March 8th, 2012

Brass Restoration Service Extends Life of Cartridge Brass

Bench Source Annealing machineWith 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, Darrell’s company, DJ’s Brass, will anneal your used brass using state-of-the-art Bench-Source annealing machines. He can also ultrasonically clean cases for $15 per 100 ($20 per 100 for magnum cases larger than 0.473″ rim).

Custom Neck-Turning Services
Another great service DJ’s Brass provides is precision neck-turning. He 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 Restoration Service

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.

DJ's Brass Restoration Service

• 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 and Square 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)

Muzzle Brake Tax Break Special: FREE cleaning of up to two (2) Stainless Muzzle Brakes with a minimum $50.00 order. Special good through April 17, 2012 (Tax Return Deadline for 2012).

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.

DJ's Brass Restoration Service

Muzzle Brake – Tax Break Special for AccurateShooter.com Readers
Now through April 17, 2012 (Tax Due Date), Darrell is offering a Muzzle Brake – Tax Break Special for our readers. For all case prep/restoration orders of $50.00 or more, Darrell will ultrasonically clean one or two stainless muzzle brakes for no extra charge (offer does not apply to blued or coated muzzle brakes). 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.

Darrell has cleaned and annealed cases for shooters from across the country. Here are recent 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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August 25th, 2011

Learn about Eye Dominance in August Shooting Sports USA

6.5 Creedmoor AnnealingThe August 2011 digital edition of Shooting Sports USA is available online — free for the reading. This issue contains a “must-read” expert symposium on the subject of Eye Dominance, as it affects both rifle and pistol shooting. No matter whether you have normal dominance (i.e. your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand), or if you have cross-dominance, you’ll benefit by reading this excellent article. The physiology and science of eye dominance is explained by Dr. Norman Wong, a noted optometrist. In addition, expert advice is provided by champion shooters such as David Tubb, Lones Wigger, Dennis DeMille, Julie Golob, Jessie Duff, and Phil Hemphill.

6.5 Creedmoor Annealing

Development of the 6.5 Creedmoor Cartridge
Also in the August Edition of Shooting Sports is a feature on the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge. This story covers the origin of the cartridge and its performance both as a match cartridge and as a hunting round. Hornady Chief Ballistician Dave Emary explained: “the original intent of the cartridge was as an across-the-course match cartridge. We envisioned it as an off-the-shelf round that would produced the accuracy and ballistics to compete in all match disciplines right out of the box. At the same time we realized that the same characteristics would make an exceptional hunting cartridge with the right bullets.”

6.5 Creedmoor Annealing

6.5 Creedmoor Annealing6.5 Creedmoor Brass No Longer Washed After Annealing
Here’s an interesting update on Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo. In a move to improve case quality and neck uniformity, Hornady recently changed the 6.5 Creedmoor production process, eliminating the case-washing step after annealing. So now you will see annealing coloration on 6.5 Creedmoor brass, just like on Lapua brass. Dennis DeMille of Creedmoor Sports wanted to improve the consistency/uniformity of 6.5 Creedmoor case-necks. At Dennis’ suggestion, Hornady conducted tests which showed that the “standard industry practice” of washing brass could potentially alter the necks in undesirable ways. Bottom line, unwashed annealed brass was determined to have an accuracy edge over washed brass. Looking at these results, Hornady decided to forgo the post-anneal washing process. As a result, the latest 6.5 Creedmoor brass now displays the distinctive coloration left by neck/shoulder annealing. Learn something new every day, eh?

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July 18th, 2011

Revive Your Brass with DJ’s Brass Service & Restoration

With top-quality cartridge brass approaching $1.00 per case, it’s more important than ever to get maximum life from your match brass. Annealing can extend the useful life of your brass, and ultrasonic cleaning allows you to eliminate carbon build-up inside cases that have been fired numerous times. You can certainly do annealing and ultrasonic cleaning yourself, but to get the best (and most consistent) results, you’ll need to invest in quality equipment and spend a good deal of time and effort learning how to use it properly. Likewise, turning case necks requires expensive tools, and it takes time and practice before you’ll get perfectly-turned necks.

DJs Brass Offers Annealing, Cleaning, and Neck-Turning
If you don’t have the resources to purchase annealing and ultrasonic cleaning machines, or if you don’t have the time to neck-turn hundreds of cases — don’t fret, there is an affordable option. DJsBrass.com, run by benchrest shooter Darrell Jones, offers annealing, ultrasonic cleaning, neck-turning, and complete brass prep services (including OAL trimming) at very reasonable rates. Darrell will anneal 100 cases for $15, and he’ll neck-turn your cases (any caliber), starting at $30.00 per hundred. Even if you’re a skilled neck-turner, if you just acquired a new caliber, it might make sense to send the work to Darrell, instead of purchasing new expander mandrels and turning arbors.

