There's a couple of different grades of stainless in these little things. Sure are cool when they are done but the cylinder is 17-4 and the barrel seems even harder. I've spoken with them on the phone a few months back and they were looking for hand engravers. Kinda hard to justify a lot of coverage for a pistol that sells for 80 bucks used. Sure does make a nice gift though.
New Colt SAA From factory in the white, frames easy, hammer and cylinder moderate.
1st generation and BP frames are cast iron until SAA SN range of around 150,000(1894 or so). They can be hard to strip if plated, and need to be anealed if CC finished.
Second and third generation CC frames need to be anealed, most of the time factory plated guns don't.
Never aneal cylinders, even if hard, its just not safe to do so.
Gentlemen...For the harder materials I make my chisels out of industrial hacksaw blades...they hold the edge longer without constant sharpening. I just finished a Ruger Vaquero, and had no problem eventhough the cylinder and barrel are the hardest parts on the gun. The Italian engravers make their chisels out of saw blades from the stone quarries. For those of you who have been to Italy...has anybody discussed this with our fellow engravers over there? Hope this will help.
I'm working for the first time on a Ruger Gold Label. Extremely hard stainless receiver. The area along the edges near the hinge pin goes from hard to glass hard instantly. I would not work on another unless it had been annealed. I am wondering if Paul Lantuch and his team at Ruger have the factory anneal before engraving.
Paul Lantuch later advised that the factory annealed all of the Gold Labels before engraving.
By the way, if you haven't visited Paul's web site you're missing some fine classical engraving art there. http://www.lantuch.com/
Ok In my limited experience Browning shotguns, Remimgton M32, Ithaca M37. Walther TPH, Old Colt 25 pocket auto cut nice and clean. A Stevens single shot about 25yrs old very wierd I think it is some kind of cheap sintered material.
I have been working on a German manufactured Walther PPKS and have found it to be very pleasant to cut.
I recently took a job to inlay gold initials into the bottom of an Anschutz 1712 series trigger guard. The long and short of it is that they are case hardened from the factory. I was able to anneal the guard and complete the job. I made test cuts on the underside before hand and it felt as though it would cut.
One fine day in Austria, a Mr. Glock developed a case hardening treatment to increase the wearability of his slides.
The trade name of this is "Tenifer" and it brings the tool steel slide material to a rockwell hardness of 67 to 68 which according to the factory in Smyrna, GA that is just a few points shy of a diamond.
I didn't know this and unwittingly did commit to engrave a Latin phrase and a raven on the slide of one of these. When I returned the finished product my customer was thrilled and I immediately informed him that this was indeed a very special gun because it is the first and last Glock I will ever agree to put a scratch on.
from Mike Baer: Burnside Breechloading Single Shot Carbine.Steel is so hard I flattened the tool and didn`t even scratch the firearm.
A friend wanted me to engrave the metal parts of one of those "kit" muzzle loader rifles he put together in high school. I started with the cast brass butt plate for the stock and it chips more than it cuts in curls. It has sand still in it and varying degrees of hardness in random places.
As Sam once told me, life's too short to cut bad metals. I'd decline to accept another one of these; I'll keep the pattern simple due to the type and quality of metal. I just hope I can get away with it and no unseen pits show up right where my graver is going.
Maybe this is one for the engravable/non engravable guns sticky?
I would like this post added to the list of guns to avoid for engraving.
I just finished working on a pair of stainless steel 1858 Remington cap & ball replica revolvers made by Pietta. The frames of these guns were made of some of the worst metals that I have had the misfortune to engrave. Fortunately this was a very light coverage job because I would have gone crazy on a full coverage. I have engraved all kinds of stainless steel hanguns and while the cylinders can be very hard they are engraveable. I have never had a problem with any revolver frame so I made the mistake of not test cutting. Once I got into the first one I tried a magnet on it and not surprisingly it would not stick.
In this case it was not a problem of the metal being too hard but its inconsistancy in yeilding to the graver. The surface was fairly hard but when I got a few microns below the surface the tip wanted to go to China. I was constantly fighting to keep the tip in the cut without plowing in too deeply. By the time I was done my jaws ached from gritting my teeth. I have taken a vow not to bother engraving any stainless guns in the future because life is too short for such aggravation.
On the other hand the carbon steel cap & ball guns made by Pietta cut beautifully. I was once able to engrave two entire cylinders without once resharpening my graver and was able to make smoothly flared cuts with the greatest of ease.
I hope this post can save someone else from the nightmare of Pietta's stainless steel.