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Old 01-04-2011, 12:22 AM
Honda-doug Honda-doug is offline
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I would like to hear a few opinions about flame cutting on the topstrap. Is this unavoidable, or is it a sign of abuse from firing too hot loads?? I have often seen it on .357's but not on .38's. Is this a problem for all calibers?? Please commence with the free education......... Thanks guys
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Old 01-04-2011, 12:29 AM
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If I shoot hot .357 loads in my 686, it produces a little flame cutting in the topstrap, but it appears to be self-limiting.

If I fire my .38 +P range loads in the same gun, it tends to leave a carbon deposit in the same place.

There were some short-lived cartridges like the .357 maximum that tended to produce significant top strap cutting in revolvers, but the single-shot guys swear by them.
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Old 01-04-2011, 01:11 AM
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Default Is flame cutting normal wear ?

If you shoot your firearm a lot, you can expect, sooner or later, a certain amount
of flame cutting in the top strap, at the location of the barrel-cylinder gap. It seems
to be more prevalent with magnums, but is self-limiting, in my experience. It will
occur with prolonged use, but it is very rare that it would cause a safety hazard.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:19 PM
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Years ago, I started filling in the area of the top strap above the forcing cone using a graphite pencil. I found that this slows or eliminates flame cutting. I can only assume that the graphite acts as a blast shield. Nor do I make a habit of shooting the ultra hot 125 Gr. rounds through my K framesí.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:55 PM
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All revolvers will show flame cutting to on degree or another if they are fired much. Obviously guns chambered for smaller calibers, and firing milder loads will cut less. It's simply a matter of physics. Keep hitting the same place repeatedly with a flame, and you'll eventually leave a mark.

Flame cutting normally goes only so deep- generally a couple thousandths or less, then stops (I have read that the metal becomes hardened from the repeated heat, but can't verify that is the actual reason it stops). Most flame cutting is done within the first few hundred rounds on a new gun.

"Hot" loads in any given standard caliber don't seem to make any difference in the amount of flame cutting done after the intitial cutting. The .357 maximum is the one exception I am aware of. They do make a difference in the amount of wear.
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Old 01-09-2011, 10:04 AM
Peter M. Eick Peter M. Eick is offline
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This is flame cutting on a 357 Maximum Ruger SRM. It is from hot 357 Maximum loads and this is the reason Ruger stopped making the model. The 357 Max guys like myself are quite concerned about it problem.

The truth is that it is self limiting and yes pencil lead rubbed in the cut helps.

It can be minimized by the following steps though:
1) no light bullets
2) no ball powders

I have instituted these rules on my high pressure revolvers like my Max's or Mag's. The reason is the ball powders come out of the barrel cylinder gap at exceptionally high pressure and hot little orbs of blasting grit that does the bulk of the damage.

While I cannot link to the page right now, I came across a web page where a gun took a torch and tried to cut a frame apart. He found that straight heat and flame took a long time to impact the frame with a cutting torch. On the other hand, with his sand blaster he was able to cut the frame quite easily.

My DW model 40 (357 SuperMag) has never seen a light bullet, has never seen a ball powder round and has been shot extensively. It has a very very minor flame cut. My Ruger SRM has never seen a light bullet (less then 158's) but has seen ball powders and look what it did.

I turned down a really nice DW model 40 recently because of a really bad flame cut that was obviously from a light bullet and ball powders. Problem H110 or 296 and I am sure that the prior owner sold it for this reason.

Just some information to consider.
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M. Eick View Post


This is flame cutting on a 357 Maximum Ruger SRM. It is from hot 357 Maximum loads and this is the reason Ruger stopped making the model. The 357 Max guys like myself are quite concerned about it problem.

The truth is that it is self limiting and yes pencil lead rubbed in the cut helps.

It can be minimized by the following steps though:
1) no light bullets
2) no ball powders

I have instituted these rules on my high pressure revolvers like my Max's or Mag's. The reason is the ball powders come out of the barrel cylinder gap at exceptionally high pressure and hot little orbs of blasting grit that does the bulk of the damage.

While I cannot link to the page right now, I came across a web page where a gun took a torch and tried to cut a frame apart. He found that straight heat and flame took a long time to impact the frame with a cutting torch. On the other hand, with his sand blaster he was able to cut the frame quite easily.

My DW model 40 (357 SuperMag) has never seen a light bullet, has never seen a ball powder round and has been shot extensively. It has a very very minor flame cut. My Ruger SRM has never seen a light bullet (less then 158's) but has seen ball powders and look what it did.

I turned down a really nice DW model 40 recently because of a really bad flame cut that was obviously from a light bullet and ball powders. Problem H110 or 296 and I am sure that the prior owner sold it for this reason.

Just some information to consider.
Peter I agree. I have several 357 magnum revolvers. I shoot only 140gr or heavier. I have a old Ruger Police Service Six 357 magnum revolver. The revolver has many hundreds of 357s put through it. Almost all of them are 158gr 357magnums with some 38 specials. This revolver was made in 1985 and is quite worn. I don't have any frame cutting at all on this old revolver.
Bottom line, although any revolver can develope frame cutting a person can cut down the chances down shooting the heavier grain rounds. Now a person can wear out a revolver with high round counts but I feel this is a separate issue.
Hope this helps.
Howard
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Old 01-09-2011, 12:57 PM
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This thread aroused my curiosity, since I have several .357s and have, thus far, fired 125gr. magnum loads exclusively. I took out the one(a 686-6) which has the most rounds through it(maybe 1500 thus far). I put it under the sunlight and looked at the top strap through a magnifying glass. There is a very slight cut above the forcing cone which doesn't reach the outer edges of the top strap. I'm not concerned about it, but maybe that is just me.