False-Shoulder Forming for Wildcats
Do you shoot an “improved” short-necked wildcat like the 6mm Dasher? Want your fire-forming to go without a hitch? Darrell can take your parent brass and create a false shoulder so you get a good crush fit in the chamber. If you’re running a tight-necked chamber he can create a false shoulder AND turn the top half of the neck to fit your chamber.

Video Shows Annealing Process
In the video below, Darrell explains the wide variety of brass restoration services he offers. Darrell says he can “bring your brass back to life” and we have found that to be true. We had some 6mmBR brass with no-turn necks that started to lose their “competitive edge” after just 7-8 loadings. The neck tension had become inconsistent from case to case, and bullet seating force (measured with a gauge-equipped K&M arbor press) varied widely. We were seeing unexplained flyers, and ES had nearly doubled compared to when the brass was fresh. Annealing the cases really made a difference. The neck tension was much more consistent and bullets seated more uniformly with less “spiking” of seating force. Paying $15 for annealing is a lot cheaper than buying a new box of brass for $80.00 or more!

Darrell offers a variety of services at affordable rates. To order work by Darrell, visit DJsBrass.com, or call (205) 461-4680:

Case Annealing Only
Cost: $15.00/100 for standard cases; $20.00/100 for magnum cases.*

Combination Service (Cleaning and Annealing)
Ultrasonic Cleaning, Check for split necks, Anneal case necks.
Cost: Starting at $20.00/100 standard and $25.00/100 for magnum cases.*

Full Service (Case Prep, Cleaning, Annealing)
Uniform primer pockets, Chamfer, Ultrasonic cleaning/polishing, Anneal case necks.
Cost: Starting at $30.00/100 and up.*

Neck Turning or Trim-to-Length Custom Order Service
Cost: Starting at $30.00/100 for standard cases.*
(Darrell can also resize necks or false shoulder your cases. Call for quotes.)

Muzzle Brake Ultrasonic Cleaning
Removes carbon buildup to restore critical bullet clearance requirements.
Cost: $15.00 + flat rate USPS actual shipping.

*Add USPS flat-rate return shipping. Call (205) 461-4680 for quotes on miscellaneous, military bulk brass or high volume discount. Note: Prices subject to change.

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May 19th, 2010

New Annealing Machines from Ballistics Edge Mfg.

model 200 annealing machineForum 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.

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model 200 annealing machineFor 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.

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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.

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April 19th, 2010

Darrell Jones Offers Annealing and Ultrasonic Cleaning Service

We talked recently with our friend Darrell Jones, a talented benchrest shooter from Tennessee, who operates a brass processing business, DJ’s Brass Restoration Service. Darrell ultrasonically cleans old cartridge brass then carefully anneals each case, using temp-sensitive lacquers to ensure the brass is neither over-annealed or under-annealed. As far as we know, DJ’s Brass Restoration Service is the ONLY business in the country offering combined ultrasonic cleaning and annealing. And now Darrell can process your brass with even great efficiency.

Darrell told us he has just received his new, automated dual-torch, carousel annealing machine from Bench-Source. This microprocessor-controlled unit may be the most advanced bench-top annealing machine ever created. Two torches are used to provide intersecting flames for uniform heating. The micro-processor precisely controls the heating time, and a special motor spins each case around its axis while in the heating position. This ensures that the neck and shoulder are annealed evenly.

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Combined Ultrasonic Cleaning and Case Annealing
If you have “tired” brass with inconsistent neck tension from case to case, give Darrell a call. His cleaning/annealing process will extend the useful life of your brass, and his service is quite affordable. Darrell’s Basic Service starts at $20.00 per hundred cases — and that includes ultrasonic cleaning AND annealing. (Flat rate USPS shipping is extra.) Note: very large cases (such as the .338 Lapua) or damaged, dented cases may cost more.

DJ's Brass Restoration

In addition to the Basic Service, Darrell offers a 4-Step Full Service starting at $25.00 per hundred cases (plus shipping). Darrell’s Full Service brass restoration includes: Uniforming primer pockets; Chamfering Case Mouths; Ultra Cleaning and polishing; Annealing case necks.

