Are modern guns relatively immortal


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bushmaster1313
June 25, 2010, 12:41 AM
I see many formerly fine guns from about 100 years ago for whom the passage of time has not been kind.

It seems that many of these guns are unsafe or unreliable merely because of normal use and old age.

With normal use will today's guns be in relatively good shape many years from now? I would think that the use of plastic and modern steel would make many guns relatively immortal.

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Airman193SOS
June 25, 2010, 12:44 AM
I would suspect the opposite. The plastic will eventually degrade to the point where it becomes too brittle to shoot without breaking.

benEzra
June 25, 2010, 12:51 AM
A lot of those 100-year-old guns suffered from decades of shooting corrosive ammunition, and were made from relatively soft, easily corroded steels with nonprotective finishes.

I would expect that many guns, if regularly lubricated and protected from corrosion, and not shot enough to wear them out, could last a thousand years. As Airman193SOS points out, guns that use a lot of polymer parts could be an exception (I don't think we have much data on that either way), but I'd say any modern gun that is taken decent care of is going to outlast its owner and probably its owner's great-grandchildren.

Guncollector1982
June 25, 2010, 12:53 AM
i would say any gun that was neglected would be useless.... A neglected one may look prettier though if it were made out of plastic in 100 years.

Carl N. Brown
June 25, 2010, 12:53 AM
I have seen Savage .22/.410 and 12 gauge shotguns from the 1940s with Tenite plastic stocks showing no more failures than common with wood stocks (my 12ga Model 94 with a fifty year old plastic stock is still strong). I would hope that the poymer plastic technology in my H&K USP or my son's Glock is equal to 1940s plastic technology.

I retired an inexpensive polymer framed pistol (one of the Grendel P10s produced in the last days of production) not because the plastic failed, but because the tack welds holding the frame rails on the frame block failed.

bushmaster1313
June 25, 2010, 12:58 AM
Good point about plastic getting brittle

Anyone know what kind of plastic is used in a Glock?

benEzra
June 25, 2010, 01:10 AM
Anyone know what kind of plastic is used in a Glock?
Glock doesn't say (claim it's a trade secret or somesuch), but other, similar pistols made by its competitors use glass-fiber-reinforced nylon or similar (polyamide 6,6, polyphthalamide, etc.), such as DuPont Zytel. Nylon/Zytel is extremely durable and chemical resistant, and the glass certainly isn't going to degrade either.

I did find this:

http://www.glockfaq.com/content.aspx?ckey=Glock_FAQ_General_Glock_Info

What is the Glock frame made of?
The Glock frame is made out of a high-tech plastic polymer called nylon 6. Exactly what that means, I don't know. But our resident engineer [MarkCO] was kind enough to provide some explanation:

Commerical price for hi-grade Nylon 6 is about $3.50/lb. Commerical price for hi-carbon steel is about $1.50/lb. Sounds to me like the Glock is actually a better buy. Anyway, I did a little research and got a smattering of information on the Glock plastic "formula". One source says "more highly guarded than the Coke formula". From 3 human and 5 technical sources, Glock uses an out-sourced proprietary hybrid polymer mix with a base of Nylon 6. The frames are cast and offer high strength, wear resistance, abrasion resistance, and good resiliency, good ductility and toughness. Fracture mechanics are excellent with defect ratios below 1. Do not compare to extruded Nylons because it is different. Casting prices range from $3-$50/pound depending on process and intricacy. The Glock is considered highly-intricate due to imbedded metallic components. Offers long term performance at elevated and depressed temperatures. Chemically stable in a majority of environments, attacked directly by strong acids and bases (better than steel actually). UV exposure results in degradation over an extended period of time. 2-3% carbon black virtually eliminates UV degradation and Carbon-Black does not become readily absorbed in Nylons offering higly increased useful life spans. Loss of mechanical properties with 2% Carbon-Black is less than 0.05% on an elevated UV exposure test equivalent to approximately 100 years. Hyrdolytically attacked by water in excess of 120 degrees. Basically, no hot-tubbing with your Glock and you will be fine. Tupperware is not made from Nylon BTW. Hope this answered some questions.

And then there's this, from a chemical engineer:

http://www.glocktalk.com/forums/showpost.php?p=9474507&postcount=13

Here is an infrared spectrum of my G20.

There is a difference between Nylon 6 and Nylon 6/6.

The frame is Nylon 6/6.

The differences between the spectrum of the frame and the standard
is due to additives like carbon black, and probably glass fiber reinforcement.

http://home.mchsi.com/~the_reaper/G20IR.jpg

Do keep in mind that there are reinforced-nylon-framed guns out there that are now half a century old and still going strong, and many of those have seen hard use in adverse conditions:

http://americanrifleman.org/ArticlePage.aspx?id=1795&cid=9

BLACKHAWKNJ
June 25, 2010, 01:15 AM
Very true about plastic getting brittle. Or getting soft. The only real hazards I know of in using older guns are damascus barrels, and one should not use smokeless powder or jacketed bullets in black powder cartridge guns.

psyopspec
June 25, 2010, 01:34 AM
Anything that man creates or assembles, nature will attempt to break down. Over the long-term, my money's on nature.

