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Barrel removal help please.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by WestKentucky, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I am struggling to pull a barrel off of an old EMF single action revolver. That joker is TIGHT. It does not appear to be pinned, welded, or otherwise attached beyond being threaded in. I started with degreasing the barrel. So far I have cut wooden V blocks and clamped up, it spun. I measured OD and got a slightly undersized drill bit, made a 3” bore in a 2x4 with the drill press, chopped it split it, clamped up, it spun. I tried wrapping it with a wash rag in both configurations, it spun. I tried wrapping it with scrap leather, it spun. I wrapped it with masking tape and just kept tightening the vise trying to get a good grip because that seemed to be the best grip so far...and I broke the ballscrew on my vise. Had to further destroy the vise to get the gun out. I already swapped the vise out under warranty, so now I’m back to square 1.

    How do I hold this barrel without destroying it?

    Can I use heat on the frame without damaging the frame? Cosmetically the frame is already gone because of some bubba smithing, and the ejector housing is not reattachable.

    This is to be a built just to have fun with it gun. I want to reuse this barrel when I get done with it, but it has to come off for some of the work I plan to do. It has a bit more BC gap than I would like so I will square that up and set it back a couple thousandths while it’s off. I’m off from work Sunday so I may get to work on it again then.
     
  2. boom boom

    boom boom Member

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    You might want to make sure that loctite or some other thread adhesive was not used at the factory as a std. practice. EMF stuff is imported from various places so that might be a touch difficult to find out but customer support just might know. Heat at varying degrees depending on what was used is necessary to break down the stuff.

    The complication on how much heat to apply, is that you need to know the composition of the material to judge what the effects will be--the different alloys of steel behave, well differently. Generally, you do not want colors to change on the frame when heating. You might try cowboy shooting forums as someone there might be knowledgeable enough on your particular model to tell you what was used and how the barrels were attached.

    Assuming that loctite etc. was not used, then you probably need to soak the joint by submerging in some penetrating lubricant--kroil, ATF, penetrating oil, for several days, etc. If no improvement, then either heat or cool the joint to break it loose, heat and repeat, etc. Soak, heat or cool, try to remove, repeat. Sometimes, it takes weeks.
     
  3. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Weeks works. I don't have a place to shoot anymore so now I'm cleaning, building, fixing, and fiddling much more than ever before. I only get to shoot when I go visit my parents. I might run out of brass to load.
     
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  4. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    It is possible the frame was heated before the barrel was installed to ensure a shrink-tight fit.
    If the barrel-frame connection has oil that has oxidized to varnish, or corrosion, or both, a long soak in penetrating oil will work.
    Procede with care, patience and caution. I have both successfully repaired some guns, and ruined a couple.
     
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  5. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Powdered rosin in your barrel blocks might help. What are you using for an action wrench?
     
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  6. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Homemade. Steel 1x1 box chopped to 1x3/4 so it's essentially a U shape with 2 layers of high density plastic (delrin I think, came with stuff I bought at work in auction). The plastic is glued and screwed together. It essentially copies the wrenches I saw online with delrin insert, just cobbled together in my garage from various bits I already had. I don't have Rosen, but I do have flour, I might try that. I have to cut new wood blocks too since mine broke and fell apart when the pressure came off.
     
  7. drband

    drband Member

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    Flour will not work. Rosin is powdered tree sap. Very sticky under pressure and heat.
    Penetrating oil, new blocks, and rosin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  8. Sav .250

    Sav .250 Member

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    Have you tried YouTube for a possible tutorial on the subject ? May be an audio/visual on the subject.
     
  9. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Yes on YouTube. There is very little help with revolvers. Lots of videos dealing with rifles which is a similar concept but a revolver has to be supported in a different manner.
     
  10. Blue68f100

    Blue68f100 Member

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    ^^^^^^^ This is what works. I went through the same exercise a while back.
     
  11. BWS

    BWS Member

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    Probably shouldn't respond,oh well;

    Assuming you have a proper fitted "action" wrench.....aluminum barrel bushings with rosin,and put it in a 20T hydraulic H frame press.Now smack the action wrench with at least a 2# engineer's hammer.It's coming off.
     
