Abstract The bending of a thick-walled cylinder to a given radius involves an elastic–plastic deformation that results in a residual, axial stress distribution. The latter alternates from maximum tension to maximum compression between top and bottom halves of the cross-section. The residual stress levels depend upon the depth of plastic penetration and may be determined as a closed solution when they arise from a bending moment applied to either a non-hardening or linearly-hardening material. When the bent pipe receives an autofrettage treatment without an intermediate heat treatment, this produces a further residual, triaxial stress state. The interaction between the residual states from bending and autofrettage has an important effect upon the net axial stress and the equivalent stress. It is shown that large plastic penetrations arising from bending and autofrettage can residually stress the section beyond its yield point: in tension and in compression across both its halves. With the unloading from each process, a Bauschinger effect reduces the yield point to assist with the onset of reversed plasticity. The latter is far less beneficial than when unloading is elastic. It is shown how a nonlinear kinematic hardening model can be employed to avoid unloading plasticity at the inner and outer diameters. The consequence of interacting residual stresses is that axial stress can play as important a role as hoop stress when designing for safe service loadings. In general, an enhanced residual stress state is beneficial when compressive but detrimental when tensile. Pre-compression is often employed in practice to reduce tensile stress arising from internal pressure, axial force and self-weight. Here, the compressive residuals arising from an autofrettage treatment have long been exploited to enhance the fatigue life of process piping and weaponry.