Flame Cutting, hey Revolver-Time, my experience FT 44Spl

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The Norseman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Messages
348
Location
Black Hills of South Dakota
Morning Ruger Enthusiasts,

Hello everyone. First post here. Just had to join this Great Ruger Forum.
I been coming to this Site for 6 years. I really enjoy the informative posts.

What caused me to join finally, was the Post by Revolver-Time about
Flame Cutting of the Top Strap of the new Ruger/Lipsey Flat Top Blackhawk
44 S&W Special.

Recently I purchased a Rare Ruger/Lipsey Flat Top Blackhawk 44 S&W
Special, 5-1/2 Bbl. (have not shot it). I am very happy with the Quality
and Craftsmanship of this Revolver compared to some of the other Ruger
products I’ve seen. It appears that more care was taken on FT BH 44 Spl’s.

I have not shot this Rare Ruger/Lipsey Flat Top Blackhawk 44 S&W
Special Revolver yet. It really is a Special Revolver to me. I have
always liked the 44 S&W Special, so that is what I am more inclined to
buy and collect.

Well, to the bottom line of this Post. I took out my new never shot Ruger
FT BH 44 Spl. Took the Cylinder out and looked at the Top Strap of
this brand new never shot collector, and guess what.

The Top Strap near the forcing Cone is engraved with what exactly looks
like the Tap for making the Tapped hole in the Receiver for the Barrel to
screw into.

This appears to be a common manufacturing problem. I’ve read several
other places about new revolvers and the so-called Flame Cutting. Some
I believe and others are bogus stories.

I have accepted my Ruger FT BH 44 Spl as is. I will not, will not try
to get it fixed/replaced. I do have another very high quality Revolver
(not to mention any names USFA) that I thought was Flame Cut, but
upon investigating (had a nick where the Tap hit to start another thread
and my 44 Spl loads in no way would cause Flame Cutting, no signs in
my other 44s) it is not Flame Cutting (engraving cut not getting bigger).

Well that’s my experience. What I have learned now is if Flame Cutting
bothers you, just inspect and ask questions about the Revolvers before
purchasing.

Thank you for reading about my Observations.

See Yeaw
 

Revolver-Time

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
216
Location
Savannah, Georgia
Welcome to the forum. I am very happy you found these tool marks before you used you pistol. Ruger verified that the marks on my pistol were due to cutting the barrel threads.
When I called them they asked me to return the pistol so they could "inspect and test it". After Ruger received my pistol they called me and said they were gong to reinstall the barrel and refinish the gun. Shortly after that they called me again and said they were not going to put it back together but they were going to send me a new one. I don't know why they changed their minds on the fix or replace decision. Perhaps they damaged the original gun while testing or perhaps they found a non-fixable issue. Maybe they couldn't get the barrel back on right. I don't think the front sight was centered because I had to crank the rear sight all the way over just to get on paper at 25 yards.
I can't wait to get that model back. I have a old model 357 and a 50th 357 BH. I really like that frame size and when Ruger put the .44 spl out I had to have one.
Good luck with your Blackhawk and again welcome to the forum.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
Welcome to the forum, Norseman.

Just to clarify: The issue you describe, while apparently a problem, is not what is widely referred to as "flame cutting". Flame cutting is caused by high pressure rounds etching the top strap. This obviously is not the case in your brand new, never fired (except for test rounds) revolver. What is being described here is a manufacturing defect of some type, presumably the barrel thread cutting die being run too deep.

In the case of R-T's gun, I can imagine that Ruger, being a typical overly safety (litigation) conscious corporation, decided tool marks in the top strap could conceivably compromise its integrity (or cause someone to question it), and decided not to simply reassemble it. My guess is he'll get another one once they tool up for producing the newly cataloged mid-frame .44 Special. This is, of course, all conjecture on my part.

-- Sam
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
Location
Upstate SC
As much as I read about flame cutting, I have to say that I have never seen what I would call flame cutting in 50 years of revolver shooting. I am not saying it does not exist, because people I trust have experienced it. But there's no way it is as common as folks seem to believe.

