MIM??


PDA






DeepSouth
February 10, 2010, 09:38 PM
Why is it the only time you ever hear anything about MIM being a bad thing is when people are talking about a 1911? I'll be first to admit almost all mass produced 1911's have MIM in them, and I'll also agree the less MIM the better. But with that said I bet most massed produced handguns built to day have MIM in them. I took the MIM into concederation when buying my last CCW, a KAHR they have 1 MIM part if I remember correctly. It seems to me that no one else ever thinks about MIM unless they're talking about a 1911. When was the last time you heard an argument about which had more MIM a Glock or a XD? So my question is why do you never hear people complaining about MIM in a S&W, Ruger, Taurus,etc, etc? I can't be the only person to notice this.

If you enjoyed reading about "MIM??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
The Lone Haranguer
February 10, 2010, 10:10 PM
The makers of 1911s that use these parts frequently charge a premium price for the gun, despite the fact that MIM is a manufacturing process that is supposed to reduce cost.

earlthegoat2
February 10, 2010, 10:15 PM
MIM is always brought up when present day Smith and Wessons are talked about as well. Pre lock and pre MIM.

cyclopsshooter
February 10, 2010, 10:18 PM
+1 about Smith hammers and triggers! I complain about em all the time :)

The lock does not bother me as much as some...

However, none of my Smiths have locks...

Though, that could be because all of the lock guns have that dreaded MIM.

DeepSouth
February 10, 2010, 10:26 PM
Well I am almost relived to find out MIM is a problem in something other than a 1911. I guess some manufactures can keep it under wraps better than others, I just recently found out Sig was starting to use a little MIM here and there. It may well be that some company's just keep it "undercover"

Did S&W start using MIM at the same time they started putting the locks on?

DBR
February 11, 2010, 02:09 AM
While I can't say this with certainty; looking at the parts, I think Glock and Sig use MIM for some parts and have for a long time. I don't hear wails about their use of the process.

Like any other manufacturing process the suitability depends on the application, design and quality control. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with MIM if it is used properly.

Unfortunately it has been used by the "bean counters" to cut costs without realizing it is a technically sophisticated process with a large up front cost and ongoing high QC requirement with no room for "good enough". It is less forgiving than other methods. Parts either work or they fail.

cyclopsshooter
February 11, 2010, 02:43 AM
Smith introduced MIM triggers on many models in 1997. I think the hammer followed a year or two later with the introduction of the transfer firing pin (nomenclature?)

The lock did no appear until 2002 or so.

If the back of the trigger has a void it is probably MIM-

Many MIM parts will have a telltale faint circle or two- very common on 1911 disconnecters and sears...

earlthegoat2
February 11, 2010, 06:06 AM
One thing to remember is that MIM can be done to produce very high quality parts. It is one of those things that you do not want to outsource to Malaysia if you want those quality parts though.

gwnorth
February 11, 2010, 11:13 AM
With the exception of Ruger, who as far as I know uses investment cast parts for their guns (makes sense), I'd love to hear about a manufacturer who does NOT use at least one MIM part these days. Seems to me that most auto loaders these days are at least using MIM in the extractor, hammer, trigger, sears, or all of these and more parts.

If anyone knows of a gun manufacture who is not using any MIM parts at all in their products, please post them, I for one would like to know.

atblis
February 11, 2010, 11:30 AM
Glock doesn't seem to have many mim parts. :)

gwnorth
February 11, 2010, 11:46 AM
Glock doesn't seem to have many mim parts. :)
Actually, I'd read that Glock uses MIM extractors, and even one post that the locking block was an MIM fabricated part? Don't know if it is true or not, somebody confirm?

I know SIG at one point said that their 1911's had no MIM in them, but it's been a few years now, and I know they are using MIM on other models in their lineup (extractors, hammers).

P.S. I have nothing against MIM parts per se - have owned guns with them in it and never had a problem. As long as the QC is there in the production, just like cast or forged parts, they should be fine. It just seems to me that just about every gun manufacutrer is using them in at least some of their lines these days, so many folks may well be using them, and been using them for some time, without even being aware of it.

EddieNFL
February 11, 2010, 01:00 PM
If anyone knows of a gun manufacture who is not using any MIM parts at all in their products, please post them, I for one would like to know.

Nighthawk will use MIM if a customer makes a specific request. Otherwise, no MIM.

atblis
February 11, 2010, 01:27 PM
Actually, I'd read that Glock uses MIM extractors, and even one post that the locking block was an MIM fabricated part? Don't know if it is true or not, somebody confirm?
I too also suspect the locking block and extractor are mim. The locking block has an injection sight mark if I remember correctly.

However, what I was attempting to poke fun at was the reason that there aren't a bunch more mim parts is that everything else is either plastic or stamped sheet metal.

