Heat treating process to make handguns capable of using heavy loads.

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by MUSICALGUNNUT45, Nov 18, 2011.

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  1. .338Sako

    .338Sako Member

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    I work with metal and was going to post but this member nailed it...

    Well stated Sir. Stronger is not necessarily better.
     
  2. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    45 Auto, often people who are proven wrong turn to yelling instead of admitting guilt or quietly excusing themselves from the conversation. The reason that myself and many others are members here is because the threads are kept as civil as possible.

    Please, think about what RC has pointed out and you'll see that hes right. Just about everyone in this thread understands what you are saying. RC is simply pointing out that even in a fully supported chamber, there are areas that are not supported.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    That's bordering on an insult to me, and 1911Tuner right there!
    I do know what a chamber is.

    I was building National Match 1911's & M14's for the 5th. Inf AMU in 1968.

    What were you doing in 1968?

    rc
     
  4. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    I personally didn't consider rcmodel or 1911tuner to be yelling, they're doing their best to maintain a civil forum. Always good to have a civil exchange of info.
     
  5. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    You are a real jem....i was looking over some of you posting history and you seem to have a habit of talking down to most everyone. You must be one of those fellas that figures, "if I talk real loud and immediately berate someone who disagrees with me, everyone will assume i actually know what im talking about." I've has the displeasure of meeting more than my fair share of guys like you, in my profession and in just about every gun shop Ive ever walked into. I'll let you in on a little secret....you dont know everything there is to know and the only person you are fooling is yourself.
     
  6. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Oh, but we do understand. We do. We have several knowledgeable and experienced people on this forum. I'm not sure how long rc has been at it, but it's been a while...and I started wrenchin' on 1911 pistols in the mid-60s...so we do kinda/sorta understand what case support is.

    Try to remember that, and keep it civil...please.
     
  7. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Okay. Enough. In spite of the exchange of good information, it this one starts to smoke, it'll be locked. I'd rather lock it down than have somebody cross the line and get banned.
    So, let's step back and take a breath...shall we?

    rc. 68? I didn't think you was that old and wrinkled.
     
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Wrinkled?

    I am in full blown Geezerhood.

    rc
     
  9. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    No big deal, it's the internet. Take it for what it's worth.

    Seems to be a terminology misunderstanding for the most part.

    I was touring the sunny skies of southeast asia in an F4 the first half, finishing my Masters in engineering the second half, if it really matters to you.

    "Fully Supported" in the firearms world does NOT mean no primer, feed ramp, or extractor cut, etc.

    1911tuner, since you consider the barrel manufacturer's descriptions of fully supported chambers to be nothing but advertisements, do you believe that Hodgdon's (makes Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders) safety warning (underlined in red) means that there is no .40 S&W that is safe to use their loading data in?

    http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp

    (You'll have to agree to the lawyerese before you can get to the loading data)

    40.jpg
     
  10. mjackson

    mjackson Member

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    I am a tyro, but the subject of metallurgy is very interesting to me as it relates to the general subject of weapons. I'll add this, one property that manufacturers really look at is machineability. In others words, how fast can we kick these parts out without having to change cutters. While I would trust any of the big name companies' arms, they are NOT selecting alloys and heat treatment processes with a priority on superior durability. And that is not a slam against any company, it's just a fact.
    I would also be wary of re-heating, unless you switched shooting to your non-wiping hand.:eek:
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2011
  11. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I think you read more into Roy's statement then he intended.

    At Smith & Wesson it was the practice to take a raw frame, soft-fit a side plate and yoke, and the identify those 3 parts with an assembly number so they would be united later. Then a serial number would be stamped on the frame.

    Frames were kept in inventory until they were sent out to be assembled into revolvers. All models that used that particular frame were included in a serial number series, so for example, the first model 19 was not serial numbered "1", but "K260,003".

    At the same time S&W was using the same frames to make other non-Magnum revolvers, such as the K-38 Masterpiece target model. As a rule-of-thumb those models that had a K prefix in the serial number also had adjustable sights, and differed only in some were made to take a narrow-ribbed barrel, while others to use a wide-ribbed barrel. Depending on the barrel configuration, a model would be assigned a bock of numbers, but these blocks were not cast in stone, and there were no material/heat treating differences between them.

