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Is it safe to shoot this Broomhandle?

  • Yep! New Firing Pin and recoil spring and you're good to go

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • Shoot it only a little with 115 gr. rounds and watch that hole

    Votes: 11 44.0%
  • You probably can, I wouldn't

    Votes: 6 24.0%
  • Nope, its a basket case, never shoot it again

    Votes: 3 12.0%
  • Hey, you wanna sell it? I can use it to make Han Solo's blaster

    Votes: 3 12.0%
1 - 20 of 21 Posts

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Silver Bullet member
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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there!

Since I had the bolt out to compare with the Astra 900 (see the Spanish Pistol Forum), I wanted to take pictures of the bolt stop hole of my Broomhandle and show you guys.

Unfortunately, I fired it with some of the uber-hot Swedish Ammo (D'oh! thought it was the low-powered training ammo) and this is the result. I took some pictures from different angles and lighting to help give an honest assessment. This is a pre-WWI Broom that was a Chinese basket case and sent to The Gun Rack for a reline to 9mm and rebluing. For all I know, that may have been there when I got it. Don't know.

So what says the wisdom of Gunboards?

p.s. Firing pin was broken when it took it out, but that was after a subsequent range trip with 115-gr ammo.

p.p.s. Bolt stop looks fine, other than bluing wear, no burrs or deformation at all
 

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Copper Bullet member
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951 Posts
I had one of those once, I think a distributor was selling them for 100$ I kept it around for display ( it was in 7.63 mauser cal.) . Mine was pretty rickety so I decided to use it as a club.
I think that you should have someone that is very familiar with that weapon check it out before you fire it again maybe the Gun Rack Guys could help.
 

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4,542 Posts
To determine if there are microscopic cracks, which will cause larger and catastrohic problem in the future, the receiver should be take to a gunsmith that has the ability to do Magnafluxing which is a process for crack detecting.

If cracks are found, then you have a wall-hanger. To make sure it is not fired again, the gun should be deactivated so it can not fire again. If no cracks, then it is still shootable with standard 9mm ammo.
 

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Silver Bullet member
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2,605 Posts
I have read that you can check for cracks by dipping the metal part in gasoline, remove it and wipe it off quickly and the gasoline can be seen seeping out of the cracks (smoking not recommended). There are a lot of broomhandles out there banged up in this area, but it is certainly better to play it safe and have it checked out. I have also seen pics of brooms that broke completely out behind the bolt stop. Better to not put the doctors kid through college if you can help it.
 

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I have read that you can check for cracks by dipping the metal part in gasoline, remove it and wipe it off quickly and the gasoline can be seen seeping out of the cracks (smoking not recommended).

Would you trust your face/head/life to an urban myth or a go with a proven, industry approved process for detecting cracks?
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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99,430 Posts
If i have any concerns about cracks in a metal object I use eother a dye penetration test, Magnaflux, or radiography. Oh - ultrasound is useful for some things, but not small parts on firearms IMO.
 

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Silver Bullet member
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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay, so who has a Magnaflux machine and wants to check this out for me? Since its the barrel extension I can pop it off and send it by itself.

Oh, and for someone building a Han Solo blaster replica, I'll give away the broken firing pin, that way you don't have to snip off a good pin.

Also have the original well-worn grips if anyone cares, not an ad, just sayin'
 

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Gold Bullet Member and Noted Curmudgeon
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99,430 Posts
Okay, so who has a Magnaflux machine and wants to check this out for me? Since its the barrel extension I can pop it off and send it by itself.

Oh, and for someone building a Han Solo blaster replica, I'll give away the broken firing pin, that way you don't have to snip off a good pin.

Also have the original well-worn grips if anyone cares, not an ad, just sayin'
Note that dye pentration may be easier to do in some ways and work as well and I think Midway or Brownell's sell kits for that.

If Tom Derby hadn't died in January, I'd say "Send it here", but he did and I don't know who is running his machine shop now, or if they'd run the test for me as Tom would have. I expect about any good machine shop would have a Magnaflux rig, and would run the test for a nominal sum, but I can't tell you one in Maryland. Except, come to think of it - I do know of a place in Maryland and near Baltimore to boot: H.P. White Laboratories

Directions:

From Baltimore and South
Take I-95 North to Exit 80 (Riverside/Churchville)
Left on Route 543
Go approximately 10 miles to Route 1
Right on Route 1
Go 4.6 miles (to approx. 1/4 mile after you cross Deer Creek)
Left on Sandy Hook Road
Go 1 mile to stop sign
Right on Scarboro Road
Lab is on left approximately 200 yards

From Wilmington and North
Take I-95 South to Exit 85 (Aberdeen)
Right on Route 22
Go approx. 4.5 miles (go to 2nd traffic light)
Right on Route 136
Go approximately 4 miles to 1st traffic light
Left on Route 1
Go 1.3 miles (if you cross Deer Creek, you've gone too far)
Right on Sandy Hook Road
Go 1 mile to stop sign
Right on Scarboro Road
Lab is on left approximately 200 yards

From I-83 (Pennsylvania)
I-83 South to Exit 4 (Shrewsbury)
Route 851 East to Stewartstown
Route PA 24 to MD 23
MD 23 to Route 136
East on Route 136 to Scarboro Road
Right on Scarboro Road to Lab
 

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Silver Bullet member
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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Follow-up to my Broomhandle issues.

