can't see the blue
I'm trying to learn to anneal my cases but for the life of me I can't see the darn things turn blue (i sure can see them turn red -- I am not color blind). I have tried in close to dark conditions, but that does not seem to help. I have tried simply timing some cases and then examining them after water cooling, but they don't have the blue tint i see on properly annealed cases.
I COULD BE ALL WET BUT BLUE IS A SURFACE COLORING...not a glow or seen in the dark....
a line of color that would work its way just ahead of the red/orange glow
mike in co
I just started annealing a couple of months ago with an annealer from Bench Source.
A few things I have learned:
Clean cases seem to anneal easier, faster and more uniformly. From what I have read, any contaminant such as oil or carbon on the case acts as an insulator impeading heat flow.
Buy Tempilaq and use it. It will keep you from overheating and is a real confidence builder. Put the 650 degree Tempilaq on the inside of the neck, the torch tends to heat it too fast on the outside and you don't get the color change. 400 degree Tempilaq on the outside helps assure you that the base isn't getting to warm.
I have annealed about 8000 cases so far from .222 up to .50 BMG. The time heating is less than Bench Source instructions recommend to start with but my cases a coming out with coloring just like new Lapua has on it, with the color moving down one quarter to three eights inch below the shoulder.
I have not had the time to check if it is making a real difference in neck tension.
I am even doing new Win. and Rem. brass as that I have bought in the last two years is much harded to push an expander through than the older stuff.
I want to try annealing short cartridges like the .221 and .20 Vartarg but since the machine only air cools I don't know if I can keep from overheating the head.
I do set up to drop the cases in water when they leave the machine, it is not supposed to be necessary but I feel better about it.
IMO unless you have a lot of experience using some sort of "crutch" trying to anneal by eye alone can be difficult, yielding results that are inconsistent. I will say that the progression of color down the case is easier to see on a polished case.
Here is what I suggest. If your cases are of .308 or .223 diameter, get a Hornady annealing kit, and supplement it with some sort of audible timer, so that you can hear the seconds tick off without taking you eyes off the case and flame. A cheap, battery powered metronome set to 60 beats per minute may be the easiest way to do that. Paint a narrow stripe of Templaq down the side of a trial case (that can be cooled and used over and over) and decide where you want the flame to be relative to the case. By putting cases in exactly the same place on the flame, and letting them rotate there for the same number of seconds, you should get repeatable results. After you know the time, the Templaq should not be needed, but you might want to put it on the first few just to make sure that you are doing it right. If you have shined up a few of your cases, ( or all of them if you like) you should be able to see the color below the case shoulder. Be careful about shooting any cases that you have annealed without a way to gauge how far the heat has gone down the case. If their heads were overheated, they could fail under pressure, and you could get seriously hurt. If you do a search using annealing as the search term, on accurateshooter.com, you should find the best article on annealing that I have ever seen. I would suggest that you read it at least a couple of times.
Honestly, color isn't what you want to be looking for when annealing. Annealing, or more correctly stress relieving, is dependent on what temp. you bring the material up to. Whatever color you wind up with after that temp is reached is strictly a byproduct of the composition of those individual cases. The best guide to achieve the temp you want is by using Tempilac Liquid, which melts at a specific temp. Apply the Tempilaq to a couple cases and start a timer as you apply the heat. When the Tempilq melts, note the time. From then on, you can simply heat the cases to the correct time and you know you're at the temp. you wish to achieve, I sit my cases in a common cake pan filled with 1/2" of water to isolate the case heads and act as a heat sink. When they're at the right temp, I tip 'em over in the water to quickly cool 'em. My heating gizmo attaches to a standard propane torch bottle and is in the form of a circle with flame holes on the inside of the ring. Hornady also makes a nice kit for this, though I believe the Templiq supplied with their kit is in the 650 range.
Originally Posted by AMMASHOOTA
For annealing as part of case maintenance, temps. between 450 and 550 (at the neck/shoulder junction) have worked well for me. For more radical case exploits...like blowing the shoulder of a 30BR .240 forward when f-forming my 30 WolfPup cases...I go to 650 degrees.
