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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to this website, but not green. I have two Colts that shoot well enough, but I want to improve them. I want to have the barrel hoods welded and refitted to the breech-face. My question is basically, will welding discolor the chamber area, and destroy the heat-treatment? Also, how important is barrel hood fit for accuracy purposes? Right now the barrels lock-up tight on the bottom and top lugs, and in the collet bushing area. Thanks for any input.

Ralph
 

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Hi Kitt, 1st weclome to the Forum,

Yes, the welding will most likely discolor the barrel, but I wouldn't worry about it, and it will impove the accuracy, Colt does make a pretty good barrel.

Of course welding on the barrel will alter the heat treat, but not enough I’d worry about it, (remember you melting molten metal) and it depends who does the welding, I use cooper backers to hold the heat to keep from cooling to fast. I run a finish reamer when I'm done.

Theoretically, the slide stop should push the barrel up into the upper lugs of the slide and center the barrel in the slide like a V-block, on factory barrels this don’t always happen. I like welding the rear hood to center it to a gauge fit. First the slide is set-up, the barrel channel and the hood is indicated and the measurements are then transferred on to the barrel.

Here is a link to explain more on welding, its long, but the welding part is at the end, hope this helps, Pete
http://www.1911forum.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000009.html
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Metal Smith

The only thing I know for sure is what I can measure!
NRA Life Member

[This message has been edited by Metal Smith (edited 10-28-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Originally posted by Metal Smith:
Hi Kitt, 1st weclome to the Forum,

Yes, the welding will most likely discolor the barrel, but I wouldn't worry about it, and it will impove the accuracy, Colt does make a pretty good barrel.

Of course welding on the barrel will alter the heat treat, but not enough I’d worry about it, (remember you melting molten metal) and it depends who does the welding, I use cooper backers to hold the heat to keep from cooling to fast. I run a finish reamer when I'm done.

Theoretically, the slide stop should push the barrel up into the upper lugs of the slide and center the barrel in the slide like a V-block, on factory barrels this don’t always happen. I like welding the rear hood to center it to a gauge fit. First the slide is set-up, the barrel channel and the hood is indicated and the measurements are then transferred on to the barrel.

Here is a link to explain more on welding, its long, but the welding part is at the end, hope this helps, Pete
http://www.1911forum.com/ubb/Forum11/HTML/000009.html

Thank You for answering. Its great to finally get someone who knows how to do this stuff. How can I contact you?
 

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Hello everyone,
I’d like to clarify a few points on welding barrels that rhyrlik raised. I don’t want y’all to think something’s a matter with me make’n the short post above.


Providing the barrel is properly welded the discoloration should be minimal and only noticeable to the trained eye. The difference in color you see will most likely is caused by the steel becoming harder in the welded area. The heat should be localized to the hood area, the hood is not a real critical area as far as the strength of the barrel goes, you could probably cut it off and it will still function. The heat-treat at the front locking lug is the most critical because that’s the part the slide engages to take the barrel for a ride rearward and slam back into battery
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Most revolver and rifle barrels Rockwell @ RC-28 to 34, high quality auto pistol barrels will check @ about a RC-38 to 41. The reason autos are harder is because of the battering of the slide action, not because they needs a higher strength because of cartridge pressure. Bar-Sto’s and Colt’s tend to Rockwell the highest.

Welding and refitting barrels can get pretty time consuming and sometimes are not worth the effort when you can buy a new match barrel for a little over a $100, I guess it all depends how much your times worth. Some factory barrels are crude and not fit for welding. I also wouldn’t bother welding a barrel with over 20,000 in it.

The process I go through to weld a barrel: First the barrel is welded, put in the lathe to clean-up the rough weld, go to the mill, indicate slide and then machine the slide measurements onto barrel, hand fit hood to the slide, back to lathe and finish ream chamber and polish, turn O.D. of barrel for proper barrel bushing relief, fit new barrel bushing, crown barrel, install new tight tolerance .283 barrel link. Easy 2, 2-1/2 hour job.

Interesting note: sometimes when finish reaming a Colt barrel, with the first few twists of the reamer, you can read the “Colt –45 ACP-“ stamping on the INSIDE of the chamber were the stamp dented in the chamber, hardly a good condition.

I’m a little leery about welding the lower lugs (barrel feet); this will definitely change the heat treat because the lugs are small and thin. I have welded them before with good result but it still doesn’t sit right with me. This is A LOT more extra work for a little bit more accuracy, MAYBE. And, when everything is all said & done all you have is a welded-up barrel. I would definitely go new Match Grade or new drop-in before I’d weld the bottom lugs.

I’ll leave the welders with a tip I use on my bench; for a heat sink inside the chamber turn a copper plug the size of a go-gauge and drill a ¼” hole through the center, and then split it with a saw, then I turn a oversized ¼” plug for the center hole with a slight taper to tighten it in the chamber. This allows me to tap the plug out after welding to remove the gauge sink; otherwise the weld build-up will not allow you to remove a solid plug. I also make a cooper sleeve for the outside diameter.

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Metal Smith

The only thing I know for sure is what I can measure!
NRA Life Member

[This message has been edited by Metal Smith (edited 10-30-2001).]
 

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Unless the pistol has to be as-is/as-issued, I don't weld. You are dependant on the quality of the barrel, and could find that after all your work accuracy hasn't changed.

(If all Colt barrels were accurate, Bar-sto would have never been started)

For the cost and effort, and unknown end result, buying a match barrel is a better bet.
 
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