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I have enjoyed the threat on Popularity of Polymer and the comments on the CZ Rami and wonder what the thoughts are on the alloy framed version vs. the polymer. Also, how alloy stacks up against steel.
Thanks in advance.
 

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The conventional wisdom in 'the trade' when I worked in the firearms industry was that alloy frames won't last as long as steel frames, and that the older alloy frames were not as durable as the modern alloy frames. Some of the engineer/metallurgy types believed that the polymer frames would/will become brittle, admittedly decades, down the track.

Me, personally? I own polymer, alloy, and mostly steel guns. I doubt I'm going to wear all of them any time soon.
 

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I believe in STEEL.

And late ( read: constructed as such ) Alu framed pistols ( SIG Sauer ).

I LIKE my Glock ( 17 ). Its tough and reliable and needs less maintenance than any other gun I know of.

But the frame might "age" in the sun quicker than steel and alu ( it might corrode less that steel!!! ), so perhaps it might be sensible, to have it changed every 30 years ...

MY solution: I keep at least ONE ( that
 
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I have a smith model 3913 that is 100% reliable but about 6 months ago I noticed after a range session that the inside frame near the front, looks as if it has been chewed up a bit by the steel slide. My gunsmith agreed and then acted like this was to be expected with allow frame pistols. He used the tired - carry often shot a little - line on me when it came to allow framed weapons. That, quite frankly bothers me. I want to shoot my carry gun more often than any of my other weapons. Anyway, the Smith now sits in my gun safe until I can figure out the solution to this issue.

BTW I only have one other allow frame pistol - my Sig 220 and it has not shown any wear problems, although I bought the gun new and it is only about a year old.
 

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frame rails on Glocks are steel. The steel slide rides on steel rails, the polymere frame is mostly handle. alloy frames on the other hand are alloy on steel.

steel on steel is inherently stronger and Glocks (9mm anyway) are proven technology. Glocks have been around for almost 3 decades. if they're going to break down and fail due to enviromental conditions they had better get busy.

But steel/alloy will oxidize and weaken with age as well, although the affects are not always visible to the naked eye, and all frame materials must be manufactured correctly or they will fail prematurely.

I shoot my carry guns alloy, polymere, or steel. If they wear out they are replaced. Costs money, but I'm worth it;))
 

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From various materials handbooks:


COMPARISON OF PROPERTIES, PLASTIC VS SS STEEL

........................Glass Reinf. Nylon 6/6 .........Type 416SS Hardened
...........................(Typical for Kel Tec)...........(Typical for S&W, etc.)

Property

Tensile Strength psi .......27,000...........................180,000
Modulus psi.................1,200,000.....................29,000,000
[email protected] psi..........................180,000 psi
Max.Temp,degF...230F long, 465F short.......850F long 1000Fshort

The most important property, besides tensile strength, for a pistol is the modulus of elasticity, which is the resistance to stretching, warping, bending, whatever. If we could use high speed photography during firing a plastic framed pistol, we might be shocked to see how much it bulges and flexes during recoil.
I got rid of all my plastic, toy
pistols several years ago.

Just my opinion. Opinions are like, well you know what, everybody has one.


og
 

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OG

Interesting numbers you have up there. I am not an engineer so I dont quite understand the meaning of all those fancy terms so I prefer analogies.

An oak tree is much less elastic than a blade of grass, but given a strong enough wind, the tree will break but the grass will bend. So you see, elasticity is not always a disadvantage and is not a good measure of durability.

If the frame of a handgun is analogous to the stock of a rifle, and polymer is an inadequate stock material then wood stocks must also be inadequate. The polymers used in firearms are less elastic and have higher tensile strength than wood, yet wood is still used in the stocks of magnum rifles. Since wood is weaker than plastic, and plastic, according to the numbers, is inferior to steel, then one would assume that shooters would get rid of their wood/polymer stocks and replace then with steel stocks, yet that is clearly not the case.

