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Would people please share their views on annealing brass.

 

I'm somewhat sceptical about primer pockets opening up before seeing the benefits of what annealing will achieve. I'm aware of the higher the charge the more chances pockets will loosen. Therefore, approximately how many firings do you get before your primer-pockets loosen, to the point of having the throw the cases?

 

I'm thinking the lower the charge the more chance the pockets will stay snug to hold the primer. But, does this defeat the object if you need a higher charge to achieve the necessary velocity?.. If people are annealing cases after just 2, 3, or 4 firings, when the pockets will (should) still be snug, what are the advantages to annealing the necks?

 

I ask because I've started to prime the same cases for the 12th loading and 'feel' the primer-pockets considerably slacker now than when on the 6th or 7th loading's. All cases were bought new, .308 Lapua brass, and have been loaded using a relatively light charge of 40.6g of N150 behind the 175g SMK. - during load development the highest charge the cases had been loaded to was with only 41.5g, which is still conservative. I reverted to the most accurate node of 40.6g. The cases have not mistakenly been mixed up; therefore they have all been fired the same number of times.

 

I'm at the point of throwing the cases due to primer safety

 

Thoughts appreciated

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Case neck annealing and primer pocket slackness are two different issues without any real crossover

Annealing of case necks is to maintain a consistent neck tension, as workhardend brass will not spring back, or size, in a consistent manor. Annealing may not give any discernible difference in field condition shooting but I believe that a lot of bench rest shooters can see the benefits. Some people just do it for piece of mind, others for longevity of brass life, and some for improved or maintained accuracy

 

I would not consider your statement of a mild load to be accurate if you are getting slack primer pockets after 12 reloads. I have 308 cases that I have lost count of the reloads that still have reasonable primer pocket tension

Your load may not be a hot load but I would say it is not mild either

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Case neck annealing and primer pocket slackness are two different issues without any real crossover

Annealing of case necks is to maintain a consistent neck tension, as workhardend brass will not spring back, or size, in a consistent manor. Annealing may not give any discernible difference in field condition shooting but I believe that a lot of bench rest shooters can see the benefits. Some people just do it for piece of mind, others for longevity of brass life, and some for improved or maintained accuracy

 

I would not consider your statement of a mild load to be accurate if you are getting slack primer pockets after 12 reloads. I have 308 cases that I have lost count of the reloads that still have reasonable primer pocket tension

Your load may not be a hot load but I would say it is not mild either

 

duey

 

Then I can only put this issue down to a 'weak' batch of Lapua brass. First time in nigh-on 10yrs of handloading I've experienced this slackness so soon into their firings.

 

Just hoped there might be some residual heat from the neck area that travels down to the head/webb that would benefit the pocket somehow - "no crossover" is good enough for me, but wishful thinking on my part

 

Thanks for the replies guys

 

ATB

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Before I started to anneal, I used to get about 7 or 8 firings before I moved onto new brass, more due to being conservative than anything else, as those cases probably would have gone on longer. However, since I started annealing, the benefits are for improved consistency in neck tension and sizing (as has already been mentioned) and my measured SD and ES also seem to be pretty consistent now between batches, which they weren't previously. My loads are a little on the stiff side, up until recently loading 42.5gr of N140 behind a 175 SMK, and I'm on my 6th firing with no discernable difference in primer seating, with no real slackness encountered.

 

I did once buy a batch of once fired brass very cheaply that had been very heavily loaded, and one or two cases had the heads slightly bowed! They were binned.

 

Lapua brass I've found has better longevity than some of the cheaper brass that I use, and I'd expect to get over a dozen firings, even with some relatively hot loads. My main concerns are usually case/head separation and primer tension. The former I test with a little bent piece of copper wire which I run up the inside of fired cases. Any waist detected on the inside as a slight notch (and your fingers feeling through a piece of wire are very sensitive to the slightest notch), and the whole batch would be binned. I also have a little borescope camera bought off Ebay which allows connection to my smartphone and this is also used to check cases now and again.

Annealing won't change the waist formation, which is a function of brass movement during firing and re-sizing, but ensuring the FL sizing dies are set to fire-formed dimensions reduces the need to trim considerably, irrespective of load.

