New Brass, .243 Cracked neck

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by clepidus, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I would vote for a dose of case annealing too. It certainly can't hurt. I bought an older BDL that came with 1,000 or so mixed headstamp brass and a goodly number of it was split at the neck. All of the brass benefitted from annealing.

    Just an FYI: I started using the new Hodgdon Superformance powder behind an 80 gr. Barnes TTSX which brought the velocity of that bullet up to just over 3,600 fps with good accuracy (1/2"). Monday night I shot a good boar hog at 165 yards with it and got a complete pass-through, with good expansion and a huge amount of internal damage. I was frankly impressed with how well it performed. The picture shows the exit wound.

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  2. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    A couple of things:

    First MPro 7 removes all the oil that protects the dies from rusting. It also is a water based solvent which if not fully removed from the dies may itself cause corrosion. Be sure to do something to protect the dies from corrosion after using MPro 7.

    Annealing the brass incorrectly can be dangerous.

    Under no circumstances can the area of the head of the case be heated at all. It has been heat treated to be able to withstand the pressures from the ignition of the powder that can be in the 60,000 psi range.

    You must also use some indicator of the temperature of the case shoulder and neck that you are annealing. Get it wrong and the crystalline structure of the brass changes, making it significantly weaker than when annealed the correct way.

    This annealing process is so critical that I will not do it. When the brass gets to the point where it absolutely needs annealing I replace it with new cases. I wish not to risk my guns or me to save a few bucks. Others here do it regularly and that is fine with me because they get to choose, as I do. I choose not to take the risk.

    LDBennett
  3. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    a question on the 'absolutely no heat' question.

    I'm guessing that is a compairison as to the heat of anealing.. as my us cleaner has a warmer setting, maybee 150' ?

    I know after shooting my gun for any length of time, the brass is hotter than that. after a day at the range.. the brass ejects hotter than that too.
  4. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    soundguy:

    The annealing temperature for cartridge brass is about 650 degrees F. Brass conducts heat pretty fast and if you tried to get the shoulder that hot then the head of the case would approach that too. There is a very narrow temperature range that you want for annealing. Too cold and it won't anneal and too hot and the crystalline state of the brass completely changes and becomes unusable for cartridges. Firing the cases in a gun never gets the brass that hot. That hot, the brass case would glow like red hot steel (some other color though).

    The common way cartridge cases are annealed is to fill a shallow dish with water and stand the case in the water. The level should be well above the head of case, perhaps 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch deep. You then heat the shoulder and neck area to the desired temperature and tip it into the water so that the whole of the case is submerged.

    I think the operation too tricky for me as it is too easy to ruin the cases and not know it, leading to a possible case split during firing, releasing up to 60,000 psi of gases into the chamber and perhaps onto me. It is not worth it to me.

    LDBennett
  5. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    The other concern with annealing is that you will cook the zinc out of the brass, thus destroying the alloy. Zinc is also toxic when inhaled. LDBennet's description on annealing technique is apt, but I've gotten good results using just that procedure. I have seen group sizes shrink, mainly (I believe) to more even neck tension on the projectile. The human eye is amazingly accurate, and I do my annealing in a darkened room to witness the color change during heating.

    One has to weigh the gains versus the risks when handloading. However; if one is careful it is certainly not hard to do. Only you can decide if it's worth it to you.
  6. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    While it is not hard to do, it is tricky to do it right. But suppose you get it wrong. How will you know its wrong until you shoot the ammo and it splits open in the chamber splitting 60,000 psi gas in your face?

    There are temperature sensitive crayons that you can use but getting the heat uniformly around the shoulder and neck can be hard. I have seen several methods and tools but none is fool proof.

    I'm not saying not to do it. There may be some advantages to doing it. But I am saying doing it right is tricky and doing it can be dangerous if you don't do it right.

    Not for me!

    LDBennett
  7. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    And you are right to judge your own abilities and weigh the pros and cons. I wish more people in the world would do just that!
  8. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    and on the flip side of the coin how do you learn a new skill if you never try.. Even if the cases fail the first few times, the firearm is designed to contain the failure provided you use safe loads.

