Maybe a Stupid Question

Thread starter #1
I’ve been wondering why some brass cartridges, new right out of the box and not reloads, are discolored around the neck? This has been especially true with some 5.56 cartridges. They obviously shoot just fine so it doesn’t matter. I was also wondering if they be reloaded okay?

Anyone know?

Thanks!
 

Lilly001

Senior Member
Most commercial ammo has the discoloring polished off for cosmetics.
Military ammo or less expensive commercial ammo just leaves it as is.
Some reloaders will anneal their brass also.
I belive it makes it more ductile, but I could be wrong.
 
Annealing in fact weakens brass ... but the desirable part of annealing is it makes brass more flexible.... and that "flexible" part seals the chamber when the cartridge is fired . ... another benefit is .... annealing reverses work hardening(firing and resizing) and keeps the shoulders & necks from splitting ...

Now the lower area (more like 2/3)of the brass is work hardened by the impact/draw process ... other wise the rear of the cartridge brass would blow out and cause really bad problems ...

So the cartridge brass has to be balanced ....Strong at the bottom (base/hard)and (weak/soft) in the neck and shoulder area ...

I wish I could find the picture of the gun where the guy annealed the WHOLE cartridge brass on .... it is not a pretty


 
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We're arguing semantics at this point... I agree to the ultimate definition, i just picked a poor synonym to simplify the explanation.
semantics is right .... I am guilty ... But

Reloading is not Rocket Science ... But it really IS .....But

Who knows who may be reading and we should be careful and not give folks wrong terms .... it can be deadly.....

that IS one reason I don't give a load in grains unless I make sure I qualify that a load is safe only in my gun ....it may not be in his ....

I am pretty sure most of us understand what you were saying to begin with ....

kind like those labels on a poison bottle saying " do not drink this" ... never know ....
 

rosewood

Senior Member
If you run the annealed brass through a tumbler, it will polish off those stains and you will never know they were there. Some brass manufacturers leave the stains on theirs so you know they have been annealed (or not taking the time to remove). Seems like Nosler or Lapua one does this.

I anneal some of my brass with a torch. Spin it in a drill with it sticking out of a socket. Bought some paint that you put on the inside of the neck that melts at the right temperature when you stop heating. Drop them in a bucket of water afterwards. This prevents the necks from splitting and gives me a lot more use out of the brass.

Rosewood
 

Jester896

Senior Member
yes, it is good to use Tempilaq to check the temp...sometimes I think people heat it too much without it....just a nice honey color in most cases. I let mine cool on their own.
 

nmurph

Senior Member
...I let mine cool on their own.
I was a bench jeweler for many years so I have a bit of experience with annealing. In general, annealing is done with a slow cooling process. When a hot metal is quenched the result is a more brittle metal. Variables such as the temp when the metal is quenched and what you quench with are used to impart temper. It might not matter with the temps used to anneal brass, but if I were annealing cases I wouldn't do anything to speed the process.
 

rosewood

Senior Member
I was a bench jeweler for many years so I have a bit of experience with annealing. In general, annealing is done with a slow cooling process. When a hot metal is quenched the result is a more brittle metal. Variables such as the temp when the metal is quenched and what you quench with are used to impart temper. It might not matter with the temps used to anneal brass, but if I were annealing cases I wouldn't do anything to speed the process.
I believe it depends on the metal. Brass reacts differently to heat and cooling. Every set of instructions for annealing brass I have read has said to water quench. Maybe I am doing it wrong. However, I have yet to see a neck split that I annealed, so I must be doing something right.

Now lead alloy on the other hand, water quenching it makes it harder, which is the point when you are casting. I believe there has to be a bit of antimony in the mix so it does respond that way though.

Anvil Head just reminded me the other reason you put in water. You only want to heat the necks. If you let it cool slowly, the rest of the brass may be heated which may soften the part of the case that needs to stay hard for safety.

Rosewood
 
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Anvil Head

Senior Member
It actually softens the brass back up. Working brass as in bullet seating, firing and resizing work hardens it. The annealing process heats the neck area and leaves it softer than the rest of the case to enable it to continue to be worked over and over without splitting.
This is correct explanation. Simple to do if a reloader and highly recommended for bottle neck casings. Just set in a shallow pan of water, heat the necks to cherry red (but not so hot they melt) then tip over into the water. Just the opposite of hi-carbon steels.
 
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