cooked pietta 1858


January 6, 2011, 08:32 AM
If you put this gun in the stove,turned it up to 500 degrees,and left it there for an hour would any damage result? I did this to dry it after cleaning with soapy water. I took it totally apart and put all metal pieces in the stove. Would this fatigue the metal or something like that? I don't want it to blow up in my face the next time I shoot it.One of the internal pieces has broken since then in the course of cocking and decocking. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

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January 6, 2011, 09:05 AM
Embrittlement can occur at that temperature. That was not a good thing to do.

Loyalist Dave
January 6, 2011, 09:33 AM
Since you mention the broken piece..., best to reassemble it, coat it with Birchwood Casey Sheath, and put it in a shadow box on the mantle. Go and buy another one, and never dry above the lowest setting in an oven, if you must use an oven. Really in the future if you are in a massive hurry, then after a thorough wipe down I'd hit it with aerosol brake cleaner, as that evaps off completely and displaces any water. You still need to follow with a good rust preventative as that stuff is also a great degreaser.


Jim Watson
January 6, 2011, 10:00 AM
That is possibly the worst temperature you could have cooked it at.
As solvability says, there is such a thing as temper embrittlement in some alloys that takes place around 500 F (Also comes in to play at 500 C.) Since you already have one broken part, other pieces of the gun may also be the same alloy and affected the same way. How about a new cylinder, at the minimum? Or just shelve it.

January 6, 2011, 10:05 AM
A hair dryer is a much better solution to dry off a pistol that has been cleaned using the water method. I clean my revolvers in soapy water, rinse with boiling water from a tea kettle. Let dry and then take a hair dryer to them to catch any remaining drops of water. I never have had any rust issues when I use this method JM2C.

January 6, 2011, 10:08 AM
Every man should have an air compressor. They're not just for tires.

January 6, 2011, 10:11 AM
It is posable you tempered some of the metal and it is now brittle, but on a positive note it is less likely to be scratched.

If you use an air compressor make sure you have a dryer inline or you will just be blowing fine water vapor all over it if you live somewhere besides the desert.

January 6, 2011, 10:16 AM
You damaged the '58 sir. It's your own fault. If you wern't aware as to whether it would damage it or not then you had no business doing it. Go without....."Judge, yes sir I shot that man through the head without provocation with that .38 Special. I was just messing around. I didn't even think as to whether it would kill him or not".."So, you admit to doing it. If you wasn't aware that you were in danger of killing him then you shouldn't have shot him. Deputy, escort this man out and let him enjoy a last cigarette while they warm up the Electric Chair"....

January 6, 2011, 10:18 AM
If it were a valuable weapon it could be retempered, but for this one please put it on display. The danger is real - you were smart to pickup on the possibility that there was a problem. This is a costly lesson, but a valuable one going forward.

January 6, 2011, 01:20 PM
Water boils at 212 degrees. You need barely more than that to dry the gun. I never set an oven over 250 to dry a gun part or wet brass.

January 6, 2011, 03:41 PM
After cleaning in hot Soapy Water, a Cap & Ball or other Revolver will dry wonderfully at around 110 degrees in moving Air, for that matter.

There is never any need to heat them up more than is comfortable to still be holding loosely in the palm of the Hand.

Wipe off any excess Water, warm the Steel with warm Air merely, or by the very Hot Water itself prior to wipe down, and, the residual Water will evaporate right before your Eyes...

January 6, 2011, 03:59 PM
to hear about your rotten luck mate. We ALL do things that afterwords we think gee....what was I thinking? Why did I do that? Don't beat yourself up over this mack.

at first your :mad::cuss::fire::banghead:

gotta be :scrutiny::eek::D:rolleyes::cool:

January 6, 2011, 05:43 PM
Seems to me that if he let it come back to room temp without quenching, it would have "normalized" the metal and there would be no appreciable difference from before the "cooking". Quenching would have made the metal brittle.

January 6, 2011, 08:16 PM
Thank you all who posted helpful and polite comments. This does not sound good.:uhoh: I don't know what "retempering" costs but I bet it's around what the gun cost in the first place.:scrutiny:


the guy who cooked his gun

yum yum

January 6, 2011, 08:20 PM
For gosh sakes people there is no part of a Pietta 1858, with the exception of the grips, that can be damaged by 500deg F. I agree there is no point in doing it but damage no not a bit.

