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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > annealing eld-x and sst

annealing eld-x and sst

06 Jun 2019
@ 07:09 am (GMT)

David Kopp

I recently was able to get some .308cal 200 eld-x and 180 sst at a good price.

My question is annealing them worth it or not, or look for 200gr speers. Range is 300 yds for whitetail/mule and moose. Moose range would be cut back to 200-250. Oh, and using it in a factory 308 with 20" barrel I have not loaded them yet project rifle still in the making.

I've been a long time listener and recently first time caller. And working on the book collection.

thank you to all


06 Jun 2019
@ 09:20 am (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
It will be interesting to see the replies, David. I am working on an SPS and the idea is to use the same SSTs for moose, range is a bit further, as this one is a magnum. I'll be following this one.

And welcome.
06 Jun 2019
@ 11:43 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Hi David, hi Paul, good question.

Yes, you could anneal these bullets. The main reason for doing this would be to help prevent wide expansion at low velocities leading to poor penetration (a parachute effect). Candle flame would be sufficient for this, the 200gr ELD-X would be the bullet to work with as it has the longer shank and will produce the best results.

While we are on this subject, a friend recently (June 2019) contacted me regarding his 180gr 7mm ELD-M bullets. They penciled through light bodied deer at various ranges, the complete opposite to results I have witnessed. I cannot state why this occurred, I can only make assumptions. The game weights and ranges were generally the same as what I have encountered, twist rates also the same. It could be that the animals were much leaner than ours. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that the projectiles (jackets) are of a different temper due to differences in supplied materials etc.

As a possible remedy to this, I have suggested annealing these projectiles. I cannot test them for myself as my friend lives in Europe. All I can do is monitor his processes. But out of interest, I have been studying the heat shield tip of the Hornady bullets and have so far found that it is possible to oven bake these bullets at 155C (311F) for over an hour without damaging the tips, leaving them to cool naturally in the oven thereafter. I will need more time to see this through and to determine how high I can push temperatures versus time.

Thomas and Chris, if you are reading this, I had a guy contact me a while back, had issues with the 6.5 147gr ELD-M on Thar blowing up - no big surprise there, to be expected. But in contrast to this, I have recently seen some narrow wounds (reader photos) with this bullet so this issue may also apply here. Thomas / Chris, if you want to play with this, be sure to use the method in the Cartridge book to obtain comparisons. I will not relay these test methods here - those who want to know how to do these tests can buy the book.

I doubt this is a major issue. The basic materials have not changed, jacket thickness etc remains the same. But the properties of those materials may perhaps now occasionally differ due to high product demands. If in doubt, do the tests. But do keep in mind, the issues mentioned regarding the 180gr bullet may also be relative to very lean game weights, my info confused further by low energy shots with the 6.5. I have a lot on my plate at the moment and these things take time to unravel. Still, some readers may find this information useful.

(edited above - that was supposed to read 155C, not 125C as before. Got 125gr 9mm projectiles on my mind at the moment sorry).
09 Jun 2019
@ 03:48 am (GMT)

David Kopp

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Thanks guys,

I will aim to play with the eld-x's and leave the sst's alone. Without measuring I assume 71mm oal with these. I hope to get 2400fps with the lil remy sps tact.

I prolly won't be playing with these until the fall. I have few other projects to clear off the list first and reading.

I'll do my best to track and respond to this post.

take care
09 Jun 2019
@ 07:35 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Hi David, you may be able to work up to about 2450 to 2475fps. Yes, 71mm is the go. I have not been using any special powder, just 2206H (H4895).
29 Mar 2023
@ 11:17 am (GMT)

Tommy Jones

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Sorry to revive an 4 yr old thread, but I am just seeing this and would like to understand the process. Mr Foster, you have multiple books now, can you tell me which one you discuss this procedure in?

30 Mar 2023
@ 06:31 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Hi Tommy, I went over this in the Cartridges book and also supplied some info on the website:
06 Apr 2023
@ 03:34 am (GMT)

Anders Österberg

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
I'm confused...
Lead melts at 330C and copper .
The lowest temperature that do anything to copper is 300C and 425C for brass , note... the lowest...

In minded that both copper and lead is one of the most heat conductive metals I wonder how anything will ever happend to the jacket before the lead melt ,not mention the plastic tip...

A candle kan not producing enough heat to do anything to copper/brass .

I heat-treate Lapua Scenar standing in water and just focus on the tip with a oxygen/acetylene torch, it's works very god .

Notice the heat-zone , I have also drilled the hole to 1.5mm😉

06 Apr 2023
@ 09:31 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: annealing eld-x and sst
Hi Anders, I understand your concerns, the theory and math does not seem to add up.

I initially performed these tests between 2004 and 2006, wanting to alter the performance of certain projectiles I was using. I had not expected much because I was of the same understanding as you. I came up with the idea of trying the candle flame simply to see if anything would happen. After the treatment, there was a change in performance with regards to the shape of projectiles recovered from game. The change was clearly evident and I sent both photos (game wounding / penetration) and recovered / washed projectiles to Hornady. Thereafter I had few talks with the Hornady ballisticians by phone. They were very interesting discussions and we talked about all sorts of ideas. They were very open minded (Steve Johnson and Dave Emary).

Candle flame is approximately 1000c. The process likely does not produce a full anneal. Plastic tips do melt, the trick is maintaining the form. Jacket thickness, ogive shape and meplat each have an effect on potential outcomes. Match BTHP's are more difficult to work with, hence why I came down harder on these designs in the second edition of Cartridges along with discussions on HP alterations.

Time vs heat transfer is a part of the equation. Yesterday, the brake assembly broke on my wife's horse float. The end of the brake piston had broken off. I should really have bought a new one but decided to try welding it together. The piston was only 2" long before meeting a rubber boot, under which the assembly was packed with grease, then a rubber piston ring. I had a number of jobs to get through and did not want to take a trip to the city so I thought - I'll give it a crack, if it melts, too bad I will just have to go to the city and buy a new brake assembly. So I drained and washed the brake assembly of brake fluid, got a bucket of water, set the tig to about 65 amps - tack, dip in the water, tack dip etc. Then a full weld and done. If I was to run the idea of doing this past a mechanic, he might (quite rightly) say that it could not be welded without destroying the rubber assembly. But its done, working well and is stronger than a new replacement item.


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