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Old 4th April 2021, 01:30 PM   #29
Will M
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: In the wee woods north of Napanee Ontario
Posts: 315
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I am not aware that age alone degrades metals. ​
When the elastic limit is not exceeded and barrels have not corroded they retain their properties.

If age alone degrades steel I'd like to see the references for this.

Failures occur in old arms due to corrosion with some methods of manufacture that allow unseen corrosion to exist in flaws in the metal or where joined and hammer welded. Other failures come from overpressures and severe erosion from gas washing.

For the ages we are concerned with of up to a few 100 years, firearms in "good" condition can sustain the same stresses as they could when manufactured. Stay within the original pressures, the barrels will perform as intended.
I fire old Snider/Enfields circ. 1850's and they work well.
I would not fire any old firearm that I cannot view the bore and breech. Lack of cleaning and preserving can lead to corrosion at the breech end that could lead to a pressure failure.

Nothing more than a judgement call as to whether you fire an antique firearm. Many can be enjoyed as functioning arms while others that have been neglected it's best not to.
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