From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Norman F. Johnson)
Subject: Re: Have you seen any info on neck annealing for bottle neck rifle
Date: 10 Apr 1996 22:24:47 -0400
# I have a large quantity of 1x MIL .223 brass that is neck splitting on
# the second firing. These cases do not appear to have been annealed.
# I have heard of 'mouths up in a pan of water in the oven (temp?)' and
# torch techniques. I've tried the torch with good, but slow, results.
There is no really fast way to anneal without setting up a
production line. There was an ad in the not too distant past for
that sort of thing in a gun rag but I did not pay much attention.
The "mouths up in a pan of water" method usually is used with a
torch. I do not believe that one can get the brass hot enough in
an oven before the water boils because brass is such a good heat
conductor and water such a good heat sink; besides kitchen ovens
do not get hot enough. I believe it is customary to anneal
cartridge brass (70% Cu, 30% Zn) at 700-1400 F depending on time
held at temperature.
Also, it is very hard to get the little .223 cases to remain
standing while handling the pan. Because it does not result in
evenly annealed cases, and because one is bound to get some "hot
spots" (burned brass) with the pan of water and torch method, I
do not use it.
It is somewhat slow, but my approach is to hold a case in my
fingers and rotate in a torch flame. Do this in a dimly lighted
room so that you can see when the metal begins to glow a dull
red. This gives very good control and results in evenly annealed
necks. It is possible to burn the very thin brass neck with the
torch. As soon as it glows dull red, drop it into water. The
sensitivity of your fingers assures that you do not overheat the
case base. This goes fairly fast once one establishes a cadence.
I have done several thousand over the years. Because it is a
boring process, I do one to two hundred each evening and before
long, a large batch is done. The .223 goes much faster than
larger necked brass.
When done correctly, the annealed case has that tell-tale neck-
shoulder purplish discoloration that new military ammo exhibits.
If it is U.S. made brass, I am surprised that it was not annealed.
I have a thought. If you have a great deal of the brass and the
number of neck splits is not too high, you could just suffer the
losses. It seems that those that make it thru the first reload-
ing will hang in there for several more - different lots act
differently. Besides, .223 brass is dirt cheap - if one keeps
his eyes open, Shotgun News suppliers sometimes have military for
$10/1000. I have a several lifetime supply bought at no more
than that. I use it for three .223 rifles and to make 7TCU
brass. Altho when the first 7TCU chamberings came out, I an-
nealed before expanding, I have found since that it is not neces-
sary to anneal before doing so - at least with the two batches of
brass that I have; LC67 and LC69, if memory serves.