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I picked up 500 30:06 brass cases. it's a mixed bag. Mostly older brass , likely from the 80s. The cases look fine other than tarnish from age. Shot count is unknown. Should I bother annealing the whole batch or just run it as is. Does age affect brass just from sitting around?
 

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I've learned to look for extractor marks on the rim. . 2 or 4 is ok but if I pick up one that's got scratch marks all the way around I toss it. . Or a shiny ring anywhere near the base goes in the scrape box..
 

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A shiny ring indicates excessive stretching could be from over pressure or a loose chamber or just plain o wore out from to many reloading s. . If you see a ring or your not sure take a paper clip straighten it out and bend a small 90 on one end so you can use it to scratch the inside of the cartridge case and fell for a slight snag at the ring
 

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...And note there are a very few foreign-made cases where the stretch starts halfway up the side of the case due to thick tapered brass from that point down to the head. Just think: "Shiney ring bad."
 
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" Does age affect brass just from sitting around?"
Yes. Old cases can develop neck cracks,sometimes before you use it, and sometimes on the first loading/firing cycle.
Whether cases from the '80's is old enough to exhibit age cracks, I can't say. You might try a few as is, see if any crack at the neck.
Or, you might anneal the whole bunch, just to be cautious.
 

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i bought a few of them "once fired" cases and after sizing them, i had thrown 11 away due to cracks in the neck. i should have annealed them before sizing. live, learn.
 
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" Does age affect brass just from sitting around?"
Yes. Old cases can develop neck cracks,sometimes before you use it, and sometimes on the first loading/firing cycle.
Whether cases from the '80's is old enough to exhibit age cracks, I can't say. You might try a few as is, see if any crack at the neck.
Or, you might anneal the whole bunch, just to be cautious.
I must strongly disagree, brass does not deteriorate with age in the absence of chemicals or toxic atmosphere to make them do so. I frequently fire foreign military ammunition, some of which was manufactured in 1935. Not a single crack or misfire in 200 rounds of 8mm mauser from various countries.
 

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Yep. Storage conditions and whether or not a cleaner or some other agent has left the surface activated or has allowed exposure to ammonia. Even small amounts of ammonia from a kitty litter box or damp fertilizer (or from polishing with Brasso) can cause season cracking over an extended period of time.
 
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I would definitely do as kdub said in Post #2. And, thoroughly inspect after the cleaning phase as you may find cases that should be culled before you spend any more time on them. You also need to confirm you didn't end up with some Berdan primed cases in the batch. I'd decap first with something like the Lee Universal Decapping die. If any are once-fired military brass, you'll need to ream or swag the primer pocket to remove the primer crimp.
 

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I picked up 500 30:06 brass cases. it's a mixed bag. Mostly older brass , likely from the 80s. The cases look fine other than tarnish from age. Shot count is unknown. Should I bother annealing the whole batch or just run it as is. Does age affect brass just from sitting around?
Clean, sort, anneal, size, trim, chamfer, load and shoot!
 

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Old brass or not, I'd want to know what the case heads look like - something that's difficult to see without some pretty expensive internal scoping equipment. I try to always inspect for potential case head separation on any brass for which I have no history. I currently use an RCBS Case Master but, in a pinch. a straightened paper clip with a right angle hook on one end to drag along the interior ot the case just above the web can help identify cases that have lived a long and useful life and are now ready to retire.
 

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The Teslong basic borescope can be had for $55 on Amazon, and they work quite well and would be fine for internal case inspection.
 
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The Teslong basic borescope can be had for $55 on Amazon, and they work quite well and would be fine for internal case inspection.
OP, I would anneal those cases to maximize the chance of sizing successfully without split necks.

As said by another post, storage around ammonia or using brass polish can cause issues with cracking at the neck.

Since I made a DIY annealer, all my rifle cases get annealed before they are loaded.

Going ole school, you can do this by hand with just a torch. Hold the bottom of the case in your fingers and turn the case until it's too hot to hold. Then drop it in a pan. You won't over anneal because you can only hold about 160F in your fingers until you have to drop it. It's important to have the white inner flame (hottest part) just touching the junction of the shoulder and neck so maximum heat is transferred in the least amount of time.

I did about 500 308 cases this way once.... then made the annealer. ;)
 

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Old cases are much easier to inspect for defects after cleaning. Cracks show up dark and dents reflect light funny. I agree with looking at rims and excessive swelling ahead of the rim (chamber edge).
 

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I have tried annealing a few times but scares h*ll out of me. I haven't a clue other than color how hot the brass really get's. And, color doesn't tell me that either. I have no idea how much money I could save on case's if I annealed but I do know one thing for certain. keeping My load count down has not cost me any body parts from doing something I simply don't understand, that would be annealing! Old military case's are fairly inexpensive and chucking them prior to any unfortunate mishap has worked for me for years. I do not keep track of how much extra giving up the extra loaded rounds in case's has cost me. Still got all my finger's and need glass's but other wise eye's are fine!
 

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I have tried annealing a few times but scares h*ll out of me. I haven't a clue other than color how hot the brass really get's. And, color doesn't tell me that either. I have no idea how much money I could save on case's if I annealed but I do know one thing for certain. keeping My load count down has not cost me any body parts from doing something I simply don't understand, that would be annealing! Old military case's are fairly inexpensive and chucking them prior to any unfortunate mishap has worked for me for years. I do not keep track of how much extra giving up the extra loaded rounds in case's has cost me. Still got all my finger's and need glass's but other wise eye's are fine!
Use 750F or 800F tempilaq. Just a dab on the inside of the neck and let it dry. When that temperature is reached the color disappears and your done. Very easy to use and takes any mystery out of the process.

With 750F your definitely not over annealing as long as the flame is at the junction of the neck and shoulder. Now you can always come back with, "is 750F really hot enough to optimally anneal cases?". It's another rabbit hole of controversy with annealing. :)
 
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