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Author Topic: Stainless Steel Flintlocks?  (Read 3152 times)
Mark Elliott
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« on: November 14, 2012, 08:39:05 PM »

This wasn't my idea.   I was asked about assembling flintlocks from stainless steel castings (17-4PH).   Has anybody done this before?  Does this work?  My concern is a stainless frizzen.   I know you can make the rest out of stainless, except for maybe the spring.   Does anybody know anything about this?

Thanks

Mark
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490roundball
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 09:09:15 PM »

couldn't you just face the frizzen - the rest could be stanless
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 09:21:37 PM »

I guess I could face the frizzen, but that really wasn't my question.   Can a stainless steel frizzen function?    If you face it with plain carbon tool steel, then it isn't a stainless steel frizzen any more from a functional point of view.    Heat treating frizzens can be tricky business.    I know how to heat treat plain carbon tool steel or a case hardened mild steel or wrought frizzen.   I don't have a clue how to heat treat a stainless steel one to spark or if it is even possible.   I am thinking that this is a Jim Kibler question.
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Jim Kibler
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 09:41:30 PM »

I try to ignore dumb ideas.  Might be a good route to take.
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Yancey von Yeast
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« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 10:30:39 PM »

I actually laughed out loud at that one, Jim!
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 11:04:42 PM »

Jim,  I was trying not to be judgmental.  After all,  I don't know everything. Cheesy
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JCKelly
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« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2012, 11:11:14 PM »

Stainless chips don't burn so well as do plain carbon steel.

In my opinion, you would be exceedingly unhappy with a 17-4PH stainless frizzen. Rockwell C40 to C48 is about what you can expect with condition H900, which is as hard as you can get 17-4PH
I got this from a data sheet which I wrote for this grade a few years ago.

I don't believe 17-4PH is actually used for non-sparking tools, as is some bronze grade or other, but it just won't spark worth a damn.
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2012, 11:15:37 PM »

Thanks JC.

That is what I thought, but I needed the opinion of someone more knowledgeable than myself.
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B Shipman
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 12:03:01 AM »

I'm for being judgemental. Avoid stainless steel flintlocks. Who would want one, but a lazy fairy from Shakraland (wherever that is).
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Hungry Horse
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 11:07:11 AM »

 Just for starters, stainless steel is just what the name implies stainLESS, not stain proof. It oxidizes just like carbon steel only at a slower rate. A friend of mine bought an engraved Tryon Trailblazer in stainless, years ago. This would be a very rare replica today. But he found, after owning it a while, that he didn't like the stainless. he asked me what he could do to make it more acceptable at Rendezvous. I told him I didn't have a clue. A few days later he showed up at my home with it. it had the smoothest red/brown finish I had ever seen. I asked him what he'd done. He said he had used a very popular browning solution on it, and it browned up like a champ.
 I think you are going to get more problems than solutions from such a project.

                  Hungry Horse

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Hammer
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« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 04:12:44 PM »

I read somewhere that the spark is the carbon burning and not the iron in the steel.    Carbon enables the iron to be hardened.  The flint causes friction heat as it tears through the iron/carbon alloy.  The heat ignites the carbon particles.    The carbon content may be very small by weight but it is a sizeable percentage by volume.   Anyway, that's what I read.
   

 
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Peter
JCKelly
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2012, 08:22:52 PM »

With respect, get thee some #0000 steel wool and light a match to it. Blow on it gently & make a nice hot "coal"

It is the steel, sir, that is burning.

Some amount of carbon is necessary to harden the steel so the flint scrapes off a hot curly (frizzy, you might even say) which catches fire & burns.

A stainless steel flintlock would, I believe, be a very, very safe weapon.
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Mark Elliott
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« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2012, 09:42:58 PM »

Ok guys.   I know I have some hair brained ideas, but this wasn't mine.  I swear, even though you are not supposed to.   Someone asked me to assemble a bunch of locks from stainless steel castings.    I told him that I didn't know how to make a stainless steel flintlock and wasn't sure it would even work.    So,  in order to rectify my ignorance on the subject,  I bravely asked here for a more informed opinion.    I agree that it was a solution in search of a problem.   

I believe that Thompson Center does make an all stainless steel flintlock, but it appears to me to have a carbon steel frizzen.  The frizzen is brown and the rest is a brushed stainless.   Oh, and it also has a plastic stock.   Grin

I am so backward,  I still make my lock parts from wrought iron.    I learned that lesson when I tried forging O-1.    There is no reason to invent some new way to implement 300 year old technology.   

Mark
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FL-Flintlock
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2012, 09:11:00 AM »

If one absolutely wanted to, the striking face of a 420 frizzen can be carburized to increase the amount of spark but it's going to wear rather quickly and it's got to be done right to avoid creating a brittle transition zone or over saturation.  It would be far more cost effective and eliminate color differences to send a production lock to a job shop that does micro-PTA or CST work, whole thing can be done including the springs leaving just the striking area as-is.
Mark
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JTR
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2012, 12:33:30 PM »

Who would want one, but a lazy fairy from Shakraland (wherever that is).

Previously known as California!  Grin

John
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John Robbins
Hammer
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2012, 03:58:45 PM »

J C Kelly, nice hot 'coal'?   Coal=carbon?  Steel wool=iron+carbon?   Could it still be the carbon in the steel filaments that is burning?   