Ultrasonic Muzzle Brake Cleaning
In addition to cleaning and annealing cartridge brass, Darrell offers Ultrasonic Cleaning for muzzle brakes. This removes carbon buildup to restore critical bullet clearance requirements. The price is $15.00 per brake (plus shipping).

For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (901) 826-1503. IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending any brass for processing. ALL BRASS MUST BE DE-PRIMED before you send it.

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January 25th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New Bench-Source Case Neck Annealer

Now that Zephyr Dynamics’ “Brass-O-Matic” rotary case annealer is no longer in production (Zephyr Dy’s owner received a “job offer he couldn’t refuse”), we were excited to learn that Bench-Source is bringing out an all-new, micro-processor-controlled, automated annealing machine. Bench-Source, based in Mississippi, currently produces high-quality scope bases for Savage target actions. The annealing machine is a new direction for Bench-Source, but it displays the company’s trademark attention to detail and superb machining.

The new Bench-Source automatic case neck annealing machine processes 500-600 cartridges per hour, from 22 Hornet up to the big magnums. Heating time from 1.5 to 10 seconds is precisely controlled by a microprocessor with both a manual mode and “Automatic” mode. Note that the cartridge spins in place when it is at the annealing position, giving a uniform anneal. After annealing, the case exits via a gravity-fed drop port, so you don’t have to handle hot cases. Note: In the video below, the flame you see on some cases is burn-off of temp-indicating marker. Watch carefully and you can see that the case being annealed spins while being heated.

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You can use either one or two heat sources. Torch tips are adjustable in height, angle, distance and vertical tilt by two clamp knobs. Unlike some other units, the flame height is quickly and easily adjustable. We were pleased to see all the top surfaces are metal (no plastic to warp or melt). The solid aluminum table top and index plate are also cooled by a 50-cubic-feet-per-minute fan — they will not heat up significantly during use. Additionally, the table acts as a heat sink to maintain hardness in the cartridge case head.

The unit goes on sale in March 2010. Anticipated retail price is $449.50. To order, visit Bench-Source.com, or contact Vertex Mfg. at (662) 895-0803.

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December 15th, 2009

New Brass Restoration Service Launched — Combined Ultrasonic Case Cleaning and Annealing

Darrell Jones, a talented benchrest shooter from Tennessee, has launched a new business that will provide a much-needed service for precision shooters. Darrell’s company, DJ’s Brass Restoration Service, will take your old, many-times-fired brass, and help bring them back to life. Darrell first cleans the cases inside and out using an ultrasonic bath. Then Darrell carefully anneals each case, employing temp indicators to insure the correct amount of heat is applied for the proper duration.

DJ's Brass Restoration

Combined Ultrasonic Cleaning and Case Annealing
The Basic Service starts at $20.00 per hundred cases — and that includes ultrasonic cleaning AND annealing. (Flat rate USPS shipping is extra.) Note: very large cases (such as the .338 Lapua) or damaged, dented cases may cost more. In addition to the Basic Service, Darrell offers a 4-Step Full Service starting at $25.00 per hundred cases (plus shipping). Full Service brass restoration includes:

• Uniform primer pockets
• Chamfer case mouths
• Ultrasonic cleaning and polishing
• Anneal case necks

DJ's Brass Restoration

Ultrasonic Muzzle Brake Cleaning
In addition to cleaning and annealing cartridge brass, Darrell offers Ultrasonic Cleaning for muzzle brakes. This removes carbon buildup to restore critical bullet clearance requirements. The price is $15.00 per brake (plus shipping).

Restoring Your Brass Can Save Time and Money
Your match-quality brass represents a significant investment of money and prep/sorting time. With 100 pieces of new premium brass costing as much as $100.00, we think Darrell’s service is a great deal for shooters who want to extend the life of their brass. We expect his cleaning/annealing service will soon be in high demand. (In addition, on a custom-order basis, for an additional fee, Darrell can trim cases to a specified OAL.) Also, if you have spent many hours turning necks or forming wildcat cartridges, DJ’s Brass Restoration can save you the hassle of trimming, sorting, turning and prepping new cases. You have a lot of time invested in those turned necks and fire-formed cases… you don’t want to toss the brass after a few firings.

For more information, visit DJsBrass.com, or call Darrell at (901) 826-1503. As a special benefit for AccurateShooter.com members, Darrell is now offering free return shipping on any order over 500 pieces (limited time offer). IMPORTANT: Contact Darrell for shipping instructions BEFORE sending any brass for processing. ALL BRASS MUST BE DE-PRIMED before you send it.

