"Melt" titanium?


August 14, 2006, 11:12 PM
Not heat-melt, but I've heard the term "melted" to refer to smoothing the edges on a carry gun. The front end of the cylinder on my 342 actually has points/corners (end of the flutes) that will just about scratch my leg when carried in a pocket without a holster. Can these be worked over or is the titanium too tough?

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August 14, 2006, 11:20 PM
Yes they can be smoothed, just like steel.

As a side note, Titanium usually isn't as hard as steel at the highest levels. If you try and match titanium to steel in hardness, it becomes brittle and useless.

The Lone Haranguer
August 14, 2006, 11:24 PM
I don't think I would recommend it. Not only is the titanium alloy in the cylinder very hard, but IIRC there is a special coating on it, which you would have to grind or cut through. No doubt someone with more knowledge will get in on this soon.

In any case, I strongly recommend a pocket holster if you are to carry this way, at least for any extended period.

August 15, 2006, 12:34 AM
De-horned is also used to describe the modification.

Does the S&W coating do anything to enhance the strength or is it simply cosmetic?

Titanium Taurus revolvers and Caspian frames don't have the coating.

August 15, 2006, 04:32 AM
I don't know why, but S&W specificly tells you in the manuals with the Ti guns, not to use a bronze brush on the cylinder as it will remove the protective coating applied to the titanium.... it doesn't say what the coating does though...

August 15, 2006, 08:13 AM
Lone Haranguer:
On a rare occasion I will carry in my pocket without a holster. This is usually for the quickest trips out or in my lightest-weight shorts. (Sometimes my Galco leather pocket holster (#PHI58) feels as big and heavy as the gun itself in summer weight cargo shorts or gym shorts.)

August 15, 2006, 11:32 AM
Not to get all metallurgical on you guys but, titanium is an extremely strong and light metal, but, it is totally incompatible with other elements.
Chlorine, fluorine, and cadmium.
Chlorine-based ink in certain pens will etch through it like acid. Some tools are cadmium coated and will wreak havoc on titanium.

August 15, 2006, 11:36 AM
The coating is a carburizing process, like case hardening, so grinding on it will change its properties.

August 15, 2006, 12:21 PM
Melting usually referrs to sights that are recessed into the frame or slide for a lower profile. Usually described as "Melted Micro Sights" or some such.

Smoothing and rounding the rough and sharp edges is commonly referred to as de-horning. Sometimes also referred to as a carry bevel.

All of these modifications are easily done to stainless steel. Ditto for blued steel since it's relatively easy to touch up blued areas.

Alloy guns pose a distinct problem since they are usually treated or coated.
For instance Aluminium frames are usually anodized. That, like case hardened steel, means it's hard on the very surface but underneat it's still relatively soft. Dehorning usually cuts through the hardened layer, exposing the softer metal.

Luckily with the plethora of "painted" finishes available today it is sometimes easy to refinish or touch-up alloy parts. Cosmetically that is.

August 15, 2006, 07:27 PM
Not real complicated-:confused: -if it were mine, I would call S&W.

August 15, 2006, 08:52 PM
While strong, titanium is more prone to cracking than steel. It is particularly susceptible to stress risers caused by an errant gouge or scratch while grinding. "Stress risers" are small imperfections in the finish from which a crack can develop. While I understand that the idea is to smooth rather than scratch the finish with a coarse finish, I would be wary of such modifications in titanium. Hard to beat steel for a gun.

August 19, 2006, 10:19 PM

Not trying to be argumentative, just don't want to screw up a Ti handgun, so:

Could you direct me to the page in S&W manual that says not to use a bronze brush. The following was all I could find. Since a bronze brush is the most likely cleaning tool to be used on cyl charge holes, why is it not mentioned below (copied/pasted from S&W manual on S&W site).

The titanium cylinder used in your AirLite Ti and AirLite Sc revolvers
weighs approximately 60% of what a similar stainless steel cylinder
weighs and yet is able to withstand the same operating pressures.
Care and cleaning of the revolver’s titanium cylinder consists of normal
gun cleaning procedures using high quality gun oil and cleaning
solvents when necessary. However, under NO circumstances should
the cylinder’s chambers (charge holes) or front face be cleaned with
an abrasive material such as sand paper, Scotch Brite™, Crocus
Cloth, etc. To do so will disrupt it’s protective surface layer and greatly
reduce the cylinder’s service life because of excessive erosion that will
take place while firing and will void your revolver’s warranty.



August 20, 2006, 10:55 AM
I emailed S&W about how to clean the Ti cylinder on my 340SC without damaging the coating. They recommended "Nevr-Dull" which is available at places like Wal-Mart. As far as I can determine, it's basically cotton batting soaked in mineral spirits.

August 21, 2006, 01:37 AM
Paul, my Ti gun is a Pre-scandium airlight 342PD with the Ti cylinder and the manual states in the cleaning section, to use only a brush "inside the cylinder holes and never on the face as this can remove the protective coating on your Titanium cylinder..." the few times I really wanted to get all the fouling off the face I used a few patches soaked in hoppes and rubbed it by hand. a few times and it almost all comes off. I may try using a "lead away" cloth next time I clean it all the way down to the face.

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