Case Life with and without Annealing

  • 631 Views
  • Last Post 02 June 2020
John Alexander posted this 24 May 2020

How many reloads is it reasonable to expect for modern commercial case without annealing and with annealing for cases used in the same rifle and neck sized only.

Starting with new or once fired cases loaded to usual cast bullet velocities (under 2,000 fps) how often should cases be annealed? And if they aren’t annealed, how many reloads can a shooter expect?

 

 

What is the most common mode of case failures?

 

 Does the brand or type of reloading dies make a difference?

 

Thanks for your responses.

 

John

Attached Files

Order By: Standard | Newest | Votes
RicinYakima posted this 24 May 2020

John, About 1990 I bought 100 new WW cases that were reloaded with 22 grains of H2400 and the DCM 173 grain match bullet. I shot them about 20 times before I could no longer shoot NRA High power rifle. I then started shooting CBA postal matches and lightly annealed them and shot them maybe twenty more times with 16 grains of H2400 or A2400. By that time I was stress relieving them every 10 - 15 reloading's over a candle. I shot them in the 2016 Military Nationals when I won the Mod-Iron class. I don't' know what the limit is at. However, I only have 96 cases left as I had 4 splint necks over the years. Ric 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Ross Smith
  • harleyrock
billwnr posted this 24 May 2020

Redding neck bushing dies really make cases last long.

Attached Files

Bud Hyett posted this 24 May 2020

 How many reloads is it reasonable to expect for modern commercial case without annealing and with annealing for cases used in the same rifle and neck sized only. - Case life depends on brand and lot number from year to year. W-W. R-P, Federal; all have good years and bad years. I have gone to Lapua to get consistency and stocked up. I was extremely lucky two decades ago to find a high-power shooter who had yet to reload and he gave me several hundred once-fired Lapua cases in exchange for lunch. I then later helped him start reloading.

Starting with new or once fired cases loaded to usual cast bullet velocities (under 2,000 fps) how often should cases be annealed? - Annealing every twelve reloads (annual) prevent this except for an odd case now and then.  If one case splits early, the rest get annealed in the coming week.

And if they aren’t annealed, how many reloads can a shooter expect? - Depending on brand and lot number, minimum of 12

What is the most common mode of case failures? - Split necks.

Does the brand or type of reloading dies make a difference

·       Brand, yes. The Hornady New Dimension dies will almost remanufacture a case. Any new once-fired cases go through these dies and then are then fired in the rifle for chamber fit. These dies will make the case smaller than the "small base" dies other brands sell. Redding dies are almost as tight, but not quite. 

·       Match usage: Each rifle is assigned 300 cases and tracked. The current die is a Redding bushing die with several bushings to size the interior diameter giving a slight interference fit on the bullet to help keep pressures uniform. 

·       As the quest for better accuracy went on, I've gone from; 1) neck sizing with a full length die set out a little, 2) a true neck sizing die used with a case neck expander die, 3) turning case necks for uniformity and using a bushing die, 4) buying Lapua brass and skipping the neck turning work. The Lapua case neck walls are .014 to .015, the other brands can vary from .013 to .018 in my experience.

·       With bushing dies and annealing, the cases will last for 40/50 reloads of competition. After that, I use them strictly for  practice.

Farm boy from Western Illinois, living in the Magical Pacific Northwest

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Ross Smith
John Alexander posted this 26 May 2020

Thanks for the excellent posts in response to my questions.  I am trying to find out what the common experience is as far as rifle case life is for a future Foulng Shot article.

John

 

Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 27 May 2020

...i might mention that i started out with about 200 brass from fired factory rounds ( rem/win) ... in my 1955 remmy 722 in 222 ... after at least 200 reloads each without annealing i had lost maybe 10 brass from neck cracks.  a few brass got tossed from loose primer pockets.

this is amazing to me ... full loads ( 24gr ballc/2 ) and using tru-line jr. neck sizer dies y powdered graphite for case lube ... apparently a lucky gentle sizer die ? 

************

a more normal result was with my 257 wea. ( norma? ) original 40 pieces of brass ... about 20 full hot reloads with rcbs sizer ( 3/4 full sized ) lost about 5 with split necks no annealing. 

***************

with lee collet sizers and cast loads i have never lost a brass due to cracked necks .  i see a pattern ...

ken

Attached Files

OU812 posted this 28 May 2020

I have never had a case fail when loading for velocities under 2000fps. I believe it is best not to anneal to help keep things more consistent. Annealing reduces neck tension alot, neck tension gradually increases until the next anneal. So no annealing for me...I think. Neck tension does matter when chambering a snug fitting bore rider. Do not anneal or clean inside of case necks.

