For you Metallurgy guys...


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Imperial Guardsman
January 10, 2012, 11:17 PM
The other night I was thinking about the Schmidt Rubin 1911 rifles and their strength. I know that (for the most part) they are said to only be able to withstand their original 7.5 swiss round and no more. I also began to think about the Martini Henry rifle and the strength of its action.

So here is the "real" question: If someone were to produce either of these rifles exactly as they were "back in the day," with the exception of modern steel, how much stronger (if any) would they be?

Condsider the fine steel of the Swiss in the early 20th century, the quality of british late 19th century steel.

Would these guns (and other weapons of the respective periods) be greatly improved?

Food for thought.

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Tortuga12
January 10, 2012, 11:51 PM
I believe the K31 action was available in .300 Win. mag as well.

willypete
January 11, 2012, 12:18 AM
how much stronger (if any) would they be?

Well, take the yield strength of the modern steel and divide that by the yield strength of the older steel...

Sure, that's a big facetious, but what are you looking for? How much of a pressure limit would be on a working cartridge? My understanding of the SR1911's weakness was in the action itself, not necessarily the materials. Rear locking lugs, bolt carrier, etc... Bear in mind that there were similar cartridges being chambered for rifles of the same time that had higher operating pressures than the GP11 which the SR1911 used. Then again, GP11 is also ~55,000 psi, so how much higher do you want to go?

I believe the K31 action was available in .300 Win. mag as well.

Whut? Could you provide some documentation or links to this? I've heard of .308 and maybe .30-06, but .300 Winchester Magnum?!?

fletcher
January 11, 2012, 12:40 AM
"Strength" is a very encompassing term, but 2-3 times is probably a reasonable guess. This assumes comparable toughness.

Beak50
January 11, 2012, 09:24 AM
I just got a K-31 for Christmas and posted a Bit about re-loading the 7.5x55 and was told that some people do use them as a single shot 300 win mag.I still have yet to get Die's ect.. for the 7.5x55 but I got some GP-11 thru sportsmans guide.I only shot 3rds. out of it so far"i just had to"and was surprised that I felt no big "Kick".I could see why someone would make a 300 win mag out of it.As far as strenght of steel go's I'm not a metallurgist but I believe that that action is very strong,considering the performance of the 7.5x55 being ahead of it's time. "308 win" in point.

ball3006
January 11, 2012, 09:29 AM
I reload this cartridge. Following the reloading manual, It only took me one attempt to have a load that was more accurate than GP11. That was with using pulled GI 150 gr fmj bullets. The rifles used for testing were a 1911 and a K31. FWIW, I reload for accuracy, not velocity......chris3

SlamFire1
January 11, 2012, 12:01 PM
Condsider the fine steel of the Swiss in the early 20th century, the quality of british late 19th century steel.Every report I have ever read of 1890’s and 1900 era steel indicates that it was of low quality. I always find statements of “slag, impurities , low metallurgical quality”. Shill gunwriters have been praising old guns for decades , but don’t confuse advertizing with quality.

The process controls of the period were primitive. The measuring equipment was rudimentary, if used, a lot of processes were evaluated by eye.

Ruger compared Mauser and Springfield bolt lug shear against that of the M77 Ruger. Mausers were made of plain carbon steel, most of the Springfields were, but don't know if they also tested nickle steel bolts. Ruger used 4140 steel. The results are in the 1969 Gun Digest assumng my recollection is correct.

My recollection was that it took 25 to 50% more force to shear the lugs off a Ruger bolt than the older bolts.

Older actions were made from plain carbon steels, they appear to have soft cores but the surface was case hardened.

This appears to be a desired characteristic of the heat treatments, to have enough ductility to withstand what is an impact loading.

I remember from a metals technology book, written in the 40’s, a discussion on plain carbon steels and the then new, National Emergency steels, which were used in the Garand and M1903A3’s. NE 8620 later became SAE 8620. With just a small percent alloy additives, 8620 had a 20% increase in yield over a plain carbon steel equivalent, and the evenness of heat treatment was much improved.

