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  #1  
Old 04-23-2018, 9:25 PM
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Default Aluminum Frame Handguns

I'm looking at a CZ RAMI right now which has an aluminum frame/lower. Is it true that aluminum frames have a finite life of only 5,000 to 15,000 rounds before they crack or wear out? Is it just not possible for one to last as long as an all steel or polymer & steel gun?
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Old 04-23-2018, 9:27 PM
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The Beretta M9 proved a MRBF of 35,000 rounds during Army testing. And during monitored testing of randomly selected M9s pulled off the assembly line, they went an avearge of 22,500 rounds each without even a single stoppage.

In one Army supervised test, twelve randomly selected M9 pistols fired 168,000 total rounds without a single malfunction.

There was a guy who claims over 100k rounds fired through one, his Youtube video is out there somewhere.
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Old 04-23-2018, 9:28 PM
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Nope, not true
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:01 PM
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Nothing to worry about. Check out the P01 and PCR they are aluminum framed as well.

Even steel framed guns could crack. Its possible.
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beretta11 View Post
Is it true that aluminum frames have a finite life of only 5,000 to 15,000 rounds before they crack or wear out? Is it just not possible for one to last as long as an all steel or polymer & steel gun?
Not true at all.

Aluminum can be stronger than certain grades of steel - it depends on the specific composition and the manufacturing process used (e.g. cast, forged).
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Old 04-23-2018, 10:14 PM
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I was issued a lot of different M9's over the years at bases all across the globe, and fired them all in various range scenarios. They had all been carried by many people before my turn too. In all the post-range and periodic cleanings and inspections over 20 years I never found any cracks. The older pistols were noticeably looser than the newer pistols, but they all worked fine.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beretta11 View Post
I'm looking at a CZ RAMI right now which has an aluminum frame/lower. Is it true that aluminum frames have a finite life of only 5,000 to 15,000 rounds before they crack or wear out? Is it just not possible for one to last as long as an all steel or polymer & steel gun?
The design is as important as the material.
If the design is appropriate to the material, the life can be very long.
If you try to substitute aluminum into a design made for steel, aluminum frames have a very short life.
That is likely what you are hearing about.
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:09 PM
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A properly lubricated aluminum framed pistol will outlast an all steel gun that is run when dry.

A lubricated aluminum framed pistol will outlast it's fire control group and several barrels.
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Old 04-24-2018, 2:24 AM
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My Ruger P89 has seeen untold amounts of ammo throughout its life. No galling at all.
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Old 04-24-2018, 5:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
The design is as important as the material.
If the design is appropriate to the material, the life can be very long.
If you try to substitute aluminum into a design made for steel, aluminum frames have a very short life.
That is likely what you are hearing about.
^^^^this.
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  #11  
Old 04-24-2018, 5:59 AM
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No issues with my P-01 after 10k rounds. Running strong and ugly as hell under the hood.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:08 AM
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Maybe dumb q, but has polymer been put to the test without stoppage or any statistics before stoppage?
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by depthcharge View Post
Maybe dumb q, but has polymer been put to the test without stoppage or any statistics before stoppage?
Many, many, many times.

Military and LE agencies tend to do this kind of testing.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ar15barrels View Post
...If you try to substitute aluminum into a design made for steel, aluminum frames have a very short life...
The first thing that comes to mind is a Lightweight Commander 1911. 1911s have been in service a long time and it is known that frames can beat themselves to an early demise but you have to put a LOT of rounds through the gun to find the weaknesses. I love Lightweight Commanders so they get shot but I usually put them on light duty. Except for serious use target guns, I have no hesitation buying aluminum frame handguns.
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Old 04-24-2018, 11:50 AM
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all have advantages and disadvantages so pick the one that feels best to you. No weapon is perfect so it is important to find what fits you best. I am not a polymar or aluminum frame person but then I am old school. I would never bad mouth someone who felt better and shot better using one of those two framed guns. I would be glad he found what was right for him or her. take care of your guns and they will take care of you.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:08 PM
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When the Walther P-38 was made into an aluminum model they developed lots of problems. The cracking problem was corrected by inserting a steel pin at the lock block location. Allu minum was definate ly less durable in that case. Having said all this, however, by s designed from the start as aluminum seem to have no troubles, such as with the Beretta.
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Old 04-24-2018, 5:27 PM
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I've personally seen Beretta 92FS frames, slides, and especially locking blocks crack many times. I've even seen a barrel develop a crack. These were high usage and abused range rentals mostly in the late 1990's-early 2000's time frame. I have seen most the major brands eventually develope cracks.

Actually I have never seen an aluminum frame Ruger P series frame crack. I talked to a Glock rep about it she tried to blame it on commercial reload range ammo but all the rentals were fed the same type ammo so an equal playing field.

