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  #1  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:16 AM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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early slide heat treating




Would it be worth having the slide on an early Colt .45 heat treated like a modern slide, if you were planing to refinish it anyway? I am thinking about the sarco $499 Colt's and Sistemas, of course you wouldn't want to do this on anything with a good original finish, as you would have to strip it first,
the price would not be much, if you did a number of them at once, I talked to a commercial heat treating co. about doing some knife blades, they quoted a dollar or two per pound, 60 pound minimum, has anyone done this?
does anyone know the Rockwell numbers on an early soft slide VS a later hard slide? (crazy hair brained scheme # 42)
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Last edited by Caferacer; 11-04-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:25 AM
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dsk dsk is offline
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I answered this same question in another thread. I highly doubt there is any cost-effective means to heat treat an old 1911 slide. To properly harden steel not only does the process need to be able to do so without causing warpage, but the type of steel affects the outcome as well. Modern steels used for 1911 slides are much improved over the early ones, and trying to heat treat an old WW1 slide (assuming it doesn't warp) could merely result in a brittle one. To us laymen it may seem simple, but anyone here who understands metallurgy can probably tell you that it isn't.
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  #3  
Old 11-04-2012, 01:26 AM
pburr pburr is offline
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If the Colt pistols are from the 1930's....then they should have the forward part of the slide already heat treated. I have 2 pistols from 1932 and 1934 and both have the slides heat treated. It's just not so obvious as on, say a World War II military example.

What is your purpose for wanting to heat treat the slides?
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  #4  
Old 11-04-2012, 10:48 AM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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the process to fully harden the slide was not developed until after WWII, early attempts at spot treating via flame hardening, while the best available at the time, were not very effective by today's standards, and are prone to breaking, much easier than new modern fully hardened slides,
it should not be a problem for a professional commercial heat treating facility, using modern technology, to bring these older slides much closer to modern specs, giving them a much longer service life,
so if you had an old slide lying around, in need of a refinish, how much $$ would it be worth to have it fully hardened like a modern slide?
I am thinking if it could be done for under $50 per slide, it sounds like a good investment
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  #5  
Old 11-04-2012, 11:55 AM
pburr pburr is offline
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Yes, I understand all of that........but my question remains, what is your overall purpose for wanting to do this? Do you intend to shoot the crap out of a vintage slide to the point of causing failure?

DSK already touched on the main problem with doing this, and that is even though there is modern technology for the hardening of metals, the fact remains that the metal used back then in those slides is different compared to today, so using some modern hardening method is basically irrelevant because they dont know the composition of the metal used back then. Colt went through all kinds of trial and error to develop the process themselves without damaging the products and it still was not perfect. To attempt to do that today would not guarantee success on your old slide without some trial and error that could result in damage. That in itself could create a potential danger.
That said, it is still possible to enjoy shooting a vintage pistol without fear of overstressing the slide despite not being completely hardened. Just keep the springs new and, you can load your own reduced power ammunition so the pressures are not as high as in modern, full power ammo.

Just 2 cents..........good luck with the experiment though
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  #6  
Old 11-04-2012, 12:49 PM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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determining the make up of the steel used is no problem, but it would require a piece of a broken slide, the risk would be minimal, once the type of steel was determined, modern heat treating is no longer a trial and error process, the only question would be, how much tougher would the final product be, compared to one that had not been treated, and how close to a modern slide can you get,
the purpose would be to make some of these cheap vintage pistols, (sistema, sarco $499 Argentine colts, etc ) into GOOD vintage shooters,
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:01 PM
Martensite Martensite is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post
To properly harden steel not only does the process need to be able to do so without causing warpage, but the type of steel affects the outcome as well. To us laymen it may seem simple, but anyone here who understands metallurgy can probably tell you that it isn't.
Correct. You would have to know the exact alloy (% carbon) first. Then you would study the phase diagram for the type of steel to understand which phase you are interested in developing (Pearlite, Bainite, Austenite or even Martensite) and whether a quench would be involved (more than likely). The slide would have to dwell (heat treat) at the temperature that you have selected for the particular phase(s) you desire and then more than likely it would have to be rapidly cooled to lock in these phases. It would be the quench that could potentially warp the slide.

