any signs of overpressure.

    I've never loaded for an autoloader (yet).

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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    http://www.6mmbr.com/annealing.html

    Annealing in brass helps restore the brass to a softer, workable state. It is done by heating it to a specific temperature (usually with a torch) and allowing it to cool. After shooting a cartridge, and resizing it on the dies, it gets harder and does not like to have its shape changed more. If you then continue this cycle of shooting and resizing, it hardens and causes stress to build up. Annealing helps return the brass to its virgin state and extend its usable life.

    This is not going to be a big deal if you plan to shoot it a couple of times and get rid of it. If you plan to get the most out of every cartridge a serious cleaning and annealing method seems valuable.

    *note that annealing in Brass (and non ferrous metals) is quite different than annealing in steel.
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  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array nutz4utwo's Avatar
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    oh and watch out for live primer and powder when you are heating cases!
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  7. #7
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    Moved this into reloading.

    It is not (IMO) worth bothering about with pistol cases but - one old favorite method used for valuable bottle neck rifle cases was to fill cases approx 2/3, 3/4 full of water and stand them in a tray of same water depth - then play a flame (MAP torch is good) over the mouth and neck exposed areas.

    Repeated forming of brass work-hardens it and it becomes embrittled - not so good at stretching without splitting ... and it is in the thinner most worked area - top of case and neck where most hardening occurs. A small split will render bullet seating useless as no neck hold remaining adequately.

    Once cases are treated to anneal - they will gain that sometimes familiar patterning color we see on factory rounds or more often maybe with mil stuff. If I had say, 7mm mag cases that had been used a few times, then this treatment could well extend useful life enough to warrant the time and effort.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Array ridurall's Avatar
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    I used to do it when making 30 Belted Newton brass from 300 H&H brass. It would tend to get worked hardened and I would do just as P95carry wrote about the 3/4 full of water in a pan.
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    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    For 45 Auto brass, you will loose it before it will wear out. My uncle is still using 45 Auto brass marked from 1947.

    Case annealing is mostly case neck annealing. You want the case head to remain hard. You can anneal the neck to soften it up to promote longer life. Unless this is for a bolt gun, wildcat, or hard to find brass, annealing is a waste of time.

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    not that im a metallurgist or anything... oh wait.. i am a metallurgist.
    simply put: annealing is heating the metal up to make it softer.
    not as simply put: when metal is cold worked- deformed- such as resizing casings, dislocations in the metal form and move around, making it stronger, but also very brittle (causes casings to split eventually). when the metal is heated, these dislocations get to move around and relieve a lot of internal stress. grains grow much bigger, etc. this will lower the strength of the metal (not so important for us here), and increase ductility (what we want).
    as far as reloading goes: for handguns casings, not so important. it takes quite a while for the brass to get brittle enough to start splitting and such. its just not worth it.
    annealing is done most often for rifle cartridges where it often splits at the next and casings are harder to get. people generally do it with a torch. its impossible to actually tell what temp you are annealing at and time. and even if you did, to do it correctly you would have to look up a bunch of data, or know how to read some fun graphs and such. if you really want to get into this doing rifle reloading, read into it a LOT, or its very likely that you will either torch your brass to long or not long enough and just ruin it anyways.

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Sounds like bullet casting is up your alley.

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array friesepferd's Avatar
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    hehe. yea. i do enough of it at school and work.
    im sure ill get into it soon enough.
    actually, i just made my first few rounds last night. finally got my 9mm dies in the mail. cant wait to try em out.
    (i have made plenty of .45 and such, but they werent MINE. theres a diff)

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    Question for friesepferd: I heard stories that nickel-plated cases will crack much faster than regular brass ones. Is it a rumor or is it true?
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  14. #14
    VIP Member Array Tubby45's Avatar
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    Rumor. I use a lot of nickel brass in 10mm. They have seen over a dozen full power loads with no chipping or splitting.

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    Thanks Tubmeister!
    You have to make the shot when fire is smoking, people are screaming, dogs are barking, kids are crying and sirens are coming.
    Randy Cain.

    Ego will kill you. Leave it at home.
    Signed: Me!

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