View Full Version : Silver Soldering Ghost ring sights on my shotgun.

June 2, 2008, 01:20 PM
I have asked around and none of the loser gunsmiths in my city will silver solder the front sight blade onto my shotgun.:mad:

(The gun smith at Gander mountain said they could do it for $120.00 but it would have to be mailed out and could take up to 12 weeks to have it done.)

I have done alot of welding in my youth and going to do it myself. I will post pictures and give range report when I am done.

I was wondering if anyone else would want me to do this to their shotgun? If you already have the sight kit from mossberg, I figure I can silver solder it for $25.00 plus shipping and handling.

If you are interested you could mail me the barrel and site kit and I could do it and mail it back to you in about 3 day at the most.

Let me know if anyone is interested.

June 2, 2008, 02:22 PM
Why not just soft solder it in place? There are compounds to blacken standard 60/40 solder, or you could use one of the high strength silver bearing compounds such as Stabrite. If it is properly fit and soft soldered, it will stay put, and look good. Besides, you will have to apply much less heat than silver soldering.

I haven't done a lot of traditional welding, but I spent about 20 years as a bench jeweler. That is what I would do.

Just a thought.

June 2, 2008, 02:25 PM
I was going to do the silver soldering with a small blow torch.

Not actually weld the blade to the barrel.

June 2, 2008, 02:57 PM
Practice, Practice, Practice. Silver solder isnt like regular solder and acts different. Its almost like brazing. Watch the heat because silver solder needs a much higher temperature than regular solder and you dont want to take the temper out of the barrel if it gets too hot. Use JB Weld. LOL:D
Another option is Silver Flow which is proably the same as Stabrite. It acts like solder but is higher strength and melts at a much lower temperature. It is also self fluxing on certain base metals.
The best torch for the job is a Smith's Jewlers torch. If you cant get one use a 000 brazing tip or a very small tip with a saphire orifice.
Do you have an alignment tool for proper sight placement?

June 2, 2008, 06:07 PM
REAL Silver "solder" is actually Silver BRAZE.
It melts at a red heat of over 1100 degrees.

There are "silver" solders that are soft solder with about 3% silver added to prevent tarnishing. This is a true soft solder, NOT a silver braze, and is nowhere near as strong. These melt at temps from 400 to around 650 degrees.
While true soft solders are not as strong as real silver braze, sights properly attached with it can be quite strong.

If you use a true high-temp silver solder, the barrel finish will be destroyed and the barrel will require a refinish.
If you use a soft solder and you're VERY CAREFUL to keep flux off the areas outside the joint, you can attach the sight and not need to do any refinishing.

The "trick" to using soft solders is to remove the finish from the underside of the sight, and the area on the barrel where the sight will fit, and get a TIGHT fit of the ramp to the barrel.

Soft solders will not adhere to a finished barrel so the finish must be removed.
Use a needle-scribe to scribe a fine line around the sight where it'll fit on the barrel.
Staying INSIDE that area, remove the finish with a fine file. When the sight is in place, the bare area will be completely covered by the sight.

Make sure the contour of the sight is as close as possible to the diameter of the barrel.
Soft solders only hold when the parts are a very tight fit.
As an old German gunsmith once said: "Ven you can squeeze almost ALL da solder out of da joint, DEN it vill hold".

If you intend to use actual silver braze, use the lowest temp type you can, which will be around 1050 degrees and up.
With both soft and hard solders, use a pre-mix flux-solder paste type. This is much easier to use.
USE A HOT TORCH. The bigger torch allows heating the area up FAST, which limits heat spread.
Smaller torches will take longer to heat the area, and this allows the heat to spread too far.

DON'T quench the barrel. Allow to air cool to room temp.

June 2, 2008, 07:22 PM
I was going to do the silver soldering with a small blow torch.

Dfariswheel is spot on. I am concerned about the "small blow torch" thing. You need to have enough heat available and a large flame envelope is the way to do this, whether you use soft or hard solder.

The thing about the old German gunsmith is also right. The better the fit, the better the strength of the joint.

