A lesson in needing to anneal

MikeN

Member
I took my Contender in 7-30 Waters to the range yesterday to shoot up some re-loads that I had loaded a couple of years ago. These were once fired 30-30's that I ran through my 7-30 sizer die and were fire forming. About half of the cases split in the neck, some worse than others, different brands of cases, Winchester, Federal, and Remington. I've done this in the past with good luck but not so this time. I should have annealed the case necks before sizing them, but curious why problems this time and not in the past. One thing that might have affected outcome is that the powder that I used in most of them was some 50 year old IMR 4895 that shows the slightest sign of starting to go bad. I have read that old power left for a period loaded can affect the brass. Some of the rounds were loaded with about the same age H-335 and some of them split also, which surprised me as I thought that the double based spherical powders were not as prone to deteriorate. Should have annealed first, but still???
 

L Ross

Well-Known Member
I took my Contender in 7-30 Waters to the range yesterday to shoot up some re-loads that I had loaded a couple of years ago. These were once fired 30-30's that I ran through my 7-30 sizer die and were fire forming. About half of the cases split in the neck, some worse than others, different brands of cases, Winchester, Federal, and Remington. I've done this in the past with good luck but not so this time. I should have annealed the case necks before sizing them, but curious why problems this time and not in the past. One thing that might have affected outcome is that the powder that I used in most of them was some 50 year old IMR 4895 that shows the slightest sign of starting to go bad. I have read that old power left for a period loaded can affect the brass. Some of the rounds were loaded with about the same age H-335 and some of them split also, which surprised me as I thought that the double based spherical powders were not as prone to deteriorate. Should have annealed first, but still???
I'll bet it was the lack of annealing, not the age of the powder.
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
I agree powder didnt do it directly. We all know that firing a case work hardens it. So does sizing it! Reforming is quite stressful to the brass. Brass is quite elastic and can get brittle. Annealing kinda brings things back closer to neutral.

I form basically two calibers. But when I had a 7/30 I didnt have issue. My 6.5/06 would crack necks just sitting in there boxes on the shelves!! (Before annealing) occasionally my 7.65 would as well. Since regular and proper annealing this is a thing of the past.

CW
 
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L Ross

Well-Known Member
I found REM-UMC factory loaded .30-40 Krag ammo that was cracked in the box. Yet when I pulled the bullets from the non cracked cases, punched out the primers and annealed that brass they did not crack subsequently. I am a fan of annealing. Even after annealing 600 plus vintage .25-20 cases. Those little buggers put your fingers close to the flame.
 

Rick H

Well-Known Member
I had a batch of brass splitting with 7x30 waters formed from WW 30-30's once fired. Lost about 1/2 of them after the first firing as 7x30's.
After that I anneal after sizing but before fire forming and seem to have solved the problem.
 

Spindrift

Well-Known Member
I did a little test today, to see to what degree annealing affected the accuracy of my informal, recreational shooting at 100m. I had a batch of Norma 30-06 cases, about to be fired for the 20th time. I annealed half of them, and shot five 5-shot groups each @ 100m with annnealed/unannealed cases, respectively. 50 shots total. Most of the bullets were left-overs from my early production. Bullet quality was not optimal (evidence of variable mould temp, and handle pressure).

Accuracy was a bit dissapointing, 1,5 MOA average. It was also the same with annealed vs unannealed brass.

It seems that annealing does not matter much at 100m, as long as the accuracy potential is not better than 1,5 MOA average. At least with my annealing technique (torch/fingers).
 

Joshua

Taco Aficionado/Salish Sea Pirate/Part-Time Dragon
Basically the same story as everyone else in this thread. When I started working with 7.7x58mm I formed some up using 70’s era military 30-06 as feedstock. Didn’t anneal. Of the ones I fired, I lost half to shoulder splits. So I pulled down the rest and learned how to anneal them. I don’t get shoulder splits anymore when fire forming.