    Heres my method of cartridge case annealing, and Ive never had a case fail in about a half dozen years of case annealing..

    Supplies needed:

    3/8" high speed hand drill
    Lee trimmer stud and lock nut for your cartridge
    Propane or map gas torch
    Small bucket of water

    Chuck the Lee trimmer stud into your drill.
    Take your cleaned rifle cases, and chuck them into the trimmer stud via the lock nut that comes with the LEE trim length gauge for that cartridge.
    Set the torch on the floor in a propane bottle stand or similar secure method so it wont fall over.
    Turn on the torch.
    Spin the casemouth in the torch flame at the hottest point of the flame (google hottest part of a torch flame).
    Watch the casemouth closely as it spins, the flame will begin to turn orange and a second or so later the casemouth will begin to turn dull red.
    PULL IT as soon as you see the mouth begin to turn red and unchuck it from the lock stud and drop it into the bucket of water.
    On to the next case..

    The whole process takes about 4 seconds per case and the results are cases that are perfectly annealed at the neck.

    This is an Art more than an Science, much like old time blacksmithing. I do not bother with tempilaq or fancy thermometers to see how hot im getting my brass. I can take .308 cases out of the lock stud with my fingers afterward.. Yes they are hot and will burn your fingers but not if you handle them quickly. Best to just loosen the lock stud and just shake them loose into the bucket. And for longer cartridges like .25-06 or .30-06 I dont use the water bucket. I just set them into the wooden load blocks to cool.

    Best to dry the wet cases in the oven at 175 degrees for a couple hours.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  9. ejkoechling

    ejkoechling Well-Known Member

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    annealling the brass. Is that where your reshaping the shoulder and neck??
  10. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    no. Thats re-forming. Annealing is the process of using a torch to soften the brass to a more malleable state. It is effective at extending brass life, and is also the process youd perform just before re-forming so your brass doesnt split..
  11. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    hmm.. LDb and lee stuff... I don't forsee this happening.. :)
  12. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

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    I used to blow glass as part of my work; nothing artsy--I'd call it "scientific glass-blowing". I also had to use a device called a "Pyrometer" that was used to precisely heat an object to a specific temperature. What was fascinating is the human eye can hit the temperature needed without one, once you have seen the color you are trying to achieve. JLA is correct in his procedure 'though I perform the operation slightly differently. The net result is properly annealed cases that produce more consistent neck tension and more accurate ammunition, with longer case life.

    There are a myriad of accuracy techniques that can be used in crafting your handloads that frankly don't benefit someone shooting a production rifle. Annealing cases DO provide benefits to the common handloader which I have demonstrated to my own satisfaction. I would not waste my time on pistol or "plinking" ammo. This is for someone who feels they can derive an improvement in accuracy in their centerfire rifle loads from the bench.
  13. LDBennett

    LDBennett Well-Known Member

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    soundguy:

    What? You doubt I would buy or own anything LEE? Well, you are partially right but......

    There are a couple of caliber dies sets, that I use so infrequently and whose cost by anyone else is nearly that of a custom die set, that I have bought in the last few years. I also have bought many of the RIFLE version (not the pistol version!) of the LEE Factory Crimp Dies because it is a very unique and a good design. I don't like the materials choice by LEE as they have been known to gall (similar metal rubbing against each other under a heavy load gall) but the whole design concept is so good I just have to use them. I put up with the galling by maintaining them more than should be necessary.

    But the rest of the LEE stuff is junk, in my opinion. And Lee himself is so very arrogant (just read his book and you will discover that no one else knows how to design reloading tools) that he puts me completely off.

    It is a big world out there and we all get to choose our own fate, mostly and certainly for reloading tools. I just choose mostly not to use LEE stuff and I have loudly told anyone that would listen why.

    LDBennett
  14. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

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    Yeah.. i think hes afraid of fire.
  15. soundguy

    soundguy Well-Known Member

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    i've just seen too many posts stating his disgust for anything lee.. etc...

    My guess is he has way more than plenty+ technical skill for the annealing..
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