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#584734 11/20/20 05:50 PM
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Is drill rod a proper steel to use? The part with the largest diameter is a few thousandths under 1/4".

Can it be worked with files and sandpaper?

I have one good one and one that is way shorter on the back end. It does show peening.

I saw Dewey adjust one of mine years ago using a file. The pin was placed in the chuck of a drill which was held vertically in a vise.


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I forgot to mention I don't have a lathe. Am I on the right track?


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Use "Drill Rod" it is usually sold in its annealed state. If you have a standard diy electric hand drill hold a length rod in the chuck to make a complete striker, turn the drill on and using a fine file turn down the rod to the longest length and diameter of your striker then polish with wet/dry paper. Reverse the rod so the longest length is held in the chuck and complete and polish the rest of the striker profile. The Drill Rod in its workable state is hard but wont last that long as a striker I usually heat strikers to red hot quench in oil re- polish and temper to purple, this gives the metal some spring resilience and lasting power


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Thanks Damascus.

Fooling around with my torch I heated an old 1/4" drill bit to see if I could heat it to cherry red. I could only get it to orange, the color of a carrot. I have a pretty good torch but it is the propane type. Do I need something hotter? Is a MAPP torch hot enough?


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carrot orange might be 'cherry red.' In my experience, the color is dependent on lights, etc and can be hard to judge

You can use a magnet to test as well. once it's not magnetic, it's ready to quench.


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You can only use a drill bit for the material if the drill bit is made of carbon steel but today most drill bits are HSS (high speed steel) this requires far higher temperatures to anneal and harden, you will be more successful if you purchase a length of drill rod (in Brit land we all this "Silver Steel") close to the largest diameter you require.
How red is red when we talk about temperature, you should always judge this in subdued lighting. One of the biggest sunrises I ever had was when I visited the Blacksmith and Farrier school here in Salisbury. It was extremely dark with just the light from the forges, so as to be able to accurately determine the temperature of the metal by its colour.


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I will wait for the drill rod to arrive before anything further. I will shut all the lights next time. Thanks.


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You can look it up to confirm, but I believe when damascus mentions silver steel, it is sold in the US as O-1 drill rod. The thought above about using a magnet is not a bad idea, when it becomes nonmagnetic, literally no attraction. MAPP will easily do it, waive the flame and rotate the pin if you can.

Hold your firing pin with some stiff wire also so whatever tongs or pliers you might use, doesn't trip the magnet. Damascus is correct in describing the color you are trying to see as somewhat subjective, that is why the magnet strategy might make things easier. You can also stick the firing pin in a toaster oven cranked to 500* for an hour to temper it, instead of trying to watch for a particular color. A side benefit might be that you don't have to polish it to temper it?

If you have a fastenal store close by, they probably have the drill rod in stock. damascus has probably done a million of them, but you can start the material removal with a course file and switch to your fine cut things when you get close to save a good bit of time? Best of luck.

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Damascus, Woodreaux and Craig,
Thanks for taking the time to steer me in the right direction. Metal work is pretty new to me. Some great suggestions and directions here. I have 3 Fastenal stores within half an hour from me. I will follow up on Monday. We have a larger toaster oven that I can use. I wish I still had access to a plumbers Acetylene torch but I have been retired for a dozen years and lost contact with them. While at Fastenal it might make sense to pick up a Mapp (the new version) torch just to have anyway.


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Milt, I have been making L.C. Smith hammer gun firing pins for years and have used 01 tool steel. This is a oil hardening tool steel and I have never hardened any of them.
Heating with a torch is not the correct way as you are hardening the steel too fast and not letting the molecules flow right. Getting the right temperature which is usually 1500F (cherry red) and then quenching it in motor oil and then cleaning the scale and polishing it then heating it again to a straw color and quenching again is difficult and without an oven I think fruitless. I have made these for many members and have had only a few break in many years.
I have just bought some S7 tool steel which is more shock resistant but have not made any pins yet. The cost is about double the price of 01. S7 is used for masonry bits and many other tools that take a lot of shock.

If you decide to harden them use Mapp gas which is a lot hotter than propane.


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Just for conversation, builder I think you risk very little by using the the firing pin without heat treatment.

