Frequently Asked Questions

Not sure about something or have a question? Check our FAQ below...

I have analysed several cases out of the same lot, and AZTEC gave me several different numbers. Why?

AZTEC is extremely accurate. It will show even minor case to case variations in the neck and shoulder. With top quality cases like say Lapua, you should get code numbers +/- 1. You will get a wider spread if you have mixed lots or use lesser quality brass. It is also important that the case mouths are round. Out-of-round case mouths will generate erratic codes. Cases should be sacrificed when fire formed straight out of the rifle.
For much more detail, see this article:
For best results, keep brands and lots of the same cartridge separate..

I have a lot of range brass with mixed brands. Is it possible to have one setting to anneal it all?

No. The whole idea of AMP annealing is accuracy. See above. You should sort range pickups by head stamps. Sacrifice one or two cases from each batch. If the extreme codes are within +/- 2 (i.e., say 130 – 134) you can use an average to anneal all cases in that group to an adequate standard (for range brass).

Do I need to quench my cases after annealing?

No. Correct flash annealing applies just enough heat to the neck, shoulder and 3 – 4 mm of body to achieve annealing. While heat does dissipate over the length of the case, it cools down very rapidly. Brass just several millimetres away from the annealed section doesn’t heat up enough to achieve annealing. Therefore, quenching is unnecessary to prevent heat migration, and adds no metallurgical benefit to the annealing process.

I have just annealed a batch of cases on the same setting, and several cases were over-annealed/destroyed. Why?

Please check your headstamps. AZTEC is digitally controlled, and always delivers exactly the same power every cycle. Almost certainly you have some different cases mixed in the batch. Many users find this hard to believe and doubt they could possibly have mixed odd cases in a batch. PLEASE CHECK headstamps. If, for example, you are annealing Lapua cases, a Winchester case will most certainly be destroyed.

My cases are not showing “annealing marks” after annealing. Why?

We get this question all the time. Cosmetics are simply no indicator of annealing. It is quite normal for cases to show virtually no marks at all and be accurately annealed. Sometimes it is due to the surface condition of the brass. Freshly polished cases show fainter marks see video here. We almost never see much in the way of “annealing marks” on 6 PPC cases or many other cartridges. Other cases, like the 30.06 family look way over annealed, and yet are exactly correct.
AZTEC is extremely accurate. If you are using the correct pilot, and if the cases are coming out hot, they will be correctly annealed. 

Should annealing be done before or after resizing?

Annealing should always be done before resizing. This eliminates spring back, and ensures repeatable and accurate shoulder bumping and neck sizing. Annealing should be done every reload.

We find that the best results are obtained with this sequence:

  • De-prime - (optional depending on your cleaning sequence)
  • Clean -  tumble or ultrasonic etc. – again optional. Cleaning won’t affect annealing
  • Anneal 
  • Lube - this is vital even with nitrided dies. (Imperial wax or spray such as Hornady One Shot) – note: Dry media graphite tends not to adhere well to annealed cases. We do not recommend its use.
  • Resize - after annealing, THE SIZING DIE MAY NEED TO BE ADJUSTED for both shoulder bump and neck OD to account for zero spring back. See FAQ 3, 5 and 6. De-priming can be done as part of the resizing process. 
For more detail, see our Annealing under the microscope articles.

Stainless steel media tumbling – does this work harden brass?

Many of our customers use this cleaning technique, so we have run some detailed testing on this subject.

The short answer is no, stainless steel tumbling has no effect. For more detail see

Note: If you are using stainless steel media for case tumbling, you must be certain to remove all media from cases before annealing. If any media dislodges inside the annealer inductor well of a Mark l annealer, it will be heated to a very high temperature during the annealing cycle. This will melt the bottom of poly carbonate inductor cradle and ruin the inductor. The ceramic insert of a Mark ll protects against this, but it is still important to avoid dropping pins into the inductor.

Do I need to adjust my sizing die?

If you are full length resizing or shoulder bumping you should check your die adjustment. After annealing with AMP you will have zero spring back, and you may need to back your die out a fraction from what you have been using when resizing unannealed brass. If you anneal each reload as we recommend, you will get extremely repeatable and consistent sizing. For the same reason, if you are using a bushing die you may need to check the sized neck diameter. Zero spring back can mean that less sizing is necessary.

Can I anneal nickel plated cases?

Yes, you can treat nickel plated cases just like regular brass, both when sacrificing in AZTEC and when annealing.

I use nitrite bushing dies. Do I need to lube my cases before sizing?

Yes. Because AMP anneals the necks to 100Hv, the necks will tend to gall without lube. This will make sizing effort seem greater than usual. With lube the softer necks will be easier to size. Do not use dry media graphite lube.

I am seeing cracks in the ceramic insert of the inductor. Is it OK?

Your annealer is just fine. As part of best practice, our inductors are varnished to seal all the electronics. You can actually see the process at the 4 minute part of this video: The varnish also coats the ceramic insert at the bottom of the inductor. It can give the appearance of cracking, both on the ceramic insert and the surrounding plastic. They are not cracks. Neither of these components are actually operative as part of the induction annealing process. The ceramic is there just to handle radiated heat. It naturally has a coarse finish. The plastic components are just the framework to carry the windings and ferrite cores. Over time the varnish will melt off.

Do different brands of brass in the same cartridge require different settings?

Yes. There are wide variations between brands. We establish the correct settings by micro Vickers hardness testing. Turned brass also requires less power, and we therefore list turned settings where appropriate.AZTEC will automatically adjust for these variations. Any variations should be checked in "Analyse" mode to establish the correct annealing setting.

What is the consistency lot to lot of the same brass?

All brands we have tested can have some lot to lot variation. When starting with a new lot, we recommend using AZTEC "Analyse" mode to confirm the correct setting. See:

What about power fluctuations?

AMP is designed to run anywhere in the world. It operates anywhere between 85V – 265V.

What if I accidentally anneal the same case twice?

The short answer is that provided the case has cooled down, a second anneal will make no difference to the hardness. For more information see this video: 

If all factory brass is annealed in manufacture, why do some brands look shiny all over, while others have annealing colors on the neck?

A number of manufacturers polish the annealing marks off the brass, purely for cosmetic reasons. In the past, customers related annealing marks to cheap ex-military brass. That is no longer the case, and annealing marks are now somewhat "fashionable”.

How safe is AMP?

AMP has gained full certification for both Electrical Safety and electro-magnetic emissions compliance to all international standards.

How much power does it use?

The unit is rated for 750 Watts, but the maximum power setting used in any of our programs is 600 Watts. This is less than a small microwave oven.

Will annealing stop my case necks from splitting?

The biggest reason for necks splitting is excessive hardness. Because correct annealing keeps case necks at the optimum hardness, they will last much longer with normal resizing and shooting.

Will annealing brass keep my velocities more consistent for better long range performance?

Yes and no. Old fashioned erratic annealing with uncontrolled, variable temperatures (and therefore variable finished hardnesses) may give minimal improvement. The main benefit of AMP is to give correct and repeatable neck hardness, and that will definitely improve velocity consistency. This will only make a small difference at close ranges, but once you get out towards 600 – 1000 yards, it will definitely help reduce vertical stringing.