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Posted: 4/6/2010 8:44:04 PM EDT
Hey guys, I have some questions for some that are more experienced than myself.
I had a house fire that burned a bunch of my guns up. They were spared somewhat, the fire self vented out the roof, and kept the temp lower than it would have been.
The actions still cycle on them. There was a Remington 742 30-06, 7400 in 30-06, Winchester 1300 pump 20ga, a ruger Super red hawk .44mag stainless, a h&r single shot .410, and a few that slip my mind
at this moment. lol Its been a while.
I would like to know if there are any signs to look for that the metal may be weakened by the fire, or if there is a way to see if they are safe to try and fire............I am pretty sure the Super Red Hawk is
gonna be ok, but the stainless finish is very black. But it will scrape off. The grips are kind of melted, more deformed than melted. They still have the shape to them. My scopes were smokey, but the glass did not break, and they seem ok. They look like crap, cause of the smoke mainly, but still work.
All of the guns had wood stocks, and they are blackened, but not actually burnt. Some places I was able to scrape clean or wash clean.
If I need to get some pics, I will borrow a camera. Any help will be appreciated. MOST of the guns were not worth paying to have new stocks and a full re blue job done. SO, I may be in the finishing section soon, to learn more about guncote, or duracoat.
Thanks in advance guys,
Ryan
Link Posted: 4/6/2010 9:02:22 PM EDT
Personally, I would count them all as a loss and file it with my homeowners insurance, but I know they're covered by my plan.
Link Posted: 4/6/2010 9:40:19 PM EDT
I was told mine were covered by my homeowners also..................ALLSTATE. What they meant to say was that firearms are covered up to $1000 one time, for ALL firearms.............yeah, so,
back to the trying to salvage them..........
Link Posted: 4/6/2010 10:36:22 PM EDT
IMO, if the wood stocks weren't actually burned, they're probably fine. That said, I'd call up the manufacturers and see what they say...they might do some test firing and minor repairs or parts replacement for way less than a gunsmith.

I'd have to pull out my heat treat book to give you some specific numbers, but offhand I'd say that if they got above 600 degrees, you might want to worry. If they got over 600 degrees, the stocks would be burned up though.
Link Posted: 4/7/2010 2:16:43 AM EDT
Several years ago I bought a Rem. 11-87 SP that had been in a fire (the gun store had burned). The finish looked streaked/funny and the wood stock was grubby/dirty/dark. I got it for about $275. I brought it home, tore it down, cleaned it up, oiled it up and shot the heck out of it. It's ugly but it works fine.

I don't have a clue how hot it got but the damage is plain on it. Remember that shotguns don't create nearly the pressure rifles do though. You could tie them to a table and use a string to shoot them. Do a few magazines and see what happens.

About 3 years ago we refinished a FAL with ceramic high temperature header paint. It when through (in the kitched stove/oven) a 3 step heating/curing process (20 or 30 minutes at 200 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 350 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 500 F, let it cool, oil it up and put it back together - it was stripped down to the last pin, spring, etc and all the springs set aside/not baked). It had several hundred rounds through it over the next few months.
Link Posted: 4/7/2010 11:49:02 AM EDT
THIS IS NOT A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY, but a general rule of thumb is, if ANY spring has lost it's tension the gun is junk.

If the metal gets hot enough to damage a spring, it's hot enough to ruin the temper of the steel and the gun is no longer safe.
The smart move is to get your insurance to pay and make sure the guns are disabled in such a way that no one who gets their hands on them years from now can try to fire them.

If, for some reason you didn't have them insured, this makes no difference. The risks are just too high if there's ANY doubt at all.
No one likes to just flat out lose guns, and the urge to try to save them is often irresistible, even when you really know better.
There's a fine line between a gun that's got smoke and water damage and is still safe to fire and one that's just over the edge.
In most cases, trying to save guns with damage to the finish and wood will cost more than buying new guns with whatever the insurance pays.

As an old timer once told me "Son, we're all going to Hell in a hand cart. Why would you want to grease the wheels".
Link Posted: 4/7/2010 3:03:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By M1A4ME:
Several years ago I bought a Rem. 11-87 SP that had been in a fire (the gun store had burned). The finish looked streaked/funny and the wood stock was grubby/dirty/dark. I got it for about $275. I brought it home, tore it down, cleaned it up, oiled it up and shot the heck out of it. It's ugly but it works fine.

I don't have a clue how hot it got but the damage is plain on it. Remember that shotguns don't create nearly the pressure rifles do though. You could tie them to a table and use a string to shoot them. Do a few magazines and see what happens.

About 3 years ago we refinished a FAL with ceramic high temperature header paint. It when through (in the kitched stove/oven) a 3 step heating/curing process (20 or 30 minutes at 200 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 350 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 500 F, let it cool, oil it up and put it back together - it was stripped down to the last pin, spring, etc and all the springs set aside/not baked). It had several hundred rounds through it over the next few months.


350-400 degrees isn't going to significantly affect any common gunmaking carbon steel I'm aware of. I need to dig out my heat treat book...
Link Posted: 4/9/2010 5:33:55 AM EDT
If it self vented before the FD got there, chances are that it got over 500. Unless they were on the far end of the house and didn't receive as much heat, I would scrap em. I've been in housefires where the guns didn't come out bad looking, but on closer inspection (and we even magnafluxed one) had hairline cracks on side covers/slides/levers
Be extremely careful, as you don't know (even looking in a book) what they were treated to at the factory. Maybe your guns were made on Friday at 4-30.........
Link Posted: 4/9/2010 9:32:36 AM EDT
Originally Posted By machinisttx:
Originally Posted By M1A4ME:
Several years ago I bought a Rem. 11-87 SP that had been in a fire (the gun store had burned). The finish looked streaked/funny and the wood stock was grubby/dirty/dark. I got it for about $275. I brought it home, tore it down, cleaned it up, oiled it up and shot the heck out of it. It's ugly but it works fine.

