I use a mapp gas torch with a latch on the trigger so that I can light it and keep it lit hands-free. You can use propane, but the brass will need a little more time in the heat.
I put the brass in a deep socket, have to play with socket sizes to get the right match to the different brass sizes you anneal, but you want the brass to slide in and out easily, and the shoulder should be exposed, but not much below it.
I put a towel next to the torch, folded over a few times.
I use a basement work bench in my basement where there is no outside light and I turn the lights out.
I chuck the socket in a drill, then light the torch.
The brass goes in the socket, spin the drill, and put the mouth/neck in the flame at full speed on the drill. Watch it...it'll change colors. The trick is to get it out before it goes red, but JUST before.
Dump it from the socket (don't touch it!) onto the towel. Doesn't need to get quenched in water or anything, just on the towel is fine.
You should see the brass clearly show they were annealed when cooled (same sort of coloration you'll see on military ammo that's also been annealed).
Use old brass to start...you'll torch (literally) a few until you get it down to a process. You can get tempilaq (spelling?) or similar that will indicate when you hit the right temps....some handloaders do that. I've been able to get good results without it, but that's a point of debate among those who anneal.
Why do it?
The main reason is to prevent cracked necks, but there are more benefits.
If you anneal every other load cycle or so, you keep the neck tension more consistent, too. If you couple it with partial full length sizing, you are doing two great things to extend your brass life:
1- preventing the necks from work hardening, and
2- preventing case head stretch
You can run brass a loooooooong time by doing these things.
Great explanation; just what I do, except I do not drop the hot case into a towel, I use a small aluminum pan. Using MAP gas, with tip of flame about 1" from case neck, turning with a cordless screwdriver and brass in a socket, takes about 7 seconds. You will see the color change from mouth to shoulder as it heats. Do not allow it to get red hot, dump it when the bright orange appears. Tried tempilaq, did not like it at all.
Yep....I haven't had to anneal anything for a bit, but I think it goes through blue/green, then starts to head for the warmer colors. It shouldn't get red. I let a few get a dull red (whoops). They are brittle. I do use them (257 brass), but I'm pretty sure I'll lose the necks sooner than later on those.
7 seconds sounds about right from what I remember.
The trick with the socket is it's not one size fits all. WSM brass and 223 brass will not use the same socket, so you'll spend some time at your local Harbor Freight to get the sockets you need to fit them just right. You want them to dump out easy but not be so loose as to let the socket spin around the brass with the brass "tumbling" inside and not rotating with the socket.
It all sounds so much more involved than it is. In reality, you take some old brass that you don't mind losing to learn on, and you give it a go. Chuck up the socket, light up the torch, spin the bugger fast and get it in the flame, watch for color change and then dump it. After 5 or 6 you'll get the hang of it.
There are many ways to do it, and all seem to work well.
I use a system called (Anneal Rite) which uses 2 torches.
Its a simple system and not very expensive.
They have a video which runs thru the process. They use and recommend the 750 degree Tempilac dabbed onto the case neck to show when the case reaches the proper heat.
No doubt experience also works well, but for beginers or ocaisional users its a good thing to use.
Do a google search and watch the video.
1) I don't run the drill full speed...fast enough to ensure consistent heating, but full speed will shoot the cases out unless it's completely vertical. YMMV depending on the drill. Lots of folks use a cordless screwdriver...I try to mimic that speed.
2) I do quench in water. It's not necessary, but I burnt myself a couple times so I started using the quench.
I guess I should qualify my comments that I don't go light on speed, but yeah, I don't want it flinging the thing across the room, lol. I give it the juice, though, to minimize any chance of uneven heating.
I use a lead melting pot. I heat the lead to around 750 degrees and take my brass and dip it in light oil, then in the lead pot( neck and only a little of the shoulder) holding case by the base until too hot to hold then quench. Make sure you dip the cases deep enough in the oil or the lead may stick. With this method I don't have to worry about getting the brass too hot. You do need a thermometer to get the lead tempeture correct.
Question for you guys who do this regularly. Read in a magazine about a guy who did this for his 45-70 brass and claimed that he had been shooting the same 500 or so cases for something like 10 years and he and his wife shoot competitively and that each case got reloaded a fair amount of times a year. I don't remember the exact figures but I remember that it seemed like a ridiculous amount of time for brass to last. Is the a stretching of the truth or does this seem legit?
The 45-70 is straight walled case like most pistols.Brass does not flow forward like a bottle necked case that needs trimmed more often.I would feel it is possible.I use to reload 357 mag and never trimmed or annealed my brass.Loaded quite a few times.They are probably shooting cowboy action matches on powder puff loads of Trail Boss.An 8 year old girl shot my 30-06 with case full of Trail Boss and a 125 grain bullet and said that was fun uncle Dave.Very little case pressure on a straight walled case compared to a bottle necked case in my opinion.