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Mr.Howell,
<br>
<br>Elucidate,if you will, on neck annealing. I have read about many different methods on this subject and would love to hear your thoughts on this matter. Thanks, James

Last edited by littlebit; 01/19/02.

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Annealing necks and shoulders is advisable or necessary to prolong case life, before or after (sometimes before AND after) the brass is work-hardened by a lot of shooting and sizing or by substantial change in case dimensions.
<br>
<br>For example, I have about 1,500 new Winchester .25-06 cases that I have to re-form into .220 Howell cases. This re-forming requires basically three things -- pushing the shoulder back, reducing the diameter of the neck and part of the case below the shoulder, and trimming them from 2.494 inches to 2.4 inches. Trimming 'em to length doesn't work-harden 'em, but the other two steps work-harden 'em a great deal. Work-hardening reduces the number of loadings and firings a case can withstand before it splits.
<br>
<br>Re-forming .25-06 brass to .220 Howell requires so many steps and produces so much work-hardening that (to be sure) I'm going to anneal 'em both before and after the re-forming procedure.
<br>
<br>According to Naramore, 70/30 cartridge brass has to be heated to about 653� F to alter the grain structure quickly enough to allow the neck and shoulder to be annealed without also softening the entire case. Heating the neck and shoulder to a lower temperature and immediately quenching it merely wastes time. It doesn't make the neck and shoulder soft enough to be worth the trouble.
<br>
<br>Heating the neck and shoulder hot enough to glow overheats and overanneals the brass, so heating to a glow wastes cases. There's not enough elasticity left in the neck to grip a bullet as tight as good ballistics performance requires.
<br>
<br>So the temperature "window" is short and narrow -- from about 660� to about 700� F. Also, that temperature -- once reached -- has to be lowered before the heat can migrate from the neck and shoulder down to the base of the case (which MUST remain harder).
<br>
<br>It's also necessary to anneal the neck and shoulder all the way around their full circumference (their "perimeter," in military lingo). Of course good consistency also requires that every case in the batch be annealed to the same softness as all the others -- no more, no less.
<br>
<br>The method that I developed (and vetted with companies that make cartridge cases) meets all these requirements simply, easily, and economically.
<br>
<br>I chuck the shell-holder of a Lee case trimmer in an "egg-beater" type of hand drill, as both a case-holding chuck and a heat sink to absorb heat and keep the case head relatively cool. The hand drill lets me revolve the neck and shoulder of the case in the flame of a Bernz-O-Matic torch to heat the brass evenly all the way around.
<br>
<br>To show when the brass is hot enough, but not yet too hot, I mark the warming case with a welder's "temp stick" rated at 650� F, at or slightly below the lower edge of the area that I want to soften. (By the time the lower edge is up to 650�, the neck is presumably up to the slightly higher heat required for adequate annealing.)
<br>
<br>When the brass directly under the crayon mark reaches the temperature that the crayon is rated for, the crayon mark (depending on the brand of the crayon) either changes color or becomes liquid and runs.
<br>
<br>I then dunk the case in a bucket of water, remove it from the shell-holder, and insert a new case to continue.
<br>
<br>This easy, economical, simple procedure takes a little time but involves no discomfort, no great risk of painful burns, while it guarantees complete, consistent softening without either under- or overannealing. It avoids all the short-comings of all the other annealing methods that I've ever read or heard of. It's even more consistent and dependable than the expensive annealing machinery that I've seen used in the commercial manufacturing of cartridge brass.
<br>
<br>Others will post here their favored "HERE's how I do it" methods. I've looked into every one of these old folk-lore methods and found significant flaws in every one of 'em. That's why and how I came to devise the method I've just described here. It works. It produces all the desired effects and results precisely and consistently at very little effort and expense.
<br>_____________________________
<br>
<br>BTW, we used to live in Notasulga -- "exactly halfway between Cheaha and Loachapoka," as our friend Alton Averett told an Army buddy who asked "Where in the Hell is Notasulga, Alabama?"


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The good Doctor, has given you the best way to do it. I have used another method for a long time and it works, but if you contact Hornady they offer a case annealing kit. They use a product called Tempilaq that does basically what our welding temperature sticks do, theirs is a 475 degree stick. So you can just buy the stick or the whole kit, I would imagine their holders work like a heat sink and protect the rest of the case and let you do as Ken has suggested.


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<br>Dr.Howell,
<br>
<br>I very much appreciate the information. I will print this out and put it in my shop. Thanks again...James
<br>
<br>Notasulga,you say? Beautiful country,if you like deer and rabbits[Linked Image]


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The folks at the Woodchuck Den in Ohio make a nifty little tool that facilitates the heating and is very convenient however I find annealing, while not difficult and I use the same method as Ken indicated, I have mine done by the folks at Arizona Ammunition...they will size, trim to length and anneal you brass for a very reasonable price plus send the cleaned and polished brass back in very nice plastic (MTM) cases......depending on the brass I have this done about every 5 times I reload it.
<br>
<br>I am very careful about my Lazzeroni brass and they do an outstanding job.

IC B2


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