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Old March 25, 2015, 05:25 PM   #1
Tallball
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Heat Treating a Revolver

In addition to my regular job, I also make knives. I have plenty of experience in heat-treating them properly. I heat them up in my kiln until they will no longer stick to a magnet, then I plunge them into oil. None of my knives has ever broken (as far as I know). I use high carbon 1040, or 440C stainless steel for the blades.

I have an unusual situation. My FiL is my shooting buddy. His Dan Wesson revolver has developed a small crack in the frame, and since he his not an idiot, he no longer shoots it. I found a terrific bargain on a DW revolver and he is going to transfer the "guts" and barrel(s) of his into it, and thus have a safe and functional DW 357 again.

I will thus have the leftover "innards" of a DW 357, a 4" barrel, and a frame with a tiny crack developing in it. My question is...

If I heat up the frame enough to hammer the crack shut, then do my regular knife blade heat treatment on it, will the frame be okay to use?

I am not willing to try this without expert advice, and THR is the best place for that, IMHO.

Last edited by Tallball; March 25, 2015 at 05:32 PM.
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Old March 25, 2015, 05:33 PM   #2
dogmush
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Short version: probably not. Almost certainly not.

One could, theoretically, weld the crack up then re-heat treat and harden the frame. But you'd want to know a whole bunch of specifics about the alloy DW used, and how hard they got it. Then I'd want to have a hardness test done to see how close I got.*

*I guess that also depends on where the crack is. There are less critical area's of the frame.
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Old March 25, 2015, 05:38 PM   #3
tekarra
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Heating the frame and hammering the crack shut will not repair the crack. The crack needs to be fused by some welding method. However, the heat input from welding will distort the frame to some degree. You will also need to know the frame composition to select the welding process and filler metal, if a filler metal is used. For me, repairing the frame would not be worth the time nor the expense.
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Old March 25, 2015, 06:20 PM   #4
DPris
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The cracked frame is junk.
Denis
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Old March 25, 2015, 08:31 PM   #5
Jim K
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Where is the crack? It might not matter at all* and the gun can safely be fired with the crack. But as far as welding it or heating it white hot and hammer welding it, that would definitely be a bad idea; don't try it!

*I recall a poster who reported a cracked frame on his brand new S&W. The crack ran from in front of the hammer, down back of the recoil shield and around under the cylinder and down in front of the trigger.

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Old March 25, 2015, 09:32 PM   #6
Tallball
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I don't recall exactly where his crack is (lol), but my FiL is an engineer who researches everything he runs across, so I will take his word that it is not safe to continue shooting.

And I will take everyone else's advice not to try another of my hare-brained schemes.
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Old March 25, 2015, 10:28 PM   #7
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A good TIG welder could likely fix the crack without over heating the rest of the frame
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Old March 25, 2015, 11:13 PM   #8
Tallball
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Thanks for the welding suggestion. I will mention it to him Saturday (at the gun show).
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Old March 25, 2015, 11:24 PM   #9
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In a word...no. please don't blow yourself up.
Keep that extra gun basically as a parts kit. It is nothing more at this point. I would even go as far as to spraypaint it red to distinguish it from a serviceable gun.
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Old March 27, 2015, 01:23 PM   #10
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From my understanding about welding it COULD be welded. But it's not an easy one pass over the crack sort of thing. It would need to be V'ed out and multiple passes used with the correct filler rod to fill in the crack. Along the way the frame would need to have the weld peened to correct for shrinkage by cold forming the weldment out to the right size.

Then when it's all finished you need to get the repair machined back down to the right shape. Only then is it ready for a proper heat treating of the whole frame. And not just the hardening. The tempering back to the right spring like qualities needs to be done correctly to avoid further warping. If it's even possible.

Your knife making has given you part of the equipment and skill set. I'm in the same boat. But when I looked further into all this stuff for heat treating I quickly learned that it gets a lot more specialized in a hurry when looking beyond simple knife making or machining cutters from drill rod like I typically do.

All of this is a costly and time consuming repair which will likely cost more to have done than the frame is worth.
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Old March 27, 2015, 11:18 PM   #11
Snyper
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Quote:
It would need to be V'ed out and multiple passes used with the correct filler rod to fill in the crack.
That would mean it's one HUGE "crack"

What you're describing sounds more like joining a complete seperation
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Old Yesterday, 01:21 PM   #12
BCRider
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Cracks in something like a gun frame don't just appear on the surface. By the time it cracks it WILL be deep. And the weld will only penetrate about 1/16 to 3/32 inch. So that's why it would need to be V'd out so it can be fully welded from very near or at the apex of the crack and then back out to the surface. Otherwise the weld is just a bandaid over the remaining separation inside the frame.

If the crack is so shallow that it could be filled in one pass then it suggests a crack which is so narrow that it would only be found with a dye penetrant test or with some other NDT method. Anything I've ever seen in metal of any sort which is visible to the naked eye is deep enough that it would not be fully repaired with a single pass.
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Old Yesterday, 03:19 PM   #13
glove
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"In addition to my regular job, I also make knives. I have plenty of experience in heat-treating them properly. I heat them up in my kiln until they will no longer stick to a magnet, then I plunge them into oil. None of my knives has ever broken (as far as I know). I use high carbon 1040, or 440C stainless steel for the blades."



At what temperature do you draw the blades back to? Do you temper "Draw back" the blades after heat treating. What is your final RC scale hardness on the blades? If the blades are not drawn back they will be to brittle and prone to cracking.
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Old Yesterday, 03:35 PM   #14
kwhi43@kc.rr.com
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I have heat treated several Ruger frames . They are made from 4140 and you
want them to Rockwell 43 on the "C" scale. As I remember and this has been
40 years ago, I put the frame in the oven at 1500 degrees for a hour then into
oil. After cooling back into the oven at 400 degrees to draw it back to Rockwell
hardness of 43. Hope this helps.
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