Good luck.

June 2, 2008, 07:28 PM
I heard JB weld worked well for mounting the front sight.

June 2, 2008, 08:02 PM
I wouldn't want anyone to put that kind of heat on my barrel.
So what zackly is a small blow torch? I am unfamiliar with the term. I have heard of them but only as a kid hearing old guys discuss it.

June 2, 2008, 08:21 PM
Just an fyi, You are better off using a finer tip for this type of soldering/brazing. It pinpoints a smaller area and allows you to work the puddle alot better versus alot of spread out heat which can make the puddle run due to too much heat over a wider area and a larger HAZ. I know this because I have been in the welding and brazing industry for 23 years and specialize in silver solders and exotics. I have been to almost every filler metal manufacturing facility and training schools for filler metals and welding alloys(Smith, Lincoln, Harris-Welco, Inweld, McKay, Hobart Bros., ESAB, Etc,Etc.) I am currently taking my test for a certified weld and braze inspector(CWI).
Also, another filler metal to look at is Silicone Bronze. With an Oxidizing flame it will melt fast and will not require flux. It is self fluxing on hi and low carbon steels, Cast Iron and copper and wont make a mess. Another way to do it is to get the gun sight hot and sweat some solder on it first. Then put it against the barrel and heat the gun sight again till the solder starts to flow, Then direct the heat from the inner cone of the flame onto the outside edges of where the sight sits on the barrel and the solder should flow onto the barrel when it reaches the proper temp. This process will keep the weld area contaminent free and no porosity in the weld joint. Not that it matters but you may as well do it right.
Superdave, I will PM you tommorow the process out of the AWS Brazing and soldering hand book. It will tell you step by step how to silver and soft solder without a large HAZ.(heat affect zone) As per the American Welding Society specs. And believe it or not, An old metal coathanger with the paint cleaned off it is a great brazing alloy that doesnt require fluxing with a carburizing or neutral type flame.

June 3, 2008, 01:07 PM
Seems like the biggest challenge is getting the sight on the exact right spot on the barrel while managing your heat distribution across both metal pieces adding the proper amount (alot) of clean flux and solder with 2.4 hands. Propane torch is fine. Keep the flame low.

One thing you should realize that the heat process will effect the temper on the barrel. Not good.

Get a can of motor oil and pour it into a small open tray or bowl so the moment that you remove the soldered pieces from the flame, you stick the metal into the oil to cool and replace the temper. Yes it smokes. No problem.
When you remove the cooled metal from the oil, wipe it down with a cloth and check your work.

I used to make alot of tools in a past life using spring steel and hardened metals and this trick helps alot.

June 3, 2008, 05:58 PM
Quenching a red hot gun barrel is an absolute gunsmithing NO-NO.

This is OK for tools and other items but NOT GUNS.
Allow hot gun barrels to cool on their own.

June 3, 2008, 06:08 PM
Thay make a thing called Anti Heat sink compound. Its like putty and you put it where you dont want heat to affect the area. You can pick it up at most welding supply companies. Its great stuff and works like a dream for keeping high heat from other areas.
Weld-Aid Products is the maker of it.

June 3, 2008, 06:12 PM
"One thing you should realize that the heat process will effect the temper on the barrel. Not good.

Get a can of motor oil and pour it into a small open tray or bowl so the moment that you remove the soldered pieces from the flame, you stick the metal into the oil to cool and replace the temper. Yes it smokes. No problem.
When you remove the cooled metal from the oil, wipe it down with a cloth and check your work.

I used to make alot of tools in a past life using spring steel and hardened metals and this trick helps alot."

You have offered information that is not correct. The word "temper" means to give up some of the hardness (and brittleness), and is synonymous with the word "draw".

If you heat the steel to a red heat and quench in oil you are "hardening" not "tempering". The likely result will be a hard spot in the barrel that could fracture when fired.

Please do not give medical advice if you are not a doctor. Please do not give metallurgical advice if you have not studied it in college.

No offense meant...but what was offered in that post was dangerous.

