The 6.5 Guys, a dedicated duo of Pacific NW rifle shooters, have created an interesting series of shooting-related videos on their 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel. In this video, The 6.5 Guys set up and demonstrate the Bench-Source cartridge brass annealing machine. The video explains how to set up the machine, how to attach and adjust the torches, and how to “fine tune” the flame and dwell time to achieve best results.
To complement this video, the 6.5 Guys (aka Ed and Steve) have published an Annealing Tech Talk article on 65guys.com. If you own an annealing machine, or are getting started with cartridge annealing, you should read that article. It covers basic annealing principles, and gives useful tips on temp control, dwell time, and frequency of annealing. After the video, we feature highlights from this article.
We use 750° Tempilaq applied inside the case neck to indicate that the proper temperature has been achieved. If you turn off the lights, you will notice that the brass just barely starts to turn color. As you go beyond the 750° mark we observed that the case mouth will start to flare orange — you can see this with the lights on. From our research, we understand that this is the result of zinc burning off. We adjust the time on our machine between the point that the Tempilaq turns liquid and the flame starts to turn orange. In other words, if the flame is starting to turn orange reduce the time. We let the cases air cool — we don’t quench them in water.
The case starts to flare orange here, during a set-up test. Dwell time was then reduced slightly.
We aim the flame at the neck-shoulder junction. Some folks like to aim it at the neck and others the shoulder. When you see how the two flames meet and spread out vertically, it probably doesn’t make that much of a difference.
Here you can see the flame points aimed at the neck-shoulder junction.
Cases will turn color after annealing, but the degree of color change is not a reliable indicator. We have noticed that the appearance of cases will vary depending on brass manufacturer, brass lot, light source, and how long ago the case was annealed.
How Often Should You Anneal?
Some shooters anneal every time while others choose a specific interval. We noticed work hardening around five firings that resulted in inconsistency in shoulder setback and neck tension, so we choose to anneal every three firings. Your mileage will vary depending on how hot your loads are and how aggressively you resize.
Who are the 6.5 Guys? They are Ed (right) and Steve (left), a pair of avid shooters based in the Pacific Northwest. They have released 22 Videos on the 6.5 Guys YouTube Channel.
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With the price of premium brass topping $90/100 for many popular cartridges, it makes sense to consider annealing your brass to extend its useful life. Forum member Darrell Jones offers a full range of brass prep, brass forming, and brass restoration (annealing, ultra-sonic cleaning) at very affordable prices. Starting at just $15 per 100 cases ($20/100 for magnum cases), Darrell’s company, DJ’s Brass, will anneal your used brass using state-of-the-art Bench-Source annealing machines. Annealing plus ultrasonic cleaning starts at $25.00 per 100 cases ($30 for magnum cases larger than 0.473″ rim). If you just want your cases ultrasonically cleaned (no anneal), that costs $15 per 100 ($20/100 for magnum).
Custom Neck-Turning Services
Another great service DJ’s Brass provides is precision neck-turning. Darrell can neck-turn any size case to your specified neck-wall thickness. The price is $0.30 per case (normal size) or $0.40 (magnum size) with a $20.00 minimum order. And if you’ve got a bucket of brass to neck-turn, that’s fine with Darrell — he recently neck-turned 1500 pieces of brass for one customer!
DJ’s Brass can process everything from .17 Fireball all the way up to the big magnum cases. And the job gets done quickly. Darrell has a 10-day turn-around guarantee. For most jobs, Darrell tells us, he gets the processed brass to the Post Office within three business days. DJ’s Brass charges only actual shipping fees, using USPS flat-rate boxes. For more info, visit DJsBrass.com or call Darrell Jones at 205-461-4680. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending any brass for processing. ALL BRASS MUST BE DE-PRIMED before you send it.
• Ultrasonic Cleaning + Annealing ($25.00/100 normal or $30/100 magnum)
• Ultrasonic Cleaning and Polishing ($15.00/100 normal or $20/100 magnum)
• Anneal Case Necks (after checking for splits) ($15.00/100 normal or $20/100 magnum)
• COAL Trim and Chamfer Case Mouths ($0.20 per case, $20.00 minimum order)
• Uniform, Square, and Chamfer Primer Pockets ($0.15 per case, $20.00 minimum order)
• Expand Case Necks and Anneal brass (Call for Price)
• Create False Shoulder for Fire-Forming (Call for Price)
DJ’s Brass Offers Specialized Custom Services
Darrell tells us: “At DJ’s Brass, we can handle all your brass refurbishing needs. From ultrasonic cleaning to custom annealing for specific wildcat cartridges. We can expand your necks from .22 caliber to .30 caliber and anneal shoulders for consistent bump-back. We can turn your case-necks and trim the brass to your specs. For some cartridge types, I can pre-form cases to assist in fire-forming a wildcat cartridge. We also remove the carbon build-up in muzzle brakes. Don’t lose your accuracy by having carbon build up and close off the clearance required for the most accurate bullet release through a muzzle brake.” Note: Extra charges apply for neck-turning and neck expansion operations, or specialized cartridge-forming operations. Please call 205-461-4680 for special services pricing.