481
February 11, 2010, 01:42 PM
Per my last discussion with Glock's Technical Department (Smyrna) representatives, the locking block and extractor are indeed MIM parts. Give 'em a call, they seem to be happy to confirm this.

Done properly, the MIM process can (and does) produce parts in excess of 98% the strength (density) of wrought (forged) components and makes it superior in strength (and density) to almost all "cast" parts. It is a well respected metallurgical process and I have no worries about parts so fabricated so long as it is used in the correct applications and done properly.

Stophel
February 11, 2010, 02:26 PM
As much as I personally dislike MIM parts in S&W's, so far, I have heard NO problems with them in use. No undue amount of breakage, so I guess they're OK. (that lock, on the other hand, I cannot stomach....) :)

It's just that they're so d--n UGLY. All the cutouts....VERY cheesy. They could at least make them look nicer.

481
February 11, 2010, 04:25 PM
As much as I personally dislike MIM parts in S&W's, so far, I have heard NO problems with them in use. No undue amount of breakage, so I guess they're OK.

Done improperly, any process (MIM, forgings, castings, stamped and welded) will turn out garbage.

I recently (on a whim) took a used (three pin) Glock locking block, and knowing it to be a MIM part placed it on a concrete surface where I applied a ballpeen hammer to it a number of times in order to see just how "tough" it was. :rolleyes:

Hardly a "scientific endeavor" :D, I expected it to "fail" (shatter) at the first strike.

It didn't.

Lost count after twenty blows and one of the "legs" finally busted off at what might have been the 30th or 35th blow. The other "leg" just kinda bent a little. I got tired of beatin' on the danged thing after all it was doin' was leavin' marks in the concrete's surface and gave up.

Curiosity satisfied, MIM is pretty tough stuff. :)

EddieNFL
February 11, 2010, 06:10 PM
Lost count after twenty blows and one of the "legs" finally busted off at what might have been the 30th or 35th blow. The other "leg" just kinda bent a little. I got tired of beatin' on the danged thing after all it was doin' was leavin' marks in the concrete's surface and gave up.

That proves it: MIM is doesn't meet ball peen spec.

I've convinced MIM is pretty strong, but I couldn't bring myself to use a MIM slide stop.

481
February 11, 2010, 06:58 PM
That proves it: MIM is doesn't meet ball peen spec.

"ball peen spec." :D

I've convinced MIM is pretty strong, but I couldn't bring myself to use a MIM slide stop.

Ah, just buy two, beat the livin' crap outta the first one (it's therapeutic, yah'see) and install the second one knowing that if anyove takes a ballpeen hammer to your gun, the slide stop will take a beatin'. :)

Confederate
February 11, 2010, 08:28 PM
The biggest gripe I have about MIM parts is that they're butt-ugly. They contrast poorly in stainless guns and presumably must remain in their manufactured condition without being altered except to be plated.

If they have any other downsides, I'd like to hear about them, as sometimes gun enthusiasts overempasize the evils of gun locks and so forth. I'm much more concerned with S&W's lack of cosmetic appeal and craftsmanship -- and MIM pats detract from the former in a major way.

With Ruger, S&W tried to make forged v. investment casting a big issue in the early 80s, but when people started analyzing the facts, investment casting turned out to be plenty strong. The downside was that parts tended to have burrs and need smoothing up in many cases. As strong as both the S&W 681/686s and Ruger GP-100s are, the Rugers are most likely still substantially stronger. Some of the Security-Sixes had in excess of 30,000 magnum rounds each through them with no parts replacements. That many hot rounds would have decimated any K-frame magnum (many of which would been thoroughly expired after 5,000 magnum rounds). Thus, forged steel offered little in respect to strength and durability.

As far as MIM parts go, the worst part about them is that they're ugly. If S&W were to flash chrome them for their stainless guns, I wouldn't complain about them at all. Hard chroming would make them almost entirely resistant to wear.

So again, if anyone knows of a non-cosmetic downside, I'd like to know.

mec
February 11, 2010, 09:30 PM
I bough a smith 617 when MIM was new and nobody was talking about it. I noticed the hammer and trigger were shaped and colored differently than previously, had injection sites and looked very much like the old die cast plastic parts that used to come with plastic models of cars and airplanes. I asked S&W about it and was told that it was "just a different manufacturing process." I shot the 617 several thousand times double and single action with no problems. Around that time, I sent a 29-2 in for some work and it came back with a MIM trigger. That one has not be shot a whole lot but is working fine.

