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Welding Custom Rifle Bolt Handles

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  • Welding Custom Rifle Bolt Handles

    Could this be done with favorable results using a wire welder? Or would it be best be left to using a tig or O/A?

  • #2

    I've gotten lucky, mig'n light-w8 gage components, over the years.
    Left to me I'd stick to Tig, it's just so cool what a good Tig'r can do.
    One of my laments, I just can't trust myself, so I usually have the PRO
    do it, so I can smile rather than cry each time I look at it.

    Negative people have a problem for every solution


    • #3
      And I'm serious !!

      Sometimes I used to leave all the Tig alone on a gage.
      Inspector would tell me to bench it off.

      I'd say, "If you can bench that off and have it be pretty-er than that
      go ahead, I can't improve on pure Art."

      Negative people have a problem for every solution


      • #4
        Hey Andy P,
        Being a retired Master Gunsmith(30yrs-'68-'98), I would strongly recommend either TIG or O/A. I altered over a thousand military bolts to commercial configuration for installing a scope by either forging the existing bolt handle, or welding a new Williams bolt handle to the bolt lug. I used O/A for all. For a new handle, the bolt handle and the bolt lug have to be beveled at least 40% of the thickness of the lug/handle. The bolt body has to be kept cool with either a heat sink inserted into the bolt body, or wrapped in a wet cloth, preferably both. It is not a difficult procedure, just one that has to be planned with intense understanding that the bolt is the most critical part of the rifle. If you lose the temper or cause embrittlement, the forward bolt lugs can break off and cause the bolt body to be propelled rearward with a force that will partially decapitate the user..... not pretty, and it has happened. Do your homework. I have attached a photo of the Williams bolt welding jig(top) to attach a new commercial handle, and a Maynard Buehler bolt forging jig(bottom) I used to alter military bolt handles. You can see the internal heat sink(alum.) that is inserted into the bolt body in the bottom pic. I used it with both methods of handle modification. Both these can be still obtained from Brownell's. I have these for sale if you or anyone are interested.... PM me. Please be sure you fully understand the procedure and the complications that can arise..... BE SAFE!!!!! Hope this helps..... Denny
        Complete weld/mach./fab shop
        Mobile unit

        "A man's word is his honor...without honor, there is nothing."

        "Words are like bullets.... once they leave your muzzle, you cannot get them back."

        "I have no hesitation to kill nor reservation to die for the American Flag & the US Constitution."


        • #5
          every force has an equal and opposite force in the other direction? glad the rearward force of the casing into the bolt was mentioned. think about the recoil on a gun before you do it. this will make you more aware of the forces acting on this part. they are substantial and dynamic as the gun is repeatedly fired, hence an improper weld could fail down the road a few years.


          • #6
            Thanks, guys, for the info... Looks like for the time being I'm going to stick with using commercial bolt bodies and if some day I aquire a tig and the knowledge to use it, I'll reconsider....
            Last edited by ANDY P.; 11-10-2008, 07:51 PM.


            • #7
              I'd be intersted yorkie pap

              Hello yorkiepap, I would be interested in the forging blocks and heat sink, you might even be able to talk me into the bolt jig but I don't think so. Let me know what you want for them. I live just outside of Reading Pa. Thanks Tom
              [email protected]


              • #8
                Since we are talking about bolts and i am not a professional. Here is a bolt i made and mig welded on my 1891 GEW rifle. Pic 1.

                And i started threading Remington 700 bolt knobs for extensions. I made a fixture to hold the bolt in my lathe and the ball is turned off using a boring head. Then they are threaded for knob extensions that can be bought or made.
                pic 2 starting to round off knob
                pic 3 turning knob to 5/16"
                pic 4 threading using die and square faced starting block
                pic 5 all done and perfect without a mark in the bluing except for the threads
                Bob Wright, Grandson of Tee Nee Boat Trailer Founder
                Metal Master Fab
                Salem, Ohio
                Birthplace of the Silver & Deming Drill