Andy
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Old 01-10-2011, 01:11 AM
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It has been my experience, that flame cutting is a total disaster to the gunner discovering it for the first time.
However, once you realize it is about unavoidable, completely self limiting, effects nothing, and can find nobody that has ever KNOWN(not heard of) it causing a problem(even in a Ruger 357 max.) it just becomes another part of the gun, like a cylinder stop score line.
If only I could go back in time, and buy all the beauties I turned down because they had a little flame/powder cut line.
For years I was actually convinced the gun would break in half if I fired them with so much as a light "scratch" in that area!
For those still worried about worstening a already existing cut or not wanting to start a cut on a unfired revolver, it is a simple matter to make a blast shield from a section of single edge razor blade and couple drops of JB-WELD.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:20 PM
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Great idea on the razor blade. I took a look at my favorite 357 the other night and was surprised to see the cut. . . I was quite upset until I remembered reading on this forum about the inevitability of it. Mine is on a S&W N-Frame Model of 1989 that has seen about 5,000 rounds from me through it. It's a minor cut, but very visible. I use H-110, W-296 and Unique as my primary powders. . .

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SNIP SNIP --- For those still worried about worstening a already existing cut or not wanting to start a cut on a unfired revolver, it is a simple matter to make a blast shield from a section of single edge razor blade and couple drops of JB-WELD.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:32 PM
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If anyone has a K frame with evidence of flame cutting, please send it to me and l'll see that it is properly retired. It will get a good home, have all the .38 rounds it will ever want to eat and it can live at my house until it goes to the Great Revolver Round-up in the sky.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:00 PM
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If anyone has a K frame with evidence of flame cutting, please send it to me and l'll see that it is properly retired. It will get a good home, have all the .38 rounds it will ever want to eat and it can live at my house until it goes to the Great Revolver Round-up in the sky.


I actually have in my possession a K frame Model 17-3 with flame cutting and I just sat down and laughed at how many 22LR rounds it took to accomplish that!!! The lockup is tight and itís very accurate and I paid $350 for it.

So your 38 rounds won't work HaHa
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Old 01-19-2012, 12:23 AM
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I actually have in my possession a K frame Model 17-3 with flame cutting and I just sat down and laughed at how many 22LR rounds it took to accomplish that!!! The lockup is tight and itís very accurate and I paid $350 for it.

So your 38 rounds won't work HaHa
fyimo... my sincere apology. I didn't mean to exclude other calibers. Please forward me your 17-3 at your earliest convenience and I'll see that it spends its remaining days in good hands! Or better yet, if you're ever over towards Oklahoma City... drop me a line and bring it along. We'll burn some powder at the range!

Blessings,
Hog
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Old 01-19-2012, 10:11 PM
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My beater 19-4 is a great example of flame cutting of the top strap. It's an ex-LEO revolver that has seen alot of hard work. But, the lock up is good and it shoots great. When I first noticed the flame cutting, I was concerned, don't pay it any mind now. The old thing has a part-time retirement job being the test mule for my .38 spl. reloads.
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Old 01-19-2012, 11:31 PM
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My M586 has been flame cut since 1984 after firing a lot of 125 grain .357's. Over the years I learned that the 125's were the culprit and now I only shoot 158 grain .357 mag's. The flame cutting has pretty much stopped and has not gotten any deeper with the use of 158 grain bullets. Now I barely even notice it & other than cosmetics, it's a non -issue.

Chief38
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter M. Eick View Post


This is flame cutting on a 357 Maximum Ruger SRM. It is from hot 357 Maximum loads and this is the reason Ruger stopped making the model. The 357 Max guys like myself are quite concerned about it problem.

The truth is that it is self limiting and yes pencil lead rubbed in the cut helps.

It can be minimized by the following steps though:
1) no light bullets
2) no ball powders

I have instituted these rules on my high pressure revolvers like my Max's or Mag's. The reason is the ball powders come out of the barrel cylinder gap at exceptionally high pressure and hot little orbs of blasting grit that does the bulk of the damage.

While I cannot link to the page right now, I came across a web page where a gun took a torch and tried to cut a frame apart. He found that straight heat and flame took a long time to impact the frame with a cutting torch. On the other hand, with his sand blaster he was able to cut the frame quite easily.

My DW model 40 (357 SuperMag) has never seen a light bullet, has never seen a ball powder round and has been shot extensively. It has a very very minor flame cut. My Ruger SRM has never seen a light bullet (less then 158's) but has seen ball powders and look what it did.

I turned down a really nice DW model 40 recently because of a really bad flame cut that was obviously from a light bullet and ball powders. Problem H110 or 296 and I am sure that the prior owner sold it for this reason.

Just some information to consider.
What are the best (non ball) powders to use for 357 maximum?
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22lr, 357 magnum, 686, k frame, lock, model 17, model 40, n-frame, ruger, sig arms

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