Darrell has cleaned and annealed cases for shooters from across the country. Here are testimonials (this Editor reviewed all the original emails so I can confirm these are real):
“Your services were good with a quick turn-around time. Quality of the case annealing looked great[.]” — Tom, in Alaska
“The [300 Win Ackley] batch you did for me came back looking great.” — Chuck, in Arizona
“Since I started using Lapua brass, I’ve gotten gotten enough reloads out of them to notice that the necks were no longer sealing as well as I’d like. A friend suggested annealing them. I remembered seeing DJ’s ad on AccurateShooter.com and thought I’d give him a try. Not only did my [.308 brass] come back sorted exactly as I had sent them out, all had been so thoroughly cleaned that I realized I had been leaving lube on them after forming. DJ had taken the time to enclose a note cautioning me to brush the inside case necks and do a full-length resize for the first loading. And all 200 cases were back in my hands in DAYS, not weeks! Great service, great price, great follow up.” — Jim, in Alabama
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This report was first published in 2011. Due to numerous requests, we are republishing the story. The time is right because the Giraud Annealer is currently on display on vendors’ row at Camp Perry. Doug Giraud will be at Perry through the morning of August 4th.
Doug Giraud of Giraud Tool Company has created a new bulk Cartridge Annealing Machine that uses an innovative vertical hopper feed. Giraud’s patent-pending design allows the machine to process as many as 700 .223 Rem cases with no hand-feeding required. The new Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer, using a single propane torch, will anneal most cases in 6-8 seconds (that dwell time will melt 750° Tempilaq inside the neck). Annealing dwell times can be adjusted using a simple rotary knob on the right side of the machine. During annealing, each case is rotated in the flame through the motion of a Trolley Plate which moves right to left under the case. At the left-most limit of Trolley Plate movement, each case drops vertically down for air cooling. CLICK HERE for Giraud Annealer Users’ Manual (PDF)
The Giraud annealer uses a large, V-shaped hopper to hold up to 700 .223 Rem cases or 450 .308 Win cases for annealing. You can switch from small cases to larger cases by swapping out the rotary Feeder Wheel below the hopper. Changing Feeder Wheels takes a couple minutes. Five available Feeder Wheels (with different size cartridge slots) let you anneal pretty much any size cartridge — from .17 Remington all the way up to .50 BMG. The common .223 Rem and .308-sized cases used by High Power shooters are served by the Red Feeder Wheel and Blue Feeder Wheel respectively. The Blue Wheel will also work with 6mmBR, .243 Win, and .30-06 cases. The three other Feeder Wheels are: Black (.300 Win Mag); Purple (WSM, RUM, RSAUM, Lapua and Norma Mags); and Green (.50 BMG). For the large mags you also need to switch to a wider Trolley Plate.
Watch Video to See Giraud Annealer in Action
Giraud Annealer Can Process Hundreds of Cases in One Session
The biggest advantage of this machine is its ability to run with minimal user “intervention”. Once you’ve determined the right dwell time for your cartridge type, you can stack hundreds of cases in the V-shaped hopper, turn on the torch and let the machine do its thing. With a typical 8-second dwell time, the Giraud annealing will process about 450 cases an hour. While other multi-torch annealing machines may be faster, Giraud prefers the single-torch design: “With a single torch, you can control total heat input over a longer time. You don’t over-cook the case in a half-second — you have a lot more leeway with a 6-9 second dwell time.”
Yes the case spins in the flame — the Trolley Plate running under the case rotates it. The user may wish to experiment with the speed control knob on the right side panel near the power switch. Typical annealing operations will require the cartridge cases to be positioned in the torch flame for between 6 and 9 seconds.
Much smart thinking went into the Giraud Annealer design. Doug Giraud tells us: “We went through a couple different ideas. Our key goal was to vertically stack a large quantity of cases that would self-feed. The automatic feeding capability of the machine means that the operator can perform another task while the machine is running. The user doesn’t have to load cases one by one. I would caution, however, that you don’t want to turn on the annealer and just walk out of the room… but you can be doing some other reloading task while the annealer is running nearby.”
Giraud wanted a machine that could process lots of cases cheaply and efficiently. The machine’s single torch is optimized to run on inexpensive propane gas. Doug says: “You can process 15,000 cases on a single $2.00 disposable propane bottle.” If the user wants faster processing, the torch is rated for MAP gas, but Doug cautions that, “with more heat, you’ll have to adjust the dwell time accordingly.”
Giraud Annealer Impresses High Power Shooters
The new Giraud Cartridge Case Annealer has already attracted considerable interest. Doug took some early production models to Camp Perry in 2011, and he immediately got orders for 50 machines. Doug told us: “The response from the High Power guys was amazing. There was a pent-up demand for a simple, robust annealer that can process hundreds of cases without having to feed them one by one, and that’s what we created. We’re selling these units as fast as we can build them.”
