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How often do you anneal your BP brass?


Orient Express

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1 hour ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

I never anneal straight wall pistol brass.  Annealing is for bottlenecked rifle cartridges.  


Or could be for 45 Colt shot in rifles.

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5 hours ago, Orient Express said:

I shoot .38spl blackpowder and up until now anneal after every firing. Is that overkill and even necessary? How often do you anneal your straight-wall brass?

Yes, no, and never.

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Well, I did an experiment on 38 spec brass and annealed some to see if it made a difference. It does. It will have much less blow back and dirt, maybe half. This is with smokeless mind you. Is it worth it? It is for me, I hate dirt! Hope that this helps some. 

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You really  never need  anneal straight wall  brass. 

Annealing  bottlenecked rifle cartridge is understandable .

I would Not waist My time if I was you .

Shoot what you brung  !

Screenshot_20240218_192146_Photos.thumb.jpg.846a2ff80ba54ebcc141a4f9095e2449.jpg 

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Here I get to be contrary.  Cowboy rifles are famous for slightly oversize chambers.  Especially Large Bore.  45 Colt, 45 Schofield, 44 Special/Colt/Russian WILL NOT expand to seal the chamber.  38 Special MAY also need annealing.  Annealing softens the brass so and after annealing, straight wall cases will seal the chamber and eliminate Blow-By.  I have a fairly substantial pile of annealed brass and have only annealed once.  Annealing after every firing is way over-kill.

 

If you can live with sticky chambers and fouled carriers you may not wish to spend the time annealing.  Annealing is boring.  If on the other hand, you want straight walled cartridges to run as clean as 44-40 or 38-40, annealing is a necessary task.  Black Powder and Subs are much less forgiving than smokeless.

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35 minutes ago, Colorado Coffinmaker said:

Annealing is boring.


I find annealing to be therapeutic, like watching a camp fire.

 

 

IMG_0865.jpeg

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Regarding annealing .38's or .45's or other common CAS main match ammo.  For shooting BP, I can see the advantage of keeping rifle actions as clean as a dash caliber.  But I have heard (from Coffinmaker) that annealed brass can be sticky extracting from pistols.  So, for those of you who do anneal and shoot the same caliber in pistol and rifle, do any of you segregate your brass for pistol/rifle?  Seems  like that would be a hassle.

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@Tequila Shooter Maybe you can add to this conversation?

I never anneal. But then again I shoot bottle-necked pistol cartridges. (with APP) :D

 

La Sombra

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The only time I anneal is when forming brass from some other cartridge, like .32-20 > .25-20 or .348 Winchester > .45-75 or 8mm Lebel > .56-.50 - don't have to do that one anymore because Starline makes .56-.50 brass now. ;)

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I anneal my .357 Mag cases that I use APP in and it works perfectly to seal the chamber and keep all that debris out of the action of my 1873 rifle.  

 

I shoot .38 Special in my revolvers and don't anneal those.  The gap between cylinder face and the barrel kind of defeats the purpose of annealing.

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Well, I started annealing sort of out of necessity when probably 1 out of 4 of my 38-40 brass were splitting at the neck. Too expensive and hard to get otherwise. I'm lazy, but it made a believer out of me. Try it you'll like it! If you have the time. 

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29 minutes ago, Preacherman said:

Well, I started annealing sort of out of necessity when probably 1 out of 4 of my 38-40 brass were splitting at the neck. Too expensive and hard to get otherwise. I'm lazy, but it made a believer out of me. Try it you'll like it! If you have the time. 

Was that brass defective maybe or just old? Or a chamber issue?  I don't load 38wcf but rarely have splits with 32wcf or 44wcf.

