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hardening steel of magazine feed lips

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by cpileri, Jan 2, 2003.

  1. cpileri

    cpileri Participating Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I have come across some aftermarket mags for a rifle that work, but the feed lips are a bit soft and bend too easily.
    Of course, they don't feed when that happens.
    What's a decent at-home way to harden up the feed lips a bit (or a lot)?
    Just heat it to red with a blowtorch? heat to yellow? cool in sand? in brine? in chocolate Jell-O? (kidding)

    Any one with any thoughts and expertise please share!
  2. mete

    mete Senior Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    This is what happens when you try to take short cuts . I assume that they are made from steel that you can't harden. The only possiblity would be to case harden with powder available from Brownells. Never tried it though.
  3. Jim K

    Jim K Elder

    Dec 31, 2002
    Case hardening will only put on a thin surface hardness; the soft steel underneath will still bend.

    Failure to properly harden magazine feed lips is one of the biggest causes of magazine failure, and one reason almost all my 1911 type mags are WWII GI or Colt. One major "maker" I once called didn't know anything about it and had never heard of it. Nuff sed.

  4. jrhines

    jrhines Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Williamsburg, VA
    I have used Kasite to harden 1018 mild steel to the point that it would shatter like glass when struck with an oak plank. It was a thin section, but I'm sure it was thicker than a mag wall. You just have to bury the steel in a mound of Kasite and cook it for an hour or two. An argon atmosphere also helps.
    The stuff is indeed designed to put a few thou's thickness of hard metal on steel that can't be heat treated by more conventional ways. For mild steel parts that will have sliding contact, it's just the ticket!
    I don't think I would want to depend on this for mags I was going to carry, but it would be an interesting expirement.
    Oh, and the thing that broke, I went ahead and turned it up out of tool steel, hardned it to 66RC, tempered at 400 F to 60-61 RC, split the oak plank.

    J Rhines
    Seneca, MD

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