Midway stocks a good number of Tempilaq products. http://www.midwayusa.com/product/411...86BrandPopProd
For what it's worth.... -Al
Originally Posted by Boyd Allen
Thanks for pointing me to the article. it was quite helpful.
I use a KenLight annealer which makes things very simple once set up. I also use two Tempilaqs. 475 (which is close to the bottom of the heat needed to relieve stress) and 850 (the point of no return). I put both on the same case neck. As long as the 475 melts and the 850 doesn't I'm good to go - again, using Ken Light Annealer. I shoot for a shiny gold color on the case neck/shoulder when done.
Couple extra points: clean your brass before annealling = the heat tends to "bake on" any crud. Also, old brass (gathered at tournaments) is great to use to set up your annealer.
Last edited by Apollo; 07-03-2012 at 07:00 PM.
If you're going to go by color when the torch is being used, use a light shimmery silver color. Put the propane torch on the neck/shoulder junction, & look a bit farther up the neck. When you see that light silver color, quench. You'll probably see the Lapua Blue after quenching.
You will have gone to right about 680-700 degrees with this -- What Al (Nyhus) would call a "right after case forming," annealing, I guess. If I ever get my Phil Bower unit setup, I'll try some of that 475-degree annealing.
It takes a bit of practice, but I do this outside, on a sunny day...
I have found that to be very useful. I didn't have a metronome so I use my laptop near the reload bench and click the 60bps on this page. The louder the better. http://www.metronomeonline.com/
Originally Posted by Boyd Allen
I annealed .222, 22-250, .243, 25-06, .308, 30-06, .300 Win. Mag, and .300 RUM today trying to pay more attention. All, except the .300 RUM, was used brass that I had cleaned in an RCBS tumbler with RCBS cleaning solution and stainless steel pins so it was shiny inside and out.
The used brass showed a subtle change in color but did not have the blue color. The new .300 RUM got the blue color like new Lapua has on it.
My only conclusion is that new brass possibly has some sort of finish that is done at the factory that causes the blue color. About 45 min. in a vibratory tumbler and the blue is gone and it has the subtle color change like used brass.
I need to make better notes when I do stuff, my above statement made it appear that all cases got the blue color, I was wrong.
Using Tempilaq I also discover a slight, 1 or 2 tenths of a second, difference in the heating time on different brands of cases.
Hope this helps someone.
What temperature did you use (or think you used)? I only get the after-annealing mostly brown/ a little blue if I go to 670 or over.
I don't clean my cases before annealing, so I have no idea what would happen with chemically cleaned cases. I have occasionally used Isoso case cleaner afterwards, and the color does go away...
I used the 650 degree Tempilaq on the inside of the neck. I increased time a tenth of a second on the timer till the Tempilaq changed color as it came out of the flame. I suspect, but have no way of knowing, that the annealing moves down the case some when out of the flame since the machine only air cools and the air moves around the bottom 1/2 inch of the case and possibly up through the holes the case sits in.
The new ones are the only ones that got the Lapua blue look. The cleaned cases show a difference in color where the annealing is but they are not blue.
Originally Posted by kansasvet
Unless you are the first to witness "free energy"....... the instant the heat source is removed the case begins to cool.
You're right, just a dumb thought on my part. Easy to see I'm not a brain surgeon or rocket scientist.
Originally Posted by LHSmith
Originally Posted by LHSmith
On the contrary, you are wiser than me......I don't use tempilaq. My experience is: some cases from the same lot never turn any noticeable color, but the majority you can watch the color ring travel gold/brown, usually blue. I have talked to those who have been annealing for years and they found some complete lots of brass never turn blue. I have learned to monitor the weight of the propane cylinders in an effort to maintain a consistent flame.....I switch to a new tank when propellant gets beyond 1/2 full.
Last edited by LHSmith; 07-06-2012 at 06:17 AM.