January 6, 2011, 08:31 PM

January 6, 2011, 08:34 PM
I have the same model Pietta and find all I have to do is to run some mild soapy water through it, rinse it off with hot water (as hot as it get from your hot water heater) for a minute or so, quickly wipe it down and set it up to dry. The retained heat in the metal will cause the moisture to dry rather fast. After a few minutes of drying, I typically wipe it down again with something soft and dry like a paper towel and spray it down with CLP.

They're may be other or "better" ways of cleaning BP firearms, but of all my BP firearms and C&R firearms that see plenty of Berdan primed ammunition, I have yet to find a single speck of rust anywhere.

Jim Watson
January 6, 2011, 08:58 PM
You might think that "there is no part of a Pietta 1858, with the exception of the grips, that can be damaged by 500deg F."

but the OP said:

One of the internal pieces has broken since then in the course of cocking and decocking.

Now unless you want to bet that it was just that unnamed internal part's time to go, there was apparently SOME effect of the cooking.

January 6, 2011, 09:13 PM

I'll repeat again there is no part of the 1858 that can be damaged by 500deg F. That would draw a small amount of the hardness from the case hardened parts but not enough to apprecably effect function and if one were concerned a complete replacement parts kit is available from Cabela's that includes hammer, trigger, mainspring, bolt trigger spring, bolt, and hand with spring for $29.95. Before you ruin this gentlemans day telling him he ruined his gun you ought to at least have some idea what you are talking about.

January 6, 2011, 10:30 PM
Denster, I was going to say as you are saying, that as long as he let it air cool, the steel became more malleable, if anything, not more brittle.

However, there may be something to what Jim is saying. While researching for supporting documents I ran into this:
"Tempering in the range of 260–370 C (500–698 F) is sometimes avoided to reduce temper brittling."

This only applies to parts that were previously austenized (heat treated), parts like the springs, trigger and hammer for instance, and maybe the hand and bolt as well. As far as I know, cylinders and barrels are not heat treated in this way or they would be prone to shattering under normal use. So, the 500 degree oven bake shouldn't hurt those parts, which is what I think Denster is saying.

Jim Watson
January 6, 2011, 10:47 PM
Well, if you figure his big parts were not harmed by the cook, let him know.

But I did not know what heat treatment the Italians used. Good thing you do, eh.

January 6, 2011, 10:59 PM

Actually the hammer and trigger are mild steel castings that have been case hardened. Case hardening is a surface effect only a few thousandths deep and while 500 deg will reduce the hardness a small amount it really has no appreciable effect. The bolt is high carbon steel that has been hardend then drawn back to a spring temper at around 700 degrees F so heating it to 500 has no effect this would be the same with the bolt trigger spring and hand spring. The hand is low carbon unhardened steel.
What you were mentioning is high carbon steel that has been heated to critical temperature and quenched to harden it, depending on the alloy and carbon content, can become brittle if tempered only to 500 to 600 degrees. However if those steels are tempered at a higher temperature after hardening and then reheated to 500 degrees there will be no effect. In any case none of this applies to the original posters situation.
In an absolute worst case scenario the frame cylinder and barrel are not effected and all of the internal parts can be replaced for $29.95. The gun has not been ruined and saying that it has is just misinformed. Some of the chiding responses were not in keeping with the spirit of THR.

January 6, 2011, 11:07 PM

I sent the OP a PM. Sorry if I was a little abrupt. I've been working on black powder and modern guns for 35+ years so I have a reasonably good understanding of how things are done.

January 6, 2011, 11:13 PM

January 7, 2011, 12:57 AM
Denster, glad to hear a concurring opinion, I'm a blacksmith and have a little bit of metalurgic backround. I figure the part that broke was manufactured wrong in the first place.

January 7, 2011, 03:43 AM
I was thinking asbout this today and I se others were also.