June 3, 2008, 06:52 PM
Quenching high carbon steel in oil or water will harden it and make it brittle, not good on a gun barrel. High carbon steel is tempered when it is allowed to cool slowly.

If someone did quench their barrel it will need to be reheated and cool slowly to temper it again.


June 4, 2008, 12:23 PM
DO NOT QUENCH BARREL after soldering or brazing!!:eek: Only "quench" steels that you want hardened(tool steels) but DO NOT quench a barrel due to the brittleness and hardness you will occur doing this and possibly leading to dangerous condition and making the base metal fragile or too hard(similar to case hardening). You do not want to get a barrel red hot at any time. You just want to bring base metal temp to the solders "working temperature" so it adheres to the base metal. If in doubt, Buy a good set of "Tempil" brand temperature marking indicators and a tube of Anti-heat sink compound. A good set isnt cheap but gives you exact working temps +-1%. They melt or turn color when heat is achieved and worthwile having for temperature sensitive alloys.(barrels)
Better yet, Have a good gunsmith do the job.
And yes, I have studied metalurgy for 20+ years and have alot of hands on experience with this stuff. When doing a barrel its best to slow cool to maintain the metals structure. If cooled too fast it changes the structure and grain characteristics which can cause the metal to fail under pressure,loads or vibration. I may be going overboard with this but it is what I know from working with it.

Joe the Redneck
June 5, 2008, 07:53 PM
Forget the torch.

Loctite makes a glue for this kind of job. I think it is called black max.

Also, the JB weld will work. I attached a front sight on a revolver with it years ago. Just make sure both surfaces are clean and lightly scuffed with sandpaper.

June 6, 2008, 12:50 AM
I have heard that JB Weld will work very well also. You can clamp it and apply heat and it will cure very fast. I have put things in the oven on 150 degrees for 30 mins that I have epoxied with JB Weld and they come out dry and hard.


June 8, 2008, 04:35 PM
You dont have to heat JB weld. They also make a JB Quick weld that sets in 2-5 minutes. It as strong as you need and will hold up to most anything a gun sight will go thru. Another good one is "Quick steel". Its a 2 part epoxy that you knead together and its like putty so set time is fast.

June 8, 2008, 04:43 PM
No one said you had to heat JB Weld. I said if you apply heat it will set fast. The directions also says to apply heat for faster drying.


June 8, 2008, 09:51 PM
MAX100, Putting in an oven is heating it.lol Anyway, The J-B Quick might be better with a fast set time (4 min) Its good stuff.:)

June 8, 2008, 11:39 PM
I put a XS big dot sight on my 870 with some two part epoxy and have over 2K rds since with no problems.

December 16, 2008, 08:45 PM
If you are going to use JB weld, use the regular JB weld. the Kwik weld is not as strong or heat resistant.

Taken from JB weld's website:
Because J-B KWIK cures so fast, it's not as strong or as heat-resistant as the original J-B WELD. For typical household maintenance and repairs, however, it's just about perfect. Many happy customers have told us they were finally able to repair annoying things around their homes when, for years, nothing else worked. We think you'll find J-B KWIK as magical and practical in your home, too.

SumToy Custom Barrel
December 16, 2008, 10:10 PM
JB Weld or loctite 277. We do custom barrels and glue the chokes in the barrels with it. That is all that holds the choke in.

December 16, 2008, 10:25 PM
Well i would just go with loctite. I tried this very experiment myself on my Mossberg and i ruined the front bead mount thing so after i just gave in and bought a new barrel for like $50 (It was slightly used) but i didn't care.

December 16, 2008, 11:14 PM
IIRC Scattergun Technologies would glue their tritium-insert front sights on barrels with standard JB Weld, *but* they wanted to do it to 870 barrels that had the small bead base. That gave the hollow front sight base something to really hold onto. Another really amazing glue similar to JB Weld is PC-7.

If you glue a sight on, you can do a minor post-cure in the oven on low heat if your front sight doesnt have the tritium vial. Epoxy really only needs about 140 degreea to kick with authority.