1911Forum
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > General > General Gun Discussion


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-30-2002, 02:40 PM
Greg1911 Greg1911 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 1,122
how long do alloy frame pistols last?




I have a lightweight Para P-12 and I really like it but whats the life span on this gun, I shoot about 300rds a month out of it?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 06-30-2002, 03:57 PM
dfariswheel dfariswheel is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 3,997
Back in the 70's the late Skeeter Skelton did a 10,000 round test of the Colt Commander. The frame had a non-critical crack at the end. This was in the days when aluminum frames were't as good as they are today.
Hope this helps.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 06-30-2002, 04:38 PM
BGPD's Avatar
BGPD BGPD is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,016
I have alloy 1911's that have over 15k rounds with no ill effects. But then I do not shoot anything above statndard pressure loads through them.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 07-01-2002, 09:21 AM
The Chief The Chief is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Oregon
Age: 63
Posts: 480
I carry an alloy commander. I have not heard any bad press or horror stories about alloy frames failing. I think the key is only shooting standard pressure loads. That is all I shoot in my commander. I hope it out lasts me! Cheers.
__________________
"If it ain't a COLT, it's just a copy!"

ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒE!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 07-02-2002, 02:44 PM
Gun Nut's Avatar
Gun Nut Gun Nut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally posted by Darin Marple
...So it boils down to this, aluminum 1911 frames will probably last you around 10,000 rounds, steel will last you longer.
That is quite untrue. Kimber supposedly tested its frames to 20,000 rounds with no measurable wear. That could mean a 40,000 round frame life. Of course, I have heard of steel frames going 100,000 rounds.

But, put the question another way. Who here has shot out an aluminum frame, what was it, and about how many rounds were through it?

I don't think I have heard more than one incident of someone shooting out an aluminum frame, and that was on a Smith and Wesson "Shorty 40" where there seemed to be a defect in the initial manufacture of it that caused a failure after 15,000 rounds.

This question pops up every couple of months, and NO ONE has been able to give any facts other than what I have just stated. So, I think its safe to assume that a modern aluminum alloy frame will last a lifetime for the average shooter.

Also, the cost of shooting 20,000 rounds at $0.16 per round is $3200. I don't think you have to worry about replacement here if you can shoot out the frame. I wouldn't take my Aluminum frame guns to the match every week, but that is the only thing I do different than with steel frame guns. Of course, my steel frame guns only really see range time. I'll never carry them. Aluminum is for carry, steel is for the range.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 07-02-2002, 03:15 PM
dsk's Avatar
dsk dsk is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 43,448
Asking how long an alloy frame will last is like asking someone how long you'll live. Alloy frames are like a person with a family history of heart disease or cancer, the odds are stacked against them but it doesn't necessarily doom them to a short lifespan. The key is to recognize the risks and prevent them. For example, an alloy frame should not be continually abused with +P rounds or long strings of fire like at a pistol match. On the other hand, a well cared-for alloy frame that is shot in moderation but regularly will still likely outlast its owner.

There is a member on TFL that has written about going through three alloy Commanders. The round count varied with each (2,000-6,000), but all had similar cracking episodes (cracking at the dust cover junction and slide stop cutout). As a result he no longer trusts alloy-framed 1911s. However, I think they were all early pre-70 guns. Maybe he looks here as well and can post his experiences again.

As for me, I don't shoot my alloy guns as much either, but the fact is occasional shooting won't likely ever wear one out. If you're into guns heavily enough to shoot 10,000 rounds or more in your lifetime, then you're serious enough to buy a steel-framed gun for extended shooting anyway.
__________________
Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 07-03-2002, 03:23 AM
Col. Colt Col. Colt is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 2,433
Once again - what dsk said! It should be noted that WHICH Load used will actually determine how long the frame will last. I doubt if Kimber tried any +P loads during their test. The only addendum I would add is that certain hollowpoint bullet designs are quite sharp and wear and gouging of the feed ramp does occur if the gun is fed a steady diet of the wrong ammo. Like the doctor said when the patient moved his arm a funny way and said "this hurts". The doctor replyed, "Well, don't do that anymore." Switch to a smooth feeding, blunt edged round like a Remington Golden Saber, a Winchester Silvertip, etc. No problem for the relatively "soft" ramp then.

