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To harden carbon steel, it is heated and then rapidly cooled or quenched. This process locks the carbon in the crystal lattice and increases its strength by blocking crystal dislocations from easily advancing.
To anneal steel, it is heated and cooled slowly so the carbon atoms are stored "out of the way", so to speak. Cartridge brass is only hardened by cold working. The crystal dislocations caused by the cold working lock the crystal lattice and make it harder and more difficult to form more dislocations thus increasing it strength.
When brass is heated, new crystals nucleate at the dislocations and the new crystals are small. If the brass is quenched at this point, the brass retains the small crystals and is annealed with very few dislocations and is stress free.
This is the condition you want for your case necks. If the brass is slowly cooled, the small crystals begin to coalesce and grow into larger crystals and the properties suffer because the large crystal boundaries are not strong.
Also stress corrosion cracking can more easily occur at the larger crystal boundaries. Finally, the high stress with the hardened neck is what leads to split necks.
It is a process called stress corrosion cracking. Increasing the stress level increases the initiation of cracks and crack propagation.
Split necks are not hazardous, but they are a problem that can be prevented by annealing. It is easy to just buy some new brass when you start to see some cracked necks and do all the case prep on the new brass. If you mix old and new brass, your neck tensions will be different and this is detrimental to good accuracy.
I polish the inside of my rifle reloading dies. Most die manufacturers leave the die bores smooth but not polished. A polished die will resize with much less axial force than one in the as-received condition.
I disassemble them and put a little Flitz on a cotton bore mop held in a drill motor and polish each one for 30 seconds or more at a to rpm speed. Sometimes I have to wrap a paper towel around the swab to get a good fit. Then I clean all the polish out with hot water and dry with a paper towel wrapped around a clean cotton swab.
The polishing process does not remove a measurable amount of material, but results in smoother operation, minimizes the scratching or scoring of the brass, and minimizes crumpling problems when I use them while forming wildcat brass.
Flitz is slightly more aggressive than JB. I took a piece of mild steel with a reasonably smooth finish and polished it with Flitz and JB. The left end was polished for about 2 minutes at rpm with Flitz and the right end for about 2 minutes with JB.
There is no detectable decrease in the diameter on either end measured with my high-precision Mitutoyo Micrometer. It was a very easy test. Try it for yourself. When you are resizing brass, there are combined forces involved.
In necking down a diameter, there is a radial force moving the metal toward the center and an axial force, produced by friction, that tends to shorten the column length. For larger changes in diameter, the radial force increases.
Since the axial force is equal to the friction coefficient times the radial force, a corresponding larger axial force is produced. High axial forces can crumple the brass when its critical buckling load is exceeded.
How do you minimize the axial force? You can reduce the axial force by reducing the radial force when the reduction in diameter is taken in smaller steps.
But this takes a series of separate dies and costs more. If you have only a few dies at your disposal, you can also reduce the axial force by reducing the friction coefficient.
The inside of the die can be polished with a metal polish like Flitz and used in conjunction with a thin film of lubricant.MAHADISCOM - Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd. supplies electricity to a staggering crore consumers across the categories all over Maharashtra excluding the island city of Mumbai.
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