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Author Topic: Frame stretching, Part 2  (Read 167 times)

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Offline WECSOG

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Frame stretching, Part 2
« on: July 01, 2019, 11:54:35 AM »
 }), ])M
Ok, I know this topic has been beat to death (no pun intended  ;) ) but I just read the older thread of the same name, and since everyone yells "necro thread!" anytime someone revives an old thread, I decided a new one might be in order.

So, brassers. No, I'm not a fan of them. I have a couple of '58s and both are steel. However I do have a brass .31 Pocket Remmy that a friend who is no longer with us gave me. Also, my first c&b revolver was a .44 Remmy brasser that I bought as a kit back in about 1980. I had it for a few years and shot it quite a bit. The only load I shot in it was a .454 ball over as much 3Fg Goex as I could possibly stuff in and still seat the ball. In fact I often had to pound the ball in with a hammer and punch (yeah, I was young  M__ ) and then maybe even shave a bit of lead with my pocket knife to get the cylinder to turn.
Later I removed the bullet seater and shortened the barrel to about 3 inches. After I did that I had to remove the cylinder and use a hammer and punch to load it.
I never noticed any frame stretching.

I would still consider buying a brasser if the price was right ($50-75, maybe up to $100). For me it would be something to try to shoot to destruction while keeping at least a rough round count. Then if I was able to shoot it to non-functionality, attempt to fix it with a recoil shield washer, embedded reinforcing rod or strap, etc. If all that fails it would still be a source of spare parts for my steel frame guns.

What say ye?

Offline Hawg

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2019, 12:37:26 PM »
Most of the brass frames and all the .44 brass frames are historically incorrect and yeah that means something to me so I wouldn't do it for that reason alone. Aside from that it's really not worth the trouble. Frames don't so much stretch as they get battered by the constant pounding of the cylinder on the recoil shield or recoil ring on a Colt. The cylinder gap keeps getting wider and wider. I would think the next thing to show up would be excessive wear on the bolt and bolt notches. I have seen pics of Colt arbors pulled completely out of the frame. There is a small amount of frame stretching. I've got a .36 Remington that has the cylinder ratchet imprinted on the recoil shield and the cylinder pin while still fairly easy to remove it's not as easy as it used to be so there is a slight misalignment starting there. I'm sure if I kept shooting it it would get harder and harder to remove.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2019, 12:40:26 PM »
I love the brasser for what it is. You can't run full house loads in a brasser and expect it to last. That being said, 15gr 3F in a .36 or 20gr 3F in a .44 as a max rule of thumb will allow you many, many years of shooting, waste less powder, and will most likely gain accuracy at 25 yards.
Brass is easy to form, shape, smooth, de-burr and polish and requires no bluing touch up. You can allow it to patina to a nice, mellow amber or polish the crap out of it with Flitz and have it look like 14k gold. Or both, on a given day... (T^
The few brassers I own have the slickest actions out-of-box. Brass seems to retain lubricant better than steel on steel. I've picked up over a dozen brassers over the last decade, most for under a hundred bucks.
I say, why not?
Sure, 20 grains seems wimpy compared to 35. Yes, I've seen recoil shields imprinted, arbors shot loose (on Colts) and even heard of frame stretch (though not personally witnessed it) but if you're aware of this going into it, you can manage just fine. As long as you have one or more steelies to enjoy the thunder and lightning of full house loads, I say go for it. You can always watch auction sites for a spare steel frame (they do pop up on occasion) and convert it to steel later, if a late model Pietta (CAM/CAD versions) Parts are drop-in fitment.
Most newbies don't realize the fancy grade nickel-plated ($$$) revolvers (e.g "Wild Bill", etc) are brass frames, TG's and BS's under the nickel plating.
Brass can be a good thing in the right context.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2019, 12:48:53 PM »
Most of the brass frames and all the .44 brass frames are historically incorrect...