The spring set from Wolff came in. The recoil spring that I pulled out is much shorter than the new one, and the same length (but thicker wire) than the one I took out of the Astra 900. So yeah, it needed replacing.

I swapped over the in-the-white firing pin from the Astra, the Wolff firing pin spring was just a bit too thick to wriggle on, so I re-used the one that is original to the pin. Everything fits together nicely. The repro from Numrich/GPC will go into the Astra since the bolt is incorrect anyway.

I also decided to dig out the original grips and clean them up. They actually came out fairly nice, pondering what kind of finish I want to put on the wood now. The only thing I am not happy with is that there is still a bit of crud on the back of the grips from the rust--any way to remove it without taking off too much material?

Wal-Mart has WWB 9mm back in stock, I'll probably get a couple boxes for range trips.

Sorry, no Magnaflux yet, I asked www.MDshooters.com for their suggestions
 

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Silver Bullet member
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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Wow, its been nearly nine years but I have an update.

This Broomhandle was taken to Lugerman.com for an evaluation. You know its really something when the person who has handled dozens if not hundreds of Broomhandles says "this is the softest metal I've ever seen". The area near the slide stop was heated to 250 and then pounded back into shape--only to have it undone within six rounds.

After some extensive conversations, we decided the best course of action is a complete "frame-up" restoration, that will basically fix the cosmetic issues, put a stronger/safer barrel on it, and re-harden the barrel extension. Its not going to be cheap, but the costs will be forgotten long after its still a shootable heirloom.
 

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You can do a dye-penetrant test on the suspicious area yourself, to determine if you suspect that there is an issue. Dye penetrant test kits can be bought at just about any industrial supply house that carries welding equipment and supplies. I used to just 'borrow' them from where I worked.

The test is simple.

1. TOTALLY clean and dry the area of interest

2. cover the surface of the area you want to test with the dye (the kits I am familiar with, the dye is a fluorescent purple color).

3. after a few minutes, wipe all the dye you possibly can off the surface of the piece.

4. 'spray paint' the test area with the white, chalky, 'paint' in the spray can that comes with the kit.

5. wait for the 'white paint' to dry.

Any purple spots or lines that show up in the white paint indicates an area where the dye has seeped out of a crack or other imperfection in the metal. This equals a test failure. The part is toast.


The 'paint' is pretty easily removed after the test is completed.
 

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Silver Bullet member
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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Id just cut my losses, and put the funds towards another or relegate it to the safe for show.
I considered it, especially given that Star Wars is pretty hot right now and it could've ended up a replica DL-44 (AKA Han Solo's Blaster).

Decided it needed to be made right.
 

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Administrator
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9,612 Posts
Best way to Safety build it is to make a "cutaway" Demonstrator, so it can never be used to fire or for parts. Cutaways whether original factory ( very valuable) or professionally done after market ( reasonable value) are a legitimate collector interest, especially in areas or countries which seriously restrict hand-gun ownership.

Doc AV
 

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34,842 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I've been informed by the restorer that the upper has been successfully re-heat treated and is fine now.

However, they ended up replacing the locking block because it was out-of-spec. A bit of a bummer since it was matching.
 

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Silver Bullet member
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52,964 Posts
Old is old...fixed fixed...
shooting it again..?
use the lowest pressure rounds that will function....
Id still be afraid every time I pulled the trigger..may be too hard...and shattering worries me as much as too soft!
That’s why I sold my Kregs!
 

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Platinum Bullet Member
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3,138 Posts
... The area near the slide stop was heated to 250 and then pounded back into shape--only to have it undone within six rounds.

... we decided the best course of action is a complete "frame-up" restoration, that will basically fix the cosmetic issues, put a stronger/safer barrel on it, and re-harden the barrel extension. ....
You must have a death wish. The notion that the damaged area of that barrel extension --which has been swaged, stretched and hammered back (twice before it's finished) can be "restored" by "re-hardening" is, to my mind, the height of folly. Short of sectioning it, there is no way to tell what has happened to the grain and molecular structure of the steel in that thin web directly behind the lug. No longer "soft", it may suddenly fracture. If it shears off, there is nothing to prevent the bolt from flying out of the gun -- straight back-- through your eye into the back of your skull.

Doc AV has the right idea. Spend the money instead to mill away enough to create a cutaway.

M
 
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