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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

The Ugly Annealer: Examined and Reviewed


A brass annealing machine is a as soon as elite piece of reloading tools that has change into extra mainstream not too long ago. Although I’ve reloaded for greater than 20 years, I’ve been largely only a useful reloader and hadn’t even heard of annealing till a number of years in the past. I nonetheless don’t have all the very best and newest tools, and far of my reloading work is for searching, however as my quantity of capturing and reloading has grown, I’ve determined that annealing is a smart selection to enhance the consistency and repair lifetime of my brass. There are a selection of choices in the marketplace, however when looking for a brass annealing machine for myself, the Ugly Annealer from Derraco Engineering caught my eye — right here’s what I consider it after annealing 5,000 items of brass with it.

The Ugly Annealer Specs

See It

  • Dimensions: 10.5 inches X 6 inches X 13.5 inches
  • Stainless Metal Housing
  • Annealing sort: Gasoline (propane)
  • Diamond-grit-coated rotation wheels (2)
  • Cartridge compatibility: .223 Rem. to .50 BMG
  • Value: $271

Key Options

  • Massive case hopper with detachable retention plate
  • Exactly adjustable voltage/pace
  • Further rotation wheel included
  • Contains 5 cartridge inserts

Assessment Highlights

  • Easy and simple to assemble and repair
  • Diamond grit wheel coating shouldn’t put on out and spins circumstances reliably
  • Massive hopper holds round 170 .308/6.5 CM circumstances, and round 260 .223 Rem. circumstances
  • Principally hands-off operation as soon as working
Ugly annealer accessories
The Ugly Annealer comes with a second, narrower rotating wheel, extra fuel bottle stand, Allen key set, and miscellaneous small components.

What Is Annealing and Why Does It Matter to Reloaders?

Annealing is a heat-treating course of during which supplies are heated above their recrystallization temperatures, then allowed to chill with a purpose to make them extra ductile (much less brittle). Many metals are annealed in order that they are often labored, stamped, or rolled with out breaking. For rifle brass, this implies heating the case (often the neck and shoulder) to make it extra malleable after firing. It’s widespread for producers to anneal, although a few of them clear the brass to take away the annealing discoloration. For those who’ve seen cartridges with darkened brass across the shoulders and necks, that’s from annealing.

Every time we hearth a case, the grain construction of the brass will get barely extra brittle. We hearth, re-size, and hearth once more till ultimately the case neck cracks. As a bit of steel is labored, it steadily hardens, then ultimately cracks. Annealing successfully resets the grain construction to a extra ductile state. 

For the shooter and reloader, annealing after each firing could make your brass last more and supply higher neck rigidity consistency. Neck rigidity describes how firmly the case neck holds onto the bullet, and if that’s extra constant, likelihood is that your accuracy will probably be extra constant too. 

Not each reloader wants to fret about annealing, nevertheless it’s a superb method to get probably the most out of your elements — particularly premium brass. If in case you have a tough time retaining monitor of what number of instances your brass has been fired or, like me, have a five-gallon bucket of brass with combined numbers of firings, annealing may also help enhance the consistency of that too.

Flame Annealing Vs. Induction Annealing

There are a selection of various methods to anneal brass. Earlier than you can simply purchase a brass annealing machine, shooters developed other ways to do it. Typically although, brass is annealed with a propane fuel flame or by a brass annealing machine that makes use of induction (an electromagnetic area) to use the warmth. Induction annealing is theoretically extra exact and constant, and the most effective brass annealing machines you can purchase is an AMP Mk II for round $1,700 (after they’re in inventory). 

For many shooters, a fuel flame annealer is a extra sensible and efficient selection. There may be some selection, however these machines usually rotate one piece of brass at a time via one or two propane flames till the right temperature has been reached. That’s often between 500 and 800 levels Fahrenheit however the common consensus is that 700 or 750 levels is acceptable. Every brass alloy requires a barely totally different temperature, and I get the impression that flame annealing isn’t an actual science. The flame place, publicity time, case lot, caliber, and fuel regulation all play an element, so most people intention for the very best consistency they will get. It’s widespread to make use of a temperature-indicating lacquer like Tempilaq contained in the case neck to tune within the correct flame and publicity time. 

Why I Selected The Ugly Annealer

Selecting a brass annealing machine to purchase felt a bit of redundant, as lots of them are functionally related and price about the identical. There are some horizontal rotating plate annealers like these from AGS, however I wished one of many dual-wheel, vertically oriented fashions just like the Annealeez or Burstfire. Nevertheless, when searching choices on Amazon, I got here throughout the Ugly Annealer. At first look, it gave the impression to be just about the identical because the earlier two, however with a bigger hopper. What grabbed my consideration was that the Ugly Annealer had fivefold the variety of constructive opinions that any of the others had, with a word from Amazon that the majority prospects hold this merchandise. I take all that with a grain of salt, nevertheless it appeared to offer a greater function set at an analogous value, so I ordered one.

ugly annealer diamond grit wheels
The case rotating wheels included with the Ugly Annealer are coated in diamond grit, which is an extremely sturdy end that spins circumstances reliably.

The Ugly Annealer Brass Annealing Machine: Set-up and Operation

The Ugly Annealer is a straightforward machine and requires minimal meeting. It additionally comes with an Allen key set and extra small screws and components. The bottom plate and housing are stainless-steel, and the rotating wheels and cartridge case blocks are aluminum. With the bottom, entrance information panel rod, and fuel torch clamp put in, you’re able to arrange to your favourite cartridge.

