The word welding and soldering is often miss-used in our every day conversations but is acceptable. Webster’s definition of weld: unite metallic parts by applying heat and sometimes pressure allowing the metals to be bonded. Soldering is below 800 degrees and brazing is above 800. We often say we silver soldered a part on when actually we should say brazed because most silver flows above 800 degrees. But technically we can say welded on meaning soldered, brazed or welded steel rod filler.
At any rate I think the preferred method is to silver braze the mag-funnel on, DONE CORRECTLY it isn’t coming off. I use the Brownells Silaloy 335 silver solder .005 ribbon and 1/32” round wire. I would not use soft solder 475 degrees. The .005 ribbon is sliced and sandwiched in between the frame and mag-well and then heated to 1205 degrees, a dull red. If there is stress in the mag-well sometimes the rear will spread when the heat is applied. I made a C-clamp with two ¼-20 screws turned to a point to clamp the rear of the funnel tight to the frame. The Silvaloy 355 is some powerful stuff, I use it to braze carbide inserts on lathe bits, treading tools etc…they hold-up very well in spite of the tremendous tool pressure. One big problem the smith may encounter is the solder quickly running in the checkering. I solved this problem by using my top secret “Yellow Ochre Powder” (which isn’t top secret any more) purchased from Jantz 1-800-351-8900 catalog # JHOP made by Grobet the file people, Jantz has many knife and gunsmithing supply and is a good outfit to deal with, their catalog is a must. Mix the powder in a bottle cap with water to a paste, careful it is deadly poison. Then I paint it on the first 3 or 4 rows of checkering under the mag-well, paint it on thin using a twisty tie for a paint paddle, dry with a hair drier and build up to about a 1/16 th above the checkering, it will take about 3 layers. This stuff will stop solder flow dead in its tracks, heat paste is useless in my book. Then carefully flux the solder area careful not to disturb the Yellow Ochre, remember the solder won’t stick if you contaminate the solder area with it.
It is a little difficult to hold the mag-well on, flux and keep the ribbon solder in place so I made a little hold down fixture that consist of a spring loaded rod that extends through the mag-well and through the frame to hold things in place till it is soldered on. Brownells sells some other stuff called “Silver Solder Pastes for the practical gunworker” its powdered solder mixed in flux, they make 3 flavors and I’m not sure which to try, for $25.38 a once I’m chicken to buy all 3 and have it not work properly for my application. Soldering is a real mess when things go wrong. Maybe someone out there has tried it and can give us some input if it’s any good.
I tig welded a mag-well on for Blindhogg but I just ran a bead of welded under the grip panels, so the weld will be covered by the grips, he was pleased. It would be a heck of a lot of work to tig weld around the whole circumference on the inside of the funnel and clean it up. Hope you picked–up a tip or two, Metal Smith
Sorry I don’t have a camera or I would take a picture of the mag-funnel fixture for you. ArmySon had taken the photos posted when I was working on his pistol. Now I know what it means when they say a picture is worth 1000 words (in this case 1231 words). I need a camera.
Your right when you said your taking on some advanced gunsmithing, these solder jobs are a lot of work but they are very satisfying when complete. Good luck, you have been warned!
The jig to hold the funnel in place while soldering is rather simple and is of my own design.
I could measure and give you exact dimensions but my jig is kind of fudged together. I suspect you will have to do the same because you may not have the exact materials on hand that I have. No big deal, use whatever you have on hand to fabricate it. Below I will give you the basic concept. You can probably make your fixture simpler and nicer.
To fabricate: I used a ¼ inch round rod long enough to go through the mag-well plus an extra inch on each end. If I made another fixture I would probably use a 5/16-rod but a ¼ works.
Mill a 1/8th-inch slot about ¾ inch long on one end of the rod. Next you need a piece of bar-stock 1/8th thick x ½ wide x 1-1/2 inch long, this will go through the slot to hold the funnel down in the soldering position. Chamfer the bar to a knife-edge where it contacts the mag-funnel to minimize the heat that will run up into the bar when soldering. (The first one I made I drilled it for a 1/8th inch dowel pin and the heat bent the pin before the job was done).
