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Old June 22, 2014, 04:49 AM   #1
chiltech500
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How to solder on a pistol ?

Hello,

Long story I will avoid unless you want to look at this link: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=754767

Question: How to correctly solder a drop of solder onto the top of a sight on a blued Ruger BlackHawk?

I tried with a solder I used for electrical stuff but it wouldn't stay on for long. I sanded and used paint thinner after to remove residues. I may have not gotten the sight hot enough as I grew tired of waiting for the solder to melt off the gun, and drew a drop from the solder itself.

To remedy I bought a torch (for more heat) and an acid flux core solder (packaging said for sheet metal, auto radiators, tools). My torch only gives a pencil point heat - should I have bought a torch that spreads the heat over an area?

Thans so much in advance.
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Old June 22, 2014, 07:39 AM   #2
4v50 Gary
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Low Temp, High Force solder. You can get it from Brownell's.

Clean the surfaces with flux. Tin the bottom of the sight with the low temp, high force solder. Apply flux to the spot on the barrel where you want the sight. Clamp the sight to the barrel. Heat (I prefer propane) and allow to heat. Then apply more solder to joint where the sight meets the barrel. The melted solder should be sucked into the joint. Allow to cool and clean off (I use a chisel made from brass).

Get beverage and admire your work.
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Old June 22, 2014, 11:44 AM   #3
lathedog
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Yeah, the trick is to not get the temp higher than the temp of the solder holding the front sight onto the barrel. But you need to get (at least the tip of) the front sight hot enough for the solder you are adding to adhere.

It is easy to remove or discolor the bluing when you do this, and the solder that you add will need paint to get it black.

If it were me I would consider adding two part epoxy like JB Weld (which is black already as a plus). I'm not sure that is a great idea because it would probably be easy to damage the added section. Depends on if you are planning to hunt or if you are target shooting at a range. Anyway, there is less risk of making your problem worse with epoxy. And you can always abandon that approach and go back to solder.
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Old June 23, 2014, 07:56 AM   #4
chiltech500
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Thanks gents. I gave epoxy a couple of tries but didn't use JB Weld which I think would have been better. I guy had advised me to use popcycle sticks with a little vaseline as a mold. Now I don't know if the vaseline got in there or the epoxy wasn't as good as JB weld, but it didn't hold.

Yesterday I used some flux from a buddy and an acid flux core solder that needed 460 deg - I held my breath and came back an hour later and all was good. I shot the pistol after filing and the solder held. Don;'t know for how long but at least I know that method worked. I'll just paint the upper front sight black and it'll be good enough for me. I could add a red dot but would rather shoot the iron sights.
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Old June 25, 2014, 03:50 PM   #5
Sunray
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JB Weld is epoxy. If you want to solder on a sight take the bluing off first.
A popsicle stick will be drier than anything you can think of. It'll suck oil(Vaseline is petroleum jelly just like Cosmoline) like there's no tomorrow. And will melt when you give it a hard look.
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Old June 26, 2014, 08:05 PM   #6
RetiredUSNChief
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OK, first of all I'd recommend you get some steel of about the same dimensions to practice on. Everybody ASSUMES soldering is easy until they try it and find out they're not paying attention to the basics and screw something up.

Don't let this scare you...soldering IS easy, but there are some basics that, if you don't understand and practice a little bit, will end up frustrating you to no end, and possibly lead you to damaging what you're trying to solder.

First of all, fit up your components before trying to solder them to make sure they'll mate the way you want. And figure out how you're going to hold them in proper alignment during the entire soldering process. Loosely fitting components and components which move around while soldering make for failed or poor solder jobs.


Soldering (or brazing) needs CLEAN components. Clean as in down-to-the-bare-metal clean with no finger oils and such. If your components aren't down to the bare metal and clean of contaminants, then no amount of heating and applying solder will get you a proper, smooth flow with good bonding.

So get your solder surfaces to bare metal, clean with alcohol to remove oils, and don't touch the parts with your fingers afterwards.


Flux is your friend. Flux is designed to help remove contaminants from the solder surfaces and keep the surfaces being soldered from oxidizing while heating the components. While it is possible to soldier without flux, you are far more likely to have problems if you don't use it. So, after cleaning the components, apply flux to them.


Use the proper solder for the job. What works for electronic circuits will NOT work for steel. You need a silver solder for your work.


Heat BOTH components up to the flow temperature at the same time. Flow temperature is the temperature at which the solder will melt and flow onto the metal, forming a tight bond with the metals being soldered. Heating the solder with the torch does NOT work...it just melts the solder and it will NOT stick to the components.


Once you've heated the components up to the flow temperature, touching the solder to the joint of the components being soldered will cause the solder to melt and flow into the joint. A properly fitted joint will cause the solder to "wick" all through the joint, forming a good, solid metal-to-metal bond between both components and the solder. Some neat dressing up of the joint itself by moving the solder along the joint and/or quickly brushing the solder joint with a quick flick of something like a cotton cloth along the joint may improve appearances.


Do NOT overheat or apply heat any longer than it takes to get the solder job done. If you reach flow temperature (solder melts readily on contact with the hot components) but you cannot get the solder to flow, then you've messed something up and you need to remove the heat, wait for things to cool down, then prepare everything again from scratch. Almost all problems related to this have to do with cleanliness issues...get down to bare metal, clean everything with alcohol again, flux it, clamp your components together again and then solder them.


So, get some pieces of similar metal and do a couple practice fittings to figure out how to get a tight fit, hold the pieces together, and get the components quickly heated up to the proper temperature to allow a quick, smooth solder technique. Then set up your pistol and have at it!
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Old June 26, 2014, 08:40 PM   #7
rcmodel
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I have never been successful low or hi temp silver soldering with a propane torch on a gun or custom knife guard either.

The whole gun or blade acts as a giant heat sink, and sucks all the heat a propane torch can put on it faster then you can heat it.

I have always had excellent luck with a tiny tip on a acetylene torch.
It is hot enough to heat the parts faster then the gun or knife blade 'heat sink' can carry it away.

rc
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Old June 26, 2014, 09:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcmodel View Post
I have never been successful low or hi temp silver soldering with a propane torch on a gun or custom knife guard either.

The whole gun or blade acts as a giant heat sink, and sucks all the heat a propane torch can put on it faster then you can heat it.

I have always had excellent luck with a tiny tip on a acetylene torch.
It is hot enough to heat the parts faster then the gun or knife blade 'heat sink' can carry it away.

rc
This is key to heating...you need to quickly and efficiently bring the components you want to solder up to flow temperature without having to heat the whole gun, or at least the whole barrel. Done properly, the barrel will act as a heat sink to the freshly soldered joint, more rapidly cooling it down until the solder solidifies, locking the components into place before they have a chance to move.
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