September 10th, 2018

AMP MATE Automated Case Shuttle for AMP Annealing System

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

Our New Zealand friends who created the advanced, computer-controlled AMP Annealing system have a remarkable upgrade available. The new AMP MATE is a clever, automated case-handling device that loads and retrieves your brass cartridges during the AMP induction annealing process. The AMP MATE installs right on top of a basic AMP Annealer, and takes all the manual labor out of the process. Once you set up the AMP MATE for your specific cartridge type, and adjust the AMP’s “brain” for your brass, then the AMP MATE takes over. Simply load your brass into the hopper, hit the start button and your brass comes out perfectly annealed. See how this works in this video:

The system essentially works automatically — feeding and retrieving cartridge brass. During initial set-up, you many need adjust the carriage system geometry and cycling rate. These functions are covered in the AMP MATE video. If you have other questions regarding how to set up and use the AMP MATE, email the manufacturer: info [at] ampannealing.com .

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Basics
If you’re not familiar with the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) induction annealing system, here’s a video that explains how the system works. Basically, a micro-processor controls an electrical coil. As electricity flows into the coil, the process of induction transfers heat to the cartridge brass. With exact control over the flow of electricity, this anneals the brass precisely each time. Specific profiles can be created for your brand of cartridge brass — with the exact duration and amount of heat for ideal results.

Annealing made perfect AMP annealer case shuttle carriage autofeed cartridge brass

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review No Comments »
December 1st, 2017

Going Big — Very Big, with AMP Induction Annealing Machines

AMP 50 BMG annealing annealer pilot
Public domain photo from Wikipedia.

AMP Annealing, the New Zealand-based manufacturer of advanced, computer-controlled annealing machines, has some new items in the works. First, AMP is bringing out a new, jumbo-sized pilot for the large .50 BMG case, which has a fat base diameter of 0.804″ (20.44 mm). The folks at AMP say: “The new 50-Caliber pilot is as large as the boss it screws into. We also had to add some insulation to the grip to stop it from heating up. We know a lot of your have been patiently waiting for the .50 Cal unit and we are on track for release early next year [2018].”

AMP 50 BMG annealing annealer pilot

Along with the creating more pilot holders for brass, AMP is working on enhancing the performance of its annealing machines, offering even greater precision and efficiency. Here AMP engineers at the Auckland University of Technology test upgrades with AMP Annealing machines. AMP says: “Exciting times ahead… What’s new? We can’t say at this stage. But it will involve the use of your USB cable.”

AMP 50 BMG annealing annealer pilot

.50 BMG — Just for the Fun of It All…
But back to the .50 BMG. Why would anyone want to shoot this beast? Well, because you can. It also offers excellent extreme long range performance. And nothing (well as least nothing civilians can purchase readily) beats the knock-down power of a big 50. This video shows what the .50 BMG can do to a truckload of pumpkins.

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »
September 22nd, 2017

The Science of Annealing — Facts Uncovered, Myths Busted

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

The science behind annealing during the manufacture of new cases is well-established. What happens after that, when we repeatedly reload and anneal those same cases, has always been somewhat of a “dark art”. To help separate scientific fact from fiction, the creators of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealer machine have conducted detailed studies of cartridge brass. The AMP Team’s studies offer some remarkable insights, while disproving a number of myths about annealing. Will annealing tighten your groups? The evidence of these studies shows it could.

The test results are fascinating. The team compared brands of brass, sectioning brass to examine both alloy composition and thickness from case mouth to case-head (bottom). They also examined how carbon build-up affects next tension. And they determined how brass changes over multiple loading cycles. They even did a series of bullet-pull tests to analyze factors affecting neck tension. Here are some of the key subjects in the reports:

Brand by Brand Analysis — How the cartridge brass alloy varies among different manufacturers.
Bullet Release and Neck Tension — Tensile Bullet-Pull tests show factors affecting neck tension.
Neck Tension and Carbon — How carbon build-up inside the neck affects “neck tension”.
SS Tumbling and Hardness – How tumbling with stainless media affects brass hardness.
Case Cleaning (Ultrasound and Tumbling) — How case cleaning affects annealing.
Multiple Loadings — How brass performs when annealed every reload over 10+ cycles.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

You really should read the reports — there are some fascinating revelations. The AMP team made longitudinal sections of various cases to show different case wall thicknesses and head geometry. These examples also show how the hardness of the case varies from the case mouth to the case-head. Both virgin and used, annealed cases were examined.