Also, magazines with steel followers sometimes put a small "dimple" into an alloy feed ramp, but it is below the level where the bullet nose contacts the ramp and is usually of little consequence. You can use only "block style plastic" followers in your aluminum framed guns, if this bothers you.

A neater solution for both problems has recently come on the market. Evolution Gun Works sells a steel feed ramp that can be installed in an alloy frame as a permanent fix, or even to fix a steel 1911 that has been "overramped". You machine away the old ramp area and replace with the new steel ramp. It is designed to be screwed and/or glued into place. We have already installed a dozen or so and they are a nice solution.

An alloy gun with the EGW ramp and Accurails would never WEAR out. It could still eventually crack, however, given sufficent "cumulative shock cycles".

Hope this is helpful.

Warmly, Col. Colt

"Beware of Counterfeits & Patent Infringements"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 07-03-2002, 05:49 AM
David Blinder's Avatar
David Blinder David Blinder is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 1,431
I have a lightweight commander slide on a lightweight officers frame that has almost 10k rounds thru it with no noticible wear. That doesn't mean it won't crack tomorrow but so far, it hasn't been an issue for me.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 07-03-2002, 08:38 AM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,184
Back when I went through FBI LEO Firearms Instructor, revolver to semiauto transistion school back in the late 1980s. They told us that any alloy framed semiauto pistol had a projected life expectancy of around 10K rounds. They said that some would go more and others would go less but the average was around 10K rounds. They told us this because were were susposed to go back to our respective agencies and change our Police Departments over from revolvers to semiautomatic pistols and that the life expectancy of a handgun was something that we must consider when deciding on which weapon to guy for our departments.

7th
__________________
Support Your Local Police
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 07-03-2002, 10:19 PM
Gun Nut's Avatar
Gun Nut Gun Nut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally posted by Darin Marple
Gun Nut

It is a fact that an aluminum frame will not last as long as steel for an equivalent frame, on average. Go ask anyone who engineers anything out of the two materials and they will tell you this. Aluminum is used to conserve weight, nothing more. It does not have the stress characteristics of steel and will fail sooner.
Which was stated as such on my post.
Quote:
As far as 10,000 rounds, 20,000 rounds, 15,000 rounds, etc... 10,000 rounds is a good average, it doesn't mean that such and such a test will show a variance. Of course they will, I am giving an average, nothing more.
Ok Darin, how is that a "good" average? Do you have research that concludes this? Have you done a personal study of multiple alloy framed guns? The poster asked for the lifespan of his Para P-12. Have you knowledge from Paraord how long those guns last?

No. You took a big honking guess. And I don't think its a good one. Its got nothing to back it up. No facts, other than steel is stronger. But is the carbon or stainless steel used in guns 10 times more durable than the Aluminum Alloys used today? And now with Scandium being thrown in, you are getting the elasticity that has been missing.

A gun that lasts only 10,000 rounds is fairly poor for normal use given your average costing gun today. S&W was getting a few thousand rounds lifetime with their tin alloys they put in their .380s about 8 years ago, and no one bought them. Or the ones that did were really PO'ed. S&W stopped making them. Now the Lorcins, the Ravens, etc. Yeah, you'd be talking less a few thousand rounds. But again, its a tin alloy or a less expensive aluminum alloy, and its costing < $150.

Kimber is getting their blanks from Smith and Wesson, like a whole lot of other gun OEMs. If Kimber found their Alloy frames to have no measurable wear after 20,000 rounds, you can be rest assured that all the quality names will get that too. And that is just lack of "measurable" wear. So you also have to give that there is more life than that even after you get "measurable" wear.

Last edited by Gun Nut; 07-05-2002 at 06:45 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 07-08-2002, 01:24 PM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,184
Ten thousand rounds is a lot of ammunition and the average Joe that buys a gun doesn't shoot 1000 rounds in his lifetime, through a single firearm. Far more guns are ruined from abuse or improper care and storage than by shooting them. The average Cop only fires his weapon during quals and that can be as little as 50 rounds per year, so it would take him an entire twenty year career to shoot even the 1000 rounds.

7th
__________________
Support Your Local Police
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 07-09-2002, 01:04 AM
Gun Nut's Avatar
Gun Nut Gun Nut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally posted by Darin Marple
Gun Nut,

I did not take a big honking guess. In fact you took a big honking guess about me taking a big honking guess.

