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Welding

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by Fire8523, Oct 12, 2014.

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  1. Fire8523

    Fire8523 Member

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    Hello all
    I am looking into purchasing a welder to do small jobs.
    Example fixing a cracked action,attaching sights and a bolt etc
    My question is im not sure I can afford a tig setup. Will gas welding work for what I want to do until I can afford a tig setup? I know that everyone says stick and mig are too messy but what about gas? Is sliver solder strong enough for this stuff?
     
  2. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    I'm not a pro with welding or soldering, just an enthusiastic amateur. So get more advice before you run with anything I say.

    Soldering and welding both have a place in gun repair.

    Depends on what you're trying to build/repair. Silver solder is very useful and plenty strong in the correct application. A proper silver solder joint will tear out metal from either side of the joint before the joint fails when tested to failure. Remington 700 bolt handles are soldered to the bolt body. Even soft solder is used in some applications. Old double barrel shotguns were soft soldered together.

    Welding a cracked action is extremely iffy and is best left to a real pro that is skilled in both welding and gunsmithing. Very few cracked actions can be safely welded (depending on the location of the crack). Annealing and re-heat treating is often required, even on those that can be welded. TIG is far more controlled than gas torch or arc. The HAZ is much smaller and the heat soak time is reduced. It is far better than either gas or conventional arc for most applications, although they can be used.

    A decent small TIG machine can be had for a pretty reasonable price these days. Ask around here and on some of the other forums for recommendations. I'll be glad to ask some of my buds who have them.
     
  3. doubleh

    doubleh Member

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    I am a retired pro so I know a little about the subject. Your question indicates to me that you have little or no experience with welding or soldering. Please learn something about the processes before you try something that can get you or someone hurt.

    Read some books on the subject, pick welder's brains, take a class. Some good videos on youtube and also some that are really bad. Then pick a process and start practicing. TIG is very versatile and works great for what you are looking to do.

    BBBBill gave you good advice. Personally I would leave the cracked actions to someone with a great deal of experience and the equipment to do the job right. It's not a garage/home shop job.
     
  4. Fire8523

    Fire8523 Member

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    Thank you for the advice. Yes that is correct I do have very little experience. I guess my question should say should I start out with soldering and gas welding to learn? I do not plan on doing cracked actions for other people or advertising to do so but to learn under a very experienced mentor. So I'm guessing here that solder would be a good solid base to learn ? I have a mosin that needs a sight attached and a small pit repair. A few bolt handles to attach just small items that are mine on items that are not worth very much just some enjoyment and learning
     
  5. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    I would find a local trade school and take a few classes. Sometimes a local high school shop will have evening adult ed classes. Or find a skilled local welder that will let you hang out and learn a bit. Practice on scrap before you tackle anything important. Have someone knowledgeable critique your work. Soldering, especially silver soldering, is a different skill set. Skill at welding does not translate to soldering or vice versa. You will also need heat sinks and heat control paste to keep the heat from migrating outside the area that you're working, whether welding or soldering. I have bolt handles welded by a skilled welder with TIG. I go to his shop and set up the parts in the welding jig (he knows nothing about guns), screw in the threaded heat sink, build a dam of heat control paste around the weld site, and step out of the way while he welds. I can do basic arc and gas, but it is purely functional welding on angle iron, etc. Nothing as critical as a gun part.
     
  6. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Trade school or community college (usually cheaper) should be in your future first.
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1

    And welding receivers is best left to only a very few Very Good gunsmith companies in the country.

    Ones with heat treating & testing equipment that know how to use it!

    I wouldn't weld a receiver crack on a bet!


    I cut a 1911 slide to Commander length and gas welded to flawlessly back together in 1969.
    It is still in my junque box.

    Because I had no capability to test it, short of shooting it.
    Until it broke and stuck the back half of the slide in my good eye!

    Don't even try it!!!
    No matter how good a welder you think you are!

    rc
     
  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Welding changes grain structure not just at the weld but also in material next to the weld. It normally is pretty brittle meaning it will not flex as it must when under heavy pressure, so it breaks and that pressure sends it outward at a speed that may or may not be dangerous. Please if your considering using a welder, make sure that what your welding is not a critical structure piece (barrel, frame, stock mount) or a supporting piece (bolt or bits and pieces of the bolt, slide rails on autos, cylinders on revolvers). That narrows things down considerably...you can weld on the trigger group.

    You may want to read up considerably on brazing, silver soldering, and fiberglass application for the conceivable jobs a person with little to no experience should be capable of.
     
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You can weld on bolt handles, as long as you protect the rest of the bolt with heat-sinks & heat sink paste.

    I've done dozens of them..

    The bolt handle on most center-fire rifles is not a pressure containing part, except as a second or third extra failure lug to keep the bolt body from blowing out if the primary locking lugs fail somehow.

    Receiver cracks?
    Nope!!!!

    rc
     
  10. Jim K

    Jim K Member.

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    Hi, BBBBill,

    I think Remington 700 bolt handles are electric copper brazed, not soldered, a much tougher way of attaching them. They do the same thing with the bolt heads, after installing a heavy steel cross pin.

    Jim
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The early ones, i'm pretty sure were silver-soldered on the 721-722 Series, and early 700's.

    Anyway, if you took the barrel off, to get the stuck case out of the chamber.
    You could get the naked bolt out of the receiver after someone peeled the bolt handle off beating on it.

    Then you could re-shape the peeled off bolt handle to fit the bolt body again, and re-attach them with a tiny tip gas torch & hi-temp silver solder & flux.

    I have no doubt the newer ones are induction brazed with stronger bronze welding alloy.

    But the early ones were almost certainly hi-temp silver soldered on.

    rc
     
  12. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Maybe so, Jim. I've seen several broken off due to failed joints and it sure looked like silver solder residue in the joint, but I'm no expert. Not a condemnation of solder, silver solder, or brazing. Poor workmanship can make anything look bad. Were I to replace a bolt handle on a Remmy, I would probably drill and tap for a countersunk screw after soldering as done on some "tactikool" builds. Belt and suspenders.....
     
  13. Fire8523

    Fire8523 Member

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    Thank you everyone for replying I will look for classes and start with solder and brazing . The only reason I speak of a cracked action is because a gun smith here showed me an old mauser action that had a crack near the ring of the reciever so he exposed the crack and used silver solder to fill and I was just wondering exactly how strong silver solder was
     
  14. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    In that scenario - no strength whatsoever, for the most part or structurally.

    More a filler and a questionable one at that.
     
  15. BBBBill

    BBBBill Member

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    Silver solder is very strong and a great option for joining metal.... But not something I would want to depend on for containing a lot of pressure. That's exactly what you would be asking it to do because the barrel and receiver are pressure vessels at the point where the barrel screws in.
     
  16. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Sure, for joining in a friction based sliding or rotational scenario. Tensile in a crack? No thanks.
     
  17. LAGS

    LAGS Member

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    I bought a small Gas Porta-Torch for my gunsmithing jobs.
    It works well for welding bolt handles and making parts like scope mounts.
    But I would NEVER Weld up a receiver with Gas Welding.
    Too much heat for too long, and you would really have to know what you are doing to do any welding of any kind on a receiver.

    I just yesterday got finished rewelding a bolt handle on a Spanish Mauser that I had given to a friend recently.
    I Gas welded the handle on 10 Years ago, and it broke off in his hand.
    The weld was still good.
    But the Bolt handle that was an investment cast replacement, actually broke right at the weld.
    In other words.
    Learn what can be welded to another type of metal, and how the heat will effect Both pieces.
     
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