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  1. #1
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    My new homemade annealer

    Before I didn't anneal anything but in recent months (or more) I started to really anneal everything, especially precision ammo. It does make a big difference. And for things like forming 6 ARC brass out of 6.5 Grendel brass it is an absolute non negotiable thing to anneal. It literally won't work unless you anneal your brass first. Hence I found myself more and more involved in the annealing game.

    I tried the hillbilly method of a drill and socket with a propane torch for a while. It works, but it's by far not the best or easiest thing to do consistently. I've considered getting an AMP Annealer, but the backlog is FOR EVER and they cost $1,500 for the machine and you can easily add an additional $500 in add ons such as software and other things.

    Then I happened upon this Youtube video:



    I however made mine just a little bit different. The only major difference is his timer runs off of DC power and hence requires a second plug usually meant for small electronics. Mine however runs off of 110V A/C so I can do mine using a single plug. I have since learned that the DC timers can also go down to 1/10th of a second on their timing whereas my 110V unit only goes to the 1 second mark. (Honestly there are enough other variables still involved that I don't think it needs to go sub 1 second, IE being able to set your timer to 3.5 seconds vs just 3 or 4 seconds)

    The hardest part of the deal was figuring out how to wire the timer because the instruction manual absolutely sucked in this regard. None the less after a few emails and some trial and error I figured it out and ultimately housed the unit and the connections in an old Lapua box.

    I have only been playing with it for about a day but it works GREAT. It's substantially faster than the hillbilly method and it's precise down to 1 second (or below that if you think it's worth it). It literally does the exact same anneal every single time on every piece of brass. From what I hear it's even much faster than the AMP Annealer.

    I bought some aluminum reloading trays because I didn't want to risk melting a plastic one. You can load up a loading tray with a case in every other hole (around the edges) and just hit em once and they are good. It's really fast. Each case is about 10 seconds to do (total, not just annealing time). So all that time people use with some shell holder device and all that is not needed. In under 10 minutes (easily, with time to spare) you can anneal 50 cases and be done with it.

    I have my timer set to do a 5 second countdown, then it turns on the power for 4 seconds (or however many are needed) then it turns off and does that on auto repeat.

    Anyway I am learning it's quirks but with between 24 and 48 hours since I finished getting it together and working it's been awesome. For a little north of $200 total so far it's a good investment. Cell phone pic below.
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  2. #2
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    Cool. Annealing is something I've been putting off but is probably something I'll start doing this year. I like this approach.

    From watching the video, I think I'll stick with the 0.1 sec increment timer as it appears this thing will get very hot very fast, and by 5 seconds are probably starting to ruin brass.

    I'm sad that you cut up a Lapua box....

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoilerUp View Post
    Cool. Annealing is something I've been putting off but is probably something I'll start doing this year. I like this approach.

    From watching the video, I think I'll stick with the 0.1 sec increment timer as it appears this thing will get very hot very fast, and by 5 seconds are probably starting to ruin brass.

    I'm sad that you cut up a Lapua box....
    I have more Lapua boxes :)

    The label on the one I cut up was torn up when it arrived so that one got chosen to be sacrificed.

    The .01 second interval is really not needed but up to you. The size of the coils will determine how long it takes.

    One guy said he used drill bits so you can keep track of the diameter. If the coil is really close to the case it will heat up to glowing in about 4 seconds, depending on how big the brass is of course.

    I experimented with 223 brass and with the coil pretty close it gives me a good noticeable anneal in 4 seconds. If I decide to change it I can go up one or two drill bit sizes and it will add a couple of seconds.

    Anyway I didn't know the difference between the timers until I had mine done. After using it a little bit as of now it won't matter what direction you go.

    For a really nice and consistent result it's good. The overall speed is also extremely nice as well.

  4. #4
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    Yes, that makes sense that you can control required timing based on how you build the coil, but changing the time sounds a bit easier to reused the same coil on multiple calibers, but I see there are some good threads on this on SnipersHide and Accurate Shooter, so I'll read up some more. In the video he's using 3.75 seconds.

