Hardness test

Oct 26, 2017
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Hollis Oklahoma
#1
I was given an 03a3 that burned in a fire roughly 30 years ago. The only thing left from the rifle is the barrel and action. The fire was hot enough to warp the barrel. I would like to rebuild this rifle conisidering it’s somewhat of a family heirloom. I haven’t found any companies yet that will do a hardness test on the action to tell me if it’s safe to return it to a fully functional rifle. If you know someone or could do it please message me. This was my grandfathers first rifle and I would love to make it new again if possible.
 

Culpeper

One divided by F
Nov 25, 2006
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Roswell NM
#2
If it got hot enough to warp the barrel then the rest the steel should be considered compromised. It is either too hard or soft now and there is a possibility it is no longer true any longer. A simple scratch test should suffice though on the hardness just out of curiosity.
 
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Culpeper

One divided by F
Nov 25, 2006
1,727
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Roswell NM
#6
Worst case, you can always rebuild it as a disabled firearm and hang it on the wall. Or as is as an example of family overcoming hardship.
 
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Early Cuyler

Gunny Sergeant
Mar 3, 2011
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#7
Most gunsmiths that would do the rebuild aren't going to have hardness testers. I would look for a machine shop that has to verify incoming material. A lot of them have calibrated testers (we do).

As above though, if the barrel warped, the steel of the action should be considered suspect at best. If you're dead-set on building it out, I wouldn't trust the steel until it gets a full gamut of heat treatment. Not sure how much that'd cost but I'd wager it's more than a couple of bucks on top of whatever re-machining you'd have to do to make it useable.
 
Sep 14, 2005
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Texas
#8
An engineering materials testing lab should probably be able to help you out. I agree, though, it's going to be several pennies per test. In addition, you'd probably need to test the receiver and various pieces of the bolt.
 

Ledzep

Chancellor
Jun 9, 2009
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Black Hills
#9
Here's the problem... At best it got a very thorough temper and will be softer and weaker than it was before hand. If it got hot enough to normalize the steel, forget it.

Theoretically you could heat treat it again but you don't know the composition of the steel, and by the time you tested it and figured out the necessary heat treat and sent it off you probably could have paid for at least another complete 03a3. Never mind finding, fitting, finishing, installing a new barrel, stock, sights, etc... And assuming the heat treat doesn't warp or crack what's left.

Would be a cool project or story but akin to guys that spend $80000 restoring a $20000 car.
 
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bohem

PVA's HMFIC
Jan 6, 2009
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Southeast, PA
www.patriotvalleyarms.com
#10
I have a Hardness tester and a whole range of indenters and standards. If you really want a number I can provide it but without knowing what the steel is... I wouldn't shoot so much as a 9mm in it.

To build on what @Ledzep said:
If you sent the receiver to a lab and had it tested for composition then you could send it off with those results and get it heat treated again. It may or may not be decarburized from the experience it has had, who knows without testing.

From there you can chase down a heat treat, then a gunsmith that works on 03's and rebuild it into something with a cool story but doing so you need to understand this is going to be a money pit project.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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Hollis Oklahoma
#11
That was my worry and I see it as pointless to rebuild it Into a non functioning firearm. It would have been nice to get it working again but the thought of that actually happening in my grandfathers lifetime just isn’t realistic.
 
Oct 26, 2017
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Hollis Oklahoma
#12
I debated on rebuilding it and doing the whole tie a string to it and run a shit ton of rounds thru it. To see if it would come apart but that seems like a lot of waisted time, effort and money to watch it blow up. I guess it would look cool when it did.
 
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