This book called plain carbon steels “shallow hardening” and material from period technical papers showed that plain carbon steels hardened erratically. From sectioned round bar stock, all heat treated same time, you could see some specimens hardened just around the surface, others were hardened all the way to the core.

So the point I am trying to make is that plain carbon steel receivers would be expected to have a high variability in properties due to erratic hardening depths. Alloy steels are much more predictable.

It would take computer analysis to determine how much older actions would benefit from modern steels. I would say they would be stronger and less likely to injure someone in a destructive incidents . Those plain carbon receivers fragment in overpressure incidents so you have a lot things flying around at high speed. Alloy receivers will bend and give more.

Compare the destruction level between a double charge of SR4759 powder in a modern M70 and overpressure conditions in single heat treat M1903 Springfields. The breeching on a M70 and a 03 are similar.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/270WinM70SR4759powderbridgeindro-3.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/270WinM70SR4759powderbridgeindro-2.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/270WinM70SR4759powderbridgeindroptu.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/LowNumberRIA73153blowup.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/M1903LN323816blownreceiver.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/M1903LN570095rupturedcaseblowsrecei.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/M1903LN7182338mmcaseblowsreceiver.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v479/SlamFire/Blowups/M1903LN764040shatteredreceiver.jpg

The guy who posted the M70 pictures was not seriously injured. Lots of people lost eyes, hand parts, went to hospital when their single heat treat 03 frag'd.

Some actions, like the rolling blocks, modern materials make the action stronger but a rolling block does not protect the shooter from gas venting. Shooter protection was not a consideration in old action design. The Mauser 98 has a lot of shooter protection features and is an outstanding action.

I have a Martini Henry, I really think it is a well designed and strong action. I would like to see a Martini Henry of modern materials with a decent trigger pull.

Beagle-zebub
January 11, 2012, 02:21 PM
SlamFire1, that was an effin' great post!

How hard would it be for a small firm with good CNC machinery to manufacture the necessary parts for Martini-Henry copies, and stamp or contract out the rest? To make a marketably-cheap rifle, that is.

How does the design of the Martini-Henry stack up against the Ruger No. 1?

desidog
January 11, 2012, 04:08 PM
^ I concur. Great post.

Since the metallurgy in older rifles is generally the reason i don't shoot those types, I'd be interested in a modern-manufactured Martini action for a reasonable price, if we could get a bunch of guys together for a production run. I'd also love to do a modern WW Greener Mk3-type 12ga for Trap shooting. Maybe all-stainless? ...my mind wanders...

On a related topic, I think that the lack of gas-handling of most of the pre-98 actions is just as dangerous as the fragging-potential; albeit without the shrapnel.

SlamFire1
January 11, 2012, 05:59 PM
How hard would it be for a small firm with good CNC machinery to manufacture the necessary parts for Martini-Henry copies, and stamp or contract out the rest? To make a marketably-cheap rifle, that is.

They pay people good money to answer such difficult questions.

fletcher
January 11, 2012, 06:23 PM
How hard would it be for a small firm with good CNC machinery to manufacture the necessary parts for Martini-Henry copies, and stamp or contract out the rest? To make a marketably-cheap rifle, that is.

The price point for this would be fairly high and appeal to a niche market of enthusiasts, but the production probably wouldn't be any more difficult than the next job. Anyone familiar with the parts' design and CAD software could put together enough information to send it out for bid and get a feel for cost.

briansmithwins
January 11, 2012, 07:26 PM
The easiest way to get close to a MH would be starting with a Ruger No. 1 or similar rifle and add the sights, bayonet lugs, and suchlike.

Manufacturing the thing from scratch would be a good project, if you already have the yacht and private helicopter and are looking for a new way to burn money.

BSW

Imperial Guardsman
January 12, 2012, 06:07 PM
Slamfire,

Great post indeed!

Thanks for all the replies, I just have these random thoughts on occasion that I like to have adressed. It would be nice to see some modern production older rifles, though the price would most likely be outside my range. Just look at the Uberti Trapdoor reproductions! Well, they're expensive in my world at least.

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