    I am thinking you could get something like a 2' or even longer 1"x2" strip and drill out holes so you can have a long, linear shell holder and just move right on down the line pretty quickly.

  5. #5
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    I haven't seen any other threads other than the video itself... maybe I should go look to try and get ideas.

    If you want to reuse the same coil on all calibers that will depend on what you shoot. Something really fat will require a different coil than vs a 223 or something. Also the coil gets hot over time. I don't know the limit yet, but you definitely want more than one coil. If things start getting really hot then just swap out a new one.

    I ordered a bunch of 10 gauge solid copper wire and some of the heat resistant sheathing. I got enough to do at least a dozen or more coils. The sheathing is not required but it is nice to have. When I get the stuff delivered I will make some more coils.

    Like I said above, the difference between 3.75 seconds and 4 seconds is not enough to matter (in my opinion), especially if you fine tune your coil size.

    As far as having a long shell holder, I though about that but it would need to be wide enough not to tip over. I bought aluminum ones and they work great. The only issue I have so far is the one for 6 ARC sits a little deeper than I would like. It was made for a different taller cartridge than the ARC. It's fine for a reloading tray but specifically for this kind of annealing it would be nice for the cases to sit up a little higher. The guy that made them said he would make a custom one for me, but no telling when that will happen.

  6. #6
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    Question for you guys. I bought the stuff to make extra coils (10 gauge solid copper wire) and the heat sleeve for the wire.

    The heat sleeve is not required but it is nice to have. It provides a barrier to the actual piece of metal you are heating so that there isn't direct metal on metal contact.

    My question is what I can use to secure the ends of the sleeve material to keep it from slipping around or unraveling? I think shrink tube will work really good but the problem is I need (I think) something to withstand more heat. I don't know for sure but regular shrink tubing could possibly melt.

    I don't know exactly how hot the coil gets, but I know it's too hot to touch, hence the reason to have more than one coil per brass size.

    I've seen some shrink tubing that has heat ratings on it but it wasn't very high. Simply put I don't know what my options are.

  7. #7
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    Safety wire would be great if you have access to the tool.
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joelski View Post
    Safety wire would be great if you have access to the tool.
    Not familiar with that. Can you post a link or picture or something?

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    I'm guessing he means something like these:

    https://www.amazon.com/safety-wire-p...ty+wire+pliers

    It will twist the safety wire extremely tight (and also cuts the wire).

  10. #10
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    I used mine to safety wire the grips on my bikes. Armorers use these to secure turret caps and mounting nuts to optics and bases. Gator will tell you, there's a shitload of stuff on helos that gets safety wired to prevent vibration from ruining your day at 750 feet!
    There's no "Team" in F**K YOU!

  11. #11
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    I called one of the electric supply companies online and I found some 4:1 PTFE heat shrink tubing. You have to shrink it with a blow torch but the specs said it was good to 500 degrees F.

    I got 3/8" which will shrink by 4 when heated up so hopefully it fits.

  12. #12
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    The shrink wrap works great. I messed up a few pieces in my learning process. When you apply it you cannot have your propane torch 'barely on'. It needs to be full blast or rather pretty high. If the torch is not high enough you will soot up everything and you won't get a good shrink.

    I probably could get away with going one size smaller for the shrink tube (I was going to do just that but it wasn't available at the time). Regardless if the shrink wrap doesn't stick totally to the bare wire like glue, but it definitely does what I got it for, which is to keep the heat sheathing from fraying and unraveling. It's pretty tight on the bare wire but if you try to slide it up and down the bare wire you can move it. Hardly anything worth worrying about, especially for my use.

  13. #13
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    Just posting an update.

    I've found that after a couple hundred rounds the heat sleeve basically turns to dust. It's not worth it to deal with it and the heat shrink to secure it and all that. That stuff is cool and all but it's relatively fragile, especially after it's been heated up a lot.

    The other benefit to using bare wire is that you can get better fitment around the case. If the diameter of the coil is too big it takes a while to anneal. With the correct clearance it takes about 3 seconds to anneal a 223 case.

    Other than that everything is really good.

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