The durability champ was a Ruger GP100 only ever needed some minor spring replaced once. I currently have a Beretta 1951 that needs a locking block, you guessed it, it cracked.
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Old 04-24-2018, 8:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I Swan View Post
I've personally seen Beretta 92FS frames, slides, and especially locking blocks crack many times. I've even seen a barrel develop a crack. These were high usage and abused range rentals mostly in the late 1990's-early 2000's time frame. I have seen most the major brands eventually develope cracks.

Actually I have never seen an aluminum frame Ruger P series frame crack. I talked to a Glock rep about it she tried to blame it on commercial reload range ammo but all the rentals were fed the same type ammo so an equal playing field.

The durability champ was a Ruger GP100 only ever needed some minor spring replaced once. I currently have a Beretta 1951 that needs a locking block, you guessed it, it cracked.
This is what I was hoping someone would verify. I always felt like that was prone to happen on the 92. Interesting to think the GP100 would hold up so well. I spoke to my local range staff and they said the Glocks, XDs, PX4, and 1911s were the longest running/least prone to breakage out of all their rentals.
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Old 04-25-2018, 7:24 AM
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Glocks and 1911's were middle of the road for us. They would both eventually develop slide cracks.
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Old 04-25-2018, 7:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mauserguy View Post
When the Walther P-38 was made into an aluminum model they developed lots of problems. The cracking problem was corrected by inserting a steel pin at the lock block location. Allu minum was definate ly less durable in that case. Having said all this, however, by s designed from the start as aluminum seem to have no troubles, such as with the Beretta.
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Thanks for that info, I have a P-01* built in 1965 that I bought new (never issued police gun) with what is called an alloy frame. Do you know when the issue was corrected?

*- The P-38 became the P-01 after the war.
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Old 04-25-2018, 7:34 AM
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I think those Walthers got the bolt in the frame to help with that cracking problem sometime in mid 1960's. I'm not sure of exact date. I have one from 1965 with it.
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Old 04-25-2018, 7:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beretta11 View Post
I'm looking at a CZ RAMI right now which has an aluminum frame/lower. Is it true that aluminum frames have a finite life of only 5,000 to 15,000 rounds before they crack or wear out? Is it just not possible for one to last as long as an all steel or polymer & steel gun?
I think you need to separate yourself from that source of wherever or whomever you got that info from, but that is absolutely not true.
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Old 04-25-2018, 3:21 PM
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I'm not sure when Walther fixed the P01/P38 frame cracking problem. I believe it was in the early '60s. They made aluminum guns marked both as P-38 and P-01. The steel bolt models are definitely preferred for frequently shot guns.
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Old 04-25-2018, 3:51 PM
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The only issue I've had with my aluminum framed 1911 is: it's VERY easy to strip out the grip screw bushings.

I haven't recorded every shot, but I'm pretty sure I'm up above 3500-4000 rounds by now.
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Old 04-25-2018, 9:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fal_762x51 View Post
My Ruger P89 has seeen untold amounts of ammo throughout its life. No galling at all.
Same with mine. Had it since 1999. If I had to guess, I'd say it has around 15000 rounds through it. I've shot it a lot.
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:06 PM
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Back in the day, aluminum framed pistols and revolvers - didn't hold up as well as the steel framed guns- that's why you had revolvers and pistols not rated / or approved to shoot + P ammo or the Norma super vel rounds.

In fact most mfg's cautioned / or voided the warranty if you did shoot those high pressure rounds.

I remember seeing the H&K Vz 18 shot polymer pistol and going blaa - that thing will blow itself up and who would buy such a thing ( polymer guns )

Now a days steel, aluminum, and polymer guns are all about the same - durability wise, and with modern metals and engineering Will work under the right circumstance.

Of course not maintaining your gun, and also shooting +P+ round might accelerate wear, but if you shoot a lot ( as with all tools ) your gun may not last forever, everything can break with constant use.

YMMV
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:15 PM
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My EMP 9mm is aluminum framed. I haven't experienced any issues related to the frame.

The night sight tritium vials falling out of the font sight post twice and the ejector bar becoming unglued (yes, unGLUED), have been issues. Frame is fine though.
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Old 05-02-2018, 2:18 PM
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Bump
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Old 05-02-2018, 2:56 PM
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Ramped barrels + aluminum frames
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Old 05-02-2018, 3:16 PM
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On aluminum frame 1911's that aren't ramped you want to be sure to use magazines with followers that are contained and can't get dragged forward into the frame. Also, stay on top of your recoil spring replacements.

I haven't damaged or cracked an aluminum frame 1911 yet but I did crack the frame on a steel Combat Commander; I had it welded and I'm still shooting it.
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Old 05-02-2018, 4:24 PM
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My P226 MK25 spontaneously combusted after it was removed from the plastic bag immediately after pickup. I think the test fire was one too many for the aluminum frame making it as brittle as graham crackers.
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