Re: Anealing--when do you do it?
There is one very simple reason why its best to fireform after the case has been fire formed. It is not a big deal and you can do it before or after with good results but I do it after for this reason.
When you neck a case down, from say 338 to 7mm, the case neck will work harden but the shoulder will not. It retains its original factory annealing state, nice and soft.
You could anneal after forming and then fireform with great results but if you do so, when the case shoulder is blown out during the fireforming process, it to gets work hardened. This means the brass gets more brittle because it is stretched and changed dimensionally.
Since it does this no matter if the case has been annealed or not, the shoulder will always harden during fireforming.
I anneal after fireforming so that once the case is fully formed, I can then anneal the neck and shoulder and from that point on, the neck and shoulder are both of the same degree of softness.
I also like a bit more neck tension on my fireforming loads and if you anneal the neck before fireforming, the neck tension will be decreased significantly.
Again, its basically a personal preference thing but this system has worked best for me.
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