sear spring work that makes sense

Discussion in 'General Hi-Point Discussion' started by DrDenby, Aug 15, 2015.

  1. DrDenby

    DrDenby Member

    I finally got my C9 stripped to the bone.

    I was surprised at how little work needed to be done. Very few "burrs" , feed ramp smooth.

    Then of course there is the absolutely brutal sear spring.

    I saw some crazy ideas for stretching it, replacing it with "springs of your liking", clicker spring etc.

    I don't want to be near any of you who have done this while you are shooting.

    What I did do, was what I have done to all firing springs in all my guns, including the 2 in this one, is this.

    Take a heating gun and heat the spring until it is red hot. With (I use) forked tweezers place the spring in CLP grease ( I use Seal CLP for this and on all my slides ) then, without wiping it off, put the spring in the freezer for a couple minutes. Then wipe it off.

    There is a metallurgy term for this, I don't know what it is, but it basically "permanently" lubes the spring. I do this for every firing spring I have.

    For the sear spring, go ahead and put a little more CLP grease on it, and reassemble the gun.

    You will be amazed at the improved feel and function of the gun without compromising the reliability and safety.

    Anyways, just my trying to give back to the forum that has helped me with this crazy gun (I say affectionately about the gun). It truly is like no other I have had.

  2. RustyJ25

    RustyJ25 Member

    I believe the process you are talking about is called homogenization. I work at an aluminum smelter and that is what we do. Heat the aluminum billets (before they are cut to spec) to the point they become "soft" allowing the alloy to distribute throughout and then place them in large cooling furnaces to freeze the alloy in place to get even distribution. Actually strengthens the metal throughout.

  3. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Don't take this the wrong way, but don't do this. It hardens the spring and ruins the factory Heat Treatment. Making springs is a delicate balance of choosing the right steel alloy, the right wire diameter, the right circumference of coils, and the right number of coils per inch, then using the right Heat Treat to properly "temper" and "harden" the steel. It's a remarkably complex piece of engineering and chemistry. Heating the steel to red hot (usually this is past "magnetic") and then re-quenching the steel changes the internal crystalline structure of the steel, in this case likely making it too brittle, changing the compression and elastic properties (which were determined through a specific engineering process), and probably reducing the life of the spring.

    Don't do it.

    No it doesn't. At best, it seals a layer of oil "char" on the surface of the spring. A vastly better option is to spend the time to polish the surface of the spring and whatever surfaces it interfaces with such as the outer surface of the firing pin and the inside of the firing pin channel. Then use a decent light oil for lube such as sewing machine oil, Breakfree CLP (tm), or any of a zillion other products.

    Again, don't take this as me being a douche, but the process described above doesn't permanently lube the spring, but it does change the crystalline structure of the steel.

    I know that some manufacturers have zinc plated their springs because it does increase lubricity and corrosion resistance (specifically, the recoil spring on the Beretta Nano), though it's pretty rare to do so.

    DIY home zinc plating is pretty easy. Maybe you should give it a whirl? I did it to a C9 magazine. My experiments in DIY copper and nickel plating were less effective, though I haven't given up all hope yet. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
  4. talon

    talon the banned wagon

    +1 on this. Once a piece of metal is heat treated, heating it cherry red destroys its temperment. Yes it can be re-heat treated but NOT as you are doing it. Your setting yourself up for a failure in the metal doing it your way OP.
    And as for your "permanent lubrication" concept, again, it doesnt work that way. Your doing nothing but putting a surface layer of cold oil on it. Its gone after a few cycles of warming up from use.
  5. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    It doesn't work quite the same way for steel.

    Peace favor your sword,
  6. Dragonbreath

    Dragonbreath Member

    Don't do it. The reason the gun feels different after doing that is that you have softened the springs. It's the same thing as some ricer kid heating the springs on his Honda to lower it.
  7. jcwit

    jcwit Member

    I tried heating the whole gun up, but it melted, now what, will MOM give me a new one if I send in the blob.
  8. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    In the past, yes. The question is up in the air, now.