Obviously the components that need to make use of steel's strength are still made of steel, or else we would be seeing guns with polymer barrels and chambers. But as for the frame/stock, I dont see how the extra strength in these areas is necessary. The frame/stock only needs to be strong enough to contend with the recoil force of the slide/recoil spring/bolt etc. You also dont need much strength to enclose the magazine, since this is obviously a low pressure/low heat area (atmospheric pressure/ambient temperature). The only places I see that absolutely require the durability of steel are the areas where high pressure or heat are present: chamber and barrel, ie, the ones that continue to be made of steel even in "plastic" guns.
 

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My gunsmith agreed and then acted like this was to be expected with allow frame pistols. He used the tired - carry often shot a little - line on me when it came to allow framed weapons. That, quite frankly bothers me. I want to shoot my carry gun more often than any of my other weapons. Anyway, the Smith now sits in my gun safe until I can figure out the solution...
Have you checked into buffers and/or Wolff extra power recoil springs? I have a buffer/Wolff xp spring combo in my FM Hi-Power and would recommend such combos for pistols as a Lightweight Commanders or other alloy guns.
 

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I checked out Wolff Springs and Buffer Technologies websites... they both have gear available for the S&W 3913. So you can put a spring/buffer combo in yours and shoot it 'til your whims are appeased.
 

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Jeb,

Back in the mid 60's the Indiana State Police became one of the first police agencies to carry semiautomatic pistols, and they chose the predecessor to your gun, the Smith M39. Perhaps if you PM Josh Smith, who lives in Indiana and stays up on such things, he might know of a source who can tell you of any such problems found by police agencies with your Smith alloy frame and what they did about it. He's very up to date on the research those agencies did with the 9mm cartridge, so I'm sure he'd be glad to help if he can.

I'm also aware that some major west coast agencies adopted a Smith alloy frame model for their plain clothes people when they adopted the Beretta Model 92 for the street cops in the mid-80's, so there is a good body of usage for the Smith alloy frames in law enforcement. You just have to find a way to tap into their experiences with them, and I think that's where you'll get the answer you're looking for. For now the spring/buffer idea is a good one, though.

(Old, tired, rusty memory fails me.....it might have been Illinois, but it was one of the two.)

JayPee
 

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The reason I am proud to live in Illinois is the fact that READ that Ill. State Police were the first to issue S&W M39 to it's troopers. The 1st agency to issue Semi-Auto pistols in the US. TA-DA!

That's what I've read........

As for me I don't own a polymer firearm. I just haven't seen one I would like to own yet. I have nothing against them. I've rented a few from time to time. I think maybe I feel that the polymer guns don't have the same history as the steel guns do. To me history is part of the appeal of collecting. Now one time I did see a Cobalt Blue Metal Flake Framed Glock 19 with the SS slide. That was done by a guy who custom painted cars.
 

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Hello,

I briefly owned a CZ-100 in .40 S&W and absolutely did not like the trigger system on it. I've owned 3 Glocks and enjoyed them for what they are....

I own several alloy framed pistols and enjoy the lighter weight and shoot them with total confidence in their durability.

Of course, I have a pretty big collection of steel frame pistols including BHP's, 1911's and my CZ-75B, which are the "workhorses" of the group.

In other words, enjoy the choices. They are all unique.

Chris
 

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Polymer guns are not classy as are steel framed... but I'm convinced that Glock, Walther, HK and SIG-Sauer make good use of plastic for reliable, durable products...

I'm more cautious about alloy frame, especially those derived from a classic, all steel model. As I wrote some months ago in the 1911 group, I experienced a crack in my 1974 LW Commander. It came second hand, so I don't have a round-count. It also had a buffer in and tuned ejector, so I presume that the previous owner babyed it, like I do with a new buffer, 20 pds spring and reasonnable died of 230 grs standart speed ammo.


These thin cracks in the back of the dustcover are not exceptionnal, on steel 1911s also, so I don't worry to much, but it might say something about conversions of old steel designs to alloy, like Colt and FN did with 1911s and HPs.

Bye.

L.
 

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For me, it's all about functionality, I couldn't care less about what "looks good".

I'ved owned and carried steel, aluminum, and polymer.

I personally believe that if they are initially well made, maintained, and kept to near factory spec, most any firearm will outlast me.

Of course, I used to shoot around 5K rounds a year, and nowadays, it's more like 500, just to keep the edge developed with those years of many rounds (and dollars) spent.
 
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