One factor I like concerning the Ugly Annealer is that it’s simply adjustable to accommodate nearly any cartridge. The unit comes with 5 totally different sized inserts for the brass catching wheel to accommodate something between .223 Rem. and .50 BMG. Much less widespread, a .22 or .17 Hornet insert will be bought individually. The inserts are held into the brass catching wheel by a single machine screw and have a machined trough into which a single casing can drop because the wheel rotates beneath the hopper. The hopper entrance information panel is obvious polycarbonate and the depth is adjustable to permit for shorter or longer circumstances. 

The Ugly Annealer comes with an AC energy twine that plugs into the highest of the unit subsequent to the on/off toggle button. The one management on the unit is the voltage regulation knob which adjusts the pace of the motor and consequently, the publicity time every case has within the flame. Additionally on the highest is a digital setting indicator show that’s useful to make use of as a reference when fine-tuning publicity time.

ugly annealer brass annealing machine
The Ugly annealer options twin rotating wheels and is fed from a big case hopper.

Primary Operation

The Ugly Annealer is straightforward to function. After preliminary setup, you’ll wish to nice tune your pace and flame. Set a number of casings within the hopper, arrange your propane torch (the equipment additionally features a bottle stand for non-standard torches), and switch the unit on. The brass catching wheel will pull a case from the hopper and drop it on high of the brass rotation wheel (which is adjustable for depth, and a thinner wheel is included for brief cartridges), and the diamond-grit-coated wheel spins the case within the flame. Because the brass catching wheel is about to drop one other casing onto the rotation wheel on the finish of the cycle, the adjustable ejection bar pulls again, permitting the annealed casing to slip off into your assortment container.

When you get the right settings established, flip the machine off, stack your circumstances within the hopper, flip it again on, and let it work.

Utilizing the Ugly Annealer

Time will inform for longevity, however the Ugly Annealer seems to be well-built with good supplies, and ought to be user-serviceable if something does break. After shopping for mine, I annealed roughly 5,000 items of brass to check it. That included .223 Rem., 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5mm Creedmoor, .308 Win., .30/06, .270 Win., 7mm PRC, .300 Win. Magazine., and .300 H&H Magazine. 

I may simply re-fit the Ugly Annealer for various cartridge circumstances. Actually, it often took longer to get the pace setting for various circumstances dialed in than it did to make the mechanical changes. The big hopper would maintain roughly 170 items of 6.5 Creedmoor, .308, or .30/06 brass, and round 260 items of .223. Principally, it was a set-it-and-forget-it machine. You wish to fastidiously monitor it, however you’ll hardly ever need to make changes as soon as it will get going — particularly with bigger circumstances. The one hiccup I had was when annealing .223 with a fully-loaded hopper. There’s a small lip on the brass catching wheel that catches on the .223 brass and underneath the burden of the loaded hopper. It did bind up as soon as and I needed to unload the hopper. I annealed brass just about continuous for a number of days, and I’m fairly happy.

ugly annealer controls
The Ugly Annealer incorporates a easy on/off button and voltage regulation knob to regulate rotation pace.

Issues I Actually Like About The Ugly Annealer Brass Annealing Machine

  • I actually just like the simplicity and adjustability of this annealer. It’s not constructed to look good, however constructed to final. There’s nothing shoddy about it. 
  • The big hopper and detachable entrance information panel are fairly useful in case you’re annealing a big amount of brass. With out the information panel, brass can simply get bumped out. 
  • The caliber conversion blocks present a very good match for all kinds of cartridges.
  • The diamond-coated brass rotation wheels spin the brass very constantly — a criticism I hear about different fashions with rubber-coated wheels is that the rubber generally slips and gained’t spin the case.

Issues I Want Have been Higher On The Ugly Annealer Brass Annealing Machine

  • I believe the one factor I discovered annoying was that the fuel torch clamp is hard to lock into place with out shifting the flame. I often left it considerably free, and manually positioned the flame firstly of every annealing session, being cautious to not bump the desk.
ugly annealer cartridge inserts
The Ugly Annealer comes with 5 different-sized cartridge inserts for easy operation.

Brass Annealing Machine FAQ

Do you actually need to anneal brass?

No, it’s not a requirement. Nevertheless, it may possibly make your brass final for much longer and provide you with higher consistency in your reloads.

What’s the greatest temperature to anneal brass?

Most shooters intention for 700 or 750 levels Fahrenheit, however actual temperature varies relying on situations and the precise alloy.

What does annealing do to rifle brass?

Annealing resets and softens the crystal construction of the rifle brass after firing, stopping it from turning into brittle.

Does annealing prolong brass life?

Sure, annealing will prolong brass life when correctly executed as a result of it permits extra working cycles earlier than the case neck cracks.

Learn Subsequent: Rifle Nodes: How You’ve Been Losing Your Time and Cash on Load Improvement

Ultimate Ideas on the Ugly Annealer

Although an induction annealer just like the AMP might be higher, most shooters will discover the Ugly Annealer to be a terrific worth. It presents a terrific function set that’s superior to related aggressive fashions — at about the identical value. It’s simple sufficient to arrange and use for small batches of pricy brass. Nevertheless it’s additionally able to dealing with tons of of items of brass with out stopping. It’s not too usually to search out actual gems on locations like Amazon, however I’m glad I purchased the Ugly Annealer.

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