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Does brass age harden?

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Old 12-21-2011, 11:28 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 551
Does brass age harden?

Or rather I should ask how often do you anneal brass?

It's been a year since I shot the 7mm AM. The first round that I fired had a few tiny cracks where the neck meets the shoulder. I then fired one of the orig. rounds that Kirby loaded and that one cracked too. I didn't have that problem when I fired the gun right after picking it up, and getting it dialed in. I stopped shooting before I wasted more brass.

All the brass is the same lot, and this is the first full house firing after fireforming, which Kirby did.

I'm now in the process of pulling all the primers so I can anneal it.

How often do you anneal your brass? I hate tossing brass after only getting one firing on it......
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:54 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: 4422′44″N 1082′35″W
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Re: Does brass age harden?

I cant answer the question, but I can tell you that my remington 375 ultra brass must be annealed before firing even once otherwise I loose several. I assume it is because of all the work that was done to the brass to get it that shape. I am willing to bet that is the case with your brass if it was not annealed after being fire formed.... if it was annealed after forming and this is the first firing since the annealing I am stumped. I wouldnt think age would do that but then again I dont know... I have used some pretty old brass over the years with no problems

Anything less than overkill is underachievement!

" Real elk guns start with the number 3 or bigger and blow two holes, one in and one out." - My Dad
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:24 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: MN
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Re: Does brass age harden?

I wouldn't think age would affect the hardness very much so, like Mike, I'm stumped too. However, I anneal every time I reload and have made it another step in my reloading process. It's probably overkill but now I don't have to keep track of how many times a case has been fired. I also figure it's the best way to make sure neck tension is consistent. It's simple, quick and inexpensive so why not?
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:10 PM
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Re: Does brass age harden?

"Does brass age harden? "

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:52 PM
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Location: NW Mt.
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Re: Does brass age harden?

If it has ever been cleaned or tumbled in an ammonia solution it will continue to harden
with age. I've seen brass sit for 30 years with no noticeable problems when loaded and
had brass that got extremely brittle over the years it sat. Chemical processes must have
been in play is all I could figure.
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:52 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Re: Does brass age harden?

yes, to a point brass will "age harden" thru the reaction of ambient temp's and oxide. How much depends on the composition of the brass used ond how old it is. I don't think modern mfg. brass cart. will be a problem.
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Old 12-21-2011, 03:00 PM
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Location: N. Central Indiana
Posts: 551
Re: Does brass age harden?

Thanks guys. I don't know if they were annealed after fire forming. I didn't anneal them.

I've never tumbled them either. I just sent 200 pc. of brass to Kirby to fireform them while I was waiting on him to finish my rifle. We loaded 20 rounds when I was there to test fire the rifle, and the ones that we shot didn't split. I had some of the loaded rounds left over, and the one that I shot this year split. Roughly the same ambient temps, so I'm at a loss.

I will pull the primers on them and anneal them before loading.
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