Attached Files

JeffinNZ posted this 28 May 2020

Depends a lot on the brass, chamber and sizing.  EG:  My Carcano is VERY hard on brass.  Main issue is the fired cases measure ID of 0.271 then the dies size down to .262 to hold a .264 bullet.  I shoot .269 cast so expand back to .268 inch.  That's a lot of sizing.  I have to anneal nearly every time and still lose some to split necks.

Cheers from New Zealand

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • Ross Smith
Ross Smith posted this 28 May 2020

I second Jeff. I had a 30-30 with bad headspace that would split cases even if they were"stretched " to fit the chamber.

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 28 May 2020

One need not put up with ill dimensioned sizing dies or cartridges cases. Simply alter the die to fit better or use thicker, longer or suitable cases to form to the chamber. Jeff could lap out his sizer chamber neck to have little of any sizing needing to be done. Keep fighting the same problem or fix it where it goes away.... It's your choice.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • John Alexander
John Alexander posted this 28 May 2020

"Depends a lot on the brass, chamber and sizing.  EG:  My Carcano is VERY hard on brass.  Main issue is the fired cases measure ID of 0.271 then the dies size down to .262 to hold a .264 bullet.  I shoot .269 cast so expand back to .268 inch.  That's a lot of sizing.  I have to anneal nearly every time and still lose some to split necks."

===========

You are right it does depend on the brass, chamber and sizing.  But sizing down the .009" you mention isn't unusual.  I have rifle - brass thickness combinations that size that much without short case life.

I suspect that the amount your die sizes the neck down TO LESS THAN the .262 needed before the expander button expands it back to .262 is the culprit. Take out the expander and then size a case down to see. I know it is with some of my dies before lapping.

John 

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 28 May 2020

" I have never had a case fail when loading for velocities under 2000fps."

Excellent! What dies do you use.  How many reloads have you had on a lot of brass? 

John

Attached Files

Ross Smith posted this 28 May 2020

45 2.1: I tried that. still only 1-2 loads and bingo. Winchester brass. Company would not warranty rifle, so I took a sledge hammer to it before anyone else got hurt.

Attached Files

Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 29 May 2020

johna::  a couple of pertinent stories of brass sizing

about 40 brass of 32-20 loads of cast at about 1600 fps ..  in a nice winchester 92 ... maybe 2000 loads with lyman 310 squeezer dies.  brass was ancient thin stuff, from 1940 or earlier.

and about 60 brass in my tight ithica/tikka 308 ... lee collet neck sizer dies unaltered, cast at about 1300 ... about 1500 loads with no brass failures ... brass from fired military 1960? LC fired in the same gun.

*****

i am guessing the cracking is more the result of excess sizing than the higher pressure loadings.  key word is * guessing * .

wonder if anybody has tried shimming the necks larger for saving precious rare brass ?  ...  electro-plating ?? ... how about powder coating to build up neck diameter ? ...

or in the instance of huge chamber necks, at least try very oversized bullet bodies to reduce the amount of sizing needed.  

ken

 

 

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • TRKakaCatWhisperer
OU812 posted this 29 May 2020

Using my 223 I would shoot two days out of the week and shoot 50 rounds per session. So I never counted. I have annealed, but noticed it reduced neck tension too much to keep things consistant. I have used a Redding neck sized with bushing and Lee collet die...I like them both, but prefer the more affordable Lee. Lapua brass mostly.

I have never had a 308 case fail.

Attached Files

Hornet posted this 29 May 2020

   On a related issue, Rick Jamison is running a small series on Rifle Brass Hardness in Handloader (issues 325 & 326 so far) with measurements of the hardness changes at the case neck and expansion ring and the changes after numerous reloads. I did not see any mention of how much the cases were being sized from fired diameter to fully sized but not expanded which seem to me to greatly affect how much cold-working the brass is getting each cycle and should affect the rate of hardness increase. I know I've got a Ruger #3 in .22 Hornet that allows 0.012' expansion from loaded to fired and case life on it is annoyingly low, even annealing after every 5 resizings. Failure mode is usually full length neck splits but there is an occasional short dog-bone crack (shaped like a capitol "I" with serifs) that seems to initiate from the inside of the case neck.

