SRH .454 flame cutting


August 9, 2006, 01:12 AM
Just wondering what some folks might know. I've noticed some on mine and I plan to call Ruger in the AM. It's not all that deep yet, but I only have 140 or 150 rounds of full-power stuff through it so far. I know Ruger dismissed this on their .357 Maximums and advised people that it is self limiting, but I am a little alarmed to see such a noticeable amount in so few rounds.

If I can't get a good answer, I will probably just cut a small piece of stainless sheet and attach it to the sides of the top strap with 00-90 or 0-80 screws. I know it'll probably ruin the warranty, but I'd rather a couple of 1/8" deep tiny holes than a big gash on the underside.

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August 9, 2006, 04:59 AM
there will be flame cutting on any revolver shooting a high pressure round. it will only go so far and then stop with no safety concerns. that is the price you pay.

August 9, 2006, 06:37 AM
Sounds like the "Flame Cutting of the backstrap Issue" first noted on the 357 Maximum cartridge guns years ago has returned with the new high pressure catridges!

Note that Ruger abandoned that cartridge when the noise from the customers got too loud. Dan Wesson (DW), which is a much larger frame with the backstrap much farther away from the breech end of the barrel, still did the cutting. Also at issue then was excessive forcing cone errosion. DW included an extra barrel with all the later 357 Maximum guns for free. DW guns have easily interchangeable barrel, for those of you not famiiar with them.

The word at the time was to stay away from the light bullets (125 gr) and shoot only the heavy bullets (180 gr). As the DW was intended for silohuette shooting (8+ inch barrel and nearly 4 lbs) that was easy for that usage. But I took the long barrel off, replaced it with a 4 incher (so I did not need a rest to shoot it) and shoot 125 grainers exclusively. The cutting went so far and apparently stopped. i have not seen any errosion of the forcing cone yet, but it doesn't get shot all that much since i have many other guns to shoot too.

The bottom line is that it probably is OK for the frame to get cut by the high pressure gases. If you modify the gun and your fix doesn't work you have lost any warrantee with Ruger. Let the backstrap get cut. When it gets excessive or doesn't stop, return the gun to Ruger for repair. They stand behind their guns but of course you must tell them you only shot factory ammo in it.


Magnum Wheel Man
August 9, 2006, 07:30 AM
I agree with LD... I have a DW 357 Max, & only shoot 158 grain or higher weight bullets... this gun was my father in laws deer hunting hand gun, & it has "a few" rounds through it, & yes it has some cutting, but not much, & it hasn't gotten any worse since I've had the gun... the 44 mag DW I also have shows no signs of cutting ( which btw, I have a 1.5" snubby barrel, & custom single chamber compensator barrel nut on )... one thing about the DW revolvers is that the barrel cylinder gap is easily adjustable, & I keep a pretty tight gap on both of mine... it can make them difficult to shoot after a 100 rounds or so, as the gap is that tight, but a quick cleaning of the fouling from the barrel & front of the cylinder, & all is good again...

I have been looking at the Magnum Research BFR in 45-70... I'm wondering if that revolver will have the same issues in that caliber or the 444 or 450 marlin calibers as well ???

August 10, 2006, 03:35 AM
Sounds like the "Flame Cutting of the backstrap Issue" first noted on the 357 Maximum cartridge guns years ago has returned with the new high pressure catridges!
Surely you mean Flame Cutting of the Topstrap?

Flame cutting on the backstrap would likely amputate your hand.

And flame cutting was noted many years before there ever was a .357 Maximum cartridge.

August 10, 2006, 08:44 AM
Yes, sorry, topstrap!


August 10, 2006, 08:31 PM
Why I use a Contender for my 357 Max and a Encore for my 460 S&W. My revovers, 357's, 10" Dan Wesson, and Ruger GP100, 4" and 6" don't have that problem ........

Peter M. Eick
August 10, 2006, 09:46 PM
I just bought a nearly NIB 357 Maximum Ruger and did an extensive search on the flame cutting problem. In the Ruger's case, the general Internet opinion is that light bullets and ball powders were the key problem. If you went heavy and stick powders it is not much of a problem. There was one post that even talked about a guy that sacrificed a frame to a blow torch with little impact, yet when he hit it with a air blaster with powder as the media, it cut right into the frame. Thus the powder shape is more critical then the burn rate.

Also, I read that if you rub a pencil (probably HB type lead) on the top strap before you let the problem get out of hand, it will not cut into the strap. The graphite appears to cause the powder granules to bounce off and not cut in.

In my case, I will use 4227 powder, 180 grn bullets, pencil on the topstrap and have a lot of fun with my Max. I bought it to shoot, and I will shoot it till it cuts itself apart. I sincerely doubt it will happen in my lifetime though.

Good luck.

August 10, 2006, 10:36 PM
I'm beginning to see some light signs of flame cutting on my S&W 5" 460v. It's had maybe 500 rounds of .460 through it (mostly Cor-Bon 300 gr. jsp's)and 1,000 or so .454's also maybe 2K of .45 long colt. Guess flame cutting is just an issue to be dealt with when pushing revolver calibers to their maximum. If it gets severe I plan on leaning on S&W for a replacement.

August 11, 2006, 12:28 AM
Just to show what we are talking about - here is quite marked flame cutting on my 686 - it was owned by a great guy in Vegas, now sadly departed - and he shot large amounts of very hot .357's.

The gun is still well tight enough and I bought it for PPC using target loads so - it has an easy life now. But as has been said - the process appears to be both inevitable and also self limiting - not something to be overly concerned about IMO.

August 11, 2006, 08:45 AM

Dan Wesson seemed to believe (base on ?) that forcing cone errosion was also a problem. That's why they included a free barrel with my 357Maximum some 20 years ago. So while you have eliminated the top strap cutting you may still have to contend with forcing cone errosion in a TC or Encore. By the way I have a 357Maximum 20 inch barreled TC that I shoot 125 grainers as fast as I can get them out of the barrel and have not seen any barrel errosion but my barrel has only about 1000 rounds through it. The cutting of the top strap shows up almost immediately while the barel errosion (if it ever occurs) must take more time.


August 11, 2006, 08:45 AM

That revolver must have had a very large number of rounds through it to have the topstrap cut like that. How in the world did you get it so clean??? LeadAway???



August 11, 2006, 11:59 AM
Stinger - can't recall my cleaning method to be honest. I do use a stiff bristle brush for top strap and around forcing cone - with patience and elbow grease! Usually helped by #9.

I do not think much lead had gone thru the gun so actual leading was not an issue. Bore is pretty good.

August 11, 2006, 06:21 PM
It's funny, but when Ruger came out with the .357 Maximum and I read about it, I asked my dealer how they were going to deal with gas cutting. He didn't know and I shrugged it off and dang if that's not what killed it. Must have been the time the old man was out of the loop. It was such an obvious thing.

There were also some reports of cylinder cone cracking on some Ruger Security-Sixes, but I never saw any. Some people I know shot around 30,000 rounds of hot magnum rounds without any parts replacements. Compare that with around 4,500-5,500 magnum rounds with the Smith 66 and it's not bad.

Both Smith and Ruger beefed up their cylinder cones on later magnums, though.

August 11, 2006, 11:49 PM
There were also some reports of cylinder cone cracking on some Ruger Security-Sixes, but I never saw any

Cracked the forcing cone in my Security running 110 gr. Gold dots @ 1810 FPS. Gun still shoots fine, but the rod gets pretty dirty.

To my original question, it's not that I haven't dealt with falme-cutting before, it just seems awfully advanced in my SRH for the low round count. My K-frames all have a bit, but they had been well-used by the time I got them.

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