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Dan S. W., dogon, eeb, John Roberts, mc, Parabola, Run With The Fox, Stanton Hillis, Ted Schefelbein
Total Likes: 22
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#623696 12/17/2022 8:51 PM
by Tim Carney
Tim Carney
Some time ago I noted that my Franz Sodia 12 bore o/u had been shown to have a spot a mere 6 thou thick in the top barrel. The barrels are Bohler super blitz steel and the gun was in regular, but not hard use for almost 30 years with no problems. Last week, the gun went with me when I picked up my Charlin that gunsmith Gunter Pfrommer has put back in superb shape. He looked at the Franz Sodia, measured, and confirmed a thin area on the left side of the top barrel about 12 inches from the breech. That thin area is 6 thou (.1524 mm).

Some months ago I tried to get the Slovenian gunsmith that Montenegrin recommended to quote on making a new set of barrels. He eventually replied that he could not source barrel tubes (!?). I've just emailed him again.

Of interest is that Gunter speculated that the thin area resulted from a mistake by a workman filing to clean up after laying the ventilated rib. His file slipped, marring the side wall, and he likely smoothed the scratched area out resulting in a too thin section. The gun passed proof.

The question for more knowledgeable Board members is whether that thin section of the barrel wall might be marked out and then tig welded to be ultimately filed down to an acceptable wall thickness and reblued. If that is possible and sensible, who might do it?

Best of the Season, Tim
Liked Replies
#623704 Dec 17th a 10:57 PM
by keith
I'm not a welder by trade, but have managed to do some fairly intricate TIG welding on thin materials. However, I would not even dream to attempt what you are proposing, and don't know of anyone who could do this with any guarantee of success. Laser welding is another process used for intricate repairs on thin materials. But while it is often used to fill and repair small pits or cracks, I have not seen it used to build up a relatively large area.

First off, at only .006" of wall thickness, the area you wish to build up with TIG weld is only slightly thicker than a piece of standard printer paper, which averages .004"- .0045". So you would have to be capable of welding paper thin steel without burning through. At minimum, a close fitting copper plug would have to be made to avoid any build-up of dingle berries in the bore. You would also have to fill the bore with inert gas or take some other precautions to prevent scale formation. You would presumably also have to do this over a relatively large area in order to subsequently strike the repaired area, in order to blend it in to the surrounding areas that have what is considered normal and adequate wall thickness.

Then there is the question of HAZ (Heat Affected Zone), as mentioned by RWTF. It would be difficult to know the effect upon the metallurgy of the repaired area without costly testing. And temperatures high enough to anneal or stress relieve would certainly be higher than rib soldering could withstand.

I am curious how you or Gunter Prommfer could be certain that this gun passed proof after the barrel was struck this thin? If it did, that's pretty amazing, and illustrates why the frequent posting of Burrow's bursting formula on this forum has no bearing on barrel wall strength. A closed steel tube .006" thick at normal pressures found 12" from the breech would pop like a child's balloon. I've seen enough hydro-testing failures of much thicker tubes to be confident of that statement. It is interesting that it hasn't bulged or blown just using standard loads.

If I was in your shoes, I'd be setting this gun aside and start hunting for a set of orphan barrels that could be fitted. But having once experienced about a half hour of total blindness from getting hit in the face with powder gasses, maybe I'm just being unreasonably cautious about these scenarios. However, I can promise you... a lot of shit goes through your mind when you suddenly lose your eyesight.
6 members like this
#623752 Dec 18th a 06:36 PM
by Ted Schefelbein
Ted Schefelbein
We all have multiple guns. This is just one reason. Use one of the others.

I don’t see how it could be worthwhile, money wise, to have the repair done to the original barrels. A second, orphan set of tubes might be out there, they still won’t be free. Full length 20 gauge tubes might be an option. They wouldn’t be for me, however.

There are too many suitable 12 gauge O/Us out there to spend a bunch on this one. Just my opinion, but, I don’t think I’m wrong.

Good luck, however it goes.

4 members like this
#623722 Dec 18th a 02:54 AM
by tanky
As another code welder I'll second what Fox and Keith stated. That is twice the thickness of a human hair. It probably didn't burst because it is a small area kind of like a corrosion pit.
3 members like this
#623718 Dec 18th a 01:59 AM
by gunmaker
Is this the one Briley sent me for a sleeving quote? It’s a difficult sleeving job, the two piece forend, the OD where the seam would be was to minimum for 12ga, I actually recall to do the job I required stepping down to 16. It was an expensive one.

No way in hell I’d attempt TIG welding or laser welding.
3 members like this
#623719 Dec 18th a 02:04 AM
by canvasback
I think Keith nailed it.
2 members like this
#623701 Dec 17th a 09:40 PM
by Run With The Fox
Run With The Fox
Tim- I've done a fair amount of code TIG welding on piping systems, mainly in power plants. The main concern in welding any circular section is controlling the HAZ- heat affected zone. The first rule in TIG welding is (1) Know your parent metal. You want to build up, and then later, file back the built up area to match the circumference of that affect barrel on your Bockflinten--shame that someone made that mistake years ago, but as another member suggested, if it hasn't failed over time (so far) perhaps staying with light loads might be the best way to go.. RWTF
1 member likes this
#623724 Dec 18th a 03:25 AM
by Tim Carney
Tim Carney
Yes, gunmaker, it is the very same o/u 12 bore that Briley asked you to sleeve. Haven't so far had a quote I liked for making new barrels so wondered as above that some sensible fellow members have shot down. Thanks lads. I'll keep looking for new barrels.

Regards, Tim
1 member likes this
#623743 Dec 18th a 04:58 PM
by Der Ami
Der Ami
The top barrel can be sleeved by a qualified German or Austrian gunsmith. Franz Sodia is now out of business, as I understand, but "standard" pre-turned barrel blanks are available from barrel makers. I saw Walter Grass do this several times; sometimes replacing all barrels, sometimes only one, sometimes changing from double shot gun to combination, and once change to combination gun and to sidelock from Blitz at the same time. If the top barrel is sleeved the maker's will be lost, however.
1 member likes this
#623764 Dec 18th a 10:12 PM
by eightbore
16 gauge inserts, sleeves. Strike the thick areas to get the weight down to a reasonable figure. No, not Briley inserts, permanent inserts. Gunmaker was on the right track, but the cost slowed him down. Just do the top barrel and rifle it. You will have a nice combination gun.
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