The effects of chemical composition, cold rolling and subsequent annealing parameters on the reversion of strain-induced martensite to austenite were investigated in three experimental Mn and Si-free Cr-Ni austenitic stainless steels and two commercial Type 301 and Type 301LN grades by optical and electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction and magnetic measurements. Hardness and tensile tests were performed to determine the mechanical properties achieved. In cold rolling, completely martensitic structure could be obtained in the experimental heats, but only partially in 301 and 301LN grades at reasonable reductions. Upon annealing, in 301LN the reversion took place by the nucleation and growth mechanism, and submicron austenite grains were formed within a few seconds at temperatures above 700°C. In the other steels, reversion took place by the shear mechanism, and ultra-fine grains were formed by the recrystallization of austenite at temperatures of 900°C or above. Partial reversion resulted in an excellent combination of yield strength and elongation in 301LN, and also in 301 such ones were attained in the reverted structure even before any profound formation of submicron grains.