Gun that's been through a fire


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Eagle103
October 27, 2008, 11:48 AM
I have a buddy who just lost his home in a fire. Pretty much a total loss. We pulled out his only gun, an old Mosin Nagant. Of course everything is blackened and the stock is charred. Action seems to cycle fine. I can't say exactly how hot the weapon got but I'm wondering if it will be salvagable and safe to shoot with a new stock and thorough cleaning. Are there are any other potential problems to be aware of? Thanks.

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rondog
October 27, 2008, 11:52 AM
I'm sure it could be brought back to usable condition, but I'd think he's got far more serious issues to worry about than an old $80 surplus rifle. That Mosin would be on the bottom of my list.

PRM
October 27, 2008, 11:59 AM
Considering the cost - you would probably spend as much on it bringing it back as you would buying another one. If I did attempt it, it is a job I would want professionally done since you don't know about the heat issue.

Quickdraw Limpsalot
October 27, 2008, 12:00 PM
I wouldn't risk my fingers or worse to weakened chamber metal just to salvage a Mosin Nagant. Personally, I'd remove the firing pin and hang it on one of the new, freshly-painted walls.

nbkky71
October 27, 2008, 12:01 PM
Average temps in a house fire are around 1000-1500 degrees F (or hotter). High heat can cause steel to lose it's temper, especially springs. Even though the gun might appear salvageable it's probably in his best interest NOT to fire it.

You can always try to have a competent gunsmith inspect the rifle, but the cost of that might approach the cost of a replacement Mosin. Safest bet is probably to buy a replacement. As mentioned, Mosin-Nagant rifles are fairly inexpensive. Your buddy might be covered under homeowners/renters insurance for a replacement rifle.

foghornl
October 27, 2008, 12:25 PM
Would I shoot a rifle that was in a fire?

No.

Too much chance of the high heat 'drawing out' the temper of the steel.

22lr
October 27, 2008, 12:27 PM
You could always go to a range, strap the rifle down, clear the area and put a 50 foot string on the trigger and see what happens. Heck thats what id do (after I got a new house), no real danger when you do it like that. Id probably have a hard time really trusting it though until I really ran a lot of ammo though it like that. Honestly A new stock will cost him a few bucks, but id probably just get a new rifle for a shooter.

Jason_G
October 27, 2008, 12:36 PM
Would I shoot a rifle that was in a fire?

No.

Too much chance of the high heat 'drawing out' the temper of the steel.

+1. I think the heat of a house fire would easily anneal the steel in the rifle.


You could always go to a range, strap the rifle down, clear the area and put a 50 foot string on the trigger and see what happens. Heck thats what id do (after I got a new house), no real danger when you do it like that. Id probably have a hard time really trusting it though until I really ran a lot of ammo though it like that. Honestly A new stock will cost him a few bucks, but id probably just get a new rifle for a shooter.

Not worth the risk. Especially for a $80-$100 gun. Stress fractures in steel are usually things that develop over time, and wouldn't be apparent right away. Tell him to chunk it and get another. A $10,000 custom side by side is not worth my life, my eyes, or my fingers. A $100 milsurp definitely is not worth the risk. Be rid of it.

Jason

22lr
October 27, 2008, 12:51 PM
But if you tied it all down and remotely fired the gun.....problem solved and you could see if it still is any good. At worst you get a fireworks show.

If he chucks it altogether make sure the receiver is cut so someone doesn't pull it out of the trash, blow there face off and sue you for toughing it away without destroying it.

nbkky71
October 27, 2008, 01:50 PM
Remotely firing the gun isn't really a good test to prove if the integrity of the gun is sound.

Sure, it may fire a few shots without incident, but that doesn't mean that the steel hasn't been weakened. You could have a catastrophic failure waiting to happen.

rcmodel
October 27, 2008, 02:26 PM
But if you tied it all down and remotely fired the gun.....problem solved Not so.

If the receiver or bolt have been annealed by the heat, it would not necessarly just blow up when fired once or twice.

What would likely happen is the soft bolt & receiver would quickly begin to "set-back" or develop excess headspace, until finally a case let go.

And that would run your day.

It might take only a few rounds, or it make take 50 or 100.

The problem is, there is just no way to know, unless you carry around a headspace guage, and check it after every shot.