Attached Files

  • Liked by
  • RicinYakima
  • Bud Hyett
John Alexander posted this 29 May 2020

it is discouraging to hear of the promising experiments being done by Jamison but lacking information on the sizing.  I agree with you sizing is an important element in work hardening. It seems to me that leaving it out makes the results pretty useless.  Pity, but about but par for most of the so called testing that gets reported in the popular gun magazines except for a few writers.

John

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 29 May 2020

johna::  a couple of pertinent stories of brass sizing

about 40 brass of 32-20 loads of cast at about 1600 fps ..  in a nice winchester 92 ... maybe 2000 loads with lyman 310 squeezer dies.  brass was ancient thin stuff, from 1940 or earlier.

=====

Did all or most of them survive?  Those 310 dies must have had sized just enough.

=====

and about 60 brass in my tight ithica/tikka 308 ... lee collet neck sizer dies unaltered, cast at about 1300 ... about 1500 loads with no brass failures ... brass from fired military 1960? LC fired in the same gun

======

Collet dies will do that.

====

 

i am guessing the cracking is more the result of excess sizing than the higher pressure loadings.  key word is * guessing * .

======

I'm guessing the same thing.

======

wonder if anybody has tried shimming the necks larger for saving precious rare brass ?  ...  electro-plating ?? ... how about powder coating to build up neck diameter ? ...

=======

Ought to work????

 

John

 

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 30 May 2020

There is a lot of history already out there in regards to the limited question posed. Case life really depends on not sizing/reshaping much after getting them to chamber specs. Let's go back a good 100 years... H. Donaldson stated he lost cases used in Scheutzen rifle shooting at 2,800 shots due to worn out primer pockets. We used to have people set up rifles to take a close bullet cartridge (or something to that effect) where you simply decapped, reprimed, thru a powder charge and seated the bullet by hand or with a straight line die. I do that on a few rifles.... cases have not worn out and some have well over 500 shots thru them..... plus they are quite accurate when fed right. Not all rifles are able to be done that way due to sloppy neck tolerances. Presuming you have a properly annealed case to begin with, it really depends on how much you work the case neck as to how long they last. A Lee Collet neck sizer properly altered to leave the neck flared will increase your case life..............

Attached Files

John Alexander posted this 30 May 2020

45 2.1

Excellent summary of whats what on case life.  

I believe most jacketed benchrest shooters with their tight necked chambers still reload without resizing. Their cases don't last as long as in breech seating because they are usually loading much hotter and the primers pockets don't last as long. Some CBA competitors with custom rifles may also. I should ask them. 

An unaltered Lee Collet die will also give very long case life and easy bullet entrance can be achieved by chamfering the case mouth a bit with the Lyman VLD reamer which only has to be done once per case.  The altered collet die you mentioned suggested by Bob Sears in a Fouling Shot article  ten or fifteen years ago may be a bit better by providing better neck centering in the chamber although not sure if anybody has actually tested this.

John

Attached Files

45 2.1 posted this 30 May 2020

45 2.1

Excellent summary of whats what on case life.  

I believe most jacketed benchrest shooters with their tight necked chambers still reload without resizing. Their cases don't last as long as in breech seating because they are usually loading much hotter and the primers pockets don't last as long. Some CBA competitors with custom rifles may also. I should ask them. Back in the last century, I and a couple of other guys shot prairie dogs in South Dakota. They had their rigs made by a benchrest gunsmith in anything from the 22 Flea, 22 Waldog up to the 22-243. The gunsmith made hand dies out of the barrel cutoff with the chamber needing turned brass. These guys relegated 200 new brass to a new barrel. When the throat eroded so the accuracy approached a MOA, the barreled action went back to the gunsmith to be set back. They could get two such set backs before the barrel was actually trash and washed most of it's length. At that point the brass was about trash also. All the brass was fitted to use a straight line seater and nothing got sized. At that point I asked how many times he loaded the brass in that rifle.... his answer was 50 times and showed me the information on the MTM box it was in.

An unaltered Lee Collet die will also give very long case life and easy bullet entrance can be achieved by chamfering the case mouth a bit with the Lyman VLD reamer which only has to be done once per case.  The altered collet die you mentioned suggested by Bob Sears in a Fouling Shot article  ten or fifteen years ago may be a bit better by providing better neck centering in the chamber although not sure if anybody has actually tested this. That trick with altering a collet die was pretty well known before it was published in the Fouling Shot. Some cut the top of the fingers off and some taper reamed the inside of the finger.... I did both. I never had much luck with the VLD reamers as the case mouth was quite thin by the time the neck stop scraping the bullet.

John

Attached Files

Show More Posts
Close