Melonite on SS Action?

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by gozags!, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. gozags!

    gozags! Member

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    I am debating treating an entire action in melonite for my next build. I have read good and bad about the process when used on an action. My major concern is safety. I've read the process changes the heat treat and hardness of the steel and can potentially weaken the material. However, I know BAT offers this treatment as an option for their custom actions. I can't imagine they would offer the melonite option if it degraded the integrity of their action or posed a safety concern. Is the process safe or not? Your comments are greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    I've asked four custom action makers about doing this to their actions. Two of them said don't do it.

    BAT uses a different type of steel for their actions. I'm not sure if that is a factor or not.
     

  3. Daveinjax

    Daveinjax Well-Known Member

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    It really hardens the surface so make sure all of the polishing and modification is done before you treat it.
     
  4. screech

    screech Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty sure stiller use to melonite his bolts on his actions but I don't know if he still does it or not
     
  5. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    My thoughts - you won't be able to true up - blueprint an action after having the melonite treatment because the surface is too hard to cut new barrel threads into. I don't believe the melonite process will weaken the action. Just the opposite. The surface will be hardened, which should help prevent any bolt lug setback, provided the bolt is also melonite treated.

    BAT actions are quality actions that are trued up straight from the factory, so I don't think there's any concern about them sending out a crooked action from their factory. Which is why they likely aren't concerned about offering the melonite treatment on their actions. On lesser quality actions, I wouldn't melonite the action until I had it trued and blueprinted, or had it checked out by a machinist/gunsmith with the tools to confirm it's a quality action that doesn't need blueprinting.

    These are just my thoughts. I haven't had this theory confirmed by BAT or any other gunsmith. I have a BAT action in route and I did order it with their melonite treatment option.
     
  6. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    There are different companies and processes for nitriding. MMI Trutec and H&M are 2 that I am a little familiar with. Trutec will not treat all actions depending on how they are made. H&M uses a process that is a lower temp (1000 degrees vs 1100 degrees I think). They will treat any steel part of your rifle. I plan to have three barrels and actions done here shortly. Two Vanguards and a Rem 700.

    And definitely get your action trued BEFORE having it treated.
     
  7. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    Well, I certainly don't know as much about it as some of the guys here, but I would like to ask a question and offer my opinion. First I ask why? I suspect corrosion protection? But if that's the case there are so many coatings out there its nuts, pick something else , ceracoat, np3, parkarizing etc. Now in my opinion, knowing myself and knowing what I see on this board and others, lots of guys will use an action many times, and change colors on their rifles. Given what the other guys said this coating pretty much makes your action a one of a kind piece of art that cannot be modified. Sounds a little nutz, but that just my 2 cents
     
  8. canderson

    canderson Well-Known Member

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    I am having a new BAT done now. My reason corrosion resistance. I live in the humid south. If you forget to wipe a BAT bolt down after every time you use it, it will start to pit and corrode. My previous rifle was a surgeon. It was cerakoted. The coating wore off at the rear of the bolt. It was fairly rust proof but not completely. BAT says the melonite will prevent the corrosion, make the action smoother (they are extremely smooth to start with), and virtually eliminate a galling issue. Hope this helps, just my $0.02
     
  9. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    That's some good advice, makes me think even more
     
  10. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    I don't think you will get a general consensus that an action is more corrosion resistant after that treatment.
     
  11. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    A consensus from people who have done it? From what I understand, this treatment is basically corrosion proof and bullet proof. I admit that I haven't done it yet but I'll find out soon.

    My reasons for doing it,

    -Corrosion resistance, best available to my knowledge
    -Most durable finish available with a hardness factor of about 65 - you can't scratch it with a knife
    -Appearance, to match my barrel - the H&M process can be finished to a satin or matte black which would look very much like a rifle I had parkerized years ago.
    -Silky smooth action

    And finally cost. It's going to cost me $200 plus shipping plus my smiths fees for disassembling and reassembling to have 3 rifles done for what amounts to a life time finish.

    And if you don't like the black finish you can paint or ceracote it.
     
  12. Edd

    Edd Well-Known Member

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    No, most of those people will believe whaterer they are told.

    If you research Engineering studies, I think you will find that salt bath nitriding likely improves the corrosion resistance of carbon steel and decreases the corrosion resistance of stainless steel.
     
  13. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Here is what H&M is claiming based on salt spray and field immersion tests.

    http://www.blacknitride.com/img/corrosion-resistance.jpg

    http://www.blacknitride.com/img/corrosion-test.jpg

    H&M Metal Processing: What is Black Nitride?
     
  14. phorwath

    phorwath Well-Known Member

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    I've read from one company rep that it may decrease the corrosion resistance of stainless steel - infinitesimally less. Stainless steel appears to come in different grades, with respect to its corrosion resistance. Some stainless will show more reddish rust than others over time. My brother has had a gunsmithing/gunshop business for 30+ years here in Alaska and sees rifles, shotguns, and pistols coming in from many areas of the State. Many are exposed to ocean saltwater environments. He sees variable corrosion on stainless guns based on the differing manufacturers.

    The melonite coating if VERY corrosion resistant on both stainless and non-stainless steel. BAT wouldn't be treating their stainless actions if doing so meant they rusted with abandon after doing so. I think the worry about any corrosion impacts to stainless steel are relatively meaningless, other than for academic purposes.

    Here's one thing about melonite. How many other coatings are available that treat the rifle bore itself? The part of the barrel that could really affect accuracy should it corrode.

    All I've been reading about melonite treatment is positive, and I intend to have all my future new barrels melonite treated - until I hear a reason not to. Especially any chrome-moly barrels. I have one CM barrel in for treatment now. As MontanaRifleman stated, a person can always Cerakote after the melonite treatment if desiring a different color.