Usually, what I have seen described as flame-cutting has actually been either tool marks or lead deposits. A friend of mine was dismayed to find a rather large "scoop-out" in the frame of a 1917 S&W he had bought. A gunsmith told him it was flame cutting -- damaged beyond repair. He nearly wept for joy when I showed him that it was the way the revolver was designed and originally built.
 

Revolver-Time

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 10, 2009
Messages
216
Location
Savannah, Georgia
pisgah":xa9wklh9 said:
As much as I read about flame cutting, I have to say that I have never seen what I would call flame cutting in 50 years of revolver shooting. I am not saying it does not exist, because people I trust have experienced it. But there's no way it is as common as folks seem to believe.

Usually, what I have seen described as flame-cutting has actually been either tool marks or lead deposits. A friend of mine was dismayed to find a rather large "scoop-out" in the frame of a 1917 S&W he had bought. A gunsmith told him it was flame cutting -- damaged beyond repair. He nearly wept for joy when I showed him that it was the way the revolver was designed and originally built.
I don't think it is common but it certainly does happen. I think Ruger discontinued the .357 Maximum because of it. I have a 686 Smith that cut for a while but it does not seem that it is getting deeper. I did switch loads fron 125 grs. to 158 grs.
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
Location
Cape Cod, MA, USA
pisgah":2fqre8q1 said:
As much as I read about flame cutting, I have to say that I have never seen what I would call flame cutting in 50 years of revolver shooting. I am not saying it does not exist, because people I trust have experienced it. But there's no way it is as common as folks seem to believe.

Usually, what I have seen described as flame-cutting has actually been either tool marks or lead deposits. A friend of mine was dismayed to find a rather large "scoop-out" in the frame of a 1917 S&W he had bought. A gunsmith told him it was flame cutting -- damaged beyond repair. He nearly wept for joy when I showed him that it was the way the revolver was designed and originally built.
And from what I hear, even if it occurs, it usually doesn't progress to the point of weakening the frame.

-- Sam
 

Ruger1441

Blackhawk
Joined
Apr 11, 2004
Messages
618
Location
Lehi, UT
I've read about it. Had a touch on a couple of well used guns. Funny thing is that once I notice it it never seemed to get any worse.
 

The Norseman

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 5, 2009
Messages
348
Location
Black Hills of South Dakota
Cleaning the Rare Ruger/Lipsey Flat Top Blackhawk 44 S&W
Special Revolver. This Revolver has not been shot yet (Ruger
shot it 3 times). Thought I'd show you a picture of Tap engraving.
Hope it's not to dark.

RFTTapcut20per.jpg
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,190
Location
51st state of Jefferson
Revolver-Time":1lbx3e4s said:
pisgah":1lbx3e4s said:
I don't think it is common but it certainly does happen. I think Ruger discontinued the .357 Maximum because of it. I have a 686 Smith that cut for a while but it does not seem that it is getting deeper. I did switch loads fron 125 grs. to 158 grs.
Yes, much ballyhoo was made over the Max "flamecutting" by guys driving light bullets as fast as possible instead of heavy bullets for silhouette as intended. Now we don't have the Max anymore. And as you pointed out, it's a "self limiting" process anyway.....Dennis :x (Who would love to find a .357 Maximum that's "ruined" for cheap.. :roll: )
 

pisgah

Buckeye
Joined
Apr 17, 2006
Messages
1,633
Location
Upstate SC
Bucks Owin":3c2b0l21 said:
Revolver-Time":3c2b0l21 said:
pisgah":3c2b0l21 said:
I don't think it is common but it certainly does happen. I think Ruger discontinued the .357 Maximum because of it. I have a 686 Smith that cut for a while but it does not seem that it is getting deeper. I did switch loads fron 125 grs. to 158 grs.
Yes, much ballyhoo was made over the Max "flamecutting" by guys driving light bullets as fast as possible instead of heavy bullets for silhouette as intended. Now we don't have the Max anymore. And as you pointed out, it's a "self limiting" process anyway.....Dennis :x (Who would love to find a .357 Maximum that's "ruined" for cheap.. :roll: )

Well, that wasn't me you quoted, but that's OK. Yes, the .357 Maximun caused flame cutting. However, I have never seen flame cutting from normal 125 gr. .357 Mag loads, and I don't believe that the original problems with them in K-frame S&Ws inclided such allegations. Cracked forcing cones and wrecked timing, yes; flame cutting, I don't think so.
 