 

Annealing will help with longevity to a point, but the way your dies are set up I believe to be equally, if not more important.

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I can only speak of how it will potentially benefit me,,,,Most of the rifles that I have and have had have been tight necked and as such my neck turned brass sees very little stress to resize,,,however brass does become brittle through prolonged use and tiny cracks/striations? generally appear in my experience around the 12 to 15 th firing. This would normally be end of case life[the whole batch!],,,not a big concern but neck turning is a pain but worthwhile for a truly concentric build and fundamental to squeeze out the last drop in accuracy.I have recently shared the expense of an annealer with a friend and have been annealing every 4th firing ,,,,,what I am hoping for in a nutshell is to extend brass life to pretty much end of barrel life !! we,ll see....Annealing when done properly really does put the "malluableness" back into the necks,,,,I can definitely see and feel this on lots of practice with the annealer.I run 22 and 6 PPC and 6BR,,,,highish but not hot loads and never had an issue with primer pockets loosening,,,,I only use Fed GM primers by the way,,,CCI I have experienced can fit adequately but loosely in comparison?

An annealer and all the gear that goes with it is an expensive outlay,,bit of a pain to set up properly ,,practice and perfect but,,,I,m sure you will get extended brass life in the neck/shoulder area.....O.

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I've been running my own test on annealing because I didn't know if there was any benefit and articles on the internet were typical for shooting/reloading methods, lacking any scientific evidence.

 

What I've done so far is split a brand new box of both .223 and .308 Lapua cases into two batches of 50.

50 have had no annealing and 50 have been annealed after 3 firings.

 

I'm on 12 reloads with the .308 and 10 with the .223.

 

There is a definite difference in the condition of the necks. The unannealed case necks are not only harder but also thinner and I'm sure they are not far from cracking. There is a distinctly different sound when tapping the cases together, a more dull sound.

 

The annealed necks seem to be almost as good as the first couple of firings and show no signs of weakness.

 

There is a much more consistent feel when resizing and seating with the annealed cases.

 

As far as accuracy goes, for the type of club competitions I do where just sub MOA will easily win, there's no real difference between the annealed and unannealed cases that I've noticed so far.

 

I'm going to continue annealing because it's easy and it's definitely making the cases last longer, anything else is a bonus.

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Sound info guys - cheers

 

I've always seen annealing as yet another task to endure for minimal gains. This is wrongly preconceived of me as there must at least be some benefit, however small. But, I cannot comment whether it's worth annealing cases, or not - depends what I'm trying to achieve I suppose?

 

I have been pondering on getting a machine but trying to decide if it will be worthwhile, and the cost involved. Comparing prices of 100 Lapua to the cost of the machine, gas ..etc etc (you know how it is)... I have absolutely no intention of neck-turning as this would be yet another task. Is neck-turning a requisite for annealing?

 

If the gains I would get would assist in accuracy then I'd be inclined to splash out for the machine. However, if annealing assists only with extending case-life, then I'd prefer to buy new brass

 

onehole, thanks for the post... I'm using CCI standard primers

 

Your comments are much valued guys - cheers

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I made an annealing machine a few years ago before they were common, after making a startling discovery.

 

At the time I was shooting a very heavy barrelled RPA i'd built in 6.5 x 47. One of the most accurate rifles i've ever owned. It was a genuine 5 round, 1/4 minute gun...every group...they are rare.

 

After 3 firings, the groups opened out to 3/4", which was somewhat perplexing. After doing all the usual checks, i thought about annealing, and did the usual trick with a cordless and blow lamp.

 

Hey presto, the neck tension felt more uniform, and the groups shrank back to 1/4".

 

That sold me, and eventually I got a Giraud, and anneal every firing now. Haven't replaced brass in years.

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Dave kindly gave me his home-made annealing machine a few years back and I used it to good effect until last year when I upgraded.

 

The OP is welcome to pick it up from me if he wants to try annealing at no cost/risk as I did when Dave gifted it to me.....still works just fine and it would be good to see it rehomed!

 

Annealing works.

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I made an annealing machine a few years ago before they were common, after making a startling discovery.

