My 30-30 brass, having been reloaded a few times, is getting work
hardened. I'd like to extend the useful life of the cases if possible.
I've read a lot about annealing brass, some of it quite contradictory.
So yesterday, I took what I think I understand of that and gave it a
try. I chucked up the shell holder from my Lee trimming tool in a
portable drill and fired up a propane torch.
As I understand it, I'm looking for a gold color change at the neck
(indicating 700 to 800 degrees?) , but without losing the shine from
the rest of the case - as an indication that the case neck has been
annealed but not the rest of the case.
When the color change happened, I dropped the case in a bowl of water to
stop the heat from continuing down the case and head. (Brass doesn't
"heat treat" like steel in that respect)
Spinning the brass seemed to give an equal treatment all the way
around (which should avoid hard spots in the neck area) , but judging
by color change alone I wonder about the consistency from one case to
I haven't seen an IR thermometer that goes high enough to monitor the
Keep the case head below 300 degrees (F)
The critical temperature is 482 degrees at which the first changes in
grain structure can occur.
Annealing brass to "dead soft" will ruin the case.
It will be dangerous to attempt to shoot shoot cases.
Anybody have more info/helpful tips/ etc?
BTW, I'm reloading mostly cast lead these days, and pushing those pretty
hard (trying to stay right at 2000 fps). That seems to work well and
give good accuracy.
8 years ago