Just mho.
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Peter
Dale Campbell
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2012, 04:25:01 PM »

The steel burns. Well, it oxidized really, really fast. Oxidation of steel gives off heat. Fast oxidation of steel gives off more heat. Rusting steel gives off heat, too. It's just harder to get warm by.
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Best regards,
Dale
Pete G.
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2012, 08:31:43 PM »

A stainless steel lock would be cool, but where would you find a black polymer stock to go with it?Huh
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Bob Roller
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« Reply #18 on: November 17, 2012, 09:03:10 AM »

I have had a request or two in years past for stainless steel lock plates
for caplocks but never heard of it for a flinter.
Now to the heart of this post. As some of you know,last Spring I had
some urinary tract/bladder problems that played hob with shop work
and recently,both myself and my wife had some sort of "viral respiratory
infection"that was like a cold on steroids and even with Doxycyclene was
hard to shake. I am behind on shop work and have lock orders and will work
as hard as possible and consistent with my idea about quality control to
get this work done,get paid and ship the locks.I am doing my best so rest
assured I haven't forgotten anyone.

Bob Roller
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4ster
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« Reply #19 on: November 17, 2012, 09:59:01 AM »

A stainless steel lock would be cool, but where would you find a black polymer stock to go with it?Huh

As Mark Elliot mentioned that would be Thompson Center   Roll Eyes
http://www.tcarms.com/firearms/firearmDetails.php?ID=5049
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Steve
Dphariss
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« Reply #20 on: November 17, 2012, 10:10:13 AM »

Even alloy steels with chrome & molybdenum spark very poorly. 4140 for example. It will through harden but makes a dismal frizzen.
If you have a cheap 440 stainless knife try running it on a grinder and look at the "sparks".
Then try even unhardened high carbon steel like 1070-1095.
It will be evident why SS frizzens are not going to work.
Stainless, in general, has proven to be a poor material for firearms anyway and I sold off anything I owned with a SS barrel a couple of years ago.
416 and its modifications, is essentially the 12L14 of the stainless world, oversimplification perhaps but 416 barrels DO fail for no reason in applications with pressure levels similar to PRB rifles. It is a "free machining" material.

Dan
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Dphariss
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« Reply #21 on: November 17, 2012, 10:35:00 AM »

Jim,  I was trying not to be judgmental.  After all,  I don't know everything. Cheesy

One of the most glaring flaws of this place is people being afraid to be judgemental OR being hammered for being so in print.  The "don't be judgemental" thing stems from people wanting to do anything they want no matter how immoral or disgusting and then have other people who know better still accept them in society because to do otherwise would be "judgemental".  Its a form of name calling used to brow beat people into accepting immorality and now its creeping into gun building. It is possible to be PC to the point of stupidity.
Stainless steel FLs is a dumb idea. BP is not that corrosive, fouling buildup reduces reliability so it needs to be wiped or washed off anyway. Its not as though you can leave it with fouling buildup or use it without some lubrication.
Just because something is new and modern is not sign it will work in a given application or is even SAFE.

EVERYONE makes judgements everyday. We mentally judge the people we meet and deal with everyday. If we don't we are setting ourselves up for trouble.

Dan
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"American Girls and American Guys
Will always stand up and salute  Will always recognize
When we see Old Glory Flying   There's a lot of men dead   So we can sleep in peace at night   When we lay down our head"
Toby Keith "Courtesy of the Red White and Blue"
FL-Flintlock
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« Reply #22 on: November 17, 2012, 12:01:34 PM »

The 17-4PH (S17400) alloy is the wrong material, at least for the frizzen with its very low 0.03% C content.  420 (S42000) with 0.15% C will take additional C sufficient to produce acceptable ignition in a FL if all is done correctly not only for ending content but also producing the required dilution.  Yes, it "can" be done but it makes no sense when one can simply run a standard production lock through a micro-PTA or CST process for a whole lot less time and cost.

The OP's question asked about a particular alloy, not discussion of historical relevance or personal opinion which are completely irrelevant to the OP's question but since such seems to be the primary concerns ... has anyone considered the possibility that the reason for choosing a low-corroding alloy may be because the guns will be used primarily for display/demonstration where they could not be afforded proper care & maintenance or perhaps on a ship or beach-front location with a highly corrosive atmosphere?  Besides, how many people could tell the alloy composition of equally polished specimens just by looking?
Mark
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Bob Roller
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« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2012, 12:38:43 PM »

How about a knotty pine stock with copper trim?

Bob Roller
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JCKelly
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« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2012, 03:17:51 PM »

Hammer, steel burns.

It is the steel burning that makes a nice glowing hot whatever.

#0000 steel wool, for the Politically Incorrect, makes nice tinder.

Or, just snap your flintlock over a piece of paper. Assuming you don't burn up the paper you will see little curly chips. Of steel. Eyes like mine may require magnification.

The work "frizzen" I understand came from the word "frizzle", which was the steel one used for making fire in general. It was a frizzle because the steel chips (that burn) are like frizzy hair.

Bob R, I really like your idea. With a good grade of pine one needn't even paint the stock.
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