I took this from 10 failed aluminum frame guns, colts, sigs and berettas, fired with a range of ammunition by a range of gun owners. The average failure rate was 10,000 rounds, in reality. This gives enough information to be statistically significant and to form a valid estimate.
I don't know where you learned statistics from, but a sample of 10 is not statistically significant. It has a variance of about 50%. A sample doesn't get to be significant until about 30-35 samples. That still would only be about a 85% confidence level. If you want a truly real world sample, you are going to test around 100 guns to hit 95%.

Also, I'd like to know more about the guns you are using as a basis for your bias. Like, the history of them: The general round counts of each, what kind of loads they digested, how often they were maintained, when they were manufactured.

I want a controlled study, with real statistics, and a real sample size. Not someone who says they took this from 10 aluminum guns of various whatever.

Its real easy to give conjecture. I want facts. I still haven't seen anything to that effect.

Last edited by Gun Nut; 07-09-2002 at 01:11 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 07-09-2002, 01:29 AM
dsk's Avatar
dsk dsk is offline
Administrator
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 43,448
You're probably never going to get them. Who is willing to take 100 samples each from each manufacturer of alloy-framed pistols, run each one to destruction under, ahem, "controlled" conditions and report on the results? Nobody. Even if somebody did, the results would be subject to criticism and claims of biased testing procedures, as they always seem to be. Look at just how many rounds the DOD ran through all the various 9mm pistols during the M9 trials, yet somehow they never discovered any of the problems gun enthusiasts have been claiming some of those guns are prone to, such as broken slides and cracked frame rails. Does that mean the DOD lied, or else doctored the results? Maybe. Or else maybe under their testing conditions the problems didn't surface. We'll probably never know.

For me, life is too short to argue about just how many rounds a gun will last before it breaks. Shoot it until it does, then go out and buy another. If you're so worried that you may never be able to legally buy another handgun after tomorrow, then fine. Buy two at once now, shoot the crap out of one, and preserve the other in a hermetically-sealed chamber for future use. I for one have made a habit of buying more than one example of any daily-use item that I like, which seems to me to be a better idea than simply worrying about whether the only one I have will ever wear out or break.
__________________
Try not to fall into the common trap of wanting to replace everything on your new 1911 just to make it "better". Know what you're changing out, and why. You may spend a lot of money fixing things that weren't broken to begin with. Shoot it for at least 500 rounds, then decide what you don't like and want improved. Vintage 1911's should NEVER be refinished or modified because it ruins any value they had as a collectible firearm.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 07-10-2002, 10:48 AM
Gun Nut's Avatar
Gun Nut Gun Nut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally posted by dsk
...For me, life is too short to argue about just how many rounds a gun will last before it breaks. Shoot it until it does, then go out and buy another. If you're so worried that you may never be able to legally buy another handgun after tomorrow, then fine. Buy two at once now, shoot the crap out of one, and preserve the other in a hermetically-sealed chamber for future use.
I think this is the best statement of the issue I have seen yet. I agree wholeheartedly. If you look at my previous estimate on ammo costs, even frames lasting only 10,000 rounds will cost you $1600 to shoot. That is probably roughly 3 times the average cost of an alloy frame gun.

Last edited by Gun Nut; 07-10-2002 at 10:57 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 07-10-2002, 01:26 PM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,184
That is probably roughly 3 times the average cost of an alloy frame gun.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You obviously haven't priced a new Kimber alloy framed 1911 lately have you?


7th
__________________
Support Your Local Police
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 07-11-2002, 01:56 AM
Gun Nut's Avatar
Gun Nut Gun Nut is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arizona
Posts: 850
$625 for a Custom Compact II Aluminum Blue. Scottsdale Gun Center.

Last edited by Gun Nut; 07-11-2002 at 02:00 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 07-11-2002, 08:31 AM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 1,184
Back when I bought my Kimber Custom Combat Carry Model with all the bells and whistles...List $1035.00...

7th
__________________
Support Your Local Police
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 07-11-2002, 03:53 PM
gungeek gungeek is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Bay Area, California
Age: 37
Posts: 37
Quote:
average Joe that buys a gun doesn't shoot 1000 rounds in his lifetime.
H*ll, I know people who shoot that before the Kali 10 day waiting period is up. (Some ranges allow you to shoot a paid for gun durring the period). I average about 500 rounds through a new gun before my pickup date. I even know a guy who shoots that many 44Mags every Sunday.
__________________
www.geek-house.org
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:25 AM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright 2011 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved