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Old November 19, 2014, 02:57 PM   #1
Chain Smoker
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Accidental tempering with hair dryer?

I didn't know what category this should be under, so apologies in advance if it shouldn't be here.

Anyway, I routinely use a hair dryer to dry off wet weapons after carrying them in rainy weather.

On a couple of occasions, I've gotten distracted and left the hair dryer running for longer than I intended to, making the weapon very hot to the touch, yet not so hot so as to burn me.

I know it is probably not possible to alter the temper of steel with a mere hair dryer, especially if the steel was not rendered injuriously hot, but I have paranoia issues. Maybe someone here more knowledgeable than I about metallurgy can either ease or justify my concerns.
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Old November 19, 2014, 03:06 PM   #2
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Depending on the alloy, you would need to get it up to about 900' just to draw your steel, minimal.

I really doubt there is a hair dryer out there that could change the stucture of you gun steel.

It has been a while since I have had to do heat treating, so my degrees may be slightly off.
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Old November 19, 2014, 03:24 PM   #3
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Wouldn't need to be quite so hot as that, but WAAAAAY hotter than a hair dryer can get.

No worries at all.

Think about how hot a gun gets after an extended string of fire or even a "mag dump." There's videos of AKs with the handguards ON FIRE but the temper of the steel isn't ruined.
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Old November 19, 2014, 03:43 PM   #4
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A hair dryer never get anything hot enough to change the temper of any metal.
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Old November 19, 2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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The only thing I would worry about is my power bill
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Old November 19, 2014, 04:24 PM   #6
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Buy a compressor and use that to clean and dry your gun. You need a compressor anyway, right? You know you do. For tires and stuff, Dear.
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Old November 19, 2014, 04:25 PM   #7
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you could probably damage a plastic fantastic with a hair dyer, but I would think thats about it...
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Old November 19, 2014, 05:04 PM   #8
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The other day I was changing the magazine tube on a Mossberg 500. Mossberg puts some sort of propritary thread-lock in there.
I put a heat gun on High for about 5-7 minutes as that is what it took for the thread-lock to become liquid again.
I've also seen M-2 Barrels so hot you could have easily lit a ciggerette with them.
I'm pretty sure you'll be fine with a hair dryer.
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Old November 19, 2014, 06:22 PM   #9
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tempering is different than heat treating. Heat treating is normally around 1400 degrees, and metal is a dull bright orange. Tempering after is done usually somewhere around 400ish degrees depending on the metal, for 3 plus hours.

IF your hairdryer was capable of this, it would melt your face off. As long as you have your face, you didn't mess up ht or temper.
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Old November 19, 2014, 07:13 PM   #10
lemaymiami
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All a hair dryer is... is a heat gun. I'd be a lot more worried about a fire of some kind than anything else if you left it unattended.... particularly around any plastics, solvents, or wood. Heat guns (and even a weaker hair dryer) can start fires if not used properly (particularly around fiberglass) -one of those "ask me how I know" moments...

As already noted you won't do anything to the steel with a hair dryer or a heat gun...
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Old November 19, 2014, 07:41 PM   #11
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For a hair dryer to get so hot as to change steel, seems like it would do a heck of a burn job on your hair and skin.
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Old November 19, 2014, 08:41 PM   #12
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Maybe it's this hairdryer. http://what-if.xkcd.com/35/
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Old November 19, 2014, 09:06 PM   #13
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The hairdryer would destroy itself before damaging the (steel) gun.

However, a hairdryer destroying itself, may also destroy your house...

I seccond the reccomendation for an air compressor.
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Old November 19, 2014, 09:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
tempering is different than heat treating.
Annealing, normalizing, quenching, hardening, tempering etc., are all some process of heat treatment. Just with expecting different results for the condition one desires.
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Old November 19, 2014, 09:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chain Smoker View Post
, ........making the weapon very hot to the touch, yet not so hot so as to burn me.
You can get your gun hot enough to burn you just by firing about twenty rounds; a hairdryer isn't going to hurt it.
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Old November 19, 2014, 10:24 PM   #16
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My experience is that very hot to the touch is 60 C or so. You should be fine.
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Old November 19, 2014, 11:32 PM   #17
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Got me curious. Took Kathy's super duper hair drier and set it on Hot with a low air flow to obtain the maximum air temperature at the nozzle. The absolute maximum temperature I could get was about 240 degrees F. at a distance of 1" from the nozzle. That temperature measured as dead on balls accurate (technical measurement term).

You will not damage the gun in any way, shape, form or manner unless you have a plastic gun or a gun made from case hardened peanut butter.

A small compressor is a nice touch and finally just wipe guns down with a light coat of oil to displace moisture. Especially making sure moisture is never trapped under the wood or stock materials.

