Annealing

Annealing

This is a discussion on Annealing within the Reloading forums, part of the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics category; Ok, I understand that annealing will heat up and soften the neck of the case, extending the life of the case. What I do not ...

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Thread: Annealing

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array BlackJack's Avatar
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    Annealing

    Ok, I understand that annealing will heat up and soften the neck of the case, extending the life of the case. What I do not know, is how much benefit you actually get from this process.

    My understanding is that a case will generally last about 8 – 10 reloadings. How much does annealing extend the life of the case? Will it double the life of the case, or only extend it by a couple of reloadings? Can you anneal a case multiple times, or can you only anneal a case once?

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    Cases can be repeatedly annealed. Some bench shooters will anneal after every firing, although I feel that is a bit excessive. Annealing can extend case life significantly, but I would not attempt to place a number on how many firings it might do so. Certainly more than a few.

    Annealing does not prevent case stretch, the result of the case body stretching during firing. Minimizing how much one resizes and pushes back the shoulder will minimize case stretching.
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    Been a long time but the only time I did any annealing was when forming 256 Win Mag cases from 357 brass. The first time forming brass I did not anneal and only got a few loadings before cases cracked. The next time I annealed the brass after going through the second form die and was able to get 10 or more loadings before I had any problems. I have not tried it on any other brass but since it work hardens a little each time the brass is worked annealing will remove some of the hardening.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.256_Winchester_Magnum
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    VIP Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    I anneal my rifle brass pretty frequently as I have an automated machine to get it done (about 500 RPH). I initially started when case forming 500 pieces of brass for a wildcat I shot in silhouette matches.

    Besides the increased case life it also aids in getting consistent neck tension and subsequent low SDs on loads. Precision stuff I anneal every firing, hunting an GP rifles, every 3rd or so.

    Some .223 going round:



    Wheel & water bath act as a heat sink to prevent overheating the case heads. As wheel rotates, brass rotates in pocket giving each piece 2 turns per torch flame.
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    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck R. View Post
    I anneal my rifle brass pretty frequently as I have an automated machine to get it done (about 500 RPH).
    What's a whiz-bang setup like that run?
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    VIP Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    What's a whiz-bang setup like that run?
    It's gone up quite a bit since I bought it, back then $250 +$25 a wheel, now $595:

    https://bkceng.com/?page_id=111
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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array OldVet's Avatar
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    I've been looking at the Annealeze model.
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  9. #8
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    Over the years I have formed a lot of GI .30-06 brass to .270 Win and .25-06 Rem. I have also formed GI 7.62 NATO to .243 Win, 7mm-308, and .338 Federal. I have found it helpful to work in stages when possible (i.e.: .30-06 sized to .270 then again to .25-06) rather than making larger changes all at once. Annealing case necks and mouths helps to prevent losses due to cracking. The method I used came from an old NRA publication:

    1. cases standing base-down in a pan of water (acts as a heat sink to prevent damage to case head areas)
    2. hand-held propane torch applied to case mouth-shoulder area until the metal glows a dull reddish color
    3. tip the cases over into the water to quench the metal

    Annealing prior to resizing resulted in significantly fewer cases being discarded due to cracking. Also, the resizing process was noticeably easier to perform, suggesting less stress on the cases.

    Over the years I adopted a personal policy of 6 reloads of full power rifle cartridges (first firing plus 5 reload cycles), after which that brass is segregated for use only with lower pressure loads. I shoot a lot of cast bullet loads so I can get a lot more use from those cases over time. I have one lot of FA-35 Match that seems to be living forever (17 reload cycles), and a bunch of .30-30 that shows no signs of ever giving up.

    I have never bothered with annealing for handgun brass. Most common calibers of handgun ammo, I just continue using the brass until there is a problem noted (case cracks, expanded primer pockets, etc), then I discard that lot of brass and start a new batch. About the only exceptions I have made to this have been some antique cartridges that I continue to load for my vintage firearms, such as .44-40 and .38-40 (which I have made by reforming .45 Long Colt), and the small Winchester cases (.32-20, .25-20, .218 Bee) which are all based on the same basic case and can be reformed to the specific caliber required. The older stuff has become increasingly expensive and difficult to find, so I make do with what I have and stock up when an opportunity arises.
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    I piddled with annealing a few times in my younger days. I was wanting to extend the life of my precious supplies of old pre-war .405 WCF brass. Another time I annealed some cases when making the wildcat .303 ICL Improved out of .303 cases. Tedious and never was certain I actually accomplished anything.

    A pre-World War II factory .405 WCF cartridge next to a generic factory .308 Winchester cartridge


    .303 ICL Improved and parent .303



    I've decided that life is too short to devote a lot of time to annealing cases for my purposes.
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