Case Annealing

Here’s a simple and inexpensive project to anneal brass cases and prevent the necks from cracking when reloading.

by Glen Calvert

Many years ago, when I competed in High Power rifle matches with an AR-15, 5.56 ammo was cheap and plentiful. Even though I was not reloading, I picked up my brass after each string of fire and saved it. Over time, I had accumulated several thousand cases. I ended up selling most of it to a local gun store for a few pennies per case.

Fast forward several years. I switched from High Power to long range Benchrest with the AR and a few bolt guns. I replaced the barrel on my AR-15 with one chambered in 223 Wylde to improve its accuracy. I started reloading to save money and try different powder and bullet combinations. When I started reloading for these rifles, I found that there were quite a few with cracked necks. Realizing that it was time to start annealing the brass, I looked to the Internet for help.

The case neck and shoulder are work hardened with repeated firing and reloading and become brittle. They need to be annealed to make the brass more ductile. The cases should not be annealed any further along the length than roughly…

Read more in the February 2022 issue.

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