    Note that Mr. Jinks says that "Tests were carried out on medium-frame guns throughout 1954 and into 1955 as Smith & Wesson tested various steels and heat treatment processes," but makes no mention that the frame material or heat treating were changed. Smith & Wesson advertising at the time does make note that the new .357 Combat Magnum (pre-model 19) did have a special cylinder, made to the same specifications used in the N-frame .357 Magnum (pre-model 27). A NT-frame could end up in any number of models beside the .357 Magnum.

    I'll stand by what I said too. Readers can take their choice ;) :)
     
  12. bbuddtec

    bbuddtec Member

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    as far as the original post goes, #9, Brian Williams slam-dunked the idea.
    You will, at best, end up with a bore that needs work. :)
     
  13. antiquus

    antiquus Member

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    Used to be more of a big deal than it is today. What's happened is the tooling and the coolants are hugely better, so feeds and speeds - how fast something can be machined - are much higher and the tooling holds up to a degree unthinkable even 20 years ago. Think one tool bit, cutting high alloy steel all day, and getting changed at the end of the shift.

    There's not that much difference is steel costs also - almost all the cost is in the processing, so pick the right stuff.

    Companies fear a couple of things more than spending a little more on manufacturing - they fear lawyers, retailers mad about product returns and in these internet days one pissed off customer on a forum somewhere.

    So please don't imply they make crap decisions based on saving nickles, companies that did that are all dead and buried. They make firearms, things that contain explosions held in their customers hands and expected to remain safe for generations, and their record speaks for itself.

    That is good advice.
     
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    I didn't say that. I said that the chambers offer as much case support as the limits of the design will allow...but full, 100% support isn't the reality. You can see it by simply dropping a live round into a chamber.

    I'll try to more clearly define what the advertisements of full support are saying. It means that the area forward of the ramp doesn't leave any of the case that contains powder unsupported, and is only unsupported in the thicker part of the case web area.

    That makes a blowout extremely unlikely with any sane powder charge....but still very possible with an overcharge. I've seen cases blown in the extractor groove...fired in so-called fully supported chambers. Hot gases and brass shards are directed down into the magazine. Occasionally, that causes sympathetic detonation of one or more rounds contained in the magazine. When it does, it can get pretty ugly in quick-time.

    Jim Watson, rcmodel, and I have given you good information. What you decide to do with it is your call.

    Thank you for your service. Those F4s were a very welcome sight at times.
     
  15. natman

    natman Member

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    It may be possible for the factory to make a given design capable of handling a heavier load by using different steel or different heat treatment when starting from scratch.

    As a practical matter though, there's no magical aftermarket treatment like you describe. Please don't try anything along these lines yourself.
     
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Anyway...back on topic.

    Re-heat treating an existing gun in order to use overloaded ammunition is a singularly bad idea. It doesn't add much strength even if it's successful...which it usually isn't because unless you have the laboratory to determine which properties of the steel changed and by how much...you're operating on guesswork.

    You have two eyes...eight fingers...and two thumbs. They don't regenerate. It's an unwise gamble.

    As one wise man noted: (paraphrased)

    "The pressures and forces required to accelerate a 200-grain bullet to 1500 fps in six inches of rifled barrel are more than sufficient to blow your eyeballs thought the back of your head."

    It's simpler, cheaper, and safer in the long run to just buy a gun that's already engineered for the heavy stuff. There are a few out there that'll handle calibers at power levels that are more intense than you can enjoy.
     
  17. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    It appears that the OP's original question about home heat treating has been pretty well covered.

    The brass isn't always the weakest link in the chain. If you're lucky, the brass will let go first and relieve the pressure as you say. If you're not lucky, the overpressure will take the weakest part of the chamber apart like a grenade. Just hope none of it comes back at you!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Fleet

    Fleet Member

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    Yikes!
     
  19. xfyrfiter

    xfyrfiter Member

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    Man that smarts.
     