I don't have a clue how hot it got but the damage is plain on it. Remember that shotguns don't create nearly the pressure rifles do though. You could tie them to a table and use a string to shoot them. Do a few magazines and see what happens.

About 3 years ago we refinished a FAL with ceramic high temperature header paint. It when through (in the kitched stove/oven) a 3 step heating/curing process (20 or 30 minutes at 200 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 350 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 500 F, let it cool, oil it up and put it back together - it was stripped down to the last pin, spring, etc and all the springs set aside/not baked). It had several hundred rounds through it over the next few months.


350-400 degrees isn't going to significantly affect any common gunmaking carbon steel I'm aware of. I need to dig out my heat treat book...


350-400 is about stress relieving temp for 4140 IIRC, so no big deal at all. 500+ and I would get worried.
Link Posted: 4/9/2010 5:52:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Kuraki:
Originally Posted By machinisttx:
Originally Posted By M1A4ME:
Several years ago I bought a Rem. 11-87 SP that had been in a fire (the gun store had burned). The finish looked streaked/funny and the wood stock was grubby/dirty/dark. I got it for about $275. I brought it home, tore it down, cleaned it up, oiled it up and shot the heck out of it. It's ugly but it works fine.

I don't have a clue how hot it got but the damage is plain on it. Remember that shotguns don't create nearly the pressure rifles do though. You could tie them to a table and use a string to shoot them. Do a few magazines and see what happens.

About 3 years ago we refinished a FAL with ceramic high temperature header paint. It when through (in the kitched stove/oven) a 3 step heating/curing process (20 or 30 minutes at 200 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 350 F, let it cool, 20 or 30 minutes at 500 F, let it cool, oil it up and put it back together - it was stripped down to the last pin, spring, etc and all the springs set aside/not baked). It had several hundred rounds through it over the next few months.


350-400 degrees isn't going to significantly affect any common gunmaking carbon steel I'm aware of. I need to dig out my heat treat book...


350-400 is about stress relieving temp for 4140 IIRC, so no big deal at all. 500+ and I would get worried.


That's what I'm thinking, but it's been a while since I did any heat treating.
Link Posted: 4/9/2010 6:14:34 PM EDT
Thanks guys, all of the actions work well, trigger groups are tight, so far, all springs are still tight. The firing pins still fire, they SEEM ok. There is one Remington 742 that got a lot more heat than the others, (different location in the house) and the heat line is 1/3 of the way down the barrel. It was propped up on the butt. It is very obvious where the heat line was. The rust is real bad on that one. It was also a very dark line on the sheet rock with the paint melted away.........a little below, was the smoke line, and a bit further was just the slight smoke cover. It was pretty cool (other than loosing all my stuff) to see where the lines were in the house. I don't know what the temp was at any point with the lines shown. I do know that the everything that was real high up is gone............on the floor, pictures survived (minus the water damage) There was that much difference in the heat. I had some ammo on top of the gun cabinet and it cooked off. The stuff loaded in magazines made cool looking popped brass all over the floor, and the loose ammo sometimes just had the bullet and powder gone.......I had one rifle that is no doubt beyond repair and it had a round in the chamber (30-06) it was closest to the fire and it put a .30caliber hole through the ceiling.........blew out the wood just above to the roof. Pretty awesome. lol Firefighters thought it was a hoot. some of them had been told that you don't have to worry about ammo in a house fire............valid point unless it is loaded. lol
Link Posted: 4/14/2010 11:54:32 AM EDT
I'm not sure of this, but if you are a member of the NRA, don't you have 10k in insurance?
Link Posted: 4/14/2010 9:37:03 PM EDT
If you can see discoloration in the metal, it's very likely a lost cause and unsafe.
Link Posted: 4/15/2010 11:00:50 AM EDT
This kinda relates to something else I was just thinking about: safety of welded AKs? I've seen guys weld the trunnion to the reciever and then I was thinking about the guys who weld (sodder) the permanent muzzle devices. 1200 degrees on a barrel.
Link Posted: 4/15/2010 7:20:15 PM EDT
I was not a member of the NRA at the time of the fire.
I can't really tell any discoloration due to lack of it or from the rust.
I don't think the heat to the end of the barrel really matters that much. I saw on myth busters were they were trying to blow up a gun with the barrel pluged. They did shotgun and a rifle. I was a play on the
cartoon where they rabbit puts his finger in the barrel and the shooter blows up the gun. It did not work. They plugged them with dirt, and it just shot it out. They hammered a steel rod into the 8mm rifle and then welded it in. It just blew the end off.
Link Posted: 4/18/2010 9:04:15 AM EDT
ok, I am going to pick up my burnt guns today from a friends house that was storing them for me. I think this week I will do the string trigger thing............tear em down, then check em out. I will start with the shot guns first, then the semi rifles, then last the Super Redhawk .44mag.....
I was going to borrow some gear from a few of my friends on the local SWAT team, but I think that if a gun did blow, I don't want to have to replace any face shields........they cost more than some of my guns did. lol
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