Settle an arguement


April 17, 2003, 09:27 AM
My dad says that burning all those AK-47s in a fire in Iraq will destroy them.
I've gotten my barrel white-hot, orange-hot, and red-hot and it never suffered any damage. (FYI, it gets white hot after 2 or 3 100rd drums on full auto)
I agree that the fire will destroy the stocks and finish but the steel should survive and must be crushed with a tank or something.
Dad says no way. The fire will destroy the temper and the guns are ruined.

I suspect my dad is right as usual. Any opinions?

Anyone willing to test my theory on your AK? :)

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El Tejon
April 17, 2003, 09:40 AM
If hot enough, concrete burns.:D It depends on what kind of fire I would speculate from this curbside.

April 17, 2003, 10:04 AM
At the very least it will burn the stocks and make any potential salvage operation a major pain. Those things are dirt cheap to make and purchase. It just wouldn't make sense financially to try to salvage them.

I would think the sheet metal stamped recievers would suffer the most. It would take much less heat to warp the recievers than to destroy the temper of the barrel.

Good Shooting

4v50 Gary
April 17, 2003, 11:01 AM
Concur with pop. Temper is changed and it's good as a "showpiece" or as scrap metal. The factory can always convert them into airguns.

Don Gwinn
April 17, 2003, 11:23 AM
The sheet metal parts won't hold up to heat like the milled parts. Plus, in a big hot fire, the weight of the guns and the shifting caused by the burning of the stocks alone will be enough to bend and twist most of them. Besides, steel DOES burn, and those thin sheet-metal parts will burn first. At a yellow heat, steel is soft enough to weld--that is, liquid. It's so soft that when you tap it to make the weld, some steel actually splashes out like water! (I have the holey clothes to prove it.) But if you leave it in the fire just a bit too long, you'll burn it. All the carbon leaves it at a high yellow heat--heat carbon steel that hot and you'll see sparks fly out of the metal. That's carbon migrating to the surface and leaving the metal. What's left, IF you don't burn it, will be much lower in carbon and more like mild steel.

Even if you could burn them in a big bonfire without bending, twisting, or burning the steel, your dad's right--the temper will be gone. Steel is the opposite of most non-ferrous metals. Heat it to its critical, non-magnetic temperature, and quench it, and you've hardened it--it has turned to Martensite. Heat it to its non-magnetic temperature and let it air-cool or otherwise cool slowly to room temperature, and you've annealed it. It will be soft. Smiths do this to make the metal easier to work with and so that less stress is put on the metal as it is worked. But to make a gun barrel, chamber, bolt, etc. you want tempered steel--steel that has been heated to a specific temperature range that is less than the critical range and then quenched. That's the only way to get the best out of the steel, partway between the too-soft annealed steel and the brittle hardened steel.

April 17, 2003, 11:33 AM
Running over them with a bulldozer doesn't do much for them either.

April 17, 2003, 11:49 AM
Don Gwinn, excellent information, thanks!


April 17, 2003, 03:32 PM
Would still shot as reliably as a new M-16, no? ha.ha..... only joking guys. :neener:

Mike Irwin
April 17, 2003, 03:58 PM
Steel glows white hot at about 2,100 to 2,400 or so F.

I'm not sure that it's possible to get a barrel that hot firing ammo through it, but if you can I suspect you'd need a bucket of water to douse the burning stock...

That would pretty much also ruin the barrel, I'd think...

April 17, 2003, 04:56 PM
Smiths do this to make the metal easier to work with and so that less stress is put on the metal as it is worked

Not usually, as a smith I can tell you I only work steel when it's hot, unless I'm cold riviting and then yes the rivits are annealed. Smiths do not regularly temper steel until the product is finished, and then it is usually tempered via the following:

Heat until entire peice is cherry-red and quenched in cold water.

Using a brick, stone, whatever works..polish off the oxidation until you can see bare metal.

Place the working edge (or piece that needs to be softened the
most) on (or near depending) a larger peice of hot steel and draw out the temper to the desired color (depends on purpose).

Quenching steel makes it very brittle (depending on alloy), drawing out the temper by slowly heating it back up realing the crystalline structure created in the first step into a structure that it still hard but much more durable.

April 17, 2003, 05:06 PM
Nah!! I just cant see them getting that hot just running a couple hundred rds through them. And Yes fire will destroy guns. I have a buddy that lost all 15 of his surplus guns in a house fire.

April 17, 2003, 10:43 PM
The guns you saw burning were first run over with a bulldozer to crush them. They were useless arfterward.

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