  20. Clifford

    Clifford Member

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    :-O That must have have tickled..... Is that an AMT 1911 ?
     
  21. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The failure in that photo is the result of detonation, and probably from a double-charge of a fast powder like Bullseye or HP38.

    One of smokeless powder's properties is that the higher the pressure, the faster and hotter it burns. Once it reaches the point of no return, it stops burning progressively and explodes. More powder in the bottle means a more spectacular explosion.

    As with any detonation, the shock wave immediately following the explosion is the killer. The gun itself is amply strong enough to contain the pressure of a double charge as long as the powder burns instead of detonating...I've seen it happen...but not that shock wave. That'll take one apart like the Murrow building when the shock wave hit it.

    How do we know that the damage came from the shock wave?

    Because it took the slide out, too. If it had been a simple overpressure event with progressively burning powder, it would have burst the case and possibly the barrel...but it wouldn't have blown the slide apart like that.

    And brass is stronger than steel? :scrutiny:
     
  22. Fleet

    Fleet Member

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    Musta been Naval Brass.
     
  23. 45_auto

    45_auto Member

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    Ever done a burst test on a steel pressure vessel? You fill it with water, and increase the pressure until it bursts.

    If you think that makes water stronger than steel, than I can see how you would think that brass is stronger than steel.

    The brass in the chamber stretches under pressure (that's why you have to resize brass to reload it, and why you can fire-form cases to different calibers).

    Think of the brass like a balloon in the chamber. I can put a kid's plastic toy balloon inside a closed steel chamber and keep increasing the pressure until the steel bursts. The ballon can easily stretch more than the steel, so it just expands until it's steel support goes away then immediately bursts itself from the internal pressure. Doesn't mean that the plastic ballon is stronger than steel.

    Same thing happens in your firearm's chamber. Once the brass stretches to the wall of the chamber, now the pressure is trying to compress the brass, and all the load is reacted by the steel chamber wall. The brass and steel keep stretching together at this point, until either the bullet leaves the barrel and the pressure drops, or the pressure keeps increasing until either the brass or the steel fails catastrophically.

    If the brass fails first, it will generally fail in the area unsupported by the feed ramp and blow the magazine apart as you described earlier.

    If the brass is supported by steel behind it (fully supported chamber), it can keep stretching until the steel chamber comes apart around it (like the pictures of the .45 I posted above). Once the steel chamber walls come apart the thin brass can obviously not withstand the pressure by itself.

    Every time you fire your gun, the steel chamber stretches slightly the returns to it's original size. This is the primary reason you do not want to fool with home heat treating your gun. You could easily make the steel hard and brittle enough that relatively few cycles will cause it to fail, kind of like trying to bend a file. The file is like a piece of glass, very hard but brittle. If you're looking at material properties, it's yield strength is the same as it's ultimate strength. Those aren't the properties you want in your firearm chamber.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2011
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You left out the part about the case head expanding enough for the primer pocket / primer cup seal to fail.

    Leading to severe gas leakage through the flash hole, gas cutting on the breach face, melting brass, and eventually gas flowing into the action, destroying the gun.

    Nobody here is trying to continue to argue with you.
    We all know what a supported chamber is.
    We all know what an unsupported chamber is.
    We all know that steel is stronger then brass, or water!

    It appears to me like you just like to argue about semantics for the fun of it.

    So, I'm outta here!
    Have a nice day!

    rc
     
  25. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Water doesn't compress until it gets hot enough to turn to steam. Apply enough pressure to a hydraulic system, and it'll move Mt. Everest if the fluid remains in a liquid state because liquid doesn't compress.

    Apples/oranges analogy. You're grasping at straws, but if you insist...

    Fill a brass cylinder of equal inner and outer dimensions with water and apply pressure until it bursts...and see how much less pressure it takes to blow it than the steel cylinder.

    Now you've got a comparison that means something.

    But we're not talking about hydraulics. That's a whole different set of dynamics. We're talking about pressure spikes during an internal ballistic event...essentially a controlled explosion...and the yield strengths of brass vs steel during that event.

    Brass will lose. Guaranteed.
     
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