Tips from the Workbench with Ken Brooks

kenBrookswith Ken Brooks, AGI Gunsmithing Instructor
and owner of
 PISCO Gunsmithing in Oregon.

In this video, Ken talks about fire-damaged guns. Which ones can you repair, and which ones do you scrap? This is important safety information, so watch carefully!


14 Responses to Tips from the Workbench with Ken Brooks

  1. Thanks Ken for another amazing tip. I appreciate very much the efforts that you and AGI are making to help us out as Gunsmith’s. Hopefully will be able to reclaim this lost art. Thanks again!

    • I think the point that Ken was making is that if the woodwork (or polymer work) is severely damaged, the metal is probably toast. A gun that was in a fire-proof safe and just gets discolored/scorched is probably OK, but if it was in direct contact with the flames for more than just a few seconds, it is more than likely compromised and shouldn’t be trusted. Ken’s advice on checking the spring tension is a good indicator of whether the heat did permanent damage or not.

      But what the heck–it sounds like a good enough excuse to me to just go out and buy a new gun, don’t you think?

      • The reason I asked about the polymer stocks is that I figured that the poly would melt at a much lower temp than wood would burn at. The polymers that I’m familiar with are injected at 425-450 deg. That shouldn’t damage the metal at that temp??

        • Thanks for the clarification Charles. I’m going to let those smarter than I answer your question. If you are a GCA member, you could ask Ken directly to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Or you could try emailing AGI Technical Services manager Jack Landis (his contact info is on this site’s Contact page.)

    • The wood would burn at a lower temperature than it would take to soften the springs, so probably not necessary if the wood is only lightly scorched or discolored. However, if the springs feel “mushy” at all, then it would be prudent to replace them. IMHO–others please add your comments.

    • In my opinion, it would always be a good idea to replace any and all springs. In my experience, it does not take much time for a spring to lose its temper if exposed to a fair amount of heat. Besides, most often, springs are easy and cheap to replace or make.

  2. Ken,
    What about as a wall hanger? With ample warning to the owner that the temper is gone from the metal. Yes, it was one (actually two) that he got from his grandfather.

  3. Hey Ken…. Is there absolutely NO way to restore the heat treat? I know you can take the hardness out of steel to make it machinable and then re-harden the steel and then temper it. So why can’t you do the same to a firearm?

  4. As metal heats and cools, it expands and contracts. I’m guessing that if you attempted to re-heat treat a fire damaged gun, all the tolerances would need to be verified.

  5. Bob & Paul, don’t forget that if the barrel was in direct heat or flames that the barrel would need replaced DO NOT attempt to Temper a barrel NEVER!!!

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