how often to anneal brass?


Well-Known Member
Jul 17, 2001
Walla Walla, WA
I just bought the Hornady brass annealing kit last week and annealed my first 50 cases. They were 300 Win Mag cases that had been fired and resized a four or five times. I annealed them before resizing them and noticed that it was easier than usual to pull the necks back across the sizer button. I also noticed that the force required to seat a bullet was quite a bit less than usual. So I am kind of wondering about annealing the cases after each firing to get the most consistent neck tension possible. Is there anything wrong with annealing after each firing? I know it is quite time consuming but perhaps it would be worth it in the quest for the best accuracy. Thanks, Rufous
I definitely don't have time to anneal after each firing. I have no definite rule, but do so about every five firings with competition cases. Annealing keeps brass from becoming brittle, so you are returning it to original softness and that is why you find seating easier.
Your thought is correct as I know several people who do just that to assure consistent neck tension and seating alignment who shoot with me in the BR game. The only drawback is the application of the process----has to be consistent every single time. If you can do that then you are helping yourself in the quest of putting the bullet in a small target.
I anneal my 7WSM brass after every 2nd firing (my .260 after every 3rd firing, and my .308 after every 4th firing). I do the annealing in fairly large like caliber batches of a minimum of 250-300 cases each. I prefer to do batches so that I don't have to anneal every two weeks.


The very best thing you can do for your case necks is to use Redding S-Series dies. They use different size bushings to resize the neck "exactly" the right amount without using an expander ball. This really avoids needless working of the brass. They also reduce your case runout.

When I use these bushing dies, I only need to anneal my cases one or two times during 20 reloadings. You'll know when to anneal, if you organise your cases in lots. When you first notice a bullet seat with noticably less pressure - anneal your cases.

Annealing is good for your brass only if you pay attention to the details. It's best to rotate your cases when heating them. Otherwise they can get bent. Also don't overdo it with the heat. Remember, you only want to affect the case neck.

- Innovative
Another option is to take a loaded round with your preferred brass, measure the OD of the case neck, then send your standard sizing die back to the manufacturer and have them hone it to .002 less than that. No need for an expander, no need for bushing dies.

I sent all of my Redding dies back for honing. $20 per pop and $6 return shipping for all.

In terms of annealing, unless you just like buying new brass all the time, it is an underutilized tool that can certainly extend case life, and sometimes substantially. The owners/makers of "Brass-o-Matic" anneal after every firing for consistent neck tension. I think this is a good idea for optimum results. Annealing is also an excellent tool for wildcat calibers. I will anneal all of my brass for my 270 Allen Mag since there is so much modification to the shoulder and neck. I also anneal a lot of .06 Lapua brass when I resize it to a smaller caliber.

I also ordered the Hornady kit, but for ultimate consistency, Ken Light's BC1000 annealer wheel, or the Brass-O-Matic wheel are probably the best available. If you are not doing large quantities, stay with the Hornady.
IIRC, in the Houston Warehouse article, Virgil did not size the necks at all. He fire formed them and turned them to a 0.0007 case to barrel clearance. They would spring back because they were so close in size.

Whether this could work in a hunting rifle I don't know.

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