Odd materials/metals used to make guns?


PDA






Drgong
August 9, 2008, 10:38 PM
We all know there are Steel guns
and there is these long lasting polymer guns...
And of course there is the Zinc/Alum Alloy guns...

But what other pastics and metals have been used to make firearms over the years? :)

If you enjoyed reading about "Odd materials/metals used to make guns?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
highorder
August 9, 2008, 10:45 PM
how about "Brastil?"

http://www.pbase.com/mrclark/image/73439213


This one is in the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts.

crushbup
August 9, 2008, 10:49 PM
The Mythbusters did a show about a wooden cannon (it had a spectacular KB, though)

Other than bare iron, likely used in the early days of firearms manufacture, I can't really think of anything.

Dope
August 9, 2008, 11:00 PM
Does anyone make any carbon fiber guns or gun parts yet? You can get barrels can't you?

Dope

Wolfman_556
August 9, 2008, 11:09 PM
Does anyone make any carbon fiber guns or gun parts yet? You can get barrels can't you?

Bushmaster Carbon-15 model.

I seem to recall back in the early 60s, either Armalite or Colt made an AR15/M16 with a composite barrel of some sort, which didn't go over well.

EHCRain10
August 9, 2008, 11:12 PM
Remington 105CTi has carbon fiber in it

nicholst55
August 9, 2008, 11:13 PM
That would have been the original Armalite AR-10; it had, IIRC, a titanium barrel which was very thin - too thin, as it turned out.

There are currently carbon fiber parts, titanium and Scandium parts, and copper-beryllium parts. And doubtless others that I've overlooked.

crushbup
August 9, 2008, 11:16 PM
I completely forgot about the lightweight "exotic" metals like scandium, thanks nicholst55!

highorder
August 9, 2008, 11:29 PM
done forget the Brass Henry rifle.

Monkeybear
August 9, 2008, 11:31 PM
The Remington Nylon Rifle was made from Nylon.

oneshooter
August 10, 2008, 12:26 AM
Bronze and brass cannons were standard for years.

Oneshooter
Livin in Texas

TehK1w1
August 10, 2008, 12:51 AM
I'm just waiting for Extreme shock to come out with a gun made of Nytrilium. :neener:

HB
August 10, 2008, 12:57 AM
Winchester had a shotgun whose barrel was a thin steel tube wrapped with thousands of feet of fiberglass wire. The shotgun was very light, but funny looking. I heard they lost favor quickly becuase if the fiberglass was nicked, the barrel would unravel and possible KB :uhoh:

HB

Crow1108
August 10, 2008, 02:13 AM
A company called Christensen or Christiansen or some variation of the name (from Utah IIRC...saw it at a gunshow awhile back), made a bolt-action rifle with a composite barrel. Pretty light weight.

There were a few cannons a long time ago that were made from brass.

marktx
August 10, 2008, 02:20 AM
That would have been the original Armalite AR-10; it had, IIRC, a titanium barrel which was very thin - too thin, as it turned out.

There is a picture of the subsequent burst barrel in Small Arms of the World by Edward Ezell.

Titanium would make a great barrel material except for the fact that it tends to gall (stick/smear more or less) with other metals so you gotta line it with steel.

SDC
August 10, 2008, 10:18 AM
I've seen prison-manufactured guns made from epoxy with aluminium tubes as barrels and flashlight circuitry as the "trigger"; I also saw one made from a can of soda pop, a bag of potato chips, 2 AA batteries, a package of matches, a tuft of steel wool, and a scrap of copper wire.

plexreticle
August 10, 2008, 10:22 AM
I also saw one made from a can of soda pop, a bag of potato chips, 2 AA batteries, a package of matches, a tuft of steel wool, and a scrap of copper wire.


Wow, that puts Mcgiver to shame.

Jim Watson
August 10, 2008, 10:57 AM
Some machine guns have a Stellite (mostly cobalt) liner in the chamber and first several inches of barrel for longer service life firing long bursts.