I believe denster and sltm1 are right - 500 Degrees F ( and a slow cool away from circulating Air ) would not likely meaningfully detract from any of the intended properties of the Revolver's Steel components, except, maybe to weaken or alter the set of the Springs, and, one could tell easily enough, if it did.

Might have even improved the Blueing a little bit, too..!

Anyway, aftert that warm-up...might be a good idea to re-lube things...

January 7, 2011, 03:47 AM
Thankyou for clarifying that, Denster.

January 7, 2011, 05:50 AM
The OP may do a "nonscientific" observation of the not blued (in the white) parts - bolt, hand, bolt and trigger spring - if they have some color on them - violet or blue, then he might done it bad (only for the heat treated parts). But if there is no coloration at all or just a slight yellow color, in my opinion, there is nothing to worry about.


January 7, 2011, 07:05 AM
I'm glad there are some people on here saying the gun isn't ruined.

....mostly, I want to see what happens if he shoots it. From a rest. Remotely.

January 7, 2011, 08:28 AM
Not So !
Quenching from 500 degrees would not make the metal brittle.

January 7, 2011, 08:44 AM
Oh thank you, thank you.:D I need a new part anyway to replace the broken one.
It was the little spring that is up near the hammer attached to some other part.
You all probably know what it's called,but I don't. I think I'll get the parts kit from cabelas. The gun was catching and not cocking fully. I couldn't get the hammer back and then it would give and the cylinder would turn into place. It was like the cylinder stop was catching on the cylinder and wouldn't let it turn and then it would give and let it. I looked inside and there was a lot of wear on the knob on the right ,as you shoot, side of the hammer. That little spring seemed bent and when I tried to bend it back it snapped off. This wasn't exactly in the course of regular cocking but when I wrote that I hadn't thought about for months and just remembered something broke somewhere.A spring should have some give though to be any good. Anyway I took out the part the spring broke off of and the cylinder still has the same problem. It will cock if you point it at the ceiling but the cylinder doesn't turn.A new parts kit will fix all my problems and I will be able to make noise and smoke once again!!! Thanks. The guy who cooked his gun.:):D:):):cool::D

January 7, 2011, 09:26 AM
Image from Cabelas (,0,273,281&scl=1&fmt=jpeg&id=2Qw8euBNmulisjdxQmJ5rB

Hand spring perhaps?

January 7, 2011, 04:00 PM
I only have one question.

How did you know when your gun was done? :what::D

January 7, 2011, 08:07 PM
What broke is 3rd from top in the picture.

January 7, 2011, 08:25 PM
OP, it would have been good for you to have asked that question BEFORE baking your pistol.

January 7, 2011, 08:50 PM
Hand springs break quite often. They are probably the MOST replaced part.

Black Toe Knives
January 7, 2011, 08:52 PM
Guys, Gun barrels are made of Chrome Moly or 41xx that is to 26 - 32 Rockwell. The 500 Degrees would not effected the Chrome Moly like it would a tool steel. Gun parts are not normally hardened. He didn't hurt his gun in anyway. Gun powder and the gases in a gun exceed 3000 plus degrees. Sulfur vaporizes at 900 degrees. The normal operations of the gun exceed the 500 degrees it was exposed to.
If you ever seen them solder a gun sight on a gun. They use an induction heating it heats the sight and barrel up to 1500 degrees (bright red).

January 7, 2011, 09:04 PM
I had a .22 Ruger pistol given to me that was ''ruined'' in a fire. The grips and springs were replaced, and I shot that little pistol for 20 years before someone swapped me out of it.

January 7, 2011, 09:09 PM
I'm thinking two things: if in doubt don't use the gun. In fact, throw it out rather than put it on display so 50 years later when someone ends up with it and says, "hey, let's load this thing and shoot it" you can prevent a disaster. Otherwise, I would get a new cylinder and figure if the gun has lost some strength even a brass framed Remington is plenty strong for BP use. I can't imagine the frame getting softer than brass. Another thing would be to discretely touch various parts with a file and see if they are softer than on an untainted gun. BP revolvers are made of much softer steel than for smokeless guns so I'm not sure how much chrome moly steel is used in them. My '06 barrel is whole a lot harder than any of my C&Bs. Just some random thoughts. I am not a gunsmith nor a metallurgist so don't give my opinion a whole lot of weight.

