Did I ruin my AR barrel?


February 23, 2014, 07:36 AM
I was experimenting with subsonic reloads and I managed to put a squib in the barrel.

It would not come out, so I put a torch to the barrel.

I was able to pound out the squib using a steel rod.

Did I wreck the barrel with heat?

The steel rod did not scrape the barrel, the tolerance was very tight, I am more concerned about the heat.


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Al Thompson
February 23, 2014, 07:42 AM
Welcome to The Highroad! Think you may get better answers in Gunsmithing. :)

February 23, 2014, 08:02 AM
Depends on how hot you got the barrel. But more than likely you didn't hurt it. Gun barrels can shoot red hot and not warp. And I know some will disagree with me about using a steel rod, but my suggestion is dont. Even if it's a "softer" steel. Brass rod and a hyde mallet.

February 23, 2014, 09:02 AM
Tried a wood dowel, no joy.

Then I tried alum cleaning rod, but it just smushed up.

The steel dowel was an almost perfect fit, and it bent when I first tried it.

So I took the torch and heated the area where the squib was and then drove the semi melted bullet out.

I cleaned up the barrel and can see no damage, but I was wondering if anyone had this problem before.

February 23, 2014, 09:18 AM
You will answer your own question when on the range next time. A torch on a barrel and melts the bullet ? Good luck!

February 23, 2014, 09:30 AM
Next time, fill the bore with Kroil. Stand on end, and let it sit overnight.

The Kroil will seep past the bullet, freeing it up somewhat.

. . . or you could just buy another bottle of acetylene.:evil:

February 23, 2014, 09:37 AM
If the crown was not damaged in the process, the chances that you will see any effect in practical accuracy are nil.

February 23, 2014, 10:14 AM
See Hatcher's Notebook on "Barrel obstructions."

February 24, 2014, 01:44 PM
For future reference don't use a wood dowel. They break and split sometimes adding to the blockage.

February 24, 2014, 07:24 PM
One day in Korea we ended up with many, many (as in hundreds) more loaded M16 magazines than were needed for that unit's qualification. I was the NCO supervising a group of KATUSA's on the loading detail, and the range officer gave us instructions to load until told to quit. He forgot to give that order, and we loaded all day. Rather than unload them and repackage the ammo we shot mag after mag on full auto. I had 3 M16's at my position, and shot them until the barrel glowed was too hot to handle before switching out. IIRC, there were 4 KATUSA's in my detail, and each of them had 3 M16's as well.

As far as I know all of these weapons continued to function without any problems after that. Just glad that I didn't have to clean any of them that day.

I don't imagine that you did any damage, but a quick range session should confirm that.

February 24, 2014, 07:26 PM
Unless you heated the area in question to cherry red; you and your barrel will be just fine. And don't listen to those that poo poo the use of heat on barrels. I find most people are afraid of what they don't understand, or that they parrot what someone told them at the range or gun counter. It takes a lot of heat to damage hardened gun steel.

March 2, 2014, 04:41 PM
It is very hard to hurt a gun barrel with a map or propane torch esp. when melting a mostly lead bullet. Steel melts at about 2500 deg. f and can begin to soften at 1000 deg. f. Lead melts to liquid at 622 deg. f so it is pretty hard to harm your barrel.

March 3, 2014, 09:12 AM
Just so long as you didn't quench the barrel afterward. Barrels are usually 4140/4150 type carbon steels, in a mildly-hard normalized state, so it's not like you'd be ruining some high temper required for safe function. At worst, you made the area you heated ever so slightly softer, since you probably heated it just beyond lead's melting point which is likely in the same neighborhood (but still a bit lower) than below what will further dissolve the remaining few Martensite crystals, and only if you kept the heat on for a good while.


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