There has been some work done with ceramic gun barrels or liners.

PercyShelley
August 10, 2008, 11:17 AM
WhistlePig makes a steel-lined aluminum barrel for the 10/22:

http://www.wpgbc.com/specs.htm

Avenger
August 10, 2008, 11:35 AM
I once owned a knock-off of a baby Browning that I am convinced was manufactured of concentrated "FAIL".

TAB
August 11, 2008, 02:08 AM
thick walled PVC will make a great black powder gun, for 1 shot and 1 shot only.

belus
August 11, 2008, 02:49 AM
I've never heard of it made, but I really want a gun made of equiaxed investment cast nickel-aluminum. The metal would reflect light unevenly and look like the turbine blade in the middle:
http://www.industrialheating.com/IH/2003/08/Files/Images/86687.gif

jjbduke2004
August 12, 2008, 10:27 AM
There's been some talk of the Army manufacturing mortar tubes out of an Inconel alloy to save weight. There have been some attempts at using composites as well.

Jim Watson
August 12, 2008, 11:23 AM
Inconel save weight? How? Inconels are high nickel alloys, little if any lower density than steel.

highorder
August 12, 2008, 11:27 AM
Inconel save weight? How? Inconels are high nickel alloys, little if any lower density than steel.


My thoughts as well.

Perhaps the gain in tensile strength over steel allows for thinner tubes, but I would think that some of the 300 series stainless steels would be a cheaper, better choice. How high could the pressure be in a mortar tube?

ilcylic
August 12, 2008, 11:40 AM
Stainless tends to crack under repeated hammering. Inconel is great for beating on, under high temperatures.

hangtime
August 12, 2008, 11:48 AM
But I seem to remember a small manufacturer of custom 1911 style pistols that used beryllium/copper alloy for the frame. This would have been 20-25 years ago. Very unusual looking pistols. Anyone else remeber these?

snorko
August 12, 2008, 11:50 AM
Isn't the Glock 7 all ceramic?:rolleyes:

Jim Watson
August 12, 2008, 12:39 PM
a small manufacturer of custom 1911 style pistols that used beryllium/copper alloy for the frame. This would have been 20-25 years ago. Very unusual looking pistols

Yup.
I think that was Safari Arms, one of their Matchmaster series.

jackstinson
August 12, 2008, 12:53 PM
I see mention of brass cannon, but a whole hell of a lot of muzzle loading firearms made over the centuries were brass or had brass barrels. Brass was preferred over steel for sea duty. Many of the original percussion revolvers had brass frames. Several cartridge guns had brass frames (Henry, Winchester) You can still buy new brass barreled muzzle loaders, separate barrels, and brass framed hand guns today.
The current Henry Big Boy rifle has a milled brass receiver. As do many newly made reproduction lever guns and such.
Copper has been used (at least in one documented example) for cannon.
I've seen examples of prison guns made from rolled/glued paper layers with matches for propellant.
There is a carved soap pistol in the US Air Force Museum at Wright Field.
Captain Kirk used an alien bamboo stem for a barrel and fired diamonds to defeat the Gorn in "Arena".

Carlos Cabeza
August 12, 2008, 05:02 PM
What about "Hastalloy" as in "hasta la vista Baby!" :) I'm always interested in new materials and mfg. processes !

Drgong
August 12, 2008, 05:21 PM
Same here Carlos, I am curious on all the odd ways to make firearms.

Wonder if Cast Basalt or Basalt fiber has been used...prob not...

Jim Watson
August 12, 2008, 05:56 PM
Hastelloys are nickel-chrome alloys for corrosion resistance. I recall some Hastelloy pipe and pumps in acid service where I worked on fertilizer R&D. I don't know what they would offer a gun.

Jubjub
August 12, 2008, 06:09 PM
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden tried out leather cannon, actually very thin copper barrels wrapped with leather and rope. They actually worked, but the insulating effect meant that the barrel liner overheated quickly and failed after a few shots rapid fire.