Bucks Owin

Hunter
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,190
Location
51st state of Jefferson
pisgah":3j5mj29j said:
Well, that wasn't me you quoted, but that's OK. Yes, the .357 Maximun caused flame cutting. However, I have never seen flame cutting from normal 125 gr. .357 Mag loads, and I don't believe that the original problems with them in K-frame S&Ws inclided such allegations. Cracked forcing cones and wrecked timing, yes; flame cutting, I don't think so.
Oops, didn't mean you specifically amigo, I meant "in general". The fine .357 Maximum Ruger was badmouthed by dudes seeing if they could get Mach 10 with light bullets which as I gather caused some flamecutting. That wasn't the point of the Max, it was to reliably down rams at 200 yds with 180+ gr bullets. But as I said, even though the process stops at a certain point, the hue and cry caused Ruger to discontinue a great gun. FWIW, I stay away from hot 125 gr loads in my own K frame M-19. Sorry for not annunciatin' very well......Dennis :wink: (Now, they're being used to build things like the .475 and .500 Linebaugh "Long" etc)
 

cubrock

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
835
Location
NC
I've had very minor flame cutting in several magnum revolvers that I've shot a good bit. I had a lot in my S&W 329PD with relatively few rounds. That gun has a replaceable steel insert in the topstrap to mitigate flame cutting in the scandium frame.

I agree with what others have said here about most "flame cutting" being deposits and, especially, tool marks.
 

Enigma

Hunter
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
2,148
Location
Houston metro area, TX
cubrock":25dzm0si said:
I've had very minor flame cutting in several magnum revolvers that I've shot a good bit. I had a lot in my S&W 329PD with relatively few rounds. That gun has a replaceable steel insert in the topstrap to mitigate flame cutting in the scandium frame.

I agree with what others have said here about most "flame cutting" being deposits and, especially, tool marks.

I think Ruger could have licked the alleged problems with the .357 Max with a similar replaceable insert, and maybe a replaceable insert for the forcing cone. It might have raised the price a bit, but in my mind anyway, it would have been worth it.

The forcing cone insert would have to be very closely fitted, but it could be done. Alternately, they could have lined the first inch or so of the bore with stellite, like the Army does (some) machine gun barrels.
 

Rick Courtright

Hawkeye
Joined
Mar 10, 2002
Messages
7,897
Location
Redlands CA USA
pisgah":2juze1gs said:
As much as I read about flame cutting, I have to say that I have never seen what I would call flame cutting in 50 years of revolver shooting.

Hi,

My .357 Mag Bisley and a buddy's .44 Mag 629-? have developed what's often called "flame cutting." It took probably 3000+ rounds in the Bisley, and around 1500 rds or so in the 629 for the "damage" to appear.

At first it worried me, but as so many have reported, the "problem" seems to have been self-limiting in both our guns.

Some have suggested it's a function of the ammo being fired, but my GP gets the same diet as the Bisley, has a similar round count, and no damage is evident. The notes about tap damage make me wonder: is some of it too minor to notice at first, yet still deep enough to create a weak point where erosion by gas/residue blast forces can start?

Rick C
 

Carry_Up

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 22, 2007
Messages
374
Location
Phoenix, AZ
It is interesting to me to see so many repetitions of the story that flame cutting is somehow self-limiting. For whatever reason, if the escaping gases are hot enough, metal removal will not mysteriously come to a halt. It makes more sense that the owner takes note of the cutting, discovers the likely cause and then backs off on his power loads. Good photo of the top strap cut by a tap, btw.

Carry_Up
 

cubrock

Blackhawk
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
Messages
835
Location
NC
Carry_Up":2kmrq86n said:
It is interesting to me to see so many repetitions of the story that flame cutting is somehow self-limiting. For whatever reason, if the escaping gases are hot enough, metal removal will not mysteriously come to a halt. It makes more sense that the owner takes note of the cutting, discovers the likely cause and then backs off on his power loads. Good photo of the top strap cut by a tap, btw.

Carry_Up




Metal removal comes to a halt because the groove gets deep enough that the gas cools/dissipates to a point that it no longer cuts the metal.
 

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