Bullet-Pull Tests — Using advanced tensile test equipment, AMP experimented with different combinations of dies, reloading sequences, and neck hardness to ascertain the best practice.
Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Carbon Inside Your Case-Necks May Be a GOOD Thing
AMP’s testers found carbon in necks can be beneficial: “Even with identical interference fit and neck hardness, as the carbon layer increased (microscopically), the force to draw the bullet decreased. It would appear the carbon acted as a lubricant. Interestingly, the [pull force] standard deviation also improved, i.e. the case to case variation in the force required to draw the bullets decreased.”*

Read the Full Test Reports

The AMP team’s objectives were to clarify some misconceptions on just what annealing does and does not do, and also to establish the best practices for consistent results. They have consulted with three independent certified metallurgy laboratories to produce some definitive information. So far, the Stage 1 and Stage 2 reports have been released. The studies include a report on the general physical properties of cartridge brass, including grain structures, hardness scales, time/temperature annealing information, and what can cause de-zincification.

The FULL REPORTS, including comprehensive appendices, are found here:

Stage One: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/40/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Stage Two: https://www.ampannealing.com/articles/42/annealing-under-the-microscope/

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Examining Different Brands of Brass — What the Tests Revealed

Is Lapua brass harder than Norma? Is Lake City better than Remington? You’ll find answers to these and other questions in AMP’s annealing studies. One of the key findings in Stage 2 of Amp’s research is that brass from different manufacturers does vary in the distribution of material in the walls of the case.

Annealing Made Perfect Testing AMP cartridge Case hardness Lapua Norma Lake City

Stage Two Conclusions:

— Different brands of the same cartridge cases can require different annealing power settings due to differing case wall thickness in the neck and shoulder region. The greater the mass of brass to be annealed, the greater the power requirement. Lot to lot variation within the same brand can occur for the same reason.

— The bushing die used in this set of tensile bullet pull tests gave significantly more consistent results than the standard neck die with expander ball.

— Cases should be annealed every reload in order to get the best repeatability.

Case Variations: Brand to Brand, and Lot to Lot

Here is a sample from AMP’s test report:

Analyzing Different Brands of Brass
In our Stage One report, we demonstrated that there is insufficient variation in alloy composition between brands to account for the variations we experience when annealing different brands of the same cartridge case. We therefore sought to confirm that it is the mass of brass to be annealed which accounts for the difference. Below are sectioned samples of four different brands of .223 Remington cases.

Both the Lapua and Norma neck walls are 314* microns (0.01236”) at the mouth. The Lapua neck wall thickens to 348 microns at the junction of the neck and shoulder, and the Norma neck thickens to 325 microns. Through the shoulder, however, the walls of both cases thicken to 370 – 380 microns. Once past the shoulder, they both taper back to 314 microns, before starting to thicken again, moving towards the case head.

The Lapua case requires AMP Program 47 to anneal correctly. It is the heaviest of the four cases tested through the shoulder region. The Norma case, which is only slightly lighter through the same region, needs Program 43.

The Remington case is very similar to the Lapua and Norma cases in the neck region, but it actually thins fractionally through the shoulder and front section of the body. The AMP program setting for Remington 223R is P32.

The Lake City case is the thinnest throughout of all four samples. It only requires Program 28.

The above samples clearly demonstrate that the mass of brass to be annealed is critical to the power requirement for correct annealing.

To see how the AMP Induction Annealing Machine works, watch this video:

* However, in Stage Two of AMP testing, the testers experimented with clean, carbon-free necks with dry lube. There was some indication of greater tensile pull consistency with dry-lube, but AMP plans to do more testing.

