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Annealing Brass

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2009 at 15:24
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Question for the group: when do you anneal brass?  Do you go by a set amount of reloads or some other factor?  
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2009 at 16:40
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I do it every 3 loads
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/22/2009 at 20:33
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And how hot is too hot?
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2009 at 02:58
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Hotter then 621 Deg F or 327 Deg C.
 
Normally when some of your brass starts to show cracking at the case mouth. I would think after about 8 firings.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/23/2009 at 03:12
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Jason, what brand of brass do you primarily use?  Why I'm asking is I'm using Lapua brass and after 4 reloads neck sized only it hard to get the sizing  ball out of the case.  No sign of neck cracks yet but I thought it might be from the brass hardening up? hence the question. I will anneal some and see if it helps. 
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2009 at 21:57
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i look at the sheen of the cases, when they start to look matte instead of glossy after you tumble them it may be time. i bought several batches of 6.5 rem mag brass ( brand new unfired) that needed to be annealed. not sure why but after the first couple cracked the necks on the very first loading i thought something was up. if you only neck size you will get more mileage from your cases.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2009 at 22:10
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I use lapua and federal brass.  I have not had a cracked a neck  yet.  Some of my Lapua is on number 5 loading, and so far so good.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/24/2009 at 22:27
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Neck cracking isn't affected so much by the brand or handload pressure but the amount of "working."

This depends on the difference between the chamber/brass/dies.  If the brass is only sized .001" down every time it's sized, and only opens up .001" each time it's fired, then it will last a long time.

If it's sized down .008" in the die, then the expander ball bumps it up .006", then it won't last long before cracking.

If that's the situation, then annealing every 3-4 shots is called for. But if the brass is worked very little then it won't need to be annealed very often, sometimes for 30-50 shots.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2009 at 03:18
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So would measuring the neck before resizing, then remove the ball neck, resize, remeasure and see how much the die closed the neck would tell me how much i'm working the brass then reinstall the ball and check again.  That would tell me I'm overworking the brass but is it a problem of the dies or the chamber of the rifle allowing the brass to open up that much in the first place?    
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2009 at 03:56
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Brass springs back to small degree to its original size due to elasticity, so you will not get the true amount of "working" the brass by this type of meaurement.  
I would say that you are correct in that the rifle chamber determines how much the brass opens up. The die then moves the brass back to SAAMI specs.
The other factor would be outside neck turning. By removing brass on the outside you are giving the brass more space to open in the chamber during firing. It then has to be "worked" so much more during resizing. I had a Remington of which the chamber was so large that the cases would not fit into another rifle unless the cases were fully resized as an example. Imagine the amount that brass was stretched!
I for one do not use the ball expander during resizing. I resize the neck to the SAAMI spec as pushed by the die and leave it at that. The neck is automatically opened by the downward force of seating the bullet. One less operation to work the brass.
I do not think one can do much about overworking the brass. It is just a factor of reloading: Shoot, resize and shoot again.


Edited by 8shots - June/25/2009 at 04:03
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2009 at 08:04
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Both dies and chambers vary in size, unless custom made. This is because the reamers used in mass manufacturing have both a maximum size (new) and minimum size (after some wear). What you might have is a maximum chamber and minimum die.

Sometimes we get lucky and our die matches our chamber closely. But if not one of the better solutions is a bushing die. This uses interchangeable bushings of different inside diameters to size the neck. The correct bushing will size your brass down just enough to hold the bullet firmly--and only do it once, instead of necking the brass down then bumping it up again with expander ball.

Redding "S" dies are their bushing dies. I use them in several calibers and they can make a real difference.

Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/25/2009 at 09:36
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I bought the Hornady bushing die for my .308.  It is nice because you can also bump the should back with that die, which needs to be done once and a while.  With some of the other bushing dies that is not possible.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 09:26
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John, bushing dies sound like the way to go. With the Redding S-die, according the to the directions I found on their site and on M****y, to get the right bushing size, you measure the O.D. of the neck on loaded cartridges and subtract .001 or .002. In my case, five unfired Lapua .308 cartridges loaded with 165gr. Nosler Accubonds all measured .338 so I'm thinking the .336 bushing???
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 09:33
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Another way is to measure the thickness of the brass at the neck x 2 + the diameter of the bullet less  .001
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 10:08
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8shots, I read about that way too. Here's what I get (measurements on 10 items each):

unfired Lapua brass thickness: .015 (avg. - none off by more than .001)
Accubond: .3075
.015 x 2 = .03 + .3075 - .001 = .3365

So it sounds like the .336 bushing as a final size is still the right way to go. I say final because I think I might need to resize twice. All my fired necks end up with an O.D. of .345 (corrected number) and unfired Lapua is .3357. .009 seem like a lot of resizing to do in one go and I read on Redding's site that it can cause the brass to spring back excessively. I should probably spring for an additional, intermediate bushing of .339 or .34.


Edited by jonoMT - June/26/2009 at 10:39
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 10:19
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If yours are that big after firing (which would mean it is expanded almost as big as the wall of the case, it might not be worth investing in a bushing die.  Did you mean .345?   Sounds like your chamber is on the way big side.  With Lapua brass with a .338 you will not have enough neck tension to hold a .308 bullet.  .336 will probably be okay, for a hunting rifle that is light with a lot of recoil .334 might be a better choice.  You will probably end up with several bushings if you go this way trying to figure out what is best for your gun.  But if you are stretching that much every time, you might not be saving much with a bushing die that gives you .003 or .004 more control. 

I bought the .338 and with Fed and Lapua brass with a neck thickness of .015 I can push and pull the bullet out with my fingers.  I ended up using the .334 and bought a .336 that I have not really used yet, but am going to try.


Edited by supertool73 - June/26/2009 at 10:22
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 10:27
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Sorry. Yes, I did mean .345. Holy cow, that was a typo and a half.
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)     Back to Top Direct Link To This Post Posted: June/26/2009 at 10:38
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supertool73, I might well be better be better off with the .334. Assuming that a .336 bushing would actually get the brass down to .336 (a big assumption), if I subtract the case wall thickness X2 I get .306 and that is only .0015 less than the Accubond dia. I wonder, however, if the extra .002 of the .334 would be too much. They do make a .335 as well. For what it's worth, I'm firing a pretty stout load out of a fairly heavy rifle.
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