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Ok, let’s start with a little understanding of brass.  Brass gets work hardened, what that means is every time you expand or contract brass it gets a little more brittle, or more correctly it loses some ductility.  When it gets hard and then suddenly expands it can split or crack.  Now how does this affect brass cartridges?  Every time you bell the case, every time you crimp the case you are working it and making it harder.  What annealing does is re-soften the brass, nothing more, nothing less.  You can over anneal, or more correctly, you can overheat the brass when you anneal, if you overheat it the brass the brass will lose all its ductility.  Once this happens the brass is ruined and you can never get that ductility back.   As far as how often you anneal you can’t do it too often, but there’ll be a diminishing return.  Think of it this way with one reloading the brass doesn’t lose much ductility (some but not much), after 5 reloads the brass has lost more.  How often you anneal is up to you, as some say they find annealing therapeutic and do it before each reload, others wait until they’ve reloaded the brass a few times.

 

The bottleneck vs. straight wall argument:  The thickness of the brass at the end of a bottleneck case is much thinner than a straight wall case.  This allows the brass to be able to expand enough to seal the case in the chamber when fired, where a straight wall case with its thicker brass won’t expand as much.  With the thinner brass the effect of work hardening will show much sooner than with the thicker brass, keep in mind that the thin brass of the bottleneck case when annealed will get up to temperature sooner than straight walled cases.  Can/should straight wall cases be annealed?  Of course you can, but will it have a benefit?  That will depend on a couple things.  As said earlier, if .45C cases are not annealed they won’t expand enough to seal the chamber which will allow blow back into the action.  If you are over-belling your cases and then crimping you’ll be causing more hardening and will reach the point where the case can split sooner, so annealing will extend the life of the case.  Many shooter will get many reloads from their cases without annealing, and if they are shooting smokeless powder won’t have the blow back fouling of black powder or black powder substitutes, so they choose not to anneal. 

 

My primary calibers are .45C and .45-70, in both I’m using black powder, so I anneal them.  Since I don’t want to keep track of when a particular case was annealed I anneal every case every time it gets cleaned.  And since I’m annealing so much I bought an annealing machine that is easy to use and can adjust to the various cases. 

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10 hours ago, Orient Express said:

Is that overkill?

IMO, yes.

10 hours ago, Orient Express said:

Is that even necessary?

 

Again, IMO, no.

10 hours ago, Orient Express said:

How often do you anneal your straight-wall brass?

I've shot 45 Colt in a '73 rifle since 1987 and until recently, never annealed any of it.   I still haven't shot that ammo yet... so can't tell you if it makes a difference.

 

I've sanded down each side of the carriers in each of my toggle-link rifles (2-1873s & 1 Henry) to provide a fair amount of clearance in the mortise and have shot several multi-day matches without bothering to clean between days... (up to 3-day match).  

 

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11 hours ago, Orient Express said:

I shoot .38spl blackpowder and up until now anneal after every firing. Is that overkill and even necessary? How often do you anneal your straight-wall brass?

Howdy Orient...Can't help you with your question as I don't anneal any of my brass whether 44-40 BP or 45LC smokeless  [ I probably should ]

Just wanted to say that I saw you at the BP shoot last w-end & it was remiss of me to not introduce myself & have a yarn..sorry...next time for sure if we meet up again..take care ..Regards 'Mohawk

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My 38-40 brass, I bought new starline. The splitting neck problem started on the 3rd or 4th go round. I also got a machine so it isn't hard or terribly time consuming. But it works for me, like Tequila said.

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I have never annealed a case.  I shoot 38/40 mostly Starline brass and have for 20 years.  I only have one coffee can of split cases, don’t bother asking why I kept them…. Possibly just to see how many splits I’m getting.  Probably because I’m cheap and they could still be used.  With BP and a full case they can’t compress back into the case.  I don’t do that, but…. It’s only a coffee can. 

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12 hours ago, Painted Mohawk SASS 77785 said:

Howdy Orient...Can't help you with your question as I don't anneal any of my brass whether 44-40 BP or 45LC smokeless  [ I probably should ]

Just wanted to say that I saw you at the BP shoot last w-end & it was remiss of me to not introduce myself & have a yarn..sorry...next time for sure if we meet up again..take care ..Regards 'Mohawk

G'day mate. Yes, it was a great shoot last weekend. I did spot you a couple of times, you're kinda hard to miss ;-p

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