The danger is is that if you don't know the alloy and don't understand the heat treat process you could actually make the slide softer through a "slow cool" process which would anneal the steel.
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  #8  
Old 11-04-2012, 08:35 PM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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I believe that ANY reputable heat treating facility is more than well aware of this
the ability to heat treat them is not even in question, the only thing in question is, how much would it cost, and would people be interested in having it done
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  #9  
Old 11-04-2012, 10:01 PM
Martensite Martensite is offline
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Originally Posted by Caferacer View Post
I believe that ANY reputable heat treating facility is more than well aware of this
the ability to heat treat them is not even in question, the only thing in question is, how much would it cost, and would people be interested in having it done
The question would be...what is the exact alloy they are dealing with? I wouldn't want anybody guessing at a heat treat for a slide of unknown steel alloy. Throughout the years, the alloys used in Colt slides has changed. The heat treat itself is not the hard part. Figuring out the correct heat treat is the issue. If you were to call Colt, they may or may not tell you the alloy of the particular year slide you are dealing with...and then...they may not tell you what part of the phase diagram they would heat treat their slides to. It's not as simple as you think.

Last edited by Martensite; 11-04-2012 at 10:11 PM.
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  #10  
Old 11-05-2012, 12:11 AM
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You know, the easy solution is to simply pick up a post-war GI contract slide. Still 100% USGI, but made just as good as a modern slide.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #11  
Old 11-05-2012, 01:15 AM
pburr pburr is offline
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Originally Posted by Hicompression View Post
Correct. You would have to know the exact alloy (% carbon) first. Then you would study the phase diagram for the type of steel to understand which phase you are interested in developing (Pearlite, Bainite, Austenite or even Martensite) and whether a quench would be involved (more than likely). The slide would have to dwell (heat treat) at the temperature that you have selected for the particular phase(s) you desire and then more than likely it would have to be rapidly cooled to lock in these phases. It would be the quench that could potentially warp the slide.

The danger is is that if you don't know the alloy and don't understand the heat treat process you could actually make the slide softer through a "slow cool" process which would anneal the steel.
Thank you Sir for providing the technical response to what I was trying to say....it does make more sense.
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  #12  
Old 11-05-2012, 10:34 AM
Martensite Martensite is offline
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Thank you Sir for providing the technical response to what I was trying to say....it does make more sense.
You are welcome. That's what a four year degree in Materials Engineering and holding a Teaching Assistant position in Grad School for an Introduction to Metallurgy/Materials Eng. lab will get you = Knowledge.
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  #13  
Old 11-05-2012, 10:36 AM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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Thank you Sir for providing the technical response to what I was trying to say....it does make more sense.
exactly what part of "PROFESSIONAL COMMERCIAL HEAT TREATING FACILITY" do you fail to understand,
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  #14  
Old 11-05-2012, 11:03 AM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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You are welcome. That's what a four year degree in Materials Engineering and holding a Teaching Assistant position in Grad School for an Introduction to Metallurgy/Materials Eng. lab will get you = Knowledge.
then you are quite aware of the science involved, and you should also be aware that it is not a very complicated process, tempering steel can be done in your backyard with a home built furnace, and a kitchen oven, even if you don't know the composition of the scrap steel you are forging, blade makers have been doing it for over 1000 years,



determining the makeup of the steel used will only lead to better results, the type of steel used it not a secret, I just don't have that information yet, it would be much cheaper if someone who has that information came forth, otherwise analysis of a donor slide will be required, and that will incur additional cost, and the intention is to keep cost to a minimum

