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Why Manufacturers Heat Treat Firearms

February 26th, 2018

No matter if you use your guns for target shooting, hunting or home defense, you expect them to work whenever you pull the trigger. With so many precision parts in a typical rifle or handgun, it only takes one misaligned component to completely disrupt the firing process. One of the ways manufacturers cut down on these problems is by using firearms heat treating services on the various metal components of each weapon. Here’s an overview of why manufacturers heat treat firearms and why this is such an important step in the manufacturing process.

How Steel Heat Treatment Works

Firearms heat treatingYou might think of steel as a relatively hard metal, but it takes a lot of work for it to reach its maximum firmness. Once ore is extracted from rock and smelted to the right consistency, it starts out with a relatively brittle profile. When a blacksmith finishes making a sword, knife or other piece, he or she submerges it in a quenching liquid that further solidifies the hot alloy. Depending on the type of metal, this bath could either be water or oil (a process called oil quenching) that reaches temperatures of up to 1,700 degrees. The same thing can be done with a gun barrel, through a a number of processes such as case hardening, surface hardening, or precipitation hardening as manufacturers want these components to achieve peak firmness.

Manufacturers and Firearms Heat Treating

Pressure is one of the most important aspects of any firearm, as it takes a concentrated force to give the bullet maximum velocity. Every time you chamber a round and fire it, the back end of the barrel pressurizes due to the ignition of the gunpowder, and a flame reaching temperatures up to 5,000 degrees shoots up the barrel’s length. With so much force pushing outward on the metal, it’s only a matter of time before it starts to warp, buckle or crack. A typical firearm manufacturer will work with a heat treatment company to increase the number of rounds a rifle can shoot before significant maintenance is necessary.

Symptoms of Barrel Damage

When a part of your body starts to wear out, you start to notice symptoms, and the same is true of a precision firearm. If you aren’t getting typical results out at the range, you might be experiencing a problem. Here are some signs that it might be time for a repair or replacement:

  • Decreased accuracy
  • Misfires
  • Shorter range
  • Slower velocity

While even the toughest barrels will eventually break down due to repeated firing, components serviced by metal firearms heat treating companies should last a great deal longer. You’ll also be able to turn around much quicker for your next shooting session without worrying about damage due to overuse.

Ensuring Maximum Strength

Now you know the reasons why gun manufacturers use heat treating services, you hopefully have a better understanding of the work that goes into the construction of a precision firearm. If you’re an amateur gun maker, it’s important you leave this step to a professional to avoid a mistake during treatment can leave you with metal that’s too brittle, which could create a dangerous situation. When it’s time to heat treat your firearm, give us a call so you can rest assured that you’ll fire straight and true with every shot.

In addition to firearms heat treating we also offer knife heat treating services.  Contact us today for more details.

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“Before I retired, I was the coordinator for our plant’s aerospace, and precision heat treated product, and SST. I couldn’t have asked for better quality, and service. I recommend them 100 percent.”
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