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September 27th, 2014

Great Resource for Firearms History and Technical Information

Forum Member Roy B. has found a website with scores of well-researched articles about guns and shooting. The Firearms History Blog features a wide variety of posts on myriad subjects, from early black powder firearms to modern match rifles. You’ll find tons of information on gun design, barrel-making, action types, and firearms testing equipment. To access hundreds of articles, click on the Firearm History Blog Archive Menu on the left side. Click the navigation arrows to access monthly collections one by one. Some of the best articles are from 2010, so be sure to check those archives too! Here are some of our favorites:

Testing Firearms: Measuring Chamber Pressure
(Comment: Crusher Gauges were used through until the 1960s, when cheap Piezo-electric tranducers became available.)

Crusher Gauge Pressure Test

Barrel Making: Making a Modern Steel Barrel (Two Parts)
(Comment: Barrel drilling process explained — interesting process.)

Metal Treatments: Ferritic Nitrocarburizing/Melonite/Tenifer
(Comment: Meloniting creates a super-hard surface layer; this has been used to extend barrel life.)

Barrel Making: Forming Rifling with Electric Discharge Machining (EDM)
(Comment: This advanced EDM method can also be used to cut chambers.)

History of Gun Cleaning Methods/Solvents
(Comment: Old-timers used some pretty weird concoctions such as “Rangoon Oil”.)

History and Engineering of Sound Suppressors (Two Parts)
(Comment: Interesting cut-away illustrations of suppressor baffles.)

Utility Firearms: Powder-Activated Tools
(Comment: There are construction tools that use gunpowder to drive fasteners into steel and concrete.)

Testing Firearms: History of Proof Testing (Two Parts)
(Comment: Fascinating article, worth a read.)

Proof Test

More Interesting Articles on RVB Precision Website
These and other articles on the Firearms History Blog will give you many interesting hours of reading — Enjoy! And while you’re cruising the web, definitely check out Roy’s own RVB Precision website. It features many interesting DIY gun and reloading projects, such as Fabricating a 17 HMR Bore Guide, Building a Swivel-Top Varminting Bench, and Fabricating a Unertl-type Scope Mount.

Permalink - Articles, News 1 Comment »
September 27th, 2010

Salt-Bath Nitriding for Barrels — Whidden is Impressed

Many shooters expend considerable time and effort to coat their bullets with friction-reducing compounds such as Boron Nitride (HBN), Molybdenum Disulfide (Moly), and Tungsten Disulfide (WS2 or ‘Danzac’). Many of these same shooters believe that coated bullets permit longer strings of fire between barrel cleanings. Also, there is some evidence that coated bullets may extend barrel life (though this remains controversial).

What if you could enjoy all the benefits of coated bullets without the effort? When you think about it, why not apply the anti-friction coating to the barrel itself, rather than the bullets? That is the thinking behind salt-bath nitriding of barrels. This nitriding process creates a very slick, very hard surface coating on the steel in the bore. The coating is only 10-20 microns thick (so it doesn’t cause pressure problems). But that coating is enough to reduce friction, and just possibly, extend useful barrel life.

MMI barrel nitriding

John Whidden, Camp Perry Long-Range National Champion in 2007, 2008, and 2010, recently had one of his Broughton 6mm match barrels nitrided by Joel Kendrick. Joel does the salt-bath nitriding for MMI TruTec. Whidden reports he “is happy as he can be with the barrel” after the nitriding process. After nitriding, the stainless Broughton 5C barrel was “every bit as accurate as before, and noticeably easier to clean”, according to John. Also, John reports that he did NOT have to change his load after the barrel was nitrided (which left it with a handsome black, semigloss finish). Whidden says, “after cleaning, the barrel takes about 3-4 rounds to settle in… that’s the same as before.” This barrel shot very well before nitriding, and after nitriding, John used it successfully at Camp Perry in the 2009 Wimbleton Cup competition.

MMI barrel nitriding

Overall, John tells us “Everything looks good. No accuracy loss, and easier cleaning.” He is pleased enough that he has sent more barrels to Joel Kendrick for nitride processing. John also said that he’s heard that nitrided barrels in some of the big caliber rifles, such as the .338 Lapua Magnum, are showing “significantly enhanced” barrel life.

MMI barrel nitriding

To learn more about salt-bath nitriding for barrels, or to place a processing order with MMI-TruTec, email joelkndrck [at], or call Joel at (704) 616-6442. Joel, a past 600-yard Shooter of the Year, is very knowledgeable about both shooting and the nitriding process. He can give you well-informed answers to your questions. Price for nitriding depends on quantity — call Joel for pricing details.

Permalink Competition, Gunsmithing 10 Comments »
February 1st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: MMI-Trutec Salt-Bath Nitriding for Barrels

Many of our readers know Joel Kendrick, one of America’s top mid-range shooters. Joel is a two-time IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, and we have featured Joel’s match-winning 6×44 as one of our Guns of the Week. Joel now works with MMi-Trutec, specializing in the salt-bath nitriding process. This is a surface-hardening procedure for steel that creates a super-hard, low friction layer for the top 10-20 microns of the metal. Barrels treated with salt-bath-nitriding show much improved wear resistance and reduced friction.

For match rifles, varmint rifles, and hunting rifles, the most significant benefits of salt-bath nitriding are enhanced barrel life, and easier cleaning. Joel’s own F-Class rifle has a nitrided stainless barrel with over 5000 rounds — and it still holds 1/4 MOA at 100 yards. Other well-known shooters, such as John Whidden, have observed that nitrided barrels can shoot longer strings of fire between cleanings, with no reduction of accuracy. What is the cost of nitriding? As Joel explains in the video below, nitriding a single barrel costs $60.00, but there is a minimum first-time lot charge of $200.00. If you submit multiple barrels at the same time, the price per barrel can be reduced significantly. For more info, visit the MMI-Trutec website or contact Joel Kendrick by phone (704) 616-6442, or via email: joelkndrck [at] .

YouTube Preview Image

Is there a downside to nitriding? First, the nitriding process results in a BLACK matte or satin finish. If you like the natural silver finish of stainless steel, you shouldn’t nitride your barrel. Second, and most importantly, the salt-bath-nitriding process creates a surface so hard that you can NOT re-cut the chamber with normal reaming tools. Therefore, before nitriding, the barrel must be finished chambered. Basically the barrel should be fully finished, crowned, chambered and headspaced before nitriding. NOTE: MMi Trutec CAN mask the crown during nitriding so that the barrel can be re-crowned at a later time.

MMi Trutec Nitriding Barrel

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 9 Comments »
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 »