Note: If you are using a Mark ll annealer, or a Mark l with our AZTEC upgrade, you should always use AZTEC analyse mode to determine the correct settings to anneal your brass. The information below may still be of interest, but it is only relevant to owners of Mark l units without AZTEC.
Our settings are now far more detailed than first envisaged when we first started in 2015. This is because:
1. Different brands of brass require different power levels. Now that all our settings are neck and shoulder anneal, this fact became much more apparent. Extensive metallurgy tests show that alloy composition is not the reason. Rather it is the mass of brass to be annealed. Brands such as Lapua and Norma are usually heavier in the neck and shoulder. There is significant variation between the requirements of each brand, so our settings are individualized for each one. AZTEC automatically compensates for these differences.
2. Depth of insertion into the air gap is critical. A variation of only a few millimeters can make a difference of 20 HV (Hardness Vickers) or more in the result. Therefore we supply depth specific pilot which do not need adjustment. Just thread them all the way in and they are ready to go. There is still some commonality. For example, the family .243 W, 7-08 R and 308 W all share the same pilot #11.
3. Neck turning does make a difference. As brass is removed, the mass in the air gap reduces, meaning that less power is required. We provide separate settings for standard brass and neck turnings of -0.001”, -0.002” and -0.003”. It is important to enter the correct setting. Brass with say 0.003” turned off the neck will be very overheated if the standard setting is used. Our Standard settings now include the nominal neck wall thickness of each cartridge we calibrate. This is an average of six readings per case x 4 cases, using a Mitutoyo tube micrometer with a ball anvil. Again, AZTEC automatically compensates for different neck turning dimensions.
Note: do not use Verniers to measure neck wall thickness. They may give a false thick dimension. Please read our article on measuring neck thickness here.
Lot to lot variation: In general we have found excellent consistency. There can been exceptions however. For example, we have tested two different lots of Norma 308 brass which needed quite different power levels. When this occurs, we note the difference on our Settings page. For more information on why these variations occur see here. Always AZTEC analyse a new lot # to check for variations.
Case weight variation: For any given cartridge/brand, the consistency of the annealed hardness case to case can be affected by variable case weight, in particular if the weight variation occurs in the shoulder region. For hunting ammunition the difference is negligible. For the precision reloader, it can be a factor in achieving the best possible consistency. Many competitive shooters sort their cases by weight, and use the median cases for competition. We recommend this for the most consistent annealing results. The program settings below are based on the median of each set of sample cases supplied by customers.
Mark l model customers without AZTEC are welcome to send us samples for calibration. It is a free service. See the Contributor form for details. The only time AZTEC users need to send samples is if a cartridge is not listed in our AZTEC pilot codes table (see other drop down under "Settings and Pilots" tab). In that instance we need samples to determine the correct value of the AZTEC pilot code.
Note: The Standard program tables below feature many wildcats and cases formed from different parent cartridges. Where applicable, in the Brand of Brass column, the parent cartridge is identified as "ex-" as in "formerly” or "was once”.