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Old November 20, 2014, 03:48 AM   #18
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as long as the gun isn't a Hi-Point I'm sure its going to be ok
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Old November 20, 2014, 04:10 AM   #19
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The absolute maximum temperature I could get was about 240 degrees F. at a distance of 1" from the nozzle. That temperature measured as dead on balls accurate (technical measurement term).

You will not damage the gun in any way, shape, form or manner unless you have a plastic gun or a gun made from case hardened peanut butter.
Glocks and most other plastic handguns are made from Nylon 6 or similar polymers. IIRC, Nylon 6 has post molding dimensional stability to 280-290 degrees Fahrenheit, and you have to get it to 420 degrees Fahrenheit to melt it.
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Old November 20, 2014, 06:25 AM   #20
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as long as the gun isn't a Hi-Point I'm sure its going to be ok
Pointless hyperbole/grandstanding. Hi Points are fun to diss (for some apparently) but the fact is comments like this serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever. I know avid gun owners who swear their Hi-points are more reliable than their kimbers costing 10x as much. Why play baseless, childish bashing games that aren't reflected by reality in any way? Not sayhing you have to love HP, but to pontlessly diss them without basis just seems baseless
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Old November 20, 2014, 07:38 AM   #21
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The lowest tempering temperatures for steel (for something like a knife blade) run to something like 350 degrees F (and most gun parts would probably be tempered at higher temperatures). A hair dryer isn't going to hit 350, for safety reasons.

Heat guns are a different story - mine goes up to 1000 degF. I think you'd have to be pretty ham handed to damage a major part like a receiver because they'd take a while to heat up that much, but you could probably overheat small, hard parts, e.g. a sear or spring.
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Old November 20, 2014, 08:17 AM   #22
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Quote:
You can get your gun hot enough to burn you just by firing about twenty rounds; a hairdryer isn't going to hurt it.
This needs repetition because the next thought is very important: you CAN overheat your firearm with too much firing, like dumping 8 mags out of an AR.

If it takes heat treating it to make it strong enough to handle the pressures and you can anneal it by simply abusing it with too much ammo too quickly, then you have an explosion waiting to happen.

Therefore, CRITICAL FIREARMS PARTS ARE NOT TEMPERED. That includes the barrel, barrel extension, and receiver. Springs and sears are usually placed far enough away the barrel will fail first.

The point of "ordnance steel" alloys chosen for firearms is that the working qualities when annealed dead soft are why it's chosen, and that is because any tempering will be lost if heated by abuse. Add the historic liability of a gun exploding - medieval cannons were notorious for it - and the result is No Tempering for highly loaded parts.

Stuff like this usually runs counter to "common knowledge," the consumer gets some strange notions of how things are done. The average pocket knife has higher alloy steels and higher strength tempering of the blade than a gun does.

Never seen a gun barrel from S30V stainless steel run at RC 64 and you never will. The machining costs would be exponentially huge and getting the barrel to come out of the oven white hot and still straight would be a near impossibility.

That right there is something to consider - you can't button rifle hardened steel, and you can't keep a 16" barrel straight if you heat it past 1200F to temper it. Colt posted a video of the M4 with M203 barrel cuts failing when mag dumped - the barrel gets red hot and after about 8-10 magazines a round makes a new bore where it's drooping.

No tempered guns, please, I don't want to have it explode just when the zombie hordes attack in the second wave.
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Old November 20, 2014, 08:49 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ugaarguy View Post
Glocks and most other plastic handguns are made from Nylon 6 or similar polymers. IIRC, Nylon 6 has post molding dimensional stability to 280-290 degrees Fahrenheit, and you have to get it to 420 degrees Fahrenheit to melt it.
Yeah, wasn't sure about the Tupperware err Polymers types.

I know some rifles also use plastic parts in them and on those I haven't a clue. The hairdrier I used for my little science experiment was the hairdrier from hell so I figure it got hotter than most. Again, the maximum I could get was around 240 deg. F.

Thanks for sharing that.

Ron
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Old November 20, 2014, 09:17 AM   #24
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I use my CPAP machine to blow dry stuff. Works really well and I don't use it during the day anyway. A bit slow maybe, but them's the times I loads for the next shooting event.
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Old November 21, 2014, 10:40 AM   #25
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"CRITICAL FIREARMS PARTS ARE NOT TEMPERED. That includes the barrel,"

This is not true.

The blueprints for AR-15's haven't been released, to my knowledge, but the 1911 blueprints have been. The barrel is spec'ed as 4150 steel at RC 53 to 58. That gives a yield strength of 280 kpsi, and will result from tempering at around 400 degF. Annealed 4150 has a yield strength of 55 kpsi - less than a fifth of the properly hardened material.

There have been numerous examples over the years of problems from improperly heat treated firearms.

Barrels aren't hardened to RC60 (they don't have enough carbon to get that hard with any heat treatment), but they aren't dead soft either, at least in centerfire calibers.
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