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  12. boom boom

    boom boom Member

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    Cheap and available way to get powdered rosin is a pitcher's rosin bag at any sporting goods store for less than $5. I have heard of some folks making custom inserts for action wrenches using an epoxy steel beddding compound (steel is added to an epoxy base and molded to exactly fit the firearm in question--see Brownells or I think Devcon makes a similar product). Make sure to use a release agent on what you don't want the mix to stick before applying. Not sure about using Delrin as in some uses in an action wrench insert, it actually adds lubricity (slipping) from what I remember. Aluminum bushings can work but also can possibly leave aluminum on the surface of the barrel as does copper and bronze. There is a guy on the West Coast, Wally Cooper, who makes action wrenches, barrel vises, and the aluminum inserts for various bore diameters. Bought some custom made aluminum barrel vise inserts from him for an old B square barrel vise years ago but he still seems to be active on Ebay selling ware so it might be worth a shot. The inserts were very reasonable from what I remember.

    As far as barrel removal and installation instructions--try Pat Sweeney's 4th Edition on Gunsmithing Handguns. You might also find some useful stuff on Grant Cunningham's webpage dealing with gunsmithing if it is still around.
     
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  13. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Member

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    This has been key on most of my barrel (and other stuck stuff removal) projects.
    my process soak the item in penetrating oil, apply some heat with heat gun if necessary, use a well fitted action block/clamp/vice (like boom boom said, i use marine tex, or devcon epoxy if i have any to make them match).
    I tend to use a 6 or 8" bench vice to hold my action blocks then try turn the barrels.
    Rosin, dried soda, etc can work to help keep your barrel blocks stuck on the barrel. i used a couple pieces of leaf spring to make my "clamps" for my barrel wrench. it holds a 2x2" block of teak and clamps with 2, 1/2" bolts. So far that hasnt slipped on anything ive tried. wacking the wrench is usually all it takes to get a barrel to break free, but trying to just turn stuff off hasnt worked well for me.
     
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  14. Charliefrank

    Charliefrank Member

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    If you have access to a milling machine make a barrel wrench out of steal. Nothing fancy is needed. 3" x 3" x .5" plate steal. Mill barrel shape to outer dimensions of barrel. Cut in half, drill and tap so you can screw the two halves back together. Line with leather and either mount in vice or drill one half for a handle.
    Good quality vises are hard to come by nowadays.
     
  15. CLP

    CLP Member

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    Have you considered this product from Brownells?

    FYI, I've never removed a revolver barrel, I just recall seeing this product. Probably because it's lead and I'd like to melt it down and cast it.
     
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  16. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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  17. Charliefrank

    Charliefrank Member

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    I was referring to holding the actual barrel
     
  18. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    This. Find the outer diameter of the barrel and then go a few thousandths smaller. Drill out a block of hardwood and then cut it on a bandsaw. Apply rosin and then clamp the barrel into that (place a slightly undersized drill rod into the barrel to support it). The use your revolver wrench and crank on that. I do not recommend the old hammer handle like Walter Howe recommended in his book, Professional Gunsmithing. As much as I respect the man (may he RIP), a wrench with a fitted insert is the only way to go to prevent damage to the frame. Good luck!
     
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  19. krs

    krs Member

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    Heat.
    Get it clamped good and apply some torch at the joint. Be careful if the finish is nice and anyway it shouldn't be hot enough to start colors changing.
    Does anyone KNOW that EMF hasn't used left-hand threading or that barrels on those things are threaded at all?
     
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  20. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    OK, but all that assumes the barrel is screwed in. On some of those cheap guns it might be soldered, press fitted, pinned, or even welded. Good luck!

    Jim
     
  21. ray15

    ray15 Member

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    Yes, I would be concerned if I could not observe evidence of the threading. I've got my money on a press fit tight enough that the frame had to be heated in order to press the barrel in. You could also freeze the barrel, but I think this approach would be uncommon in the factories that would have manufactured this gun.
     