Giraud Annealers Cost $435.00 — Delivery in Six Weeks from Order Date
Doug has components for 100 more machines, and he’s producing them at a rate of 15 units per week. He’s been back-ordered, but if you order soon, Doug believes he can ship the Annealing machines in about six weeks from date of order. The basic price, with one Feeder Wheel and one Trolley Plate, is $435.00. Additional Feeder Wheels cost $20.00 while extra Trolley Plates are $10.00. For more information, visit GiraudTool.com. To place orders, call (281) 238-0844 Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm CST. You can also email doug [at] giraudtool.com.
Giraud Tool Company, Inc.
3803 Dawn Lane
Richmond, Texas 77406
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South African Pieter L.R. (aka “Baboonstalker” in our Shooters’ Forum), has crafted an impressive single-torch annealing machine with a compact footprint. Pieter’s new KinetiX Precision Annealer holds cartridge brass cases in a dished carousel (wheel) machined from billet. An electric motor advances the carousel while a separate belt-driven spindel rotates each case when it in positioned in the flame. The standard wheel holds cases up to .308 bolt-face in diameter, and Magnum wheels are available.
Precision Mount for Torch-Head
One of the most impressive features of the new machine is the 4-way mount that holds the torch tip. This adjusts for height, flame angle (up/down), and flame distance to case. It can also rotate around a vertical axis. The mount looks like something NASA would produce for vectoring rocket thrusters.
Compared to some other annealers, Pieter’s KinetiX unit is quite compact, with a small footprint. The entire unit (less torch) would fit in a large hat-box. Pieter kept the footprint small by placing all the drive motors and gears under the carousel, rather than off to the side. Pieter optimized his machine for a single torch: “Dual torches are good on some other models to distribute the heat around the neck or to get longer exposure time on the constant-motion models. On this model the case turns in the flame so i do not see a real need for a secondary torch. However, if you want two or more torches i would be more than happy to add brackets for them.”
Basic KinetiX Annealer Will Cost $540.00
Pieter plans to put his KinetiX annealer into production: “I will be selling these units for $540 USD not including shipping, which is about $105 USD for airmail and $35 USD for surface mail. I hope to have my own website up and running soon but you can reach me on gokinetix[at]telkomsa.net in the meantime.” The $540.00 price includes the annealing machine, speed controller, power supply (100-260V) and standard wheel which up to .308-rim-diameter cartridges (including 284s). Pieter tells us: “I have tested [the standard wheel] down to .22 Hornet, but anything that sticks out above the plate (7/8″) should work fine. If you have a specific case in mind that does not fit, i can just make up a special wheel for you.” Pieter also plans to offer Magnum wheels for cases up to .338 Lapua, and Super Magnum wheels for cases up to .50 BMG.
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Forum member and long-range shooter Jerry Brandon has launched a new company, Ballistics Edge Mfg., which produces cartridge annealing machines for use by home reloaders. Brandon, a talented designer and fabricator, first tried annealing to maintain the quality of his own match brass. Brandon then built and tested a series of prototype annealing machines, working with a variety of brass sizes. Now Ballistics Edge Mfg. offers a full line of four annealing machines: the manually-operated Model 200 ($250), the motorized twin-torch Model 300 ($345), the motorized triple-torch Model 350 ($395), and the motorized Model 400 ($475), a beautifully-machined carousel design.
Brandon’s most versatile machine, and the one he recommends for annealing both normal- and magnum-sized cases, is the Model 350. Like the Model 300, the Model 350 features all-metal construction and motorized case transport. The Model 350 uses three torches rather than the Model 300’s two. The triple-torch system does a better job heating the large-diameter necks on .338, .416 and .50-caliber cases. The triple-torch design also ensures fast, uniform heating of the case-necks on smaller cases. The video below shows the Model 350 in action, annealing jumbo-sized .50 BMG cases.
For PPC, 6mmBR, and .308-sized cases, you can use the Model 200, the Model 300, or the Model 400. The Model 200 is a simple, one-at-a-time annealer that works remarkably well using a sliding arm. Simply slide the case into the flame, then slide it out after the required dwell time. For the average reloader, the Model 200 may be more than adequate. If, however, you plan to anneal hundreds of cases a week, you may want to consider the beautifully-machined Model 400 carousel, which will anneal 100 cases in less than 15 minutes. The Model 400 features both .308-size and magnum/ultra magnum-size holes to accept both .47X and .56X diameter cases. Just choose the correct size hole and adjust the torch height to match your case. The .75″-thick shell-plate top acts as a heat-sink to protect the lower case body. View the Model 400 carousel annealer in the video below.
Ballistics Edge Website Offers Good Technical Advice on Annealing
Anyone interested in learning about cartridge annealing should visit www.AnnealingMachines.com, Jerry Brandon’s website. There you’ll find a helpful, authoritative discussion of annealing, including the all-important factors of time and temperature. As Brandon observes, much MISinformation about annealing can be found. Brandon will set you straight. Read Brandon’s How to Anneal article and you can avoid making costly (and potentially dangerous) mistakes, whether you anneal manually or use an annealing machine. In the video below, Jerry Brandon reviews the features of Ballistics Edge annealing machines. He also provides some good, basic advice for shooters who are looking to try their hand at annealing for the first time.