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April 5th, 2009

How Cartridge Brass is Made

[This item last appeared a year ago in our Daily Bulletin, generating considerable interest among readers. By popular request, we’re reprinting this story, in case you missed it the first time around. — Editor]

Precision shooters favor premium brass from Lapua, Norma, or RWS. (Lake City also makes quality brass in military calibers.) Premium brass delivers better accuracy, more consistent velocities, and longer life. Shooters understand the importance of good brass, but many of us have no idea how cartridge cases are actually made. Here’s how it’s done.

The process starts with a brass disk stamped from strips of metal. Then, through a series of stages, the brass is extruded or drawn into a cylindrical shape. In the extrusion process the brass is squeezed through a die under tremendous pressure. This is repeated two or three times typically. In the more traditional “draw” process, the case is progressively stretched longer, in 3 to 5 stages, using a series of high-pressure rams forcing the brass into a form die. While extrusion may be more common today, RWS, which makes some of the most uniform brass in the world, still uses the draw process: “It starts with cup drawing after the bands have been punched out. RWS cases are drawn in three ‘stages’ and after each draw they are annealed, pickled, rinsed and subjected to further quality improvement measures. This achieves specific hardening of the brass cases and increases their resistance to extraordinary stresses.” FYI, Lapua also uses a traditional draw process to manufacture most of its cartridge brass (although Lapua employs some proprietary steps that are different from RWS’ methods).

RWS Brass Cartridge Draw process

After the cases are extruded or drawn to max length, the cases are trimmed and the neck/shoulder are formed. Then the extractor groove (on rimless cases) is formed or machined, and the primer pocket is created in the base. One way to form the primer pocket is to use a hardened steel plug called a “bunter”. In the photos below you see the stages for forming a 20mm cannon case (courtesy OldAmmo.com), along with bunters used for Lake City rifle brass. This illustrates the draw process (as opposed to extrusion). The process of draw-forming rifle brass is that same as for this 20mm shell, just on a smaller scale.

20mm cartridge brass forming

20mm Draw Set Oldammo.com

River Valley Ordnance explains: “When a case is being made, it is drawn to its final draw length, with the diameter being slightly smaller than needed. At this point in its life, the head of the draw is slightly rounded, and there are no provisions for a primer. So the final drawn cases are trimmed to length, then run into the head bunter. A punch, ground to the intended contours for the inside of the case, pushes the draw into a cylindrical die and holds it in place while another punch rams into the case from the other end, mashing the bottom flat. That secondary ram holds the headstamp bunter punch.

Lake City Brass bunter

The headstamp bunter punch has a protrusion on the end to make the primer pocket, and has raised lettering around the face to form the headstamp writing. This is, of course, all a mirror image of the finished case head. Small cases, such as 5.56×45, can be headed with a single strike. Larger cases, like 7.62×51 and 50 BMG, need to be struck once to form a dent for the primer pocket, then a second strike to finish the pocket, flatten the head, and imprint the writing. This second strike works the brass to harden it so it will support the pressure of firing.”

Thanks to Guy Hildebrand, of the Cartridge Collectors’ Exchange, OldAmmo.com, for providing this 20mm Draw Set photo. Bunter photo from River Valley Ordnance, RVOW.com.

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November 28th, 2007

New, Versatile Brass-O-Matic Annealing Machine

Zephyr Dynamics, the clever folks who brought you Pod Paws for bipods, have crafted an impressive new automated annealing machine. Unlike other mechanical annealers on the market, Zephyr’s $399.00 “Brass-O-Matic” is designed to anneal ALL sizes of rifle brass–from .223 Rem all the way up to 50 BMG. Two arms hold high-output torches (bottles and tips not included in price). You can adjust the height of the jets to place the flames right at the “sweet spot” of any length case. With two burners fixed nearly opposite one another (see photo), the case neck and shoulder are completely enveloped by flame for uniform annealing. The rotational motor has a speed control so you can adjust the dwell time for your particular brass.

Brassomatic Annealing Machine

How well does it work? To be honest, we can’t say because we haven’t got our hands on a production version yet. Palma and F-Class ace Jerry Tierney has purchased one of the first run and he’s promised a full report as soon as UPS delivers his Brass-O-Matic. To see the machine in action, check out the video below. You’ll find another video, and more information, on the Zephyr Dynamics website.

CLICK HERE to WATCH VIDEO

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