  22. Lafitte

    Lafitte Member

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    I was visiting a major barrel manufacturer a few years ago and we discussed this same issue. They had a 5 gallon bucket about 1/4 th filled with Liquid Wrench. He told me that if they had one that was "impossible" they put in the bucket for a while, maybe 5 days. He said, "they will come off"!
    Lafitte
     
  23. quest4perfection

    quest4perfection Member

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    Kroil- creeps into recesses; "relieving the barrel"-done on Howas, the tightest I have found: make a cut close to the action to relieve tension somewhat after soaking in Kroil overnight...perhaps?
     
  24. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    The barrel is definitely screwed in I can see faint thread marks on the frame inside of the window at the front of the topstrap.
     
  25. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    What most gunsmiths use for a round barrel is a hydraulic barrel vise and oak or brass blocks to grip it.
    This is needed for most rifle barrels, but once in a while you get a really tight revolver barrel.

    Here's one technique I used.
    If I had a continuing need for a certain brand of revolver barrel I had barrel blocks made from hard plastic in the later days, aluminum in the earlier days.
    If it was for a limited use, I made them from hard oak blocks and epoxy glue.

    There are various ways of making the blocks, one way is to drill a hole through a oak block then cut it in half length ways or use a router to route grooves in two thinner blocks.
    Whatever, you wind up with two oak blocks with grooves in them.
    These grooves should be slightly larger then the barrel and when put on the barrel there should be at least a 1/8 inch gap or more between the two blocks.
    You need to rough up the inside of the grooves with cuts or gouges to give the epoxy something to bond to.
    You want the blocks to mount close to the frame, and short of the front sight or the ejector rod bushing on the side of the barrel.

    Get a can of Johnson's Paste Wax at any hardware store and after cleaning the barrel thoroughly with a solvent to remove all traces of oils or grit, dry the barrel then apply a medium-heavy coat of the wax.
    Don't wipe it off. Let dry 30 minutes.
    Mix up a batch of epoxy glue. Usually you can use the 5 minute type.
    Liberally coat the groove in ONE block with epoxy and press it onto the barrel. Clamp it in place until the epoxy gets to a hard rubber state.
    Remove the block and mark which side it was fitted on.
    Do the other block mounting it on the other side of the barrel and marking it.

    After the epoxy is fully cured use sand paper to remove any excess and test fit on the barrel to insure there's a gap between the blocks.

    Once the epoxy is fully hardened, clean all the wax off the blocks and the barrel with paint thinner, finishing with a spray of 90% or denatured alcohol. Make sure you get all wax off.
    Dry thoroughly.

    Get some rosin as mentioned above and apply a little to the blocks.

    Clamp in the biggest vise you can find and use the barrel wrench. Hope it it pops loose and you don't hear a "PING" as the frame cracks through the barrel threads or feel the frame bend.

    Heat.
    Heating is way over rated, but can sometimes help loosen a rust stuck barrel. Just don't overheat.
    If Loctite was used it will break down and melt below 500 degrees and that's not that hot. Heating until the color changes ruins the gun. If you want to try heat, do it before using Kroil.
    In my experience Kroil works more reliably then heat.

    As above, you can help it along by liberally soaking the barrel and frame area with Kroil and letting it soak a couple of days.
    Over the soak period give the frame around the barrel sharp raps with a plastic screwdriver handle or small plastic hammer. The sharp vibrations will help the Kroil to infiltrate the threads and loosen the grip of the threads.

    Truth is, even really big vises like the 100 pound + Wilton vises just can't give the clamping force needed for a tight round barrel.
    This is counter-intuitive since you'd think a vise is designed to clamp things tightly, but as many people have found out, "guns is different".
    That's why I used a small hydraulic rifle type barrel vise for round barreled revolvers.
    Reason is, if the barrel spins it will usually strip the bluing off or otherwise damage it. Any grit inside when the barrel is clamped and the metal gets a little scar or a major scratch. Customers seem to have some sort of problem with that.

    After use, I'd thoroughly clean the blocks, dry them and store in a plastic bag to keep bench grit off until I needed them again.
    I'd label the blocks as to what gun they were for.
     
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