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Annealing aftermath

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philtno View Drop Down
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    Posted: September 13 2020 at 8:19pm
Hi guys,
I would need you expert advice on what I just noticed after annealing my brass.
The brass i'm using are HXP (1969 -1976) and, for a big part of them, they have been reloaded around 10-12 times before the first full length and around 15 times before annealing was necessary.
I started annealing after having noticed that neither full length nor neck sizing was giving me the minimum neck tension...projectiles would sink into the brass.
After annealing I tried to neck size with the Lee Neck sizing die but the end result was not what I expected as the neck was literally collapsing into the shoulder....obviously the brass had become too soft.
I tried to full length size other brass from the same batch and the problem did not occur at all.  I tried the lee Loader way as well..same, no issue of neck collapsing.
Question: would this solve over time?? meaning, will the brass get some of its stiffness back over time after a couple of shots? I don't quite like full length-size them as it gives me too many case head separation.
Thanks
Philtno

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BJ72 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BJ72 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 3:16am
Hi philtno
If you haven't done so already, check your Lee collet die hasn't become stuck closed. If your press ram has closed on the collet die at any time without a she!! in place, the collet can bind on the mandrel and stay shut. It essentially stops the case neck from entering the die when you go to use it next and what you described will happen. It may have nothing to do with your annealing at all. If in doubt, pull the collet die apart and give it a clean. It only takes a minute.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 5:04am
I’ve not had this problem of sizing dies not producing sufficient neck tension.  Normally, annealing will slightly reduce the neck tension and make it more consistent, but still plenty of grip on the bullet (cant be pushed into the neck by hand).   The normal reloading cycle work hardens the brass making it stronger and will slightly increase bullet grip.  

BJ72 had a good thought, make sure the collet on the Lee die is not stuck closed, or partially closed.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 6:13am
What temps did you heat too, & how did you measure it?
Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 8:44am
Do not use this brass if there is a risk you annealed the case head, it can rupture.  You should see discolored circumferential rings just below the neck.  It only takes 4 or 5 seconds to anneal the necks in the torch flame. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 9:37am
This is what the finished result should look like.

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:31pm
Originally posted by BJ72 BJ72 wrote:

Hi philtno
If you haven't done so already, check your Lee collet die hasn't become stuck closed. If your press ram has closed on the collet die at any time without a she!! in place, the collet can bind on the mandrel and stay shut. It essentially stops the case neck from entering the die when you go to use it next and what you described will happen. It may have nothing to do with your annealing at all. If in doubt, pull the collet die apart and give it a clean. It only takes a minute.
Hi BJ,
Yes, that has been checked. 
Thanks for your input Wink
Cheers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:34pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

What temps did you heat too, & how did you measure it?
I can't say what the temperature was......I used a blow torch and open the gate enough to have a nice blue pointy flame....and put the neck of the case only under the flame for 5-6 seconds.
Basically replicating what tens of videos are showing...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:38pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

The normal reloading cycle work hardens the brass making it stronger and will slightly increase bullet grip.  
It's weird what you say as my experience is the complete opposite!!
brass reloaded just a couple of time have plenty of neck tension while, with time, some of them start having very loose grip....to the point where the projectile is sinking in the case, even after either neck sizing or even full length sizing.!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:39pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:

Do not use this brass if there is a risk you annealed the case head, it can rupture.  You should see discolored circumferential rings just below the neck.  It only takes 4 or 5 seconds to anneal the necks in the torch flame. 
I was aware of that issue and made sure I was not putting anything more than just the neck and the very top of the shoulder under the flame.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:42pm
Originally posted by Shamu Shamu wrote:

This is what the finished result should look like.

Hi Shamu,
yes that's what they look like, at least for the commercial brands i.e. PPU, S&B or winchester....the HXP are apparently made of a different type of brass as the discoloration is not that obvious.  It's much more subtle... to the point where it's barely visible.  and those are the one that are collapsing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote britrifles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 2:43pm
Something not right that we are missing.  The whole reason to anneal is to remove the work hardening of the brass.  Do they size correctly in a FL die? 

I once grabbed the box of 168 gr .308 SMK bullets to load in the .303 cases and had that issue...


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Shamu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 3:51pm
Agreed theres something not right.

Firing the brass "works" it, making it harder & more Brittle.
Reshaping it "works" it, making it harder & more Brittle.

That's why we anneal, because annealing changes the structure to remove the work hardening.
If you ever were in the middle east & watched the brass workers they hammer the brass till it gets too stiff, then reheat to soften & beat on it some more. We're doing the same thing!
So what can go wrong?

Well its possible to over do the annealing heating. That's why I use "tempilaq" or "tempilsticks" (You can find them at the local welding & gas supply places) so I KNOW the exact temperature. I use 450℉ (brown) for the shoulder, or 600℉ (red) for the neck.
Some prefer the lacquer (liquid) others the Crayon (solid).

Its also possible to UNDER heat it, so nothing happens!
If its way overheated the zinc actually exits the brass leaving it permanently weakened.
I've annealed HXP this way several times & had no problem.
I use the lowest flame I can get, just a 1/2~3/4" pencil flame with a nice "electric blue" cone. The actual brass is about 1/2" away from the tip of the blue flame. Usually 5~7 seconds with continuous rotation via an electric screwdriver it really close.
I also hide most of the case in a deep well socket just in case I mess up. I also dump into cold water, but this isn't really necessary unless you're doing a lot all at once & they're going to heat each other up randomly in the dump bin.



Hopefully this will give you some clue as to wast isn't right?

Don't shoot till you see the whites of their thighs. (Unofficial motto of the Royal Air Force)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Honkytonk Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 5:15pm
That is an awesome rig!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stumpkiller Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 14 2020 at 7:15pm
Originally posted by britrifles britrifles wrote:


I once grabbed the box of 168 gr .308 SMK bullets to load in the .303 cases and had that issue...


?

.308" should slide in easily without collapsing the shoulder vs .311" bullets.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philtno Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September 15 2020 at 3:04am
I don't know what's not right....I do everything the way I've seen/learned it from many different source of info.
All I know is that some type of brass, the HXP which I'm really happy with and have reloaded them many times, seems to loose all neck tension no matter how I resize/full length size them after something like 10-15 reloads.
After annealing them, the neck sizing with the neck sizing die makes their neck collapse while the full length sizing seems to work (no collapsing). 
Is it possible that, after 40 years and so many reloadings, those HXP brass are just not going any further and are just at the end of their life....???
So why not just full length size them every time after annealing.....well, just over last weekend, I got six case head separations from that batch that I had to full length resize after annealing.....sounds like a catch-22 hey???
By the way, the projectiles are .312....so they just clearly rub their belly when pushed in the resized case.

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