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Old July 26, 2008, 08:55 AM   #1
kristop64089
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Is flame cutting normal on ALL revolvers?

I understand the a certain amount of hot gas/powder/flame must jump the gap, but how much cutting is acceptable?

I don't have this issue on any of my guns, but I am constantly in the market, and was curious if there is any tolearable amount.
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Old July 26, 2008, 09:46 AM   #2
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most magnums I have seen have cuts. If I can see the cuts without a mini flash light, I'll pass, If I see cuts on the side of the top strap, I'll pass
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Old July 26, 2008, 10:02 AM   #3
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if they are distinguishable from tool marks I pass
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Old July 26, 2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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I don't even know what that is. Would someone care to explain?
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Old July 26, 2008, 12:58 PM   #5
John Moses
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on the forcing cone and in extreme examples, the frame, expanding gases escaping through the cylinder gap will burn away material.

One 44 magnum that had a lot of hot rounds through it had severe scoring on the sides of the top strap

In addition to the obvious damage, I avoid weapons that have been "used hard" if I can help it.

Hope this helps

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Old July 26, 2008, 02:03 PM   #6
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Where's the top strap?
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Old July 26, 2008, 02:09 PM   #7
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The top strap is the top part of the frame above the cylinder opening.
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Old July 26, 2008, 02:43 PM   #8
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Here's a pic - http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2...mecutting.html

note that flame cutting is different from lead a/o char build-up. The latter doesn't damage the frame and can be chipped off.
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Old July 26, 2008, 03:30 PM   #9
Peter M. Eick
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Here is the flame cut on the 357 Maximum Ruger. It took about 1000 rnds to get this far. To me I try and minimize the cut by using stick powders and heavy bullets. The worst are ball powders and light bullets for flame cuts from what I have read and observed.
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Old July 26, 2008, 03:48 PM   #10
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Once it reaches a certain depth it stops
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Old July 26, 2008, 03:59 PM   #11
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Wow that's crazy, I never would have thought that some hot ammo could burn a line across the top strap like that.
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Old July 26, 2008, 04:14 PM   #12
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when you have a hot high pressure gas going through an orifice (the cylinder gap) you will have cutting. how much cutting is going to depend upon the frame material. I think sst will resist it better than carbon steel but it will happen sooner or later
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Old July 26, 2008, 04:18 PM   #13
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S&W puts a little shield there on thier lightweight Scanduim "airweight" revolvers by the way...appearently its needed with that alloy.
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Old July 26, 2008, 04:42 PM   #14
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Thanks, never even heard of this or the term "top strap" before - good to know so you can look for it. If it's self-limiting that's good too.

Have to check my Colt Python but I've never noticed it and shoot it with mid-level loads and not more than 50/mo (gun is 18 mos new to me and was unfired or test-fired-only when I got it - best deal of my life: a bit over $400, can't help but bragging, sorry...).
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Old July 26, 2008, 05:30 PM   #15
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That might be self limiting, but it's presence may indicate alot of heavy loads and the wear/tear to the rest of the system is not self limiting! So IMO pick the one with little or no such flame cutting visible but that is not the only thing to consider, just part of the overall inspection process.
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Old July 26, 2008, 05:40 PM   #16
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Quote:
That might be self limiting, but it's presence may indicate alot of heavy loads and the wear/tear to the rest of the system is not self limiting!
+1

especially knowing that many revolver shooters have an affinity for really hot loads.
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Old July 27, 2008, 09:31 AM   #17
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I personally don't care to own a "cut" revolver. I just see this as something that should be pointed out to newbies, buying a revolver.
I really found out quite a bit when researching buying a 44mag.
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Old July 27, 2008, 10:11 AM   #18
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This is what I have learned. If you shoot it. It will eventually get cut. Also when buying a magnum or any revolver. Check for the cut and inspect the cylinder stops. If they are marred. It is a good bet that there were hot loads that were fired in DA. It beats the hell out of the stops!!!!
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Old July 27, 2008, 01:38 PM   #19
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Has anyone ever tested the theory that this is self limiting?

Reason I ask is that I once saw a smith revolver with about 1.5mm of visable flame cutting on either side. Kind of scary. Gun also had one of the nicest triggers of any smith I have seen but then maybe 200,000 round will do that.

Also are we better off not cleaning this area "too well"? Theory being that carbon build up will help resist the process as well?

Since stinless is inherently more resistant to oxidation it's natural that it would cut less.
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Old July 27, 2008, 02:11 PM   #20
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I believe you may be on to a point Rsqvet. If ya don't clean al the carbon off, it may provide additional protection.
Would something like this be covered under warranty?
Seems to me like the would need to change material composition, or at least offer a shield(All mfgs in general)
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Old July 27, 2008, 02:29 PM   #21
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Quote:
Would something like this be covered under warranty?
Seems to me like the would need to change material composition, or at least offer a shield(All mfgs in general)
I don't think so, It would be concidered normal use.

One of my friends said that someone is making a shield, But I am not sure who or for what brand of firearm.
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Old July 27, 2008, 02:30 PM   #22
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Ive heard you can apply a layer of graphite--scribbling heavy with a soft pencil--that will keep it from cutting as much when fired.
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Old July 27, 2008, 04:06 PM   #23
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All guns will display flame cutting? No I don't think I have seen it in a 38 or a 22! Of course it could be self limiting, as the steel is eroded away from the high intensity flame, the flame has less and less impact on the steel, therefore, it ought to slow down or maybe even stop for all practical purposes, when a certain point of distance is reached. But at what point is it a weak point in the frame? When will the cut thru area become a risk for possible fracture with hot loads, or increase frame stretching or something? Would think it might act just like a hacksaw cut in a frame weakening it but I assume the manufactures have some margin for safety in frame thickness. It probably does not prove the gun is worn out, just that the round count is pretty high or that you should consider it a high mileage item and plan to have to repair stuff sooner than a pristine gun. And price offer accordingly. Reexamining the gun in the photo that is under high magnification, well the cut is unsightly magnified so big, but I don't think that example is of a gun near used up.
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Old July 27, 2008, 05:13 PM   #24
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Both S&W and Colt used to machine an oval shaped shallow hole in the topstrap at that point to allow the gas to expand and dissipate without "flame cutting" (collectors call it "the thumbnail"). They both dropped the idea as being too expensive and S&W claimed that their tests showed the cutting was self-limiting. I have often wondered if cutting the end of the barrel at an angle (above the bore) would eliminate the cutting by allowing gas expansion, but have never tried it.

Can it happen on other calibers that aren't so "hot"? Probably some, but the heavy Magnum calibers definitely show it first.

Jim
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Old July 27, 2008, 09:44 PM   #25
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Quote:
Both S&W and Colt used to machine an oval shaped shallow hole in the topstrap at that point to allow the gas to expand and dissipate without "flame cutting" (collectors call it "the thumbnail"). They both dropped the idea as being too expensive and S&W claimed that their tests showed the cutting was self-limiting. I have often wondered if cutting the end of the barrel at an angle (above the bore) would eliminate the cutting by allowing gas expansion, but have never tried it.

Can it happen on other calibers that aren't so "hot"? Probably some, but the heavy Magnum calibers definitely show it first.
You would loose alot of pressure and velocity if you cut it. Not to mention you might get peltted with hot gases

Thanks for the info about the thumbnail. I didn't know that. As far as other calibers cutting. Not really sure on this one. But I imagine it is possible.
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