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Anybody heat treated their bolt catch?

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Old March 1st, 2017, 13:27   #1
Katipunero
 
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Anybody heat treated their bolt catch?

So with my WE M4, I have the very frequent problem of the bolt catch getting worn away leading to the bolt catch no longer functioning.

I have the RA-Tech steel bolt carrier which came with a bolt catch which I currently use without issue. I also have an Angry gun super recoil kit and RA-Tech hop up unit, etc.

Now I know most people will say don't use the Angry Gun super recoil buffer which is the root cause of the bolt catch wearing away since it weighs almost 5 times heavier than the stock buffer (40grams stock and 192grams for the angry gun buffer)

I really like the heavy recoil. The only thing in the system I don't like is the bolt catch which slowly gets eaten away, in which case I have to file it down flat again to be operational.

Question is, has anyone heat treated the RA-tech bolt catch to make it even more hard and durable? I know RA-Tech sells a bolt catch that says it's 65 degree steel hardness, not sure if this is the same as the one the RA tech bolt carrier came with.

I figure it shouldn't be too hard to heat treat this part, but hoping someone else out there has done this themselves and can provide some feedback.
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Old March 1st, 2017, 13:42   #2
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how about a real steel bolt catch?
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Old March 1st, 2017, 15:30   #3
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Originally Posted by NAAZ View Post
how about a real steel bolt catch?
The bolt catch on a WE M4 is completely different from a real steel M4 or AR15. On a real AR the catch on the bolt is underneath the bolt carrier unlike the WE's catching on the side lip of the bolt carrier. They are not compatible as is different brand gbbr m4's are with each other's bolt catches.

If that was the case, I would have already done that
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Old March 1st, 2017, 16:35   #4
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I run one of these with a steel carrier.

http://shop.ehobbyasia.com/angry-gun...l#.WLc9039QNPY

Seems to be lasting so far.
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Old March 1st, 2017, 16:48   #5
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its SUPPOSED to be softer than the bolt
do you want to be wearing out a $15 bolt catch or a $115 bolt carrier?

out of curiosity do you mean "worn out" as in it doesnt lock back anymore, or worn out as in actual major material removal on the part? cause theres a plethora of reasons that we M4s dont lock back that has little to do with wear
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Last edited by Thenooblord; March 1st, 2017 at 16:54..
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Old March 1st, 2017, 17:00   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post
I run one of these with a steel carrier.

http://shop.ehobbyasia.com/angry-gun...l#.WLc9039QNPY

Seems to be lasting so far.
Did you need to run the angry gun bolt carrier for this to fit properly? Or are using the RA-Tech bolt carrier?
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Old March 1st, 2017, 17:06   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thenooblord View Post
its SUPPOSED to be softer than the bolt
do you want to be wearing out a $15 bolt catch or a $115 bolt carrier?

out of curiosity do you mean "worn out" as in it doesnt lock back anymore, or worn out as in actual major material removal on the part? cause theres a plethora of reasons that we M4s dont lock back that has little to do with wear
It won't lock back anymore. When this happens, it's because the bolt carrier has notched the bolt stop to the point that the bolt carrier slides past the bolt stop. I'll then file it down a millimeter flat and it working great again until after another average 20 mag empties.

The bolt carrier itself is fine with little to no wear where the bolt stop catches, so I figured if the bolt stop metal was little bit harder, then I wouldn't have this problem. Although I realize I am never going to avoid this problem entirely, just want to prolong the frequency of filing/replacing this part.
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Old March 1st, 2017, 17:36   #8
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I would suggest putting the bolt catch in a vice, and bending the arm that contacts the tab on the magazine, as is theres a ton off play in the bolt catch, it will make it lock much more positively, and also extend lifetime by putting more surface area in contact with the bolt to spread pressure
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My airsoft spending in the last month and a half has totaled over $1400.
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Old March 1st, 2017, 17:55   #9
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Something I learned a while back that has helped my WE HK416's bolt catch issues.

Take an AEG shim (Yes, the little shims you use to shim your gears) and put it between your bolt catch and the posts it sits between. It works wonders.



The bolt catch wobbles a lot which tends to let your bolt slip right past the latch - Poorly fitted parts tend to wear quickly. How long does a poorly shimmed gearbox last compared to a well shimmed one - This applies to GBBR's too.

I run stock WE bolt catches, they get me much further then 20 mags. Ran the first one for 3 years, changed out to my second one and been running it ever since. No filing or any of that BS. Not knocking RAtech, just saying that this may prolong the life of your bolt catch.
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Old March 1st, 2017, 21:36   #10
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65 degree hardness what
Because if it's 65 rockwell B, it's pretty much as soft as steel gets. Leaded steel.
If it's 65 rockwell C, it'll shatter the first time the bolt hits it.
Vickers HV or Brinell HB, it might as well be a week old cheese.

Problem with hardening is you first need to know what kind of steel it is in the first place. Given that it's even actually steel to begin with.
Your standard 1018 low carbon steel comes in at 71 rockwell B. So this is either 10L18 (leaded) or something with even less carbon in it.
As you can imagine, leaded steels are gonna be garbage for hardening.
If you luck out and it's actually a carbon steel, and actually something that can be hardened, then the top end it going to be fairly low.
From back when I used to do it, I believe the top end of 1018 was about 110 rockwell B (quenching from 1550F into cold water), but for an impact component you'd want to temper it down to something between 90-95 rockwell B.
Hardest thing about heat treating a component, you have no freaking clue what hardness you're actually ending up with without testing.

