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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #1
Anybody seen this before...... what appears to be some silver solder / silver braze inside a barrel?

Photo shows the muzzle of a 50th anniversary Blackhawk. There is a spot just inside the muzzle that is basically the color of cartridge brass. The angled part of the crown has none and the white showing up there is reflected flash from the camera. The white below the spot is a patch pushed into the barrel to help reflect light.

The spot is soft enough you can scratch it with a dental pick, but unaffected by copper solvents. Not very thick but definitely built up from the rifling. Best guess is a blob of silver solder or silver braze (whatever they use) dripped down from when the front sight was put on. The barrel was likely crowned later, then blued.

All that's been through the gun are soft .38 cast bullet loads. Haven't bench tested it for accuracy.

Will be interesting to see if it wears down? Usual brass cleaning brushes seem to have no effect. It's a 50th anniversary gun, and while Ruger would probably replace the barrel without arguing, don't know if they'd have any left with the correct rollmark. In any case if it is not inaccurate I'd be inclined to let it be.

Any way to get this stuff out short of heating it enough to melt (which would surely remove the front sight)? I suppose that question might be impossible to answer without knowing the exact alloy.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Have you tried carefully working on it with a needle file, Mike?
 

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You could try leaving a solvent soaked patch to stay in contact with the spot for a day or two. Just to see if you get "color".

Looking for clues as to what it is?

Cheezywan
 

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Try a tight patch with some 0000 steel wool and penetrating oil. You could also put a heat sink on the front sight and carefully apply heat with a point source.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #5
You could try leaving a solvent soaked patch to stay in contact with the spot for a day or two. Just to see if you get "color".

Looking for clues as to what it is?

Cheezywan
That's what I did. Put some Sweet's on a patch and stuffed it in to see if any color change. Not a bit. Butch's bore shine didn't help either.

I had not thought of a little pencil torch, thanks.....

Not gonna file it - don't think my hands are that steady!
 

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That's what I did. Put some Sweet's on a patch and stuffed it in to see if any color change. Not a bit. Butch's bore shine didn't help either.

I had not thought of a little pencil torch, thanks.....

Not gonna file it - don't think my hands are that steady!
Never heard of solder in the barrel before. I did a search, found mention of a Ruger front sight falling off but no mention anywhere of solder in the bore. I'd be tempted to leave it in or maybe see if jacketed bullets would shoot it out. My fear of applied heat even with a pencil torch would be damaged bluing. An electric soldering iron might work but that off course is a wild guess.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Swampdoc -

Please don't try to hijack a thread by another person. Your post is perfectly fine to post on it's own in the handgun forum without sidetracking this one.
 

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I would hope that it wasn't an attempt to 'repair' a bore defect! It doesn't look like it; looks like just a splotch of spilled solder over normal rifling, although I'm surprised it hasn't already worn out with the shooting.
 

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That's what I did. Put some Sweet's on a patch and stuffed it in to see if any color change. Not a bit. Butch's bore shine didn't help either.
Maybe slug the bore to see if you can "feel it" then. If not, ignore it and shoot.

I would monitor it though. Just to keep track.

Good that you know it is there. Some shooters might not?

Cheezywan
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #12
It's had all of 30 or 40 rounds through it, so no, I don't think it would have shot out by now. For those not familiar with it, "silver solder" or "silver braze" is much stronger and melts at a higher temperature than regular solder. I've seen it applied using an oxy-acetylene torch....

The color is about right as those alloys are somewhat brass-colored. There's a bunch of alloys and no telling what all they're made out of.

Don't know whether an ordinary soldering iron will go hot enough. May try though.

Not interested in sending it to Ruger, if it doesn't cause issues. Like I said I haven't bench tested it, all it's been shot is off-hand by my wife. The bullets are hitting the target point on so it can't be too bad.
 

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If you haven't tried it for accuracy with jacketed bullets I might try that before I do anything. I don't have a clue to what it is and the only thing I could think of to get it out clean is either lapping compound applied to a a tight fitting cleaning patch or a bullet but if it shoots good I would be loath to do that.

The other thing and I have no idea where you would get one without dipping deep into your pocket is a reamer from somebody like Midway. I suspect you would drop a hundred dollar bill for a one time use. A little steep for my pocket.
 

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I bet its actually flux or flux stain, it doesn't look thick enough for the silver solder. I've worked with quite a bit of silver and the flux is pretty much made to flow at a much lower temperature, like for lead/tin solder, but the metal doesn't flow unless its super hot. Flux is also super resistant to cleaners, it has to be abraded off.
 

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Mike, instead of using a big torch, could you try one of those 'crack pipe' style butane mini-torches?

they get super hot and you can direct the heat/flame. Chances are it will not get the barrel hot enough to effect the sight. We use them at work all the time for soldering in tight spots.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah I think I will try the mini-torch. Good excuse to get a new toy :D

There is definitely a build-up of some sort. It is not just a stain, although that is not obvious from the picture. Just can't get enough detail with my camera and/or photography skills.
 

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Silver brazing alloys melt right up in the 1100° range. That's barrel annealing temperature, and it would be easy to distort the muzzle if you did that heating too locally. Moreover, even if you get the loose stuff off, there will still be a microscopic layer there, "tinning" the steel.

A couple of thoughts. First, a lot of the lowest temperature silver brazing alloys are just silver and tin. Zinc is also present in many with higher melting points, but I expect a lower temperature one might be used for barrels they don't want to distort? If so, a bore cleaner that removes tin may take it off? Boretech Eliminator will etch into cast bullet alloy overnight by reacting with the tin. A plugged bore and some of that liquid may do it?

Silver's electronegativity is closer to hydrogen than iron. So is tin's. That means they should electroplate more easily. You could try an Outer's Foul Out with Copper solution and see it that pulls off any of it? Copper electronegativity is slightly lower than either silver or tin, so silver and tin may tend to displace copper in the solution and plate out?

Since you said it scratches, a hand bore lap might be in order? You could cast one, but I think I'd just slug the bore and run an 8-32 machine screw through the slug to screw into a cleaning rod. Roll it in a little lapping compound, put it back in and bump it up when it's past the constriction caused by the silver solder. Go back and forth the length of the bore, bumping up as needed. That'll clear any constrictions and make the bore smoother all at once. No firelapping taper, but less total material removed.

Lead wipe cloth. These have some aluminum oxide abrasive in them. Cut a patch from the lead wipe cloth and clean the bore with it. I would be careful to go the whole length just so you're not in the position of making the muzzle wider than the rest.

Just running JB or Iosso Bore Cleaner on tight patches may do it? Don't know how long you'll be at it?

Personally, the hand lapping is what I would do just to get a nice straight smooth tube at the same time. Should make it great for shooting lead.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Mikey - Nooooooooooooo!
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Discussion Starter #19
I have a Foul Out, might try that. Shouldn't hurt. Also have the lead removal cloth, maybe. Probably won't hand lap, but if there is any constriction in the bore would likely firelap as a matter of habit.

May just run a couple hundred lead bullet loads through it first. Just see what happens before getting destructive....
 

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MikeG,

if you would allow me to do so, I could remove the barrel from the action, set it up in the lathe and cut a tapered target crown at the muzzle that would remove that "spot" in your barrel....

A
 
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