David is correct that the proper way to harden and temper O-1 requires specific times and temperatures. You can look it up and see that it would be impossible to do by feel or sight. On the other hand, if you do want to try the hardening, O-1 will definitely get harder using basic approaches. No doubt, my comment about tempering in an oven will leave the pin harder than necessary, if it did in fact achieve maximum hardness, but again it was a thought to simplify your home approach. It'll work out, have fun with it.

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David, long time since spending time with you.

I don't have a lathe so this will be a slow process of mounting in a drill, spinning it using files to adjust size. Do I assume both 01 tool steel and S7 tool steel is soft enough to work with files?

Is there a difference in 01 tool steel and 01 drill rod?

This is a straight firing pin with a .240" diameter by .05" belt in the middle. The firing pin is roughly 1/8" diameter and the rear of the pin is about 3/16". The whole thing is about 0.6" long. I am starting with a .250 rod. I will try Fastenal tomorrow hopefully as per Craig's suggestion.


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Milt, yes long time no see, great to at least talk with you here. Having knee problems and will get it operated on before Christmas so haven't been doing any shooting since the last Thanksgiving shoot.

Yes you can work them both with files.

01 tool steel and 01 drill rod are the same and use oil for quenching.

If you have trouble doing it, especially the 1/8" part let me know and I can make it for you.


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Craig, you must have been typing when I was. I agree it is worth a try without heat treating. I have seen a few videos including one from Midway that shows just heating cherry red the tip and the very back and quenching in oil. This is a small firing pin and I am not sure if I can heat such a small area. Midway looks like he is using an acetylene plumbers torch.


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David, I hope your surgery is easy with a quick recovery. My wife just had knee surgery for a torn Meniscus. It went well and she has fully recovered.

Thanks for clarifying drill rod. tool steel and S7. And thanks for the offer to finish it if I have trouble with it. Fastenal has short lengths of both tool steel and S7 for under $4 so I might just buy both and see. As Craig says I will try to have fun with it. If I cannot do it I just might contact you. I think I will know as soon as I put file to metal.


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My German friend taught me to harden firing pins so the rear part is hard, but the tip is spring hard. He heated the whole thing cherry red and guench in oil, polish bright and then the tricky part. He heated rear part to "straw", while "playing it in and out of the flame ( propane torch) while watching the color. The rear being heavier than the tip, heat would travel to the tip faster and when the tip turned blue, immediately back in the oil.
Mike

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Originally Posted By: Der Ami
My German friend taught me to harden firing pins so the rear part is hard, but the tip is spring hard. He heated the whole thing cherry red and guench in oil, polish bright and then the tricky part. He heated rear part to "straw", while "playing it in and out of the flame ( propane torch) while watching the color. The rear being heavier than the tip, heat would travel to the tip faster and when the tip turned blue, immediately back in the oil.
Mike


This makes a good recommendation for a 2-part pin with the tip being a piece of shaped and polished spring wire, and the body of the pin of some other harder material. Then just glue the two together.

Actually, this is very common with singleshot rifles in particular. Almost all of mine eventually come to this configuration.

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Brent,
Yes, I have done that too, when the pin on an internal hammer broke.
Mike

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Originally Posted By: Der Ami
Brent,
Yes, I have done that too, when the pin on an internal hammer broke.
Mike


Do you think it would be a better option for the OP given his limited machining capabilities? Perhaps he could keep the old firing pin body, if he still has it.

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Brent,
No, I think the way he intends to make it is best, considering equipment on hand.
Mike

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Well, I took the gun out and shot a round of sporting clays today. All went well with no Failures to fire. The dimples on the primers looked identical to each other (left and right barrels). Great feeling.

I took David's suggestion and did not heat treat it. If I need another, I still have 34" of drill rod and then I will heat treat.

I did learn that when you file metal it gets hot and when metal gets hot it expands. My precise measurements shrunk when it cooled but it still worked.

I set a 2" piece of drill rod in an electric drill and placed it horizontally in a vise. With a few different files I spent an hour or so filing and measuring. I quickly learned it was a lot easier to place the file under the pin to keep a better eye on it. I enjoyed watching the filings march down the file as I progressed. Using the edge of the file to start helped also, especially on the mid belt.

Thank you all for taking the time and interest to advise me with enough info to get the job done. I have done a lot of wood work but little with metal (as some of you have guessed based on my handle or profile).


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I like how it turned out, thanks for the follow up note.

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Milt, glad your firing pin worked and there was no reason it would not.


David


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