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February 18th, 2009

Melonite Surface Treatment for Barrels, Bolts, and Actions

Melonite surface hardeningAce trigger-puller Joel Kendrick, a former IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has been working on a MELONITE® nitrocarburizing process for surface-hardening barrels and other gun parts. The main advantage of Melonite barrel treatment is that it reduces friction in the bore and lessens bore surface wear, potentially extending barrel life. Melonite-treatment of a bore creates a new compound layer in the top 10-20 microns of the surface, creating a very hard, slick surface. Joel has found that this surface is so slick that carbon does not easily adhere, so the barrel is easier to keep clean. Real-world tests have shown that Melonite barrel treatment definitely reduces internal barrel friction. Joel notes that, after processing, barrels deliver 50 to 100 fps LESS velocity with the same load, a reliable indicator of reduced friction. (Likewise, you’ll get less velocity when switching from naked to moly-coated bullets.) Butch Lambert has tried some Melonite-treated barrels, and he reports: “I have had Joel Kendrick do three barrels for me in Melonite. I polished them first and the finish is like a deep polished black-bluing. One Krieger has 5000 rounds on it and it is shooting just as well as when new. It has been an incredible barrel. It has no throat erosion. It has developed a bunch of pinprick looking spots in the throat, but doesn’t seem to hurt anything. The finish is so hard you can’t thread it. I have not put one of the LV barrels on yet and the heavy is a great shooter and doesn’t have many rounds on it. My experience has been great, but a more extensive test is needed.”

Salt-bath nitrocarburizing by Melonite process has been applied in a wide range of industries throughout the world for many decades. It is used to improve the wear resistance, the fatigue strength, and corrosion resistance of components made from steel, cast iron, and sintered iron materials. The Melonite process is used as an alternative to other surface engineering processes such as case hardening.

Kendrick Melonite barrel

Joel tells us: “I have been experimenting with this Melonite process for the last five years. I have been testing nitrocarburized barrels on my F-class and Long Range equipment since 2005 with good results. What will it cost? Joel expects Melonite treatment will cost under $100.00 per barrel, but the final pricing structure hasn’t been set yet. There will be volume discounts for gunsmiths and manufacturers.

There are many potential applications of Melonite processing for shooters, Joel believes. In addition to barrels, bolts, actions, internal components, and even reloading equipment can be surface-hardened with the Melonite process. After processing, the surface compound layers formed consist of iron, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen. Due to its microstructure, the compound layer does not possess metallic properties. Depending on material used, the compound layer will have a Vickers hardness of about 800 to 1500 HV, and a layer depth of 10 to 20 micorons. That’s so hard that conventional reamers won’t work well on a Melonited surface, so the barrel must be chambered BEFORE Melonite processing.

Kendrick Melonite barrel

Lower Friction, Less Throat Erosion, Longer Barrel Life
Joel believes there are many benefits to Melonite barrel processing. The barrels he has treated and tested have shown reduced fouling, less throat erosion, and extended useful barrel life. Melonite-treated Chrome-moly barrels will have improved corrosion resistance as well. But are there negatives? According to Joel, “with stainless barrels, Melonite processing may reduce corrosion resistance slightly. Also, the treatment process makes the surface so hard that re-chambering is not practical — so this is something you do to already-chambered barrels.”

What about accuracy? Joel says: “Melonite barrel treatment should have no effect, positive or negative, on accuracy… except to the extent that your barrel may retain its best accuracy longer since it won’t wear out as fast.”

To learn more about the Melonite nitrocarburizing process and its application to shooting products, contact Joel Kendrick, joelkndrck [at], or call (704) 616-6442.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 24 Comments »
February 18th, 2009

Hodgdon Brothers Win NRA Pioneer Award

The winners of the 2009 NRA Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award are Robert E. Hodgdon and J.B. Hodgdon, officers of Hodgdon Powder Company. For nearly six decades the Hodgdon brothers have worked in the Kansas-based company founded by their father, Bruce E. Hodgdon.

Robert Hodgdon, J.B. Hodgdon

The Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award, now in its seventh year, honors outstanding personal achievement. “The award spotlights the exemplary achievement and cumulative body of work of an individual, members of a team or partnership, or family who were responsible for the development and introduction of shooting equipment that has made a profound, positive and enduring impact on the way Americans shoot and hunt,” said Joe Graham, Executive Director of NRA Publications. “This year’s winners are legend in our industry.” NRA Publications will present its annual Golden Bullseye Awards and Golden Bullseye Pioneer Award at an invitation-only reception during the 2009 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, May 15-17, in Phoenix, Arizona.

Expanded Product Line Now Includes Goex, IMR, and Winchester Powders
In the last decade, Hodgdon Powder Company has grown rapidly. In 2008, Hodgdon acquired the Goex line of Black Powder and Black Powder substitute products. In 2006, Hodgdon Powder Company and Winchester® Ammunition announced that Winchester® branded reloading powders would be licensed to Hodgdon. In 2003, Hodgdon purchased IMR® Powder Company. IMR powders continue to be manufactured in the same plant as before the company’s acquisition by Hodgdon. Today Hodgdon meets the needs of shooters, reloaders and hunters around the world with an extensive array of smokeless and blackpowder substitute propellants, and the company continues to bring innovative new products to market.

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »