• I use the orange flame method that @orkan recommends and have had good results with it. I’ve annealed thousands of pieces of brass from all different manufacturers and it’s always worked until recently. I was annealing some hornady 6.5 creedmoor brass and it would not ever turn the flame orange regardless how long and hot I let it get. I’ve not had that problem before even with hornady creedmoor brass, it was just this one batch. Anyone else ever had this issue, and does anyone know what is burning off when the flame turns orange?

  • I looked up a chart in one of my materials textbooks. Zinc, arsenic, phosporous, and copper are all alloying elements of brass, but all of these are listed as having flame test colors in the blue to green range. Lead is also an alloy but is listed as having a white to grey color.

    Looking at materials that do have orange to red flame test colors show calcium, potassium, sodium, lithium, iron, and strontium all in that range. However, I am not aware that any of these are alloying elements for brass.

    But at least some of these elements are present in gun powder, as well as in the lubricants used in the production of the cases as well as in reloading operations. Brass has a reasonably porous grain structure and will absorb lubricants like a sponge. That is one of the reasons why it makes a good bearing surface, it locks in the lubrication needed to function as a bearing. I wonder if the orange flame is not actually pyrolysis of the brass elements, but rather an unbinding of trace elements otherwise locked in the grain structure of the brass.

    I am no materials science expert, but I work with quite a few people that are experts. I will ask around on Monday and see what they have to say on the subject.

  • That interesting, I have know idea what causes it or why this one particular batch of brass will not produce a orange flame.

  • @flyinphill said:

    but rather an unbinding of trace elements otherwise locked in the grain structure of the brass.

    I did the same research and what you say here was also what I speculated.

  • @orkan said:

    @flyinphill said:

    but rather an unbinding of trace elements otherwise locked in the grain structure of the brass.

    I did the same research and what you say here was also what I speculated.

    You ever had a batch of brass that wouldn’t give an orange flame?

  • @bull81 Your mileage may vary but it seems to me that waiting for an orange flash overdoes the annealing. Benchsource recommends 750 Degree Tempilac INSIDE the case neck and that has worked very well for me. Before the Benchsource I tried all manner of non-automated methods and results were extremely variable. Maybe it was just me but working in a consistent level of darkness and deciding when I saw the orange flash resulted in a range of neck tension that I could feel when seating bullets, with the Tempilac and Benchsource there is no discernible difference in neck tension within brass lots. Lot to lot, well that's why I don't use random brass for precision shooting.

  • @rr2241tx
    I adjust the time down til just before the flame turns orange. I’ve had good results doing it that way. The problem I had with the templac was it was hard for me to see the exact time it changed colors. I actually like the idea of templac better as it seems more exact if your able to read the results correctly, I just had a hard time seeing the results correctly. I’m always open to suggestions so maybe you could give me some pointers on the templac.

  • @bull81 said:

    You ever had a batch of brass that wouldn’t give an orange flame?

    No. They all have done it to some capacity. Some more subdued than others.

    @rr2241tx said:

    Your mileage may vary but it seems to me that waiting for an orange flash overdoes the annealing.

    The technique is not to wait for orange flame but to determine when they orange flame and then back down to immediately before that point.

    There is a distinct difference between finding what works for one's own self, and instructing a huge number of people on what works. All have different equipment, different environments, different components, and different flames. While the tempilac may work for you and select others... that method does NOT account for all the variables above, and the proof of this is easily seen among misguided youtubers torching their brass. What works for you works for you, but there MUST be a distinction made between that and the instruction of others. A distinction that recognizes how much time and money went into gaining the experience required to see not only that tempilac wasn't working for many, but also in the development of an entirely new method. I say this not because I require recognition for my efforts, but because a simple dismissal without an extremely detailed report which counters the tens of thousands of words I've written on the subject is not in keeping with the goals of this site.

    My method accounts for all variables, and is the only method I've seen which does. Excluding per-manufacturer precision annealing methods such as the induction units that have brass-specific programming based on laboratory hardness testing.

  • Easy there Orkan, please. I have in no way impugned your method, merely stated that in my experience I have trouble reproducibly determining when the orange flash occurred because for me getting a consistent level of darkness is not happening. It is entirely possible that my red-green vision is inferior to yours. On the other hand, by coating the entire inside of a few case necks with 750 Tempilac I can dial the time up or down with at least some precision. I can easily see the shift from turquoise to clear. I respectfully submit that Tempilac when used correctly with a Benchsource annealer does account for changes in environment, components and flames since the only thing the indicator responds to is heat. If the heat required to achieve the desired degree of softening is other than that indicated by the 750F Tempilac, then there are others indicating fro 175F to 1900F. C26000 otherwise known as cartridge brass is nominally 70% Cu and 30% Zn, grain structure begins to change slowly at 500F. At 600F it will be fully soft in 1 hour. At 800F full softening occurs within seconds. Since we are not interested in achieving full softness, a useful degree of softening is empirically found by material scientists to have been achieved when the material is rapidly heated to approximately 750F. Commercial tolerance in the composition of cartridge brass is +/- 1.5% of the copper content which undoubtedly accounts for the observed differences in hardness among different brands and lots of cases. I would not say that Tempilac is any more useful than barbeque paint if one is not using a mechanically timed annealing method.

