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Old April 2, 2014, 07:38 PM   #1
cjwils
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Stuck screw

I have a 40-year old Colt revolver with a seriously stuck screw. I see no sign of rust in that area, so I wonder if a former owner used one of those types of Loctite that is not supposed to come loose. I see on the internet that acetone is supposed to soften Loctite and similar products. Will soaking that area in acetone do any harm to the finish of a blued gun? I would remove the grips before soaking. Is there any other problem with soaking in acetone? If I try liquid wrench, would that harm the finish? Do you have any better suggestions for how to remove a very tightly stuck but not rusty screw?
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Old April 2, 2014, 07:59 PM   #2
Old Stony
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Most Loctite can be softened by heat. If that is what is on the screw, you can heat it up with a soldering iron and that might help. Make sure you are using a good hollow ground screwdriver so you can get a grip on it, place the firearm on a firm surface or in a vise, where you can use your body weight to hold the screwdriver firmly against the screw, and you should get it out.
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Old April 3, 2014, 06:48 AM   #3
DIY_guy
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Acetone wont hurt the guns metal. Consider this option before applying heat.

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=544624
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Old April 3, 2014, 08:35 AM   #4
g.willikers
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Acetone can damage some finishes.
Try a little somewhere it doesn't show, like under the grips, first.
Just a little dab.
Or try some good ole' gun cleaning solvent, made not to damage anything on a gun..
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Old April 3, 2014, 08:01 PM   #5
James K
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What kind of revolver and which screw?

Jim
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Old April 3, 2014, 11:27 PM   #6
cjwils
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Colt SAA made in the 1970's. It is the screw that holds the extractor housing to the front of the barrel.
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Old April 7, 2014, 10:12 AM   #7
45_auto
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Quote:
Colt SAA made in the 1970's. It is the screw that holds the extractor housing to the front of the barrel.
Nothing in that area that a little heat will affect. If someone got tired of it coming loose and used some "red" Loctite stud and bearing mount on it, you'll need to get it around 300 degrees to loosen it up.
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Old April 7, 2014, 10:25 AM   #8
gyvel
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The use of Loctite is probably the most logical assumption here. I agree with what the previous poster said about judicious use of heat, NOT to exceed ca. 300 F.

Acetone, Walmart Tech brand carb cleaner, etc., will also work.

Or you might try my favorite, 100% Pure Natural Wintergreen Oil that you get from you local tree-hugger health food store. (Not the stuff they sell at Walgreen's.)

One old gent that I knew used to put a removable type screwdriver bit in his drill press, and put the object with the stuck screw firmly in a (padded, of course) vise. He would then lower the bit to the screw, put a rod (that fit the hole) in the chuck and turn. Being able to apply tremendous downward pressure like that usually resulted in the screw coming out.

In this case, though, I don't think you will have to resort to extreme measures like that.
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Old April 7, 2014, 12:22 PM   #9
Doyle
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If you want to try it without heat, you might be able to break the seal of the loctite. Chuck the gun up in a good vise or have someone hold it on a hard surface. Put the properly sized screwdriver into the slot and give it several sharp taps with a mallet. Many times this will break the seal on the loctite.
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Old April 7, 2014, 01:29 PM   #10
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If you have access to a drill press, pad the gun well and insert it in the vise, screw head up. Put a stubby screwdriver into the drill press chuck and bring it down into the screw slot. DO NOT TURN ON THE POWER!

Hold/lock the press down so the screwdriver can't jump out and use hand power only to turn the chuck. Few screws, even with a thread blocker, will resist that treatment.

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Old April 10, 2014, 07:24 PM   #11
cjwils
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So here is the original poster back again. I have tried liquid wrench, eezox, acetone, and a mix of acetone and automatic transmission fluid. I have tried heating with a hair drier; don't know the temperature but it was too hot for me to touch without gloves. I brace the gun and put my full weight on the screw driver. Nothing has worked. I twisted the screw driver so hard that I actually broke one of the bits in my Chapman gunsmith screw driver set. So here are some questions that hope you experienced people can answer.
1. If I put the gun muzzle-down in a jar of acetone for an extended period, maybe 48 hours, would that hurt the finish? If anything can soften red loctite, would that do it? (I am just guessing about red loctite.)
2. I have already obtained a replacement screw, so should I try one of those screw removal tools that involves drilling down into the screw head and inserting a reverse-threaded device that can be turned with a wrench? The shaft of the screw is about 3/16" and the smallest screw remover that I have seen requires drilling a hole that is 7/64. That would not leave very much meat in the screw shaft, even if I can drill perfectly down the center.
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Old April 10, 2014, 08:44 PM   #12
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Never had to resort to an eez-out. I have sometimes had to soak with the 50/50 mix for a couple of days, then clamp the offending item in a vise and use a 3/8" drive hand impact driver adapted down to 1/4" with a CORRECT sized screwdriver bit in a suitable socket. Hold down on the driver tightly and smack with a dead blow hammer, don't tap with a little ball-pein, never had anything resist this. I sometimes combine the penetrating oil with heat from a heat gun, not a torch. It's the sudden blow/twist that will break the seal, whether thread locker or rust. GW
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Old April 11, 2014, 07:07 AM   #13
45_auto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjwils
I have tried heating with a hair drier; don't know the temperature but it was too hot for me to touch without gloves.
If it wasn't hot enough to boil water than it wasn't over 212 degrees. I doubt if a hair dryer would get it even close to hot enough.

DO NOT even think about using an easy-out on a screw that still has a good slot in it. I've never seen a successful use of an easy out on a small diameter (like yours) shallow-thread stuck screw. I wouldn't be surprised if the screw and the hole in the barrel wasn't deep enough for an easy-out to get a decent bite.

I've seen very few screws that won't come out using some heat and the technique gyvel described in post #8 using a mill or drill press.

If you do mess up the slot and have to drill on the screw, the right way to do it is with a mill (or drill press). Align everything perfectly then slowly drill out the existing screw slightly smaller than the threads. Start with a smaller drill bit and go up a size or two at a time until the body of the original screw is gone and only the threads are left (you do at least have a set of number/letter drill bits I hope). After that you can pick out the remains of the original screw out of the original threads, or clean them out with the correct tap. The screw will be gone and you'll still have pristine original threads in your gun.

If you reach the point where you're desperate enough to try an easy-out, you might as well buy a set of taps (plug and bottoming) and plan on drilling out and re-threading it. If you try that for the first time by hand, don't be surprised if you end up with a very crooked or stripped threads.

Best thing you could do is take it to a real gunsmith or machinist with the proper equipment and experience to remove it without damaging the gun.

Last edited by 45_auto; April 11, 2014 at 07:21 AM.
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Old April 23, 2014, 03:48 PM   #14
cjwils
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I am happy to report that the drill press trick worked. I used a drill press to put strong downward force on a screwdriver bit and then turned the drill shaft by hand. A stuck screw that had resisted everything else came loose immediately.
I am not sure what the problem was. I don't see evidence of anything like Loctite or rust or the threads on inside the hole.
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