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Mauser re-heat treat

 
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  #1  
Old 05-04-2013, 10:41 AM
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Mauser re-heat treat

I have a VZ-24 action that tested soft when my gunsmith did his initial inspection. It is an otherwise very nice action and my smith feels that it is worth saving.

From what I have been able to find out, it looks like Blanchard's in Utah offers the heat treating services that I will need.

However, being a layman, I don't know a lot about the processes involved. I know that the type of heat treat that is needed is case hardening. My smith indicated that the current receiver hardness is only testing to about 25 and that it should test in the low 40's before he would consider it to be safe to use in a build.

When I discuss the work I need to have done, what should I be asking for? Should I send in the receiver only or would it be advisable to send in the bolt to be hardness checked, and possibly heat treated, as well?

I would appreciate advice from anyone with some experience dealing with heat treat issues related to the steels used in the older mil surp military rifles.
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  #2  
Old 05-04-2013, 11:30 AM
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Re: Mauser re-heat treat

Is it financially viable ? A new Savage target action is about $500. A new custom action is just under $1000. A Shilen Barreled action is about $1800 although I don't know how the wait times are. The Shilen actions are made by Stiller.

The best thing you can do with your current action is to use it for a light caliber build. That way it would last a very long time without any costly (and potentially problematic) processes being needed. There is a significant chance of warpage occurring during heat treatment which could be very costly or impossible to remedy.
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  #3  
Old 05-04-2013, 05:00 PM
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Re: Mauser re-heat treat

Get a second opinion/test on the hardness of what you have. 40c is quite hard for case hardened low cabon steel, 35c +- is more realistic, IMO. Blanchard Metal has re-heat treated many Mauser '98 actions. They know how to do it, what hardness is achievable, and how to keep it from warping (to extremes). Mausers make fine classic rifles. Having the receiver re-heat treated will not increase its value to anyone but you.
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  #4  
Old 05-04-2013, 10:55 PM
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Re: Mauser re-heat treat

Thanks, shortgrass, for commenting on this. I had hoped that I would hear from you.

My smith said the same thing you did about getting a second opinion. He was using a tester designed not to leave marks and felt that I should take the receiver to a machine shop to have it hardness tested with more accurate equipment. So, it seems that would be the wisest first step.

From there, assuming that the receiver tests soft, I am reassured to know that Blanchard's will know how to proceed.

I have no illusions about the value of the receiver to anyone but me. I just want to make sure it is a safe basis for a classic rifle. I would like to build a 338-06AI on the action, but that remains to be seen...
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  #5  
Old 05-05-2013, 07:49 AM
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Re: Mauser re-heat treat

Have the receiver drilled and tapped for the scope mounts you'd use if the receiver is OK (Leupold makes a nice 2 piece set for the '98). Installing the mounts will give a flat surface so that the bottom of the receiver can take the "dent". Also, keep in mind that "traditional" Rockwell hardness tests, on case hardened parts, is kinda' iffy' and may not be reliable like it would be if testing a hardened alloy steel. Many thousands of aftermarket barrels have been installed on '98s without the hardness being checked, including magnums and others with high chamber pressures, that are just fine. A couple of 'proof' rounds fired, with the barreled action mounted in a simple 'fixture' to hold it, will tell the story as the barrel is then removed and the receiver re-inspected for 'set-back' before before any stock work is started. "Cheap re-assurance" that the receiver is good. "Time" has weeded out many of the 'soft' Mauser rifle actions, but, it still makes sense to play it safe.
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Last edited by shortgrass; 05-05-2013 at 10:30 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-05-2013, 11:19 AM
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Re: Mauser re-heat treat

The receiver is in excellent condition. Nice tight, smooth action. No pitting. The locking lug surfaces on the face of the action look great. There is not even a wear mark left by the trigger on the underside of the receiver. No worries there.

I have the tooling to do the drill and tap myself. I can take care of that and the mount install before I take the receiver in to be tested again. It is useful to know that the standard Rockwell tests may be iffy on something like this and that the definitive "court of last resort" would simply involve proof testing to check for lug setback.

Your comment about time weeding out many of the "soft" Mauser actions mirrors something that had crossed my mind that seemed to me to be common sense-ish, but I wasn't sure if the thinking was valid.

While the action itself, the bottom metal, and all of the stock metal was in excellent condition, the interior of the barrel was the worst one I have ever seen. It literally did look like a "sewer pipe," with chunks of the rifling missing. It was beyond pitted and shot out.

The condition of the barrel, IMO, was very suggestive of a high round count (with corrosive ammo, no doubt). Additionally, a lot of the military ammo of that era that I have fired has seemed to be loaded pretty hot. Given those two factors, I was wondering how the rifle could have seen such hard use while the action shows no signs of abuse. It made no sense to me that a soft action would survive much use in combat without suffering in the process.

In the end, I don't know if that logic will hold up. But, I do feel that the question behind it is worth considering nontheless.
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  #7  
Old 05-05-2013, 04:37 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 18
Re: Mauser re-heat treat

Quote:
Originally Posted by benchracer View Post
I have a VZ-24 action that tested soft when my gunsmith did his initial inspection. It is an otherwise very nice action and my smith feels that it is worth saving.

From what I have been able to find out, it looks like Blanchard's in Utah offers the heat treating services that I will need.

However, being a layman, I don't know a lot about the processes involved. I know that the type of heat treat that is needed is case hardening. My smith indicated that the current receiver hardness is only testing to about 25 and that it should test in the low 40's before he would consider it to be safe to use in a build.

When I discuss the work I need to have done, what should I be asking for? Should I send in the receiver only or would it be advisable to send in the bolt to be hardness checked, and possibly heat treated, as well?

I would appreciate advice from anyone with some experience dealing with heat treat issues related to the steels used in the older mil surp military rifles.

I had same issues with FN commercial made in 60s someone had messed with action prior to me getting. and it tested at 25 also. I sent to Ed. Lapour for saftey and he sent it on to be hardened. Someone local to him. He sent bolt and action . You might give him a call. He has a local show do all of this saftey hardening.
Elton
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