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.357 flame cutting ?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by 10X, Apr 7, 2008.

  1. 10X

    10X Well-Known Member

    I hear stories that 110 gr and 125 gr ammo will cause flame cutting in a Smith or Colt upper frame. Is this for real or is it a net rumor?
    If real how many rounds does it take to do this?
  2. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    I had a 6" S&W 19 in the 1970s that showed signs of flame cutting after about 200-300 rounds of 125 gr 357 ammo. Don't know if this was a fluke or the standard.
  3. highorder

    highorder Well-Known Member

  4. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Yes, its true that 125 grain .357 magnum ammo is the worlds worst
    'bout flame cutting the top strap in revolvers. However, consistent
    use of the jacketed 125 grainers won't cut all the way thru; but it
    will leave ugly markings for all too see~! :eek: FWIW, I very rarily
    use .357 magnum ammo in any of my magnums for practice only;
    preferring to shoot my handloaded .38 Special 158 grain L-SWC's. ;)
  5. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Well-Known Member

    here is a great older thread on the subject, complete with one of the best pics I have ever seen of actual flame cutting.

    That's whta it looked like on my M19 except I think it was a little deeper. Never had any flame cutting on a Ruger or Taurus.
  6. hoptob

    hoptob Well-Known Member

    We had a good discussion about flame cutting in S&W forum. Here is the link to some pictures.

  7. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    Does flame-cutting really hurt the frame of the pistol? Or will it eventually stop at a certain point?
  8. 10X

    10X Well-Known Member

    Interesting, most of the reports appear to deal with S&W.
    Hand loads using H110 seem to be a cause as well.
  9. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Att: Deer Hunter Please Read My Previous Post~! :scrutiny:

    NO, firing the HOT 125 grain .357 magnum +P rounds won't ever cut
    solidly thru the top strap of your revolver; as it will stop at some point,
    but leave an ugly gogue (for the lack of a better term) right behind the
    forcing cone~! :eek: :(
  10. Fast Frank

    Fast Frank Well-Known Member

    I had a Dan Wesson model 15 with the 6"vent rib barrel on it.

    I read about, and then worked up an Elmer Kieth load using a 125gr truncated cone and (don't load this, my memory might be off! look it up! DANGER!) 17 grains of Hercules 2400.

    Cases came out fairly easily, primers not showing excess pressure, nice!

    That load was supposed to do something like 1600 FPS.

    It made a fireball about four feet long, and was a lot of fun to shoot.

    Well, it notched the frame.

    I read everything I could find on the subject, and the general opinion was that it would work harden the frame and the cutting would stop by it's self.

    Being the cautious type, I continued to shoot the Elmer Kieth load and watched the frame.

    True enough, the notch never got very deep at all, and never came anywhere near weakening the frame. I shot that pistol with those full house Elmer loads for about five years.

    I don't know what got into me, but one day I sold that Dan Wesson to finance some other gun project and I've been kicking myself ever since. It was a truly fine piece, flame cutting and all, and I haven't seen one worth buying or I would replace it. What a fun pistol!

    Don't worry about the flame cutting. It's just proof that you are not afraid of the big bullets.
  11. Old Dog

    Old Dog Well-Known Member

    Remember when you were a teenager and maybe got a big ol' pimple somewhere, but it was always hidden by your clothing or hair ... nevertheless, it still bugged the heck out of you because you knew it was there?

    To me, that's what flame-cutting is sorta like ... it really nags me when I have to look at it on the topstrap of my Model 19, even though I know the gun will still be shooting for another 100 years or so ...
  12. The Bushmaster

    The Bushmaster Well-Known Member

    Factory nickel must make a bit of a difference when it comes to top strap cutting. My Mod 19 has less flame cutting then my mod 10 blued steel .38 Specials...Some one here want to tell me that magnums are the only revolver calibres that flame cut?
  13. Fast Frank

    Fast Frank Well-Known Member

    No, but the hotter the load, the more likely it is to flame cut, and lots of rounds will do it more than just a few.
  14. 461

    461 Well-Known Member

    I got rid of the only good Taurus I've ever had because it was flame cut and I didn't know it would stop on its own. I've missed that gun ever since, it was scary accurate.

    This was well before there was an internet.
  15. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Greeting's Again All-

    My friend Old Dog has nailed it; as I don't want my pristine S&W
    models 19-3*, 66-4, or 686-5 or my Ruger 50th Anniversary
    Blackhawk too show those infamous signs of wear. That's why I
    launch mild, mid-range .38 Special 158 grain L-SWC's from their
    barrels~! :cool: ;) :D

    FootNote *- except for this one~! Its a 4" factory nickel model that dates
    back to 1975, as its 7K26xxx serial number indicates. Its complete with
    factory box, docs, phamplets, and blank warranty card. I don't and won't
    ever shoot this one~!
  16. Deer Hunter

    Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    So basically, it just mars the gun a bit, but doesn't affect performance, and is usually the last thing that'll make a revolver break?

    Then what's the big deal? A flame-cut revolver should be a sign that you actually shoot the damned thing instead of take pretty pictures of it for the internet.
  17. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Yep, you're correct Deer Hunter Ole' Pal-

    but, everybody likes pretty pictures of weapons as posted on the World
    Wide Web; or Information Super Highway; including me~! ;) :rolleyes:
  18. Confederate

    Confederate Well-Known Member

    Flame cutting is far more of a threat to the forcing cone than the topstrap. The flame leeches out the carbon and makes it brittle over time. Eventually, it cracks and the barrel needs replacing.

    Stainless steel's chromium content substantially reduces flame cutting and withstands the pressure a bit better. K-frames also suffer from frame warping after sustained use of any full magnum loads, making them difficult, if not impossible, to retime. This takes a few thousand rounds, though.

    Some people also hard chrome their guns and this offers some protection, I understand. But it's best if you just shoot your guns. A stainless Ruger or L-frame Smith will most likely outlast you, but a gun, like anything mechanical, will wear.

    Using light loads and .38 Spc ammo, any .357 should last indefinately.
  19. TAC

    TAC Active Member

    I've never seen a top strap cut though from flame cutting. As Tony Soprano would say, Forget About It!
  20. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Well-Known Member

    WOuldn't that be "Fuggedaboudit!"? ;)

    Flame cutting is a self-limiting phenomenon. All of my .357's, .44's and .454's exhibit some. My SRH showed sign of it after the first outing.

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