yes you could just buy a replacement hard slide, but the ones I have seen for sale are going for $150 to $250 I would like to keep the cost under $50
besides wouldn't you rather have a hard slide with the early roll marks on it?
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Old 11-05-2012, 12:48 PM
Martensite Martensite is offline
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then you are quite aware of the science involved, and you should also be aware that it is not a very complicated process...
Yes, I acknowledged this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hicompression
The heat treat itself is not the hard part. Figuring out the correct heat treat is the issue.
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  #16  
Old 11-05-2012, 01:35 PM
pburr pburr is offline
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You are welcome. That's what a four year degree in Materials Engineering and holding a Teaching Assistant position in Grad School for an Introduction to Metallurgy/Materials Eng. lab will get you = Knowledge.
Excellent brother, I am impressed with your credentials and knowledge, and yet.....I must ask you, how does it feel to have your academic knowledge and professional experience questioned on the viability of heat treating a vintage slide to modern standards of hardness (we assume to withstand the pressures created by modern ammunition....I guess?) just to save a few bucks, and to provide the nostalgia of having early roll marks?
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  #17  
Old 11-05-2012, 02:23 PM
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I must ask you, how does it feel to have your academic knowledge and professional experience questioned.....
The main reason most of the experienced high-end 1911 collectors don't post here anymore is because they got tired of their knowledge and opinions being questioned by new guys who rejected any answers but the ones they wanted to hear.
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Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
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  #18  
Old 11-05-2012, 05:59 PM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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I fail to see why everyone is making this out to be a complicated and difficult proposition?
anyone with a basic knowledge of metallurgy will tell you it isn't, it is in fact quite simple,
and we are not talking about making an old slide capable of competing with a modern slide, or inventing some radical new tempering process, nor or we expecting people to do this at home,
just applying KNOWN modern methods and technology to an old slide to IMPROVE its wear characteristics, and increase it's usable, working life span,

continually claiming it cant be done, never got anything accomplished, and purporting to have a degree in metallurgy without having a basic understanding of the subject is quite disturbing
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:06 PM
Giggitoni Giggitoni is offline
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Caferacer, if I were you, based on what I just read, I would put the damn thing in a vice, get it glowing red with an acetylene torch, dump it in a cold bucket of water, and shoot away... But, luckily, I'm not you!

Last edited by Giggitoni; 11-05-2012 at 06:09 PM.
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  #20  
Old 11-05-2012, 06:15 PM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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Caferacer, if I were you, based on what I just read, I would put the damn thing in a vice, get it glowing red with an acetylene torch, dump it in a cold bucket of water, and shoot away...
yea! for real, it feels like that is what I am proposing
perhaps people only bother to read half the post before replying,
a "nattering nabob of negativity"

in a nut shell, a commercial heat treating facility could improve the temper of an early slide if the composition of the slide can be determined

does anyone know what type of steel was used? and what are the rockwell numbers on early vs late slides?
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:26 PM
Giggitoni Giggitoni is offline
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You didn't comprehend what I wrote... Read it again and just be happy.
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  #22  
Old 11-05-2012, 06:52 PM
Caferacer Caferacer is offline
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You didn't comprehend what I wrote... Read it again and just be happy.
you were obviously joking
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  #23  
Old 11-06-2012, 01:48 AM
pburr pburr is offline
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The main reason most of the experienced high-end 1911 collectors don't post here anymore is because they got tired of their knowledge and opinions being questioned by new guys who rejected any answers but the ones they wanted to hear.
And I can believe that Sir....!!! I have seen it several times in a short amount of time. It's almost discouraging to post some things for fear of differing opinions turning into a personal "tit-for-tat". I now prefer to ask my specific questions via private message. Those that I have messaged, I would hope, know that I do so out of respect for the knowledge they have and I appreciate any of the opions and advice they give me! All it does is make me smarter in the end!
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:21 AM
mpd1978 mpd1978 is offline
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And I can believe that Sir....!!! I have seen it several times in a short amount of time. It's almost discouraging to post some things for fear of differing opinions turning into a personal "tit-for-tat". I now prefer to ask my specific questions via private message. Those that I have messaged, I would hope, know that I do so out of respect for the knowledge they have and I appreciate any of the opions and advice they give me! All it does is make me smarter in the end!
Purr, there is still some good discussion about 1911's here on occasion, you just have to stay away from threads like this. Notice that threads about collectible guns rarely turn bad because they attract a different crowd.
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  #25  
Old 11-06-2012, 07:25 AM
CJS57 CJS57 is online now
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I would like to see some examples of WWII cracked slides, I know they are out there. Just to see where they usually crack. Seems like there are two types of hardening going on here. 1) The off color flame hardening seen at the the slide muzzle and side notches, presumed to help galling, wear and battering, but not cracking. 2) The hardened insert that went right behind the cartridge head on the breech face, Remington figured out how harden the whole slide and so eliminate the insert, but I don't think cracking was the problem there.

So what exactly did Colt or others do about slide cracking and where is this documented in the military specs? As stated earlier, hardening generally tends to make steel more brittle and more prone to cracking? Or is cracking a more modern situation where crystalization has set in over time and so weakened the metal overall?
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