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Old 10-25-2011, 08:25 AM
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Walker Walker is offline
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Default welding on a colt 45

I am considering doing a weld repair on a 1906 colt single action army 45. It is nickle plated, and I have found the solution to remove the nickle. Has anyone here had experience doing this? what type of steel are these made from? What type of fillers are usually used?
The welding to take place is on the frame of the gun, Not on the barrel, or cylinder. There is an old gun smith that has promised to help me refit everything afterwards, but he doesn't speak welder. He does not seem worried at all by the repair though. After the repair I am considering bluing the gun as opposed to nickle plating it, as I am just not the flashy sort of guy, and so filler metal that blends in well is a consideration.
I generally dislike posting about welding critical things, and thus have posted very few trailer repairs, structural welding, hitches, front tube axles, or pressure vessels that I have done. I am posting this as very few gunsmiths want to share information freely. They seem to want to do the repair and charge exactly what the gun would be worth after the repair. Anyhow, flame away if you must, but remember that I am not a home hobbyist with a little mig. I have the capabilities to do it, and am just looking for a little better education before doing so.
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:06 AM
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I presume you will use TIG so if you are confident of your TIG skills go for it..IIRC that piece uses black powder loaded shells.

And if you are right handed just use your left hand to fire it...
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:36 AM
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I bought an old single action a ways back that some genius had milled the top strap, and installed a S&W adjustable sight on. I heard that was the hot lick back in the 50s. It was made back in 1907, and I got it CHEAP. I sent the frame out to Peacemaker Specialties, and had them weld up the topstrap, and case color the frame, it looks like new. It wasn't cheap, but I figger it was worth it. The gun looks great, and (while the collector status is gone), is worth way more than it was with that adj sight on top. The guys from Peacemaker cautioned me NOT to fire it with smokeless full power loads, and gave me their blackpowder pet load (but did hint I'd be OK with a reduced smokeless load).
Be Advised: If you "modify" the gun, you will be the guy they haul into court if the guy blows his face off with a PlusP load. Be carefull with the paper trail.

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Old 10-25-2011, 10:36 AM
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Is it a heat treated frame? Is the area to be welded in a critical area? I would be concerned about affecting any heat treating. At least be careful of hardening/embrittlement in the HAZ due to welding a medium carbon steel. Preheat/slow cool?

FWIW, found this:

Starting in 1873, Colt SAA frames and cylinders were made of malleable iron, not steel. Malleable iron was used for frames and cylinders up until about SN 96,000, sometime in 1883. From about SN 96,000 to SN 180,000 (1883 - 1898) frames and cylinders were made from materials resembling modern low - medium carbon steels. After SN 180,000 Colt went to medium carbon steel. However it was not until 1900 (around SN 192,000) that Colt developed methods to better and more uniformly heat treat the steel and it was this combination that gave them the confidence to factory warranty the SAA for Smokeless powder. In 1901 Colt began placing a VP in an inverted triangle on the left front of the trigger guard. This stands for Verified Proof for Smokeless powder... This information is from Kuhnhausen's Colt Single Action Revolvers Shop Manual, pages 69, 70, and 71.
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:43 AM
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There probably is no problem with doing the welding but I think that you will have trouble getting the metal to match so when you blue the gun the welded part will always show through.

I removed the clip guides on a 1917 action one time and removed too much metal around the extractor guide letting the extractor ride up and lock the action closed. I had a guy tig some weld build up on the affected area.

Did the filling to get things to work which they did real well but that area always showed through when the gun was blued.
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Old 10-25-2011, 10:47 AM
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H80N H80N is offline
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Originally Posted by moe1942 View Post
I presume you will use TIG so if you are confident of your TIG skills go for it..IIRC that piece uses black powder loaded shells.

the only thing that I would add is getting input from the gunsmith on how high he would like to see the bead built so that he can file/mill them back to contour... this is particularly critical in sharp thin edges where you might want a little extra build up... and no undercut..
having done some firearm tigging... It can become time consuming to get it right..
post some pics.....

BTW.... you might find removing the plating more than a little bit troublesome... copper underneath the nickel needs to be stripped as well.. and it may be best to electrostrip that... maybe there are some platers here with knowledge of the ins and outs of that.... also I seem to recall some nitrogen embrittlement issues regarding deplated surfaces??

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Last edited by H80N; 10-25-2011 at 11:02 AM. Reason: addl info
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