The reason we anneal brass cases.

Alibiiv

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jun 17, 2013
Messages
1,311
Location
Rhode Island
When do you anneal the cases before you do a F/L resize or after? I would assume before you resize, but I have never annealed before and do not know the correct order it should be done.

I use an RCBS universal depriming tool and deprime my brass before I anneal. The universal depriming tool does nothing to the brass, it simply removes the spent primer. I use the salt bath method for annealing, so to prevent a situation of air being trapped inside of the casing (air pocket) while it is in the liquid salt I deprime first, the depriming also helps when I quench the brass. I have a .270AI so I have to fire form my brass, there is definitely a difference in how the brass works after it is annealed. After one firing on factory brass I also anneal that brass also. There definitely is a difference between sizing brass that is not annealed and brass that has been annealed. There are a number of opinions on the effectiveness of the salt bath process over other processes of annealing, the salt bath process works for me and I don't have a lot of money invested in the equipment. The only draw back that I find with the salt bath process is that you have to deal with extremely hot salt that could very easily cause serious burns if the process is not followed properly; however one could say the same about using a torch.
 

BrentM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
2,623
Location
Meridian, Idaho
Built my own annealer and never look back. Worth every penny. Annealing every time is simple, fast, effective, and since I am a hunter first, comp shooter second, I want my long range precision hunting rifles to be consistent and accurate. My comp rifles are accurate but I don't care as much if I make bad shot on steel.
 

thwatson2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
243
Location
Charleston County, SC
love annealing process, thanks for shared video. I will say that in my long range stuff, 45-70,45-110,300PRC, 300RUM and 338RUM, and 50BMG, I anneal after every shot. Some of my hunting & plinker loads I do cheat and do at end of season. If you want to try it on the cheap and easy, use a Lee Pot and sand annealing. Put the pot on 9 or max and you will get a feel for how long to let them sit. I can do 100 pieces of brass in under 30 minutes after pot reaches temp(750+) Shooting should be fun so don’t stress but give it a whirl.
 

Lynn Holifield

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
104
Location
Mountain Home, AR
I have found annealing to be more problematic for me than beneficial. Unless you have the necessary equipment, the point at which the brass becomes too soft is too narrow for most reloaders to gauge. I have even been frustrated with some reputable brass suppliers over-annealing cases from their factories. The brass needs some spring tension in order to secure the bullet in the case or the cartridge integrity will not reliably be maintained when loading from a magazine in the field. With the availability of bushing dies it is easier for me to regulate consistent neck tension with bushing size in relation to brass hardness. For those with a trusted process I applaud you and know it can be beneficial in prolonging brass life and accuracy, if that is a regular step in your reloading process. As long as I have a smooth/consistent seating the accuracy does not seem to be affected by not continually annealing, in my experience. But, if I get the annealing wrong it will be problematic. If I was a bench-rest competitive shooter and could carefully hand load each round I may feel differently but for hunting or PRS type competition I prefer the benefit of slightly rigid brass.
Top competitors such as 10X National Champion David Tubbs does not anneal cases. It’s definitely not for everyone.
im considering whether to buy the AMP or just junk cases when they become a problem for accuracy and/or safety.
 

esshup

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2008
Messages
710
Location
N. Central Indiana
I've had the anneal-rite set up for a few years now and as long as you can get the time down, it works great. I use the Templac to get my timing down, then I'm off to the races. I have to anneal the LR cartridges every loading to get neck tension the same - Lapua Brass, Wildcatted .338 Lapua. With inconsistent neck tension I am seeing up to 80 fps velocity spread, and neck/shoulder junction cracking on some that are a few years old, without annealing they seem to age harden and develope hairline cracks after being fired. .
 

skipglo

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2015
Messages
1,409
Location
Alberta
Having a good understanding of what annealing does Metallurgically is important and the frequency of annealing is very important so this is a good explanation of what and why. It is a little long, but for a good understanding of the process I think it is worth watching.

If you are a reloader, it has good points to know.


J E CUSTOM
Thanks JE
 

Greyfox

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
5,645
Location
Northeast
IMO, not all brass and loads are created equal, and may result in different requirements when it comes to annealing. My primary hunting and competition loads utilize Lapua brass and are not driven at maximum pressures. Given these parameters, I can sustain precision, accuracy, and ES for 10(hunting) to 20(competition) reloads that meet/exceed my standards of performance without annealing. My standard in both cases is sub.5MOA at 1000 yards/ES 5-10SD. Cartridges are 6.5x47L and 6.5x284 Norma.
 

jarnold37

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2010
Messages
136
Having a good understanding of what annealing does Metallurgically is important and the frequency of annealing is very important so this is a good explanation of what and why. It is a little long, but for a good understanding of the process I think it is worth watching.

If you are a reloader, it has good points to know.


J E CUSTOM
Having a good understanding of what annealing does Metallurgically is important and the frequency of annealing is very important so this is a good explanation of what and why. It is a little long, but for a good understanding of the process I think it is worth watching.

If you are a reloader, it has good points to know.