January 7, 2011, 11:53 PM
IIRC, the majority of the parts in BP guns are made of low carbon steel. You can't harden or embrittle it by heating it to 500 degrees. Can't anneal it either, unless it has been work hardened. About the only way to through harden low carbon steel is to use a "super quench". Even that will require heating the parts up about 3 times as high as his revolver got.
My bet would have been that the hand spring was what failed, and it was.
It could have had a small crack in it that grew as the metal exanded.
Hard to tell without examining the part with a microscope.
Plus, thin springs like that are notorious for being hard to properly temper.

Just remember, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

A. Walker
January 8, 2011, 09:07 AM
And, from now on, get yourself some Ballistol or Hoppe's #9 BP solvent to clean your guns and stay away from both the freakin' water and the oven. With all of the better ways to clean your piece than water out there, I still don't understand why people insist on putzing around with it. Lay off the water, stay away from the oven and you'll be all the happier for it, I quarantee!

January 8, 2011, 09:50 AM
Thanks everybody who posted their opinion. They are all appreciated. I'll oder those parts and go back to shooting.

January 8, 2011, 10:55 AM
And, from now on, get yourself some Ballistol or Hoppe's #9 BP solvent to clean your guns and stay away from both the freakin' water and the oven. With all of the better ways to clean your piece than water out there, I still don't understand why people insist on putzing around with it. Lay off the water, stay away from the oven and you'll be all the happier for it, I quarantee! Uhhh, no. Hoppe's makes a hell of a mess with BP. BTDT. I use Windex. Afterwards, warm it and oil 'em up.

January 8, 2011, 12:51 PM
A lot of BP flint shooters over on the ALR website like Hoppes #9 Plus BP Solvent and Patch Lube as a patch lube and report shooting many accurate shots when using it without wiping.
It has undergone some formula changes but I've found that the older original #9 Plus is a great solvent for a variety of stubborn substitute powder residues.
But I haven't tried the new formula yet.

IMO, Hoppes No9 PLUS BP Solvent and Patch Lube is the best thing since sliced bread for range work where many shots are taken, and particularly excellent in dry, low humidity conditions...50 shots, no wiping between shots, and barely a trace of color comes out in the bucket of hot water.

Hoppe's #9 plus is the next best thing I've used to LHV as a hunting lube.

Hoppes #9 Plus is GREAT!!!

I had discontinued the use of water as a cleaning agent in my BP rifles many years ago. I have used Hoppes 9 ever since with no regret. I use a proper fitting jag with either cotton or flannel patches. When the bore is clean I coat it with RIG. I too can't help but inspect the bore the next day, and still do. I don't remember ever having to re-clean. I am very confident with my cleaning procedure, petroleum products and all.

My shooting interest is only satisfied with very accurate rifles and the maintenance of that accuracy.

I have enjoyed following the “cold water” cleaning topic. I had also noticed “Flash Rusting” with the use of boiling water as a bore flush. I also attribute the demise of a really good barrel to the use of boiling water. I believe I noticed a slow growth in slight porosity to the interior of the barrel over a period of time. Respectfully, tim

Here's someone who took 25 shots with Hoppes #9 Plus without wiping:

January 11, 2011, 06:20 PM
I tend to agree with denster but hell ill give you 50 bucks for it lol

I realy dont know what charactaristics the steel used in these pietas is but having done a bit of old time blacksmithing i doubt very much that you have
brittled it or hardened it if anything you may have tempered it a little.

but if you have to ask i woud say shelve or take it to a qualified gunsmith and tell him what you did lol

personally aprox 100 deg c (hot to boiling water) followed by a blow out with the lungs or preferably an air compressor is all you should ever need.

January 11, 2011, 06:44 PM
Some of the posts in this thread reminded me of the following poster:

I also like to cook my revolvers after a good hot bath. Except, I set the oven to the lowest setting and the revolver sits in the oven for 20 minutes with the oven on then sits in the oven cooling off with the door open for another 20 minutes.