At one time, the S&W revolvers were considered a marvel of design and workmanship. Even during periods when the workmanship faltered, the guns at least resembled the classic form and it was possible to find very fine individual guns or tune the examples that fell victim to indifferent quality control. S&W revolvers have long since evolved away from the classic handguns they once were.
Some very experienced, quality 1911 smiths have had no problems with MIM parts. Other have had them fail. Most customers shy away from spending four figures for a custom 1911 containing parts selected to minimize expenses for the manufacturer even if those parts work perfectly well in mass produced pistols and have 98 percent of the strength of parts from the older processes.

EddieNFL
February 11, 2010, 09:51 PM
Most customers shy away from spending four figures for a custom 1911 containing parts selected to minimize expenses for the manufacturer even if those parts work perfectly well in mass produced pistols and have 98 percent of the strength of parts from the older processes.

I agree properly manufactured MIM is very strong. Early on, the major problem was casting (or whatever the process is) flaws which led to breaks. For the most part, that is history, although now and again you hear of a failure.

In a 1911 priced above 1600 -1800, I would not accept MIM. While a high stress part, say the slide stop, will probably last close to, if not as long as a bar stock part, chances of a flaw are a little greater with the MIM. For a range gun, no problem, but a shooter you hang on your hip...

My nickel's worth, no more no less.

mec
February 11, 2010, 10:23 PM
nickel's worth

Well put and worth a good bit more than a nickel

John Wayne
February 11, 2010, 11:24 PM
I would wager that 1911 fans complain about MIM more for two reasons:

Their guns are extremely expensive to begin with, and MIM is seen as a process used to save money (which implies cutting corners, to some).

Also, the gun is all metal. You don't hear Glock fans complaining about MIM because MIM doesn't matter when the bottom half of your gun is plastic anyway.

DeepSouth
February 11, 2010, 11:30 PM
You don't hear Glock fans complaining about MIM because MIM doesn't matter when the bottom half of your gun is plastic anyway.

That is very good point that I had never thought of. You do hear a lot of 1911 owners complaining about their plastic main spring housings. It also raises the question.........Is MIM better than plastic? Somehow I bet that would be a different Can O' Worms. LOL

Boats
February 12, 2010, 12:09 AM
MIMs bad rap in 1911s is due primarily to two things: 1) the parts look like ass, as mentioned before. 2) MIM has been used in less than ideal applications on 1911s. Moron executives and engineers tried to use MIM for parts that face lateral tension, like extractors, when on the vast majority of 1911s, the extractor IS its own spring. MIM cannot substitute for spring steel as its porosity makes it prone to failure in such applications.

A modern manufacturer that uses no MIM in their handgun line up is Beretta. Polymer castings? Yes. Stamped parts? Yes. Machined parts? Still making lots of those, especially where critical strength is required. No MIM though.

481
February 12, 2010, 12:11 AM
I would wager that 1911 fans complain about MIM more for two reasons:

Their guns are extremely expensive to begin with, and MIM is seen as a process used to save money (which implies cutting corners, to some).

Also, the gun is all metal. You don't hear Glock fans complaining about MIM because MIM doesn't matter when the bottom half of your gun is plastic anyway.

So is MIM.

M(etal) I(njection) M(olding) is actually a fabrication process and not a material in and of itself.

Many different metals can be used to produce MIM components (including stainless steel) and I'd contend that it is a viable process and no less stronger than any cast or forged part.

Some companies are even making guns with MIM barrels (See page 38 of the February 2010 issue of Combat Handguns) like the Cobra Shadow .38 Special revolver. This is impressive to say the least and speaks volumes as to the strength and viability of the process. Their MIM barrel is even rated for +P ammo! :eek: That's 20,000 psi.

MIM is kinda neat IMO, for its almost ceramic-like production technique (parts are injection molded and then fired like pottery in a kiln) and its resultant impressive strength.

Initially, I distrusted and disliked the process, but as I've investigated it and learned about its attributes, it ain't so bad afterall. Got a new respect for MIM after beating the snot out of a MIM part with a ballpeen hammer (see post #16 page 1 of this thread) and was pleasantly surprised :eek: when it wore me out and "went the distance" against the hammer.

John Wayne
February 13, 2010, 05:28 PM
I know what "MIM" stands for. My point was that buyers of 1911s like their expensive guns to look good--and while MIM may be just as tough as machined steel, it is not an attractive looking material.

Since Glocks use polymer frames and are rather ugly to begin with, no one cares about MIM in them.

fastbolt
February 13, 2010, 05:44 PM
MIM parts don't worry me as long as they're used for applications compatible with their properties and the inherent strength of a properly produced MIM part.

Lesser quality MIM parts would concern me.

FWIW, poorly made cast, stamped and forged parts concern me. I've had more problems with those than with good quality MIM parts.