The opposite end is threaded for ¼-20 nut, drilled & slotted for a 1/8th-inch dowel pin so when you tighten down on the nut it pulls the bar down tight on the funnel.
Start by slotting the rod for the ½ x 1/8th inch bar-stock and then place the rod through the frame. Line-up your spring & nut on the other end of the rod and mark where your 1/8 inch dowel pin should be drilled & slotted.
Now to get a little fancy I installed a spring loaded nut on the end that clamps tight to the top of the frame rails. With light spring tension you can raise the funnel and slip the strips of solder under. If you put the spring at the funnel end the heat will ruin the spring.
I made a nut out of a piece of ½ inch in diameter brass round stock ¾ inch long and bored a hole through it large enough to accept the spring and deep enough so a few coils are hanging out to provide the desired spring tension. Before I start to solder I tighten down on the nut so the spring is full compressed inside the nut. I’m tightening the fixture down hard with the nut, not the spring.
OR A BETTER IDEA; instead of slotting for the dowel pin, use a washer on the rod instead of the 1/8th inch dowel pin to butt-up against the frame, your spring & nut will butt-up to the washer, this method should be easier to make and work better
Next tip: when the strips of solder are in place push the funnel TIGHT to the rear towards the mainspring housing and then tighten your clamp. Make SURE there are no burrs on the frame or funnel to prevent it from fitting-up snug and square.
I only lay the solder strips on the frame flats and the flats on the sides at the mainspring pinholes.
I DON”T try to put a small piece of solder in the corner where the funnel contacts back at the mainspring housing web. If you put a piece in there you will have a solder joint the thickness off the solder strip (.005 minimum) or larger. I fill the corners with the 1/32 Sivaloy round wire from Brownells order # 080-538-432,10 feet for $10.21.
DON’T be cheesy putting on your flux, put it on like you aren’t pay’n for it! Thoroughly paint it on all the way down to the trigger guard. This will keep the frame from oxidizing and changing colors from the heat. If the flux is a little stiff (order # 080-5380-050 Ultra Flux) mix with a little bit of water so it paints on nice.
DON’T contaminate the jar of flux with a dirty brush, make sure the whole frame is thoroughly clean so you don’t pick-up dirt or oil off the frame and dip it in the flux container.
It is VERY critical to have everything set-up properly and have everything you need readily at hand before you start applying the heat, this is a one shot deal. If you mess-it-up you’ll damn near need a blow torch to get the funnel back off and a heck of a lot of clean-up to get it right to re-start the solder job over again!
You will also have to cut a ½ moon piece of ribbon solder to go around the frontstrap radius, cut this thin about a 1/16th wide. I do this in 2 halves (1/4 moons) scribe a line around the ribbon solder with something approximately 5/8 to ¾’s in diameter and trim it out with a pair of scissors. Just as the solder is ready to start to flow I apply the heat on the inside of the funnel to draw the solder to the inside of the mag-well to reduce the flow to inside the checkering.
DO NOT over heat to the point where you start to burn the flux, to much heat is no good.
Everyone seems to have their own methods of silver soldering; this method works best for me. By all means he you come-up with a method that works best for you stick with it, very little is carved in stone.
One thing that I use out of convenience is 2 portable Burns-a-Matic Mapp gas torches that you can buy at the big hardware stores or Wal-Marts, K-Marts. Mapp Gas burns hotter then Propane and last a long time. Before I start to solder I light both torches at the same time and keep one on stand by in case I need more heat quick. Burns-a-Matic also make a small rig with an oxygen-propane set-up that comes with a small hand held torch. It looks perfect for the advanced hobbyist that doesn’t want to invest in a full-blown oxie acetylene rig. I bought this rig and used-up the bottle of oxygen before I got the funnel soldered on. A new bottle of oxygen cost about 15 bux and they feel like they are empty when you buy them. I scrapped the rig, don’t waste your money on one.
I will edit my old post and add the above to it. For anyone wanting future reference go to the “HOW TO” section at the beginning of the “Form Board”. If you don’t see it there you may have to click back to page 2 or 3 to find it.
Hope this answers your questions on the subject, if not feel free to contact me directly.
[This message has been edited by Metal Smith (edited 09-06-2001).]