 

At the time I was shooting a very heavy barrelled RPA i'd built in 6.5 x 47. One of the most accurate rifles i've ever owned. It was a genuine 5 round, 1/4 minute gun...every group...they are rare.

 

After 3 firings, the groups opened out to 3/4", which was somewhat perplexing. After doing all the usual checks, i thought about annealing, and did the usual trick with a cordless and blow lamp.

 

Hey presto, the neck tension felt more uniform, and the groups shrank back to 1/4".

 

That sold me, and eventually I got a Giraud, and anneal every firing now. Haven't replaced brass in years.

 

 

Thanks baldie... answers my dilemma and points me in right the way - much appreciated

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I made an annealing machine a few years ago before they were common, after making a startling discovery.

 

At the time I was shooting a very heavy barrelled RPA i'd built in 6.5 x 47. One of the most accurate rifles i've ever owned. It was a genuine 5 round, 1/4 minute gun...every group...they are rare.

 

After 3 firings, the groups opened out to 3/4", which was somewhat perplexing. After doing all the usual checks, i thought about annealing, and did the usual trick with a cordless and blow lamp.

 

Hey presto, the neck tension felt more uniform, and the groups shrank back to 1/4".

 

That sold me, and eventually I got a Giraud, and anneal every firing now. Haven't replaced brass in years.

Out of interest Dave, how many times do you reckon your brass has been reloaded by annealing after every firing?

I have just started down the same route of annealing after each fire, with new Nosler brass for both rifles.

Only on 2nd reloads now...

I was getting neck cracking after 5-6 reloads before on Remington brass without annealing...

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Dave kindly gave me his home-made annealing machine a few years back and I used it to good effect until last year when I upgraded.

 

The OP is welcome to pick it up from me if he wants to try annealing at no cost/risk as I did when Dave gifted it to me.....still works just fine and it would be good to see it rehomed!

 

Annealing works.

 

Very kind of you DaveT....PM sent

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Those of you on this very interesting thread, and I'm assuming you use a gas system, how do you establish the correct timing?

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I used 750°F tempilaq inside the neck and 450°F tempilaq halfway down the case on a sacrificial case to get an idea of how long is not enough and how long is too long.

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Tempilaq of the 750c and 450c temperature ratings.

 

On a clean case paint inside the neck with 750c and paint outside on the shoulder down with the 450c.

 

Something like 5 seconds for a 308 sized case (depends on flame heat / distance) should see the blue 750c lose its colour but don't allow the heat to 'melt' the grey 450c paint on the outside more than about 25% of the way down the case....must notg anneal

 

A couple of sacrificial cases and some trial and error will get you a dwell time for the brass and then you can process your brass (no tempilaq) on those!

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Using tempilaq 750 C, I paint the inside of the cases and use Propane for the hotter flame meaning less time for heat propagation down the case. With the hottest part of the flame on the necks, I'm only getting 2.5 seconds on my .308 cases before the tempilaq changes, so rather surprisingly 2.5 seconds is all it takes using propane and my fine gas torch. On a sacrificial case which was first tumbled, this corresponded very closely with the same timing for the orange/yellow flame just starting to appear on the far side of the case under the flame. I've repeated this exercise quite a few times with the exact same results, so despite some opinions, I think it safe to use the orange flame as a useful guide but only where cases have first been cleaned/tumbled.

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Out of interest Dave, how many times do you reckon your brass has been reloaded by annealing after every firing?

I have just started down the same route of annealing after each fire, with new Nosler brass for both rifles.

Only on 2nd reloads now...

I was getting neck cracking after 5-6 reloads before on Remington brass without annealing...

 

 

Good question Chris.

I have some lapua .308 that must have been fired at least 15 times, and its still fine.

I remember a story I read about a 30-06 case user in the states. He fired a case and reloaded it about 10 times before it let go. He then did the same only annealed every firing....he gave up at 50 firings......

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Good question Chris.

I have some lapua .308 that must have been fired at least 15 times, and its still fine.

I remember a story I read about a 30-06 case user in the states. He fired a case and reloaded it about 10 times before it let go. He then did the same only annealed every firing....he gave up at 50 firings......

That brings a smile to a true yorkshire man :-)

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