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
October 2nd, 2016

6.5 Guys Review of AMP Induction Annealer

Amp Annealing Machine Review 6.5 Guys 65guys.com
Photo by Bill Gravatt. Read Bill’s AMP review HERE.

Our good friends Ed and Steve (aka “The 6.5 Guys”) have just released an in-depth product review of the AMP Annealing system. Produced in New Zealand, the AMP (Annealing Made Perfect) unit is a sophisticated, microprocessor-controlled annealing machine that achieves ultra-consistent results through an electrical INDUCTION process.

AMP Annealing Machine Review by the 6.5 Guys:

Ed was so impressed with the AMP annealer that he purchased his own AMP to replace a carousel-type, dual-torch annealer he previously used. Ed tells us that “once you have the correct setting for your brass the AMP’s results are repeatable every time.” By contrast, Ed explained, “with butane torch systems you have to adjust the system when the ambient temperature changes, or even if your butane fuel is slightly different.” Ed says that, with his AMP system, he can anneal a case every few seconds. Yes it does require manually handling each case but “the actual annealing process is so fast, this really isn’t a big issue.”

Bill Gravatt AMP Annealing Machine
Photo from AMP Annealer Review by Bill Gravatt.

If you want to extend the useful life of your precious cartridge brass, then you should definitely consider annealing. And if you are in the market for an annealer, the new AMP machine deserves serious consideration. Though not inexpensive, it achieves excellent results according to the 6.5 Guys.

6.5 Guys’ AMP Annealer Review Key Points:

1. The AMP machine provides complete peace of mind that you are annealing properly — there is no guesswork. With a propane machine you have to calibrate dwell times which can be error prone. Even if you don’t change out your cartridge, dwell times will vary with temperature changes as this affects the propane pressure.

2. We noticed that the AMP machine produces brass that is more like factory brass from a hardness standpoint. Despite all our efforts and research around calibrating our propane machines, brass never seemed returned to factory condition and shoulder spring-back would increase with each reloading so we had to adjust our sizing dies. When a cartridge comes out of the AMP it is very, very close to new condition.

3. One of the things we dreaded was setting up our propane machine for different cartridges. With Ed’s OCD he would spend a good 30 minutes making sure everything was perfect. With the AMP machine you simply change out the pilot and select the proper program. It’s really straight-forward.

>>> READ AMP Annealer FULL REVIEW on 65guys.com

NOTE: We strongly recommend you read the Full AMP Annealer Review on 65guys.com. It contains a detailed explanation of the machines’ operation and the reviewers explain the pros (and cons) or the machine compared to flame-type annealers.

The current price for the AMP Annealer, with three pilots of your choice, is $995.00 USD. Additional pilots are $20.00 USD. For more info, visit www.AMPAnnealing.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading No Comments »
June 27th, 2016

AMP Induction Annealing Machine Review by Bill Gravatt

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) Annealing Machine Review

Review by Bill Gravatt
Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product TestI had been following the progress of Alex and Matt Findlay with Annealing Made Perfect for almost three years as they pursued making the best annealing product for the private reloading market. The short explanation of why we anneal brass is to return the brass to a softer and consistent hardness after the brass has work-hardened from repetitive firing and sizing. As the President/co-owner of Sinclair International for over 21 years I saw a lot of products come through our doors that annealed brass but these products always seemed like they had very little supportive data and research behind them. Most of them were based on some type of torch system. The New Zealand-based father/son team of Alex and Matt spent these past three years addressing the challenging questions about annealing:

- What is the correct temperature to reach when annealing?
– How long should you take to get to that temp and how long should you remain there?
– How frequently should you anneal?
– Can you ruin your expensive brass?
– How do we make the process repeatable for the handloader?
– How do you accurately measure the case hardness?

They worked closely with the Electrical Engineering Department at the local University of Technology and invested a lot of capital into detailed metallurgical research. Their decision to use induction heating was because of its repeatability and the ability to reach exacting and consistent temperatures. Induction annealing is achieved by placing the cartridge in a magnetic field thereby inducing eddy currents within the brass and heating the brass without contacting the brass physically. To learn more, I suggest you visit the AmpAnnealing.com website. It is very informative.