Carlos Cabeza
August 12, 2008, 06:44 PM
I suppose we have nearly exhausted the materials we can use for the manufacture of firearms. I was particularly impressed with the use of carbon fiber wrapped stainless lined Bbl's in the Ruger 10-22. My preference is still with metals and wood. but maybe that Gaston guy is on to something !

Thanks Mr. Watson, I was just tossing the hastelloy bit to be a wise***......Maybe it can be used for an alien gun in a sulfuric gas environ planet :D. While working for a plating company this material often came up for discussion as the environment was high RH, highly corrosive. I did run a few jobs off the clock though. ;) It happens that nickel is very slippery and corrosion resistant.

CypherNinja
August 12, 2008, 07:30 PM
KT Ordinance sells 80% Beryllium Copper 1911 frame kits.

Conqueror
August 12, 2008, 08:08 PM
I completely forgot about the lightweight "exotic" metals like scandium, thanks nicholst55!
I hope you're not talking about S&W "Scandium" frames... they are a total scam. They use an aluminum alloy which is approximately 0.15% scandium.

JesseL
August 12, 2008, 08:55 PM
I hope you're not talking about S&W "Scandium" frames... they are a total scam. They use an aluminum alloy which is approximately 0.15% scandium.

Doesn't S&W usually refer to it as "Scandium Alloy"? It's doesn't take much scandium added to aluminum to make a difference in the alloys strength. I wonder how well a Smith 329 would hold up if if was made with a more conventional aluminum alloy?

Jim Watson
August 12, 2008, 09:04 PM
Probably not long, but it took 45,000 rounds to wear out a S&W scandium .45 auto.

Conqueror
August 12, 2008, 10:43 PM
Doesn't S&W usually refer to it as "Scandium Alloy"?
Yes, that's part of why it's a scam. Alloys are named for the primary metal - their frames are ~90% aluminum. It is aluminum alloy with a very small proportion of Scandium which does not significantly alter its properties. Here's the info from S&W's patent:

The alloy is composed of 0.05 % to 0.15 % scandium, 7.5 % to 8.3 % zinc, 1.6 % to 2.2 % magnesium, 1.6 % to 2.0 % copper, 0.02 % to 0.04 % chromium, 0.05 % to 0.15 % zirconium, and 87 to 90 % aluminum.

They could have called it "Zinc alloy frames" but that probably wouldn't have sold as well to so many gullible individuals. While this alloy is stronger than some regular aluminum alloys, it is not stronger than all of them. Plain old 7068 aluminum is stronger, for example.

Drgong
August 12, 2008, 10:58 PM
Was just thinking, the gunsmiths of khyber pass could be a trove of information of unique materials to make firearms...

Jim Watson
August 13, 2008, 12:15 AM
Like rebar?

Or the bush gunsmiths of Africa, who found that the steering column of a Vauxhaul was hollow and made a fair gun barrel, "of indifferent bore approaching arquebus."

ColinthePilot
August 13, 2008, 12:41 AM
Isn't the Glock 7 all ceramic?

I was waiting for someone to bring up the infamous x-ray evading Glocks. They're made of pottery. :banghead:

JesseL
August 13, 2008, 12:43 AM
They could have called it "Zinc alloy frames" but that probably wouldn't have sold as well to so many gullible individuals. While this alloy is stronger than some regular aluminum alloys, it is not stronger than all of them. Plain old 7068 aluminum is stronger, for example.

Are the S&W "Scandium" guns priced beyond their value? Is anyone being deceived into thinking that they're buying something better than what they receive?

They're well built guns that are reasonably durable and extraordinarily light weight and that is why people buy them - not because they think there's anything magical about the stuff they're made from.

I don't see why the marketing name is anything to get particularly bent out of shape over.

The Lone Haranguer
August 13, 2008, 12:43 AM
I am sure that, in their day, plastics and aluminum alloys were considered unusual materials. ;)

If you enjoyed reading about "Odd materials/metals used to make guns?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!