SAE 1046 steel axle I-beam forgings produced by the direct quench method and the conventional reheat and quench method were examined. Impact and tensile specimens obtained from sections of two direct quench and one conventional reheat and quench axle I-beams were tested. These data were correlated with hardness and microstructure to determine the relationship between microstructure and properties. The microstructure of direct quenched beams is coarse grained with a martensite case and bainite core. In contrast, the microstructure of conventionally heat treated beams is fine grained with a martensite and/or bainite case and pearlite core. Tensile and impact properties indicate that direct quenching is an acceptable alternative to the conventional reheat and quench process. Fatigue testing of direct quenched beams is currently being performed.