What's really fucking hilarious, is that if it really IS rockwell B scale, then your bolt catch would be better off being made of 7075 aluminum, since it comes in at 87 rockwell B with the right temper. 6061, the traditional "aircraft aluminum", is around 60 rockwell B. So there it is, you might as well have an aluminum bolt catch lol
Is it magnetic? Or are they a bunch of liars?

Good idea, though. Probably worth trying if you can confirm it's a carbon steel.

Last edited by ThunderCactus; March 1st, 2017 at 21:39..
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Old March 1st, 2017, 22:20   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katipunero View Post
Did you need to run the angry gun bolt carrier for this to fit properly? Or are using the RA-Tech bolt carrier?
I have the RA-tech bolt. I also have the enhanced plates in the mags. I'd like to find a nicer arm; the part that goes between the BB follower and the plate.

I've spent a fair amount of time reading up on this and there are a ton of fixes out there re this issue and each individual rifle has a stack of tolerances that may or may not line up so the first fix you try doesn't work don't try forcing it; try some of the others
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 11:08   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThunderCactus View Post
65 degree hardness what
Because if it's 65 rockwell B, it's pretty much as soft as steel gets. Leaded steel.
If it's 65 rockwell C, it'll shatter the first time the bolt hits it.
Vickers HV or Brinell HB, it might as well be a week old cheese.

Problem with hardening is you first need to know what kind of steel it is in the first place. Given that it's even actually steel to begin with.
Your standard 1018 low carbon steel comes in at 71 rockwell B. So this is either 10L18 (leaded) or something with even less carbon in it.
As you can imagine, leaded steels are gonna be garbage for hardening.
If you luck out and it's actually a carbon steel, and actually something that can be hardened, then the top end it going to be fairly low.
From back when I used to do it, I believe the top end of 1018 was about 110 rockwell B (quenching from 1550F into cold water), but for an impact component you'd want to temper it down to something between 90-95 rockwell B.
Hardest thing about heat treating a component, you have no freaking clue what hardness you're actually ending up with without testing.

What's really fucking hilarious, is that if it really IS rockwell B scale, then your bolt catch would be better off being made of 7075 aluminum, since it comes in at 87 rockwell B with the right temper. 6061, the traditional "aircraft aluminum", is around 60 rockwell B. So there it is, you might as well have an aluminum bolt catch lol
Is it magnetic? Or are they a bunch of liars?

Good idea, though. Probably worth trying if you can confirm it's a carbon steel.
Thanks for your in depth analysis of the different steel scales. Indeed, I have no idea what hardness scale they are using as they only state '65 degree hardness'.

Yes, my biggest concern was how much carbon is in the steel they use to allow heat treatment to even work. While the bolt catch IS magnetic, there is no indication of how it would react to any heat treatment.

Here's some pics demonstrating a little clearer what the bolt carrier is doing on the bolt stop. I've also already ground down the protrusion on the arm so that it moves up further because of the upper receiver:



Looking from the top view:


Here's a pic of the stock bolt carrier when I shot about 5000 rounds through it completely stock, which then warranted the NEED for a new bolt carrier:


Here's the stock bolt carrier where the bolt catch caught - they had a hardened piece on there that completely sheared off along with some of the bolt carrier. It worked decently after this regardless.


And of course, the first bolt catch mod I did was to add the AEG shim to the bolt stop:


I saw a video on YouTube (user was MaximusMJG or something like that) that had received some test parts from RA-Tech, one of them was a heat treated bolt catch - not sure if they actually are selling this or if it's already being included as a spare part in their bolt carriers; in which case the metal is still soft enough to get chewed through.
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 16:00   #13
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To put it gently your gun has likely already been heat treated by people who are likely much smarter than you on that subject for a reason. If you re heat treat it you will probably ruin it by making it extremely brittle or by making it way too flexible and then it will bend. If you don't have any of those issues right now then they did a good job and it's a material problem.


The best thing you could do is match catch and carrier material so one doesn't do more damage than the other.

Last edited by Floreos; March 2nd, 2017 at 16:09..
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Old March 2nd, 2017, 16:13   #14
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Originally Posted by Floreos View Post
To put it gently your gun has likely already been heat treated by people who are likely much smarter than you on that subject for a reason. If you re heat treat it you will probably ruin it by making it extremely brittle or by making it way too flexible and then it will bend. If you don't have any of those issues right now then they did a good job and it's a material problem.


The best thing you could do is match catch and carrier material so one doesn't do more damage than the other.
Lol, perhaps. But I am smart enough to know that these people realize the importance of repeat business in direct correlation to the quality of their parts.

Simply:

Uninformed consumer + poor quality parts + marketing propaganda = $$$

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Old March 2nd, 2017, 16:42   #15
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Lol, perhaps. But I am smart enough to know that these people realize the importance of repeat business in direct correlation to the quality of their parts.

Simply:

Uninformed consumer + poor quality parts + marketing propaganda = $$$

While thats a very fair point that I agree with.

They probably do this via marterial miss matching or poor overall quality. If it was a bad heat treat job it would probably be broken in the first 100 shots.
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