Why should you anneal? If you are just a casual reloader, than annealing isn’t necessary but if you a serious wildcatter or competitive shooter you may want to consider it. More and more competitive shooters anneal their cases (not necessarily for adding life to the cases) to achieve more consistent pressures and velocities.

My first favorable impression was received by just opening the extremely well-packed shipping box. You could tell these guys take a great deal of pride in their product. The unit comes with three cartridge-specific pilots (you decide on which pilots), a shellholder collet, a power cord, a thorough, well-written, easy to follow instruction manual, and a USB cord for future software updates.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

This machine is so easy to use that I was up and running within a few minutes. All I had to supply was the shells, the correct shell-holder and an aluminum pan to drop the hot cases into. I started annealing some unturned .308 Winchester cases (Lapua headstamp) that had four firings. First I screwed the pilot for .308 cases (#11) into the machine, placed my .308 shellholder into the supplied shellholder/collet and turned the power on. The display fired up right away and soon registered the program level that the machine was set to.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Since the machine uses induction heating, you need to set the heating level for the correct setting for the brass you are using. The alloy being used isn’t as important as the thickness or amount of brass in the neck and shoulder region. For example, Lapua and Norma have more brass in that area so the setting would be higher for these brands than Winchester brass. Also, if you have neck-turned brass, the setting would be reduced from the standard setting because there would be less mass in the air gap.

This manufacturer-produced video shows how the AMP annealing machine operates:

The settings are obtained by referring to the “Settings” section on the AMP website and are broken out by cartridge, brand, standard unturned cases, and then neck-turned cases with various amounts of wall thickness removed. A great service that AMP provides to the handloader is that you can send sample cases of your brass to them (U.S. location in Wolcott, Indiana) and they will test the hardness for you and send you the exact setting for your specific lot of brass.

My setting for unturned Lapua .308 Winchester brass was “92”. The buttons on the front of the machine allow you to adjust the setting quickly. After you set the program number, the setting is locked in after the first use until you change it again. I placed the first case in the shellholder, lowered the assembly down through the pilot and into position. I then hit the start button which illuminated immediately and then about 6 to 7 seconds later, the light went off signaling that heating was completed.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Now, be aware, these cases are extremely hot. I lifted the case out using the shellholder/collet and then dropped it into my aluminum pan. I then placed another case into the holder, put it into the machine and then repeated the process. Once I got the coordination down, I did 100 .308 Win cases in about 24 minutes. I did some 6mmBR cases later (Lapua) and annealed 100 cases in about 15 minutes at the “75” setting. I found myself raising my shop stool a little higher than normal so I was at a comfortable height in relationship to the top of the machine. Very easy to do — I actually had a student do a few cases with me and she had no problem at all following the instructions.

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

Annealing Made Perfect New Zealand Anneal Annealer Induction Review Pilot Findlay Bill Gravatt Gear Review Product Test

There is a thermal cut-off that prevents the machine from overheating. Depending on the setting, this can occur after 20 to 35 minutes of continuous use. When this has occurred, simply leave the machine on and the fans will cool it down so you can resume annealing. This isn’t surprising considering the amount of heat being generated.

All in all, I found this machine extremely easy to setup and operate. Now, does it work? I have test batches of brass that I am going to run over the chronograph in 10-round strings. I plan on running at least 10 strings of annealed brass and 10 strings of unannealed brass out of the same lot, same number of reloadings/firings and out of the same gun. I plan on alternating annealed strings and unannealed strings with a cooling off period every 20 rounds. When I do testing, I have my wife pre-label my batches as Batch A and B so I won’t know what rounds I am shooting until I get back from the range. I’ll make the results available as soon as I can. My expectation is that velocities will be more consistent based on my understanding of the lab results that the Findlays have achieved with their Annealing Made Perfect machine. For more information, visit their website at AmpAnnealing.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »