The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III
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The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III


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Old 11-27-2014, 03:40 AM   #1
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Default The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III

Another project

I have another project gun that I hope to take from pitted ugliness to redemption. This one was in a fire and the finish was removed, which left it susceptible to rusting. This is a 1978 vintage Colt Trooper Mk III in .357 Mag

The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III - DIY Projects
The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III - DIY Projects

Now before anyone tries to tell me that this gun is un-shootable due to the heat exposure, I will ask you to do some research...look up Charcoal Bluing....

The grips on this gun were blistered, but not charred, which means the temperature did not get above 400 degrees. Hardly enough to anneal the steel. The internal parts, including the springs were intact and showed no signs of warping.


stay tuned. I have a long way to go.
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Old 11-27-2014, 05:54 AM   #2
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Disassemble the piece, remove any signs of rust with a lightly abrasive cloth (this takes time), and leave the parts in a bucket of oil until it can be boxed up and shipped off to Colt to be re-blued.

If the heat didn't manage to char the grips, then there probably wasn't enough heat generated by the fire to adversely affect the heat treatment of the parts. That said, just because the grips weren't damaged by the heat doesn't mean the barrel wasn't.

Colt still needs to examine the parts and make sure nothing was irreparably damaged from heat or oxidation. It's salvageable. Colt is hurting for business right now, so I don't see why they wouldn't work with you.
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Old 11-27-2014, 12:30 PM   #3
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I wouldn't say it's un-shootable, but many steels are tempered at temps as low as 210 degrees (F). Not all woods char at the same temperature. Most any machine shop will have a Rc hardness tester that will tell you quickly, and safely if the steel has been adversely affected by the heat.

Neat project, and I hope it works out to be all you want it to be.
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Old 11-30-2014, 04:36 PM   #4
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I wouldn't say it's un-shootable, but many steels are tempered at temps as low as 210 degrees (F). Not all woods char at the same temperature. Most any machine shop will have a Rc hardness tester that will tell you quickly, and safely if the steel has been adversely affected by the heat.

Neat project, and I hope it works out to be all you want it to be.
I am no metallurgist, but I can do research

Gun steel which contains carbon (+/- 1%) is heat treated far above 200 degrees!

Heat treating is a hardening of the steel (heated to a critical point then quenched in water or oil), tempering is heating the steel just enough to soften it to remove the brittleness and make the steel more able to handle stress.

When these guns were made, the carbon steel was heated to approx. 2600 degrees, then drop forged. I imagine they probably had to draw temper the parts which is done at 400-700 degrees.


When I blue guns using the modern "Hot Salts" method, I heat the salt bath to +/- 290 degrees and guns which are slow rust blued are boiled in water at 212 degrees...

Don't forget that before the modern methods were employed guns were often Charcoal Blued at temps of +/- 800 degrees and color case hardening was/is done at +/- 1400 degrees (then quenched in water)


so if the wood grips did not ignite, that means the gun did not get exposed to temps above 400 degrees, which means it was not damaged in any way, except cosmetically.
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Old 11-30-2014, 06:10 PM   #5
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Respects sir, but your numbers are incorrect. Machinery's 24th edition Handbook (page 478-479) lists no carbon steels that require heat treatment in excess of 1700 degrees, and all the SAE Carbon and SAE alloy steels are tempered between 250 and 400 degrees F.

"Gun steel which contains carbon (+/- 1%) is heat treated far above 200 degrees!"

I never said it was.... I said, "many steels are tempered at temps as low as 210 degrees (F)". The most common carbon steels contain an average of .9% carbon, and are tempered at an average of 250 degrees F.

I know nothing of bluing, or salt baths, but I do know heat treating.

As I said, "Neat project, and I hope it works out to be all you want it to be."
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Old 11-30-2014, 08:53 PM   #6
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Jay,
Among other things, I make knives and springs-mostly from carbon steel. Knives are much harder than guns, and I temper the steel at 425 degrees. Springs are tempered even higher.
BTW 4140 steel does not contain 1% carbon- it contains roughly .4 % carbon. 1095 has approx. 1% carbon.
I have to agree with Tincanbandit. Boiling water temperatures have absolutely no effect on the heat treatment of gun steels.
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Old 12-01-2014, 12:10 AM   #7
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Sir.... I simply stated that many steels are tempered at temps in the low 200 Degree range, which is true.

re 4140 .... that's but one of many families of steel, and I believe I indicated an average of .9% carbon in most carbon steels.

I completely agree with your heat treatment of knives as opposed to guns.

I don't believe I mentioned "boiling water temps" at all. Not sure where that came from.

In any case, whatever temps work for you folks are the temps to use. 25 years as a tool and die and mold maker led me to be very specific regarding heat treating processes.

All the best to you gents.
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Old 12-01-2014, 12:35 AM   #8
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Jay- water boils at 212 degrees, Farenheight.
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Old 12-01-2014, 02:04 AM   #9
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Jay- water boils at 212 degrees, Farenheight.
That, sir, I will agree with.
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Old 12-06-2014, 04:31 PM   #10
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OK, Now that we are in agreement, I will provide a quick update

I was able to find some parts to finish this gun

The barrels rifling was toast, I found this vent rib barrel from a MkV Trooper for $40

The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III - DIY Projects

I also found a local guy who had a drawer full of NOS parts, I scored a side plate, cylinder latch, hammer and internal parts and springs as well as brand new screws! all for $80
no more worries about losing the roll marks

The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III - DIY Projects

We knew the cylinder would need to be replaced as well, the cylinder stops were badly pitted and removing the pits would make them too shallow and make the gun unsafe to fire. We found this used one for $49.

The Phoenix Project: The Resurrection of a Colt Trooper MK III - DIY Projects
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