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annealing in an oven?


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#1 Ronb

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:04 AM

Yesterday while I searching in vain for a recycle place that would buy misc. calibre brass, one of the guys I called asked if I annealed my brass. When I said I didn't anneal mine, he stated he puts his brass on a cookie sheet and puts them in the oven on 400 deg. for about 20 minutes.

First off, does annealing do that much to lengthen the life of brass? And has anyone tried the oven method?
Also if you anneal your brass, can you tumble them back to being shiny or are they forever discolored?
I have only heard of it done one piece at a time with a propane torch.

#2 skb2706

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 08:21 AM

The guy you talked to probably didn't realize that annealing should only be done to the top third of a brass case. Neck and shoulders only, possibly a bit more if you are doing some radical case forming. Thats not possible in my oven. I don't do it unless i am case forming or experience neck splits in otherwise good brass.

#3 Goofycat

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 09:25 AM

Propane, yes, but IIRC, you need a special tip that forces the flame to surround the neck evenly. Propane is much hotter than the ordinary gas of the type used for stoves, home heating, etc., so you have to be careful with it and not over-heat the brass. Propane will melt nickels and will burn gold because IIRC it gets up to 2500 degrees.....much more than the 400 degree oven experiment, which in my opinion will not anneal anything. But....I could be wrong.

#4 MarinePMI

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:51 AM

GC,

You don't need a special tip for annealing with a torch, it just helps some. You should NOT be annealing brass in the oven, as it will soften the entire case (as mentioned already) and could lead to a ruputered case head (read: bad juju!).

NG does burn lower than LP, but not by that much (a couple hundered degrees) to make a difference when annealing. It's all about the temp of the metal, not the flame itself...
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#5 Jerry

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:15 PM

What is the optimal temperature for annealing cases? Theres a problem in the motorsports industry with that single variable alone, welding 4130 chromoly chassis tubes. I was at a seminar at the now BLOWN UP airgas plant in St. Louis where it was brought up.

Welders would anneal the metal and they would know they reached the correct temperature when it was "cherry red". Ok, what is cherry red? Is it the same working in the pit with the sun shining on it? How bout in the shop? Is the shop well lit or is there a dark corner where it is done? blink.gif See where I'm going here?

PMI described it well, its not the heat of the flame, its the ability to maintain the optimal temperature, and a uniform zone around the section of the case that needs it.

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#6 MarinePMI

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 01:32 PM

Jerry,

There is a coating you can purchase that will inidicate the correct temperature by color change. The "shade tree" method is (in a dark room) when it reaches a dull cherry red (would that be turnip or red potato red? tongue.gif ) you should quench it. Another method is to stand the cases in water about half way up (as a heat sink) and anneal that way.

In theory, you shouldn't go hotter as the zinc (as I understand it) get's burnt off resulting in ruined brass (if the zinc is gone, I'd assume it'd be some impure form of copper, right?).

Varmint Al has a pretty good webpage describing it. You should be able to google it...worth reading and (to some extent) trying...

Edited by MarinePMI, 16 January 2008 - 01:35 PM.

MarinePMI
"Despite our ever-changing, ever-indignant world with its growing ignorance of and indifference to the ways of the wild, I remain a predator, pitying those who revel in artificiality and sythentic success while regarding me and my kind as relics of a time and place no longer valued or understood. I stalk a real world of dark wood and tall grass stirred by a restless wind blowing across sunlit water and beneath star-strewn sky. And on those occasions when I choose to kill,....I do so by choice, quickly, and with the learned efficiency of a skilled hunter." -- M. R. James

#7 Red

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 02:02 PM

the Woodchuck Den seels a nice annealing tip. A handy guy could make one himself though.

http://www.woodchuckden.com/


Edited by Red, 16 January 2008 - 02:05 PM.

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#8 Ronb

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:53 PM

Thanks for all the replys folks...all the info I just read makes my head hurt!! lol
I have learned the neck and shoulder but not the rest of the case needs be heated but not to the extent that the zinc is removed from the case, something about cherry or red potato red, special tips, no oven, and something about a shadetree LOL
I don't think annealing is a step that I will mess with until the kids are raised and I am hopefully retired.

#9 Red

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:05 PM

It's really no big deal and takes only a few minutes. The key is not overheating and cooling quickly.

Todd Kindler told me that pretty much ALL brass made today is too hard and should be annealed. I don't do it but he's probably right.

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#10 303Guy

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 10:04 PM

I did something similar once. I dried some cases in an oven and forgot about them. They got annealed! I actually test fired one and was it ever annealed! The case head swelled 'quite a bit'. I lost about fifty cases.

#11 ShooterJohn

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:00 AM

I use a Ken Light BC-1000 automatic case annealer. It does them without me having to makes sure I don't overdue the heating. Plus I don't burn my finger anymore.


#12 Red

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:06 PM

WOW!!! that's the berries.

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#13 Bayou City Boy

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Posted 18 January 2008 - 01:25 PM

Yikes....!!!

Annealing in the oven would be kin to playing Russian Roulette with all six cylinders loaded... blink.gif

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#14 sscoyote

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Posted 19 January 2008 - 05:15 PM

There's a good article on it by Ken Howell over at 24hourcampfire.com. Here's a link to it--

http://24hourcampfir.../annealing.html