Hawg is correct here...
The brass used in most original Confederate arms was more of a bronze alloy, called "gunmetal" and had a much higher tensile strength than Pietta's 'brass'.
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Offline BOOMSTICK BRUCE

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2019, 01:00:40 PM »
Most of the brass frames and all the .44 brass frames are historically incorrect...

Hawg is correct here...
The brass used in most original Confederate arms was more of a bronze alloy, called "gunmetal" and had a much higher tensile strength than Pietta's 'brass'.

my favorite part is the whole pietta quote "due to short supplies of steel, the confedracy had to make their uns from brass" or something like that. funniest is when you read it as a description of the .44cal 51 "army"... yjr 51 was never 44 and the confederacy didnt even exist in 1851...lol...
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Offline Hawg

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2019, 01:03:55 PM »
Most of the brass frames and all the .44 brass frames are historically incorrect...

Hawg is correct here...
The brass used in most original Confederate arms was more of a bronze alloy, called "gunmetal" and had a much higher tensile strength than Pietta's 'brass'.

That's true, Confederate guns were a bronze alloy but what I was getting at is there were no brass/bronze Remingtons or Colts and certainly no brass/bronze .44's of any make.
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2019, 01:04:32 PM »
...51 was never 44 and the confederacy didnt even exist in 1851...lol...

No, but I believe the Confederates 'reverse-engineered' a number of revolvers, 1851 included.
However, none of them (Navy caliber) were .44
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Offline Captainkirk

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2019, 01:06:54 PM »
That's true, Confederate guns were a bronze alloy but what I was getting at is there were no brass/bronze Remingtons or Colts and certainly no brass/bronze .44's of any make.

Well, the G&G was close to being a Colt clone, as was the S&G. But no brass Remingtons in either Army or Navy caliber were ever made, by either side.
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Offline Hawg

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2019, 01:55:50 PM »
That's true, Confederate guns were a bronze alloy but what I was getting at is there were no brass/bronze Remingtons or Colts and certainly no brass/bronze .44's of any make.

Well, the G&G was close to being a Colt clone, as was the S&G. But no brass Remingtons in either Army or Navy caliber were ever made, by either side.

Not arguing that Cap'n but they weren't Colt's. As you well know they do advertise repro S&G's as brass 51 Colt's.
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Offline Omnivore

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Re: Frame stretching, Part 2
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2019, 03:36:44 PM »
WECSOG says he fired oodles of maximum loads in a brasser with no apparent problems, and this brings up another important point.  Brass is highly variable, depending on the specific alloy, yes, but more so on its hardness condition.  I've worked intimately with various brass alloys all my life, being a musical instrument repairman, and quite often, when re-shaping a brass instrument that's been damaged, we have to anneal the metal so as to keep working it without cracking it.  I've even made flas springs out of brass, by hammer the snot out of it to "work harden" it, for ancient instruments that originally used brass springs.

In fact, I have dented a mild steel by using a brass punch.  That was on a new Pietta Colt, with the dreaded barrel wedge that was pounded in too hard at the factory.  My brass punch had been well used, and work-hardned, and was more than hard enough to dent the Piette steel barrel.

Therefore I can readily understand that one brass frame might peen terribly from shooting full loads, while another may be perfectly able to handle such loads. Just like steel isn't the same as all steels, and one steel can be used to cut another steel all day, so too do the copper alloys have a wide range of hardness.  I recently machined some oure copper for example, and although the workpiece was dead soft, the chip comming off of it is like razor wire, and very tough.  It work hardens terribly, as do the brass and nickel alloys, commonly known as "German Silver" or "Nickel Silver".

If the Italians were clever, they'd start using some nickel in their brass, and then heat treat it, or better yet cold forge it, for better hardness, or they'd use the "aluminum bronze" we now know of as AMPCO metal--  It machines well, takes a nice shine and looks a lot like brass, but it's far harder and very tough.  Lighter too.  Then again, if cost is the issue, that's another matter.
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