Jim K
February 13, 2010, 06:09 PM
It is interesting that Ruger is being held up as a quality company because they use castings. At one time, any cast (or stamped) part in a gun made it complete junk, on a par with cap pistols. Only forged and machined parts were considered good enough for real, true-blue American guns. The German P.38 was widely denounced by Americans as being "stamped out" and "cheap junk" because it used a few stamped parts. Every new manufacturing process will be condemned, reluctantly accepted, then praised as the good old way as soon as something else comes along. MIM is no different.

Here is a case in point. After S&W began use of the rebound slide, the trigger had a tiny coil spring, a hand lever, a trigger lever, and two tiny pins. The trigger had four small holes drilled in it for the pins and the hand. The MIM trigger still has the holes for the hand; the others are gone, along with the coil spring, the hand lever and the pins. The trigger lever interlocks with the trigger, eliminating a hole and a pin. The hand spring is a wire spring, eliminating the coil spring, the hand lever, and a pin. Assembly time must be a tenth of the time the old trigger took.

So, why is the price still high? Wrong question. The right question is how much higher would the price be without MIM and other manufacturing short cuts?

A lot of folks lament the passing of precision machining and hand fitting. But they would lament even louder if gun makers returned to those practices and charged accordingly. Can they turn out guns "like the old days"? Sure. Want to buy a 642 at only $2500?

Jim

P.S. I once read an article (vintage 1900) on the use of steel in guns. The writer pointed out all the problems of steel and said that wrought iron and bronze were far superior. Further, he pointed out, use of steel in shotgun barrels meant the end of beautiful Damascus craftsmanship. He was right. Anyone want to go back?

Jim

huntsman
February 13, 2010, 07:01 PM
Only forged and machined parts were considered good enough for real, true-blue American guns.

Ahh the good old days when men were men and guns were steel:)

481
February 14, 2010, 01:27 AM
It is interesting that Ruger is being held up as a quality company because they use castings. At one time, any cast (or stamped) part in a gun made it complete junk, on a par with cap pistols. Only forged and machined parts were considered good enough for real, true-blue American guns. The German P.38 was widely denounced by Americans as being "stamped out" and "cheap junk" because it used a few stamped parts. Every new manufacturing process will be condemned, reluctantly accepted, then praised as the good old way as soon as something else comes along. MIM is no different.

Jim,

I could not agree more with this, especially your last sentence. It is kind of what I was goin' for in my prior post and I wish that I had been as eloquent.

Good job.

Singlestack Wonder
February 14, 2010, 11:59 AM
All of the aluminum wheels made for cars are now injection molded.....

Runningman
February 14, 2010, 01:24 PM
I actually don't have a problem with MIM parts...... IF they are done correctly. The automotive industry has been using MIM parts for many years. GM has made their engine connecting rods out of MIM parts since the 90s. Many of the automotive factory aluminum wheels are made from MIM process and they are very tough.

However for whatever reason more than a few gun manufactures seem to have a problem getting good consistent high quality parts from the MIM processes. Got to wonder if they are on a learning curve here.

With the exception of Ruger, who as far as I know uses investment cast parts for their guns (makes sense), I'd love to hear about a manufacturer who does NOT use at least one MIM part these days. Seems to me that most auto loaders these days are at least using MIM in the extractor, hammer, trigger, sears, or all of these and more parts.

If anyone knows of a gun manufacture who is not using any MIM parts at all in their products, please post them, I for one would like to know. So far I have not seen a MIM part used on any of the CZs I own. CZ does use a investment casting for their frame on the CZ 75/85 and CZ 97.

DBR
February 14, 2010, 11:43 PM
One of the reasons gun manufacturers have had trouble with their MIM part endeavors is they low ball the tooling and manufacturing sources. It is my understanding that is what initially happened with Kimber. To Kimber's credit they rapidly fixed the problem.

A homogeneous forged or even a cast part is more tolerant of process errors than a MIM part which is composed of discrete particles of the base metal and a resin which must be fused together to make a coherent part.

Properly made MIM parts can be superior to cast or forged parts at a lower cost. Part of the "ugly look" of MIM parts is like most molded parts the process doesn't like thick sections.

Confederate
February 15, 2010, 12:23 AM
Can they turn out guns "like the old days"? Sure. Want to buy a 642 at only $2500?
Hmmmm...so older classic models should sell for more than modern "cut corner" versions? There are older guns out there which have never been fired, yet most people won't pay the extra $$$ for them, and "blue book" values don't reflect the superior crafsmanship and materials. (Bill Ruger said they never made a dime off their Security-Sixes, yet the printed values of the gun are still cheaper than they probably should be -- though that's changing.)

I would pay more than going price for an older 686, with chromed hammers and triggers and one-piece barrel and front sight just because I like the crafsmanship. (I'd still like to find a "new" S&W 66 with recessed barrel and stamped sideplate and a 4-inch barrel.)

If you enjoyed reading about "MIM??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!