J E CUSTOM
I wish I had learned of the necessity of annealing earlier than I did. I had a major accuracy gunsmith chamber an Ackley Imp. chambering and with new brass they were all splitting in shoulder neck area when fire forming. I notified the gunsmith and he had me to ship back to him immediately. When I got his reply, he said bad brass. I told him couldnt be that it was new brass. He assured me it was the brass. Thus started me on a quest to learn about annealing. I got in touch with an engineer at a major brass manufacturer and he said to heat til orange and quench. I then started testing the brass after a light heating. The rifle is a very accurate 1000 yr gun. I use bushing dies normally but used dies with button to determine softness of necks. When you hear squeaking as the button is being pulled up through the necks means brass is way to hard lacking elasticity. I called and read anything for info and got all kinds of different opinions. I could not get necks to stop squeaking until the necks were heated to a bright orange and quenched. If you have necks with 50 lbs neck tension due to no elasticity and a 10% variance from case to case equals to 5 lbs variance neck tension per case. If you have 5 lbs of neck tension because of elasticity and 10% variance there is only half pound variance. The goal is not softness, it is elasticity. Brass loses its elasticity or springyness very quickly, maybe even after one or two firings. I have not found any evidence of burning and ruining brass. After annealing the rifle will group .1-.2". After 5 reloadings and no annealing, group go to 1 1/2" and bigger. The proof is in the pudding (groups). Most new brass with one exception seems to "squeak" on first resize.
 

Hugnot

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 26, 2020
Messages
233
Location
Montana
I routinely anneal after 3-4 cycles. I use a propane fueled circular/ring tip torch that a bought from the Woodchuck guy back east. I center the junction of neck and shoulder in the center of the ring tip just out side of the reducing part of the flame and toast them for 15 seconds, they sort of first look liquidly then turn dull read. At that point, I tip them over into the 1/2 inch of water to hear them sizzle. After 50 cases, the water (approximately 25 f. oz.) has warmed up from like 40* to over 100* so I know there has been lots of heat energy sucked up from the 1100 or so degree propane flames.

I have found that brass that is excessively work hardened has inconsistent neck tensions. For example, I can check out 50 not annealed fired cases for brass spring-back, having equal neck wall thicknesses of .0125, by pushing a bullet into the fired cases - some easily slip fit in other don't. Running the same test for annealed cases using my cheapo technique, the bullet easily slip fits into case necks. Frequently, I see powder residue smudges on the cases, that have not been annealed, that don't allow an easy bullet slip fit - my guess is that the brass contracts just after the bullet is blown out of the brass allowing powder combustion stuff to leak out.

New brass should not require annealing. If I had an electron microscope I could look at the crystal structure of the brass and see if my 15 seconds of toasting was adequate to achieve the degree of crystal enlargement desired, but they feel real good upon bullet seating.

For my .223 AR15's, I routinely give them I slight crimp with my Lee "Factory" crimp die. I like to shoot long range rodents with .22-.250's and a variety of 6mm's (if you miss there usually will be another one).

Edit: I always neck turn brass to prevent excessive working & hardening. The 800ML has been changed to 25 fl. oz. for unit consistency.
 
Last edited:

RD57

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
90
Location
East TN
Annealing is very beneficial in forming/modifying one case into another (ie. 220 Swift to 220 Wilson Arrow). I have never been able to get consistent headspace until I do it. So there are times when it is necessary before the first sizing operation and other times when after every 3d firing it makes a difference for my brass. If you start with soft nice brass like Lapua and mild loads you may never have to anneal, but with the some of the tougher and thinner brass out there (LC and Winchester) you may find it beneficial after every firing. Let the brass, your reloading technique and group size (and wallet) dictate if and when it's needed.
 

BrentM

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Messages
2,623
Location
Meridian, Idaho
Top competitors such as 10X National Champion David Tubbs does not anneal cases. It’s definitely not for everyone.
im considering whether to buy the AMP or just junk cases when they become a problem for accuracy and/or safety.
Do you think they shoot the same brass until its useful life is gone or do you think they get brass sponsored to them so they can be at the top level?
 

gohring3006

Well-Known Member
LRH Team Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2014
Messages
4,006
Location
Ohio
For those that don’t anneal, I’m curious to know if there’s a wide SD and ES in your loads. Are most just talking about their 500 yard deer rifle, or we talking about half minute groups at 1k or 9 out of 10 kill zone hits at 800 yards or??
 
Last edited:

Lynn Holifield

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2019
Messages
104
Location
Mountain Home, AR
IMO, not all brass and loads are created equal, and may result in different requirements when it comes to annealing. My primary hunting and competition loads utilize Lapua brass and are not driven at maximum pressures. Given these parameters, I can sustain precision, accuracy, and ES for 10(hunting) to 20(competition) reloads that meet/exceed my standards of performance without annealing. My standard in both cases is sub.5MOA at 1000 yards/ES 5-10SD. Cartridges are 6.5x47L and 6.5x284 Norma.

What causes the problems you have with cases is due to the brass flow that happens upon ignition/combustion followed by case deformation to fit the chamber. Annealing will never solve the problems resulting from this which is uneven brass thickness, especially in the neck immediately forward of the neck/shoulder junction & the case body above the web. This happens faster the hotter your load is (pressure). You’ll develop donuts in the neck which won’t be resolved by annealing.

if you inside ream necks, neck turn outside as needed annealing can help with keeping desired bullet tension which is critical for low ESs which is critical for the 1000 yd shooter. Annealing can neither stop nor prevent the damage as a result of brass flow from repeated case deformations.

For the seeker of the ultimate in LR precision the 1st steps could be a match chamber, dies created from once fired brass from that chamber that doesn’t ignore the bottom .200 -.300” of the case (keep expansion down above web thus slowing flow). Annealing will help, but not as much as the match chamber with matching die set. An example might be a F-class shooter getting 50-100 reloads from their 6mm PPC.
 

gvjm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2012
Messages
67
I started annealing after Newtown. As a prairie dog shooter, a high volume endeavor, it was impossible to find 223 brass or any related supplies for the caliber at that time. It’s not that tough. I use a electric drill with the appropriate socket and a generic propane torch. I’ve had great success. ARs are hard on on brass. I generally anneal after 5-6 loads.
 

Primary

LRH Assistant
Here are some related products that LRH members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to LRH’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to LRH discussions about these products.

 
 
Top