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Old August 18, 2012, 06:09 PM   #9
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Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 7,033
Most Mauser actions are case hardened with a thin layer that's very hard, and fairly soft under that "Crust".

I'd suggest using carbide or other super hard drills to drill. To many of these rifles have been ruined by improper spot annealing.

One method that does work safely is to get an old fashioned copper soldering iron.
These were heavy chisel shaped lumps of copper on a long steel and wood handle used back in the day before propane torches.

You put the action in a vise and hang the soldering iron from the ceiling or a cross bar so the pointed end of the copper head is resting on the action right on the sport you want to anneal.
Put a drop of lead solder on that spot.
Move the iron off the action and use a torch to heat the copper very red hot, then allow it to settle back on the spot on the action with the lead solder drop between the two.
The red hot iron will pass the heat through the drop of solder to the action and will soften the spot without much heat spread.
After the copper is cold, you do the other spots.

A common method was to use an acetylene torch with a nozzle that would allow a very small needle flame. You touched the point of the flame to the spot and heated the metal until it annealed.
The problem with this method is it's too easy to overheat and ruin the action.

These days, no one much uses annealing due to the risk. These days most everyone used carbide or coated drills.
The tricks of using these drills and taps is to use plenty of a good cutting-tapping fluid and use a drill press to both drill and tap the holes.
Using a press prevents side stresses that break drills and taps.
First drill the hole, then without moving anything unplug the drill press, slip the drive belt off and tap the hole by turning the spindle with a rod for a handle.
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