With the price of Mossy's being what it is, I would file it under insurance, and take a power hacksaw to that one!

rcmodel

Olympus
October 27, 2008, 02:29 PM
I know this is bad and I probably shouldn't admit it, but I actually laughed out loud. I feel horrible about it and I give my condolences, but c'mon! I'm a huge gun nut and if my home burned I would be sick if I lost my guns (a lot more valuable than a Mosin), but that sickness would pale in comparison to what I'd feel knowing that pictures of my family were lost forever. Things like that cannot be replaced...ever.

As for the Mosin, pitch it! If you're foolish enough to spend more money than it cost to buy just to refurbish it then you deserve the consequences of shooting it afterwards after what everyone has said about fire dangers.

Hopefully the guy has homeowners insurance. Tag another $80 on the settlement and go buy yourself another dang Mosin.

22lr
October 27, 2008, 02:31 PM
Id still set it up just for fun, think of it as an experiment of what happens when you shoot a gun like that, then post a nice post about what happened with pictures. As long as its a remote trigger there is NO real danger. I for one would love to see if it blew up (but I guess that's just me). Just strap er down and attach a nice long cord to the trigger, although if it dosnt fire id take extra precaution trying to clear it. The guys over at Guns and Ammo do this all the time to rifles that they abuse and while I dont think they have yet to see one blow up, they take the precautions.

Just make sure no one is around and your good to go.

SlamFire1
October 27, 2008, 02:34 PM
If the receiver or bolt have been annealed by the heat, it would not necessarly just blow up when fired once or twice.

What would likely happen is the soft bolt & receiver would quickly begin to "set-back" or develop excess headspace, until finally a case let go.That is what I think.

A friend of mine purchased a M1903A3 that had been made into a drill rifle. He cut through the very small tack weld that held the barrel to the receiver.

He rebarreled it and took it to the range. I forget the number of rounds he fired, but it was less than 50, the receiver stretched to the point that the bolt closed on the NO Go, maybe a Field. He found an extra large bolt, shot it some more, and the receiver stretched again.

I got to examine the receiver. It looks new. It probably was new when it was made into a drill rifle. No discoloration, no burn mark, etc. And yet heat exposure to just a small tack weld was enough to ruin the heat treatment.

Fire is bad for firearms.

I would not risk shooting the thing.

22lr
October 27, 2008, 02:35 PM
LOL I dont think a few guys read my post correctly. I said that id still have problems trusting it but it would be a good experiment. A lot of ammo to me is several hundred rounds, and even then I doubt id shoulder it, but heck turn it into an experiment and see how much abuse it will take (drag it by a car, fill the action with sand...ect) that would be great fun.

highorder
October 27, 2008, 02:44 PM
What would likely happen is the soft bolt & receiver would quickly begin to "set-back" or develop excess headspace, until finally a case let go.


More pearls of wisdom from the heartland. Thank you sir. :)

rondog
October 27, 2008, 03:05 PM
I think cleaning it up for a wall-hanger is the best idea.

rondog
October 27, 2008, 03:07 PM
A friend of mine purchased a M1903A3 that had been made into a drill rifle. He cut through the very small tack weld that held the barrel to the receiver.

He rebarreled it and took it to the range. I forget the number of rounds he fired, but it was less than 50, the receiver stretched to the point that the bolt closed on the NO Go, maybe a Field. He found an extra large bolt, shot it some more, and the receiver stretched again.

I got to examine the receiver. It looks new. It probably was new when it was made into a drill rifle. No discoloration, no burn mark, etc. And yet heat exposure to just a small tack weld was enough to ruin the heat treatment.

Wasn't there an issue with some of those about soft receivers? Or some kind of metal/heat-treating issue? Seems like I read that once.....

rcmodel
October 27, 2008, 04:52 PM
I think cleaning it up for a wall-hanger is the best idea.The problem with that is that all of us are going to die someday.

The next owner of the cleaned-up wall hanger (who buys it at an estate auction) would have no indication the gun was unsafe to fire.

And he would probably fire it!

rcmodel

highorder
October 27, 2008, 04:55 PM
Who would fire "that old thing" when the 40 watt plasma rifle is all warmed up?

:neener:

rcmodel
October 27, 2008, 05:02 PM
As his first act as President, Obama is going to ban 40 watt Plasma Rifle's for civilian sales.

:neener:

Heck!
We'll be lucky if he lets us keep fire damaged Mossy wall-hangers.

rcmodel

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