Yeah, its your hand spring that broke off on the hand. Its my understanding that the hand spring is a common item to break. I think it's just coincidence that it broke after your baking experiment.

January 12, 2011, 10:19 PM
Baking to 500F would have done in all the springs so I'm not surprised that the hand spring snapped or just bent and broke. It will also have tempered the trigger sear and the sear hook on the hammer so that they MAY be too soft to live long at this point. Buy the new kit of bits from Cabela's and you'll be back in business on all counts.

Wired Wrong
January 13, 2011, 12:59 AM
My instructions said to bake at 350 for 2 hours. for the best accuracy,We must have gotten different manuals.

January 13, 2011, 01:36 AM
(Quote)"Baking to 500F would have done in all the springs so I'm not surprised that the hand spring snapped or just bent and broke. It will also have tempered the trigger sear and the sear hook on the hammer so that they MAY be too soft to live long at this point. Buy the new kit of bits from Cabela's and you'll be back in business on all counts."

One more time. No damage done. Spring temper is over 700degF so 500 is not going to do in the springs it is also not enough to materially effect the trigger or hammer.

January 13, 2011, 02:46 AM
jeez. would it have been so bad to wait for it to dry on its own?

January 13, 2011, 09:55 AM
A lot of bad advice in this thread. Not the least of which is the idea that water should not be used in cleaning black powder guns. Water is the best solvent for the black power fouling. Obviously water and steel do not play together well. Use the water, dry with air of low heat and then protect the steel from atmospheric moisture. Been done that way for hundreds of years and still is the best way.

Old Shooter
January 13, 2011, 10:09 AM
My cookbook says to put the gun in a cold oven, set temp for 220 degrees. When the buzzer goes off to indicate it is at temp, turn the oven off and let it cool to room temperature before removing from oven (keeping oven door closed during cool down). Lightly lube gun and store as usual.

No need for 500 degrees.

January 13, 2011, 10:30 AM
Or just get a small hand-held Hair Drier at any Thrift Store for a couple bucks, set the wiped-dry dis-assembled Revolver on a Towel, and, set the Hair Drier close to it for the Hot Air to finish the job of warming the parts and evaporating any risidual moisture.

This will get things plenty hot enough to be uncomfotable to bare hands when picking up and holding the parts.

January 13, 2011, 01:08 PM
No need for 500 degrees.

For certain. The heating coils are either on or off. If you set the oven to 200 degrees, the coils will be full on until the temperature reaches 200 degrees, at which point they will turn off until the temperature cools a couple degrees. The oven will heat up just as fast to 200 degrees whether the thermostat is set to 200 or 500, so just set it where you want it to be. There's no need at all to set it way up high thinking it will heat up any faster; It won't.

January 13, 2011, 06:19 PM
500F cant hurt your revolver. I even doubt that your springs has "softened", they might, but not likely. Have no worries at all, take your gun to the range and forget about the 500F. On the other hand, you dont need that heat to dry it. I use boiling water myself. Makes the gun so hot it dries quickly.

A little side note... When I was in the army we shot the MG3 barrels so hot you could see them glowing. We had to use asbestos gloves and special gear to change barrels. We used those barrels over and over and over.....So, did I mention that 500F wount hurt your gun??

January 16, 2011, 04:27 PM
IF your gun had parts made of aluminum that required exacting measurements (niether aforementioned in a BP gun that I know of), then these temps. could have affected the aluminum or magnesium parts dimensionaly.
I would go so far as to say that the brass components (backstrap, trigger guard) might of experienced relaxation if there was any tension from improper assembly either by the factory or the user.
I'd bet that any lubricants that had penetrated porosity in the metals was cooked out and dried away.
The torsion spring as part of the hand assembly is a known deficient part even from new, and though probably not helped by the "roasting", it just as likely would have snapped off anyway, even simply by removing and flexing it by hand without the "roasted" abuse.
I would wager that beyond the apparent change in various finish aspects (discoloration & such) that the gun will be entirely serviceable with a major dismantle and careful inspection, along with refit of the "hand" assembly with a "hand" picked (pun) replacement part.
Just don't get in the habit of abusing your firearms like this. Some other designs would likely be much less forgiving of your learning moments.

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