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Titanium vs 17-4 SS

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by 635 G, Jan 8, 2010.

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  1. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    The receivers on my Infinity's are made of 17-4 Stainless Steel. How much weight would I save if I got a receiver made of Titanium ?

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  2. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

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    Plus, there is a considerable strength difference between the two.
     
  3. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

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    Toolmaker 251

    Which is stronger?

    Thanks---Phil Berkowitz
     
  4. PerazziBigBore

    PerazziBigBore TS Member

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    Depends on what grade of Titanium you use.. How it's heat treated.. and how the 17-4 is heat treated.. The conversion factor is titanium is about 40% lighter than steel.. That will put you close.. If your receiver weighs 5 pounds.. it will now weigh 3 pounds..
     
  5. Dennis DeVault

    Dennis DeVault Well-Known Member

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    Perazzi Big Bore,

    Just to answer the question of heat treatment. The 17-4 is a PH9 grade that has a max Rockwell Rating at 44Rc. This then has a tensile rating of about 215,000 PSI.

    Dennis
     
  6. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

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    Phil, Titanium is 38 to 40% lighter then steel, but the yield strength of 17-4 is about 80% more then titanium. All our military aircraft use 13,15,and 17 series stainless in part of the landing gear because of it's strength and anti corrosive properties. I have a Hall built benchrest receiver built from 17-4 PH. And your steel receiver is not highly flammable LOL.
     
  7. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    Phil: One big consideration is money, cuz a Ti receiver isn't going to be cheap at all. The stuff doesn't exactly machine easily, it eats up tools relatively fast. It does take a polish nicely, but it is hell to get there. I usually run Titanium parts in my shop for a week in the tumbler to deburr and polish to get some semblance of a bright finish. They usually look nice when done. but not even close to a gun quality finish. The stuff is just not easy to work with no matter what anybody says. I usually get rectangular parts blanchard ground to as close to net as I can get them so the less actual machining I have to do the better. The material is NOT easy to make look good, it is however real easy to make look BAD! A rule of thumb is "the more you touch it,(work it),the worse it looks"

    When you did get an acceptable surface finish there are several unique processes you can do that yeild coloring similar to Color Case Hardening except with MUCH MUCH more vivid colors. Like irridescent Aquas, greenish tinges, bright golds all mixed together, but with none of the dirty browns associated with case hardening steel. Much more vivid than anything Turnbull gets in his process on steel.

    Look at what some of the custom knife makers have been doing with Ti in some of the knife magazines, it is very impressive, and would rival engraving, but in a totally non traditional way. Engraving then coloring would be really spectacular, and I've never seen it done on a knife, let alone a gun. This along with the right wood could yeild a high 5 to 6 figure gun easily. Obviously the quality of gunmaking would have to be there first, but the finish would drive the value after that. Uniqueness being the main driving force. You would definately have a one of a kind item.

    For those who don't already know, Ruger is actually 2 separate businesses. They do the guns obviously, and they also have one of, if not "the" most sophisticated investment casting facilities in the world. They are one of the very few who do Titanium. And they do it well.

    Only problem is the cost per unit on a one off receiver would probably be excessive. Now, if you wanted to make 100 or so of them?? your receiver idea could get into the ball park of realistic pricing, this being due to the upfront tooling costs for making the investment moulds getting amortized out over the longer run. If the mould costs $2K to make and you only run one or a few parts then obviously the price per part is going to be much higher than if you spent $2K on the mould and then drop 100 or so parts off it. Cost of investment cast parts is usually the cost of the mould plus material and some labor to pour the parts and then clean them up after casting etc. But usually the main cost is the mould for the wax investments. Also once you have the mould you can do follow up runs with no additional tooling costs.

    Usually if you are only going to run a few parts they will machine the wax investments instead of making a mould, then you get into "machine time" so it has to be planned out and the numbers have to be ran on both ways to find out which is more cost effective.

    I have several investment casting houses in my area that are very reasonable pricewise, and I use them for several navy parts that I produce out of 17-4, and the parts look OK for what they are used for, External Missle Launcher parts that won't rust in the salt air. However, these parts are a long ways from expensive firearm quality parts, and that's why Ruger would be the best bet, because they already do gun parts, and understand the needs of gunmakers. also I believe that Ti has to be melted in a Vacuum furnace to prevent contamination.

    I wouldn't worry about the strength issue as long as the material was something like 6AL4V or above. The dead soft stuff would just get pounded into a new shape, but the higher grade stuff will take it just fine.

    Casting would definately be the way to go economically because at over $20/lb for material you're looking at $150 for a slug to start whacking on (if you can find suitable material at all) and probably 2/3-3/4 is going on the floor before you're done. If you screw the part up some where in the 50-100 operations, well you get the idea. Plus the machining time/money you would save by starting with a part that is close to net would more than offset the upfront tooling costs,,, eventually.

    With your money and my technology we can do anything. This is the mantra of todays machine shop. I didn't make this up, but I live it everyday.

    Randy
     
  8. TOOLMAKER 251

    TOOLMAKER 251 Active Member

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    Randy, did you ever have any of your parts chemically polished? If you can sacrifice .0005 metal removal, there are companies that can bring your parts down to a 8 rms or better finish in the process.
     
  9. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

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    Toolmaker: I have had stainless parts "electro polished" but never done any titanium parts that way. Only because I didn't need to. The one thing about Electro Polishing which is also true for Chrome Plating is that what ever you have surface wise is going to be enhanced, or made brighter, but not significantly smoother. It works on a really minute scale.

    In other words if it looks like shit to start with, it will look like bright polished shit when you are done.

    The best example of Electro Polishing most people have seen is the high dollar stainless props on bass boats. But they are very well polished before the electro polish process is done to them, and that just brings out the color of the material. Stainless Steels tends to have goldish hue due to the nickle content, whereas high carbon steels have a bluish tinge the same as chrome.

    Also Electro Polishing is nothing more than passivation with electricity added, so the nitric acid just basically eats all of the ferrous component off the surface of the material like in passivation but it is enhanced by running electricity thru the solution and parts. Almost like reverse plating.

    If you google "RAM Missle Launcher" and look at the 2 big fluted stainless knobs on the front and rear of the launcher, you can see what electro polish looks like without a fine polish to start with. They wanted the corrosion protection, which is superior to plain passivation, without the bright shine. So I tumbled the the parts first in dry ceramic for 3 days and then had them EPed, and that's what they got.

    I have had Ti parts pasivated but never EPed. I usually don't even passivate as Ti is so hard to corrode it's kind of unnecessary.

    Randy
     
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