A Question About Browning guns and 1880s Train Cars...

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A Question About Browning guns and 1880s Train Cars...

Postby Russet Wolf » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:11 am

...specifically pertaining to their manufacture and their corrosion resistance.

Not a very interesting question I know, but I have an interesting an interesting lead up you may like.

I work at the Browning museum in Ogden, Utah, situated in Union Station. I spend my days staring at gun prototypes, and it's known to us that most of these prototypes were made from salvaged train car axles. The hardened steel was specifically required to create the receivers.

Now, for years my colleague, Kay, has been wondering why these untreated guns, still raw steel, have never rusted. Raw milled steel, even if stored well, would have begun to develop surface rust at least. Most of these guns spent their lives in reference libraries, unprotected, gathering dust, yet they're spotless. We don't even keep them in atmospherically controlled cases.

For years he's been asking metalurgists and doing research with no answers forthcoming.

Now, recently a visitor proposed to me the idea this might have to do with the manufacturing process. That if these mass produced axles were drawn steel, drawn through dies like a wire, then that would have evenly distributed the carbon, slowing electron exchange and preventing oxidization.

So I'm asking if, from around the late 1870s to the 1920s, how were train car axels manufactured? Were they Drawn? Would this affect corrosion resistance and what resources can I use in finding out?

Tl;Dr John M. Browning made guns out of train car axles and now they don't rust. How? Why? Does it have anything to do with Drawn steel or any other manufacturing technique? Please and thank you.
Russet Wolf
 
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