I have to admit that I did it again another time. The brass had been formed months before. I normally form and then anneal. Well this batch hadn’t been annealed. So I split some more necks, and had to tear down some more loaded ammo. Hopefully I have learned my lesson.
 

waco

Springfield, Oregon
I have the means to easily and quickly anneal rife brass so all brass just gets done after each firing. I figure it can't hurt anything and consistency equals accuracy.
 

Joshua

Taco Aficionado/Salish Sea Pirate/Part-Time Dragon
I think it is more uniform than some of the non-mechanized propane torch methods.
While this induction method appears to be very uniform. I would politely disagree that annealing by hand cannot be done in a uniform manner. With a little thought and a metronome of some sort, or a clock with a second hand, annealing “by hand” can be very controlled.

I use a cell phone metronome app (set to one second intervals), drill motor w/ 90° handle pivot, 1/4” hex to 3/8” socket adapter, deep well socket, water bucket, and a propane torch. The torch stays in one position so the tip of the inner flame cone is just touching the shoulder. Torch is set to the lowest reliable flame. The drill motor pivots up to load, pivots to 20° above horizontal to heat, and pivots down to dump.

The distance to the torch is controlled, this is important because there are very different temperatures generated in the flame plume. The heating time is controlled. I also control the drill motor rotation speed with a piece of tape on the trigger.

Spin, heat/count, and dump.

I didn’t buy anything.

I can’t remember where I read the article, but the author was a winning 1000 yard Palma competition shooter. His method only used the metronome, the drill was hand held.

Here is a picture of my drill motor pivot mount. It clamps to my bench upright, the torch sits on the bench and isn’t moved once annealing begins for that batch. I have been using the Coleman lantern propane bottles because they are short and stable.
 

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waco

Springfield, Oregon
Very possible Josh. I have no doubts in your set up. I’m just saying I can set my machine and get exact results down to a fraction of a second that is absolutely repeatable and knock out 200 cases in the time it takes to drink a cold one.
I did the hand drill and torch for some time as well with very good results.
 

Rick

Moderator
Staff member
I like Rocky's idea. Only downside I can think of is to use a coil small enough to keep it close to the case all the way around it could be difficult to keep off the brass every time. As the video shows, that's a no no.
 

Joshua

Taco Aficionado/Salish Sea Pirate/Part-Time Dragon
I’m cheap! I freely admit that there are faster/better ways. I just can’t see spending the money on them right now. Right now my money is getting spent on tooling for the new lathe and the old funky mill! I can buy an Aloris knock-off tool holder set, or a four jaw chuck for $220.

For my level of shooting. The annealing method that I use is uniform, and inexpensive. It’s sufficient.

Lacking a thorough hardness test of two batches of brass, one automatic, and the other hand annealed, I really have no solid evidence to prove that my way is truly uniform when compared to other methods. I’m gonna stay on the artful side of this debate.

Maybe I’ll build an automatic annealer someday.
 

L Ross

Well-Known Member
Torch, fingers, and eyes. I can count in my head and my fingers tell me when the head is getting too hot to hold comfortably, and my eyes focus on the case mouth in the dim light I anneal in.
 

Joshua

Taco Aficionado/Salish Sea Pirate/Part-Time Dragon
Do those finger have an up to date calibration certificate?
 
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fiver

Well-Known Member
I run the machine too.
set it, keep it full of cases, and empty the bucket when it gets full.
 

MikeN

Member
Thank you all for the insight! I have been wanting to get started annealing brass for some time. Have looked at some of the commercial rigs for sale. Curious, what machine are you using Waco and Fiver? Again thanks for the tips.
 

CWLONGSHOT

Residing in New England
Torch, fingers, and eyes. I can count in my head and my fingers tell me when the head is getting too hot to hold comfortably, and my eyes focus on the case mouth in the dim light I anneal in.
100%. Been doing this since shown to me over thirty years ago. Dull straw color & ya need near dark ta see.
Most folks use too much heat too long. Ya aint likely ta burn your own fingers on purpose. :)
And yes Josh, mine have been previous certified for a number of uses. ;)

CW
 
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