  • @rr2241tx
    Are you watching the templac while it’s in the flame or checking after it comes out? I tried and tried to watch for the change while in the flame but the flame itself interfered with being able to tell when the color change took place for me. Like I said earlier I like the idea of useing templac better so any pointers would be greatly appreciated

  • @bull81 I watch it in the flame in a dimly lit room. Once I have the time right the lights are turned up and it’s off to the races. I generally will run 1000 - 2000 cases of one lot number at a time. I recalibrate for each run/lot number. I want the lacquer to clear just as the case is rotated out of the flame. Seems to me that your method of checking is potentially equally valid if you have small time increments so you have one still colored and the next cleared. The key is to have a repeatable amount of partial softening that retains enough springiness to have the neck tension your setup requires. A lot of my competition shooting is straight walled cases single loaded so not a lot of neck tension is required. 45-90 for an 1886 repeater needs to hold a good crimp but be soft enough not to swage the inch or so of bullet inside the case nor let the magazine spring jam the bullet into the case under heavy recoil.

  • @rr2241tx said:

    Easy there Orkan, please. I have in no way impugned your method,

    Why do you assume I'm upset, when I simply respond factually? I've spent more time studying the metallurgy of brass than I care to remember or admit. I'm WAY past arguing what someone wants to do, or whether they think another method is superior.

    Anneal however you like.

  • With the new program introduced by AMP I am seriously considering selling my bench source and moving over to the amp. A good friend of mine has one and I’ve played around with it, my only concern was having to send brass to AMP for testing and a program. Now that they have this new update that allows the machine to self calibrate it’s looking more desirable.

  • @bull81

    I’ve had the amp about 10 months now. I love it. As far as I can tell it’s perfectly repeatable.

    I’m super stoked about that Aztec upgrade. I’ve only sent off one lot of brass to be checked but it’s a pain in the ass mailing to New Zeland.

    Plus the ability to sort cases by neck mass, gives me something else to feed my ocd with.

  • My question to all, is this pain worth it. How much of a gain will you realize with trying to be super precise with annealing. I use a bench source and try to time the flame color change. I would not want to waste a lot of time, pain and suffering on something that is not going to dramatically shave my groups, poi, first round hits. I am asking this for knowledge maybe it will help.

  • @tpk936
    For me it’s really more about the ease in set up, I anneal after every firing and sometimes it’s aggravating setting up the bench source to anneal just a handful of brass. That’s my only complaint, and it’s not always an issue because most of the time I try and wait until I have a significant quantity of brass to anneal. It’s just something I’ve been kicking around.

  • @bull81 I get that part and I only anneal when I have gone through 100 pieces on a caliber. I do anneal every firing. I am more interested in being so precise with annealing. What shooting benefits will be gained.

  • @tpk936
    I can’t answer that, I always have to adjust my shoulder bump a little bit in or out from the previous setting. This could possibly be from variances from setting up the annealer from one time to the next, but I can’t confirm that. I’ve not seen a difference in accuracy or any amount of velocity from one lot to the next.

  • I have no problem setting up my bench source to do 20-30 pieces. Smallest batches I ever do.

    I can't see there being much better results than I'm getting. If there is, they are going to be so small that it would be almost impossible to determine the cause of the improvement. When you're already shooting one-hole groups, determining what to do next can get pretty demanding.

  • @tpk936

    If I’m measuring powder to a kernel, seating primers to a thousandth of an inch, using 300 dollars worth of custom dies in a 300 dollar press and then pulling my hair out when I measure runnout over 1.5 thou why wouldn’t I try to control my annealing to the same level of repeatability?

    I figure everything we do matters on the paper to some degree, whether or not I can shoot well enough to see it is another thing.

  • Orkan, I got it....

    tackyp I also get it, although to me it appears you may be a little over the top, but if it gives you comfort and confidence that is all that matters..

  • @tpk936

    I don’t know that it’s over the top. 21ST century primer seater. A&D scale (or Prometheus if you’re really serious). Coax press with whidden dies. Any decent concentricty gauge.

    I mean theoretically a chargemaster should weigh to every 5 kernels.

    I figured a good deal of people here do this. It’s just the tolerances high end tools allow you to keep.

  • @tackyp I am just speaking annealing. I wanted to know if I was missing the boat. Me Prometheus recent, 2 Coax press, Mostly whidden sizer dies one seater (which was a nightmare but they corrected 600 rounds later) the rest Forester seater dies, CPS primer, Accuracy one concentricity, bench source annealer, giraud me I get it ..

  • @tpk936

    My misunderstanding.

    I got the AMP because I didn’t want to deal with open flame. The Aztec mode is just a nice bonus I just heard about.

    I’d recommend it, but with reservations.

    Good luck.

  • @tackyp I looked at the AMP over a year ago for the same reason open flame and it was programmed. I thought it was pretty slick but availability was not good at the time, I am thinking a 4 to 6 month wait. I did not anneal at the time. Wanted to get started immediately so went bench source. Read all of Greg's articles and started. I would categorize me as a novice re-loader only loading for about 5 years and started with the .308 a pretty simple one.