    Peace favor your sword,
  9. undeRGRound

    undeRGRound ROLL wif Da MOLE! Supporting Member

    Freezing Metal is a form of stress relief, but I doubt that your home freezer
    can reach a low enough temp to actually do any good. In fact, I know it can't!

    Now, using rubbing alcohol and dry ice (ghetto cryo-treat) could help.
    But I would not haphazardly remove heat treating first! That is what you
    did, cherry red heat, then an oil quench. HARDENING? Likely, but with that
    comes brittleness. Liquid Nitrogen dip would be the best cryogenic treatment.
  10. ace

    ace Member

    I also agree with iklawson on this one. When I was in school we would make chisels and punches and we would heat them red hot and dunk them into used motor oil to harden and add carbon. But this does kind of add lube but not really in the form of lube. What it does is the same as your grandma seasoning cast iron cooking pans. By baking the thin layer of fat/oil on makes carbon. Carbon is slicker than snot if done right.
  11. DrDenby

    DrDenby Member

    Thanks for these explanations everyone.

    I guess I was using info that I learned way back when in shop and then wrongly applying it.

    A note of interest is that I have not needed to replace a spring yet on some of my older guns that I have done this to.

    I do have a spare striker spring from a FNS-40 . I might take that and the one inside my gun to a metal fabrication shop that is nearby and have them test the 2 for a comparison in ductility, fatigue, etc

    to see if it really has gotten more brittle and such.

    Thanks again. I always like things that make me think and can test

  12. lklawson

    lklawson Staff Member

    Now I'm channeling information from my blacksmith and knife-making friends. I've only Heat Treated a few times myself so take this as me repeating what I've been told mostly.

    The most important element is temperature control. Optimum Heat Treat requires that the steel be heated to a specific temperature and then cooled quickly but not too quickly. And it's different for different steel alloys. Usually the right amount of heat is to push the steel into bright cherry red, past magnetic (the point where a magnet will stick to it), but not so hot that the steel loses all rigidity. Experienced smiths have enough time at the forge to just kinda look at the steel and tell visually. Amateurs will often use a permanent magnet to see if it sticks. Pro-shops and manufacturers use temperature controlled and monitored heat-treating furnaces and a chart of the exact temperature needed for any given alloy of steel. Once the proper temperature is reached uniformly throughout the entire piece, it is rapidly cooled, usually in oil or heated oil, called "Quenching." This "shrinks" the crystalline lattice, trapping carbon atoms, and makes the steel hard and brittle. This is called "Hardening." Most steels need to be Hardened in oil because it cools the steel slightly slower than other mediums. Cool too fast and the steel is too hard and risks being fractured and cracked during the cooling. Cool too slow and it doesn't harden at all. Quenching in water, or even Brine, is considered dangerous for most steels because of the hardness, stresses, and risk of cracking and micro-cracking, though some smiths do it with certain steels. Very often, the steel is then re-heated to a lower temperature and then allowed to slowly air cool, relieving some of the hardness and releasing some stress from the piece. This is called "Tempering." The whole process is, generically, called "Heat Treating."

    During the Hardening process, if the steel is not heated enough, it is said that the Hardening "didn't take." It might have been heated to cherry red, but it not a high enough temperature. This will have the effect of softening the steel over all.

    As I wrote, different alloys have different optimum temperatures but most of the "high carbon tool steels" seem to have similar heat ranges so most of those react pretty similar. "Spring Steels," I'm told, have different temperature ranges as well. And, of course, there are a range of "Air Hardening" tool steels which are designed to self-harden and temper without the Heat Treating process. There are some pitfalls with using Air Hardening steel, I'm told, but darned if I can remember what they are.

    It's really a neat area of study. At one point, literally, considered magic, it is at once a Science and an Art. :)

    Peace favor your sword,
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2015