Yet more Questions; Case hardening of frames.


September 28, 2008, 07:07 AM
As I have mentioned I have a 1860 Army revolver, .44 cal steel frame that I got from DGW as a kit. I loved building it as much as I love shooting it at the range.
As I'm sure that many of you know the the pistol kits from DGW come with the frames having not been case harden. So the question that I have is " "should I have had this done?, not only for looks but the safety of using it?" I finished in polished Bare steel, it shines as much as Stainless, often miss-taken for so at the range by many others and I do so love its looks this way. and would prefer not having it look like it has been. with bare steel I just don't think it would look right for my tastes. but in no way do I wish be cut corners on safety.

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September 28, 2008, 07:34 AM
Case hardening is not done for safety. It's for essentially cosmetic purposes. It's very shallow, essentially surface only, so it has virtually no effect on the strength of the overall part.

When I say cosmetic purposes I include both the aesthetic looks of the part (the color case hardening done on many frames) and the resistance to wear, scratches and surface damage (the less visible hardening done to hammers, triggers and other seldom seen small parts). The latter is not be cosmetic in the sense of appearance but rather more in the sense of just being a special surface treatment.

Color case hardening the frame for appearances is very difficult for the home hobbyist to do. It requires special treatments and a comprehensive knowledge of metallurgy to pull off successfully.

Your 'bare' steel frame is perfectly safe and strong without the case hardening. It may, however, be slightly more susceptible to being scratched than it would with a good case hardened finish.

September 28, 2008, 11:24 AM
id leave it. those bare frames look great

September 28, 2008, 07:36 PM
As mykeal stated Color Case Hardening is more of an astetic & functioning part of the frames make up mostly to the surface of the frame to about .002-.005 & for the most part your steel frame will last a long time without any other work done to it but is suseptable to wear & exterior scratching than that of a similar piece that has had this process performed, unfortunatly it would take a knowledgable person to properly perform a Color Case Hardening to your frame.

If you wished the frame hardened & tempered though either through a Color Case Hardening or just a Case Hardening a competent gunsmith can perform this quite nicely.

September 28, 2008, 07:56 PM
I may not have been clear on the start of the thread, I do love the look of the bare polished steel, Many feel the same about the look of the case harden frames, but then thats what makes the such a wonderful hobby or should I say passion, even better obsession.

Thanks for all the in put.

September 28, 2008, 11:13 PM
Well, the reason for case hardening is to turn the iron into steel on the surface. Since you have a steel frame I doubt there would be any gain execpt for the color. The downside of doing it now is the possibility of warping your frame a bit and having nothing line up anymore.

September 28, 2008, 11:32 PM
Plum brown

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