Annealing & Hornady Support

What Hornady Support Had To Say!

As you may have read in my previous posts I was concerned that my 6.5×55 Lapua brass was taking a long time to anneal from the length of time it took for Tempilaq – the ‘temperature indicating liquid’ to evaporate from just below the case shoulder.

So I dropped a tech support call to Hornady Manufacturing Inc.

Question (ShootNBreeze)

I have used the hornady annealing kit and I am concerned that my brass was taking to long to anneal. I applied the tempilaq temperature indicating liquid that I got with the kit to about a quarter of an inch below the shoulder of the 6.5×55 lapua cases and with one propane torch and the blue inner flame tip of the torch heating the centre of the case neck. It takes on average 20 seconds for the tempilaq to almost disolve. Then I dip the case into cold water to quench it.

Do you think that 20 seconds is too long to keep my case in the flame as I am afraid that to much heat will travel to the case head and weaken it!!!

Let me know your thoughts or any suggestions.

Answer (Hornady)

This sounds about right it can depend on how hot your tip is in the flame.


Question (ShootNBreeze)

So should I not be concerned about case head getting to hot if I quench case in water once Tempilaq melts.

Answer (Hornady)

If the Tempilaq melts and you quench right away there should not be any heat getting back to the case head yet.

You will be fine.

Doubting Thomas!

Although the answers from Hornady a very certain, I am still a ‘Doubting Thomas’.  So to appease my doubts I will perform the ‘crush test‘ on an annealed and non-annealed case.

This process involves a small pair of vice grips, where you tighten them onto an annealed case neck to see after a small squeeze will the neck become deformed and remain out of shape or if annealed properly will spring back into shape.

With the same setting on the vice grips try the same test on a non-annealed case neck to see if it will spring back into shape once squeezed.

If after the vice grip test, an annealed case neck remains out of shape then it has been over annealed and the case should be crushed beyond use and discarded.

Over Annealing

Over annealing can leave a case neck too soft to grip a bullet properly when handloading and too much heat may have travelled to the case head and weakened the case head also.  Thus leaving the case in a very dangerous and brittle state where under no circumstance should you charge / load the case or attempt to fire it.

Pat Lozito

Heat rises. I’ll repeat that, Heat rises.
If the case is heated with the neck upright, it will flow very little heat towards the case head.
By design, the case holder will not hold the case
upside down. I’d believe that was purposely done
so you could not heat the case upside down.
Over annealing a brass case will leave it too SOFT,
not too brittle. Brass softens when quenched, steel
Work hardening makes brass brittle.
Using a vise grip, i.e. compound leverage, minimizes
one’s ability to feel the spring back of the brass.
You have no standard of force measurement as a criterion. It’s not a valid test. One can squeeze new brass case and deform it.
Hornady’s instructions are correct.

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Hi Pat,

Thank you for your comments. They are much appreciated. I understand the vice grip test is not very scientific but I have at this point no other method to quench the Doubting Thomas inside me.

I hope you are enjoying the blunderbuss blog and I look forward to any further comments on my other posts. Feedback is always important.

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