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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As you can probably tell from the title, I'm planning on making custom bolt handles for various rifles, mainly the vsr rifles because it's what I have.

My bar10 bolt handle recently snapped because of a terrible casting job, so I'm in need of a new bolt handle. I really didn't want to buy a new handle that costs almost as much as the rifle itself does, and having someone machine it for me would be expensive to the point of buying a new rifle entirely would be cheaper. I need to make one myself.

I looked into different casting methods and metals to cast with, and so far my plan is to use pewter, assuming it's strong enough. I thought about aluminum but that's what my broken bolt handle is made of so I don't want to go that route again. It also gets weaker the more I use it, so I'd rather not use a metal with an expiration date. Pewter is also just safer to cast with than aluminum because it melts at less than half the temperature. I'd probably use a pewter with a high level of antimony so it isn't as malleable. Pewter is also just safer to cast with than aluminum because it melts at less than half the temperature aluminum melts at.

For the mold I plan to use either green sand or RTV silicone. RTV silicone would be a more permanent mold, but the green sand is cheaper than dirt, literally. Good dirt can get very expensive LOL. I'm looking for the most cost effective solution, and depending on how many bolt handles I'd need to make I could use either mold.

Tell me how this sounds and if there are better metals I can use. Keep in mind I'm looking for it to be the most cost effective it can be.
 

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Well i'd start off making some models, and pol which one looks the best. Then making a "prototype" with the sand mold, to keep costs low. If the bolt handle really kicks off, you can always decide on an RTV Silicone mold to speed up the process.

The prototype should also be used to stress test it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's a good idea. Does anyone know if pewter is a good idea or if there are any other low melt metals (sub 600 degree fahrenheit melting point) that would be better?
 

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I honestly can't see anything with a melting point so low being effective with what we need it to do. Although I still say it would be worth it to try. You just might have to make the handle a thicker to accommodate for the metal being weaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That shouldn't be too much of a problem, making the handle a little thicker. The problem with the higher melt metals is the rest of my family just barely let me start playing airsoft, and they still don't like the idea of melting down metal, even at a temperature as low as ~500 degrees, which is what pewter melts at. Even using something like aluminum, which melts at 1200 degrees, they'd probably not let me melt if I started with it at first. Maybe if I worked up to it to get them somewhat used to the idea that melting down metal won't cause the house to somehow burn down. Especially if it is done far away form the house, on a small sandy baseball field.

Maybe eventually I'll be able to use stronger metals, but for now this is all that will be available. I've heard that some pewter alloys can be stronger than aluminum anyway. Does anyone know if this is true?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think you should start with Adamantium, just to prove how bad ass you are.
I'll make the part that you hold out of adamantium and the part that connects to the rifle out of unobtanium. How about that LOL?
 

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Pewter is going to be too soft, IIRC its even softer than the caste zinc pot metal that most crap stock parts are made from. It also contains antimony and bismuth, both are toxic to a degree. antimony more so than the bismuth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I measured how much force it takes to pull back a stock bar10 bolt handle at the end with somewhere between an m130 to an m150 spring (half year old angel custom m170 spring, they wear fast) and it took 35 pounds to pull it back all the way. Aluminum gets weaker as you use it (or so I've been told) so I'd rather not sell people handles with expiration dates. The metal used for making the handles doesn't have to be a low melt, I can work my way up to it. Can anyone suggest a metal with the right qualities?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
@Chaz- Those are still 40 dollars, not including shipping or retail prices. I was going for the 25 or less mark hopefully. At least as cheap as possible while still making a bit of money. Plus I might be able to do custom designs. I'm not only doing this to make a new bolt handle, that just helped it along. I also need some more airsoft money.

That link you posted also doesn't seem to have any vsr style handles, which is what I need.

@The3rdeye88- Perhaps something like cast iron would work well. It melts at around 2100-2300 degrees fahrenheit depending on the alloy and will certainly be stronger than any aluminum handle you can find.

Again, I have a few months until I get everything for this so I'm open to all suggestions.
 

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6061 aluminum is some strong shit, but it can be cut pretty easily. So it may still wear. Cast iron is strong, but really heavy and makes me think of pot metal. I'm not an alchemist, but I do work in a scrap yard and come in contact with all kinds of metal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
I just had an idea. I might be able to use something like pewter and run a stronger metal through the handle as a core, like a hardened steel rod or bolt.

I looked into that 6061 aluminum you mentioned but it only keeps it's strong properties when wrought. Once it is melted down to be cast its properties change. I might be able to use 713 aluminum, which doesn't require any heat treatment to reach its potential, but I can't seem to find any info on if it shrinks or expands or what after being cast

EDIT: I found out 713 shrinks a little more than half a percent, so when dealing with things as small as a bolt handle, virtually no shrinkage. I also found out this alloy is also called tenzalloy and is used specifically where strength is required and the heat treatment process is either too difficult or isn't wanted, meaning it would be perfect for this.
 

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You don't want to have something cast if you want strength. If you want a really strong bolt handle, get some high quality 7075 and machine it.

Also, antimony and bismuth are carcinogens, and when you try and melt them emit a gas that is really useful for bioluminescence reactions but will kill you VERY fast.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You don't want to have something cast if you want strength. If you want a really strong bolt handle, get some high quality 7075 and machine it.

Also, antimony and bismuth are carcinogens, and when you try and melt them emit a gas that is really useful for bioluminescence reactions but will kill you VERY fast.
Sounds fun. Although if the metals are alloyed in a metal specifically meant for casting and done in a ventilated area, I'm sure it won't do much to me.

It doesn't have to be strong enough to hold up a car, just strong enough to hold up to whatever wear we put on it without failing. The stock bolt handles are made out of a cheap aluminum and they are cast very poorly. If I made them out of a good metal and they are cast right, they will last a very long time. Machining them is a bit overkill, plus it will raise the cost significantly. My goal is to make bolt handles that are very cheap, yet stronger than the crap that comes with the gun.
 
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