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Thread: To Anneal or not to Anneal—That is the question!

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    To Anneal or not to Anneal—That is the question!

    Okay slightly misleading title, but I’m in the process of converting a batch of 223/556 brass to 300blkout. I will anneal. When do I anneal is the question.

    I’m thinking I will anneal PRIOR to reforming the case. It makes sense that a softer brass case would form better than a hard one. At least that’s my logic. Has anyone got any information that would dictate otherwise? Any benefit in annealing twice? (Before and after forming the new case). (Just asking-not planning on doing it unless many people say to).

    Second type question. I’m also planning on neck turning these new cases as they are range brass pickups and the different manufactures have various neck thicknesses, especially since the old shoulder has been cut off. Does annealing prior to turning cause any problems?

    This is the first time I have converted cases and first time neck turning (and first time annealing for that matter). (I just ordered a salt bath annealing kit).

    Thank you in advance for your most thoughtful generous comments!

    Taz
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I once asked this and was told that it’s better to cut them off before annealing, the annealed brass is a little grabbier when sawing.

    I’m planning to anneal after cutting and before forming, but I haven’t however actually converted any yet.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy Tazlaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimB.. View Post
    I once asked this and was told that it’s better to cut them off before annealing, the annealed brass is a little grabbier when sawing.

    I’m planning to anneal after cutting and before forming, but I haven’t however actually converted any yet.
    That’s my plan as well. I really didn’t think of annealing prior to cutting. I’ve done that step. It was pretty easy. Trimming them is a pain however!

    What are you planning on using to cut with? I used a harbor freight mini chop saw. Worked fine, but make sure the pullys and belt is set right. Otherwise it will eat the belts.
    Just knowing enough to do it, is not enough to do it right! -Taz

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Cut, anneal, size then neck turn would be my method

  5. #5
    Boolit Grand Master

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    try a couple as is if they form and come out good anneal after forming this will remove the work hardening from the forming operation also. I have gotten better fit on the mandrel and finish with annealed brass neck turning.

    Buy the sinclair die that expands on the neck turners mandrel, this gives a very good fit when turning. Lightly dip the case mouth in a tin of imperial sizing die wax before turning. Just enough to make a ring in the surface of the wax, it dosnt take very much here. This lubes the mandrel and the cutter. Depending on the number of cases you may want to consider a turner that can be used under power.

    I dont reform fired brass normally, new brass or ince fired to reform I dont want the stress and hardening there starting out. I also want the most life out of the cases after the extra work involved

    When forming new brass Imperial sizing die wax is your bestest friend... It makes the process much easier

  6. #6
    Boolit Master


    georgerkahn's Avatar
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    Prcshooter posted (Post #4): "Cut, anneal, size then neck turn would be my method" -- precisely what I have done, and recommend your trying. To go from 1.76" (223) length to the 1.368" case length of the 300 BO requires a hair less than 0.4" removal -- more than just trimming... I have purposely cut "not-enough" to end up with a case several smidgeons (technical term) too long -- reckoning this be astute to enable final trimming to correct length on the Wilson case trimmer. Worked for me...
    geo

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    I do not know about the caliber you are working with but I have formed 22 HP from 30-30 brass in the past. My attempt to anneal before sizing-down was a dismal failure. case after case simply collapsed on the first try (using a 25-35 intermediate die). I had very little collapse when simply forming FL in a 30-30 die then in a 25-35 and finally in the 22 HP. Annealed after forming. YMMV.
    R.D.M.

  8. #8
    Boolit Grand Master
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    When do I anneal is the question.
    After the case is reformed.Do it before the case is resized & mouth expanded, good chance the case will buckle in the FL sizing die
    Regards
    John

  9. #9
    Boolit Buddy
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    Neck turning 300AAC????? Never have. 5.56/223 Brass is so cheap just buy all the same Headstamp. LC, WCC and Federal is all I use and never had a problem or needed to turn in all the brass I converted. Or just buy it already done. Its cheap. I dont anneal 300 either.
    So many toys........so little time.

  10. #10
    Boolit Buddy
    sutherpride59's Avatar
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    I’m currently on a 3 year sabbatical from reloading called college but when I was making 300 ba brass I found for trimming it was best to buy any one of the case trimmers you chuck up in a hand drill. I used the ez-trim and it cut the amount of time on trimming in half. Heck after I bought it I sold the nice power trimmer I had and all the accessories. 300ba isn’t going to be a tack driver and not does it need to be. I would agree with the previous postings though, anneal after all the other steps as forming will only cause it to work harden, not much but why harden the case you just softened by working the metal. I stopped playing with annealing though when I was loading as without it I was getting 2” groups at 100 yards with a budget AR 16” barrel. For a bullet made on a progressive press that I can crank out 100 in a few minutes I’m ok with that degree of accuracy.
    I have danced with the devil, luckily she was stupid and didn’t hire a lawyer!

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check