That said, anything you care for properly should survive a "long time" by our human standards. There's no reason you couldn't shoot your great grand-dad's 1911 if it was well maintained, and there's no reason your great grandkids can't own your Glock/SIG/Beretta as long as you did your part.

saturno_v
June 25, 2010, 01:41 AM
Anything that man creates or assembles, nature will attempt to break down. Over the long-term, my money's on nature.


Yes...it is called entropy.....

I don't know how ong it will take for nature to take over my Mosins though.....LOL :D:evil:

Guncollector1982
June 25, 2010, 01:47 AM
one must relize when discussing firearms made around 1900 to that smokeless powder was relatively new and metals/designs werent really perfected. Even the ammunition itself was undergoing alot of changes at that time. The only old gun ive ever owned that i wouldnt shoot was a rolling block bored out to a 16 guage/20 prob still be safe with black powder shot gun shells. Most of these primitive techonologys i am convinced are still safe to shoot when kept with in the designs operating range most of the people that get hurt by them i think are using the wrong ammo or loading them to hot so i feel some get a bad rap that is mostly do to human stupidity.

In response to the spring suggestion below.. Ive replaced most the main springs in most my rolling blocks. Most guns ive had apart of the very old ones 1900 and earlier i think the springs (with some exceptions) are prob more durable then those found in the guts of a AR reciever. But thats just a thought i have no facts to back that.

BLACKHAWKNJ
June 25, 2010, 01:49 AM
I suspect many older guns could use a new set of spring to restore them too shooting status.

yeti
June 25, 2010, 01:55 AM
Nothing lasts forever.

Hawthorne2k
June 25, 2010, 02:47 AM
Are modern guns relatively immortal

I dunno. Slice the top of one off with a sword: If lightning starts sparking all around you, than yeah, I'd say that gun was immortal.

:D

WardenWolf
June 25, 2010, 03:17 AM
The primary thing that hurt older guns was corrosive powder and primers. Guns made after World War II will have a much longer lifespan than ones made previously for this reason.

Quiet
June 25, 2010, 03:23 AM
H&K made the first polymer frame handgun in the 1970s.

The polymer frames on the 40 year old H&K VP70s have not degraded/become brittle.

Cosmoline
June 25, 2010, 03:35 AM
Some parts wear more than others. With enough shooting, any rifled barrel will eventually wear out. But other parts have no set lifespan. I'm shooting a Mosin-Nagant with a receiver from the 1890's.

My bet is in the year 3000 when mutant crabs and mole men rule the world, they'll be using Mosins and Rugers.

ChCx2744
June 25, 2010, 04:54 AM
As long as my GLOCK outlives me, I really don't care how long it lasts, as it would have served it's purpose well. :)

Erik M
June 25, 2010, 05:51 AM
i look for my gp100 and S&W 10 to become heirlooms. i don't know about the other stuff though.

Sport45
June 25, 2010, 06:05 AM
As long as my GLOCK outlives me, I really don't care how long it lasts, as it would have served it's purpose well. :)

Maybe, maybe not. Kind of depends on who or what get's you, doesn't it. ;)

CDW4ME
June 25, 2010, 09:35 AM
My oldest Glock is about 18 years old. It's likely fired 600 rounds or less. It's only been exposed to sunlight when outside shooting, in other words not much. If I'm fortunate, I'll be around for another 40 years + which would make the pistol about 60 years old, I'm sure it should still be okay; but, I would like for my boys to inherit a useful pistol.

Considering inside storage (limited UV exposure) and limited exposure to solvents how long would the expected useful life of the polymer be?

Manco
June 25, 2010, 09:38 AM
I would suspect the opposite. The plastic will eventually degrade to the point where it becomes too brittle to shoot without breaking.

It depends on what type of plastic and how it's manufactured. The plastics used in firearms are among the most stable available, generally. In previous threads, I've used vintage plastic pens as examples. The Parker "51" passed down to me from my grandfather outlasted him and will likely outlast me. This is the common case for this particular model--some of the metal parts might corrode, but the plastics seem virtually immortal. The Parker 61, on the other hand, commonly suffers from shrinkage and embrittlement over time. Some blame this on the fact that polystyrene was substituted for acrylic, but the polystyrene pens of the same era from Sheaffer rarely suffer from these problems, which implies that even the basic type of plastic used doesn't tell us the whole story. Only time will tell how well polymer pistols will hold up over the long term, and so far polymer pistols have held up very well for decades, so I wouldn't bet against them.

By the way, some metals can become brittle or even change dimensionally over time, but I'd hardly use this to condemn all metals.

As for Nylon 6 costing more than steel per pound, while that may be true, Nylon 6 is still cheaper because so little material is used in terms of weight.

wishin
June 25, 2010, 09:44 AM
My WWII HiPower is on the road to immortality......

JellyJar
June 25, 2010, 04:08 PM
My BHG Ruger Vaquero is all SS except for the easy to replace grips. It will probably still be shooting come the next Ice Age :)

Zack
June 25, 2010, 04:15 PM
I don't know how ong it will take for nature to take over my Mosins though.....LOL

I like this :p mosin has been around a very long time... 1891 first year of production??

thebigc
June 25, 2010, 04:26 PM
my oldest gun if from the 1840's it dosent looks pretty and the lock needs a main spring but i bet it would still be fireable if it got a new spring.

i had a mosin m39 for a while that was from the 1890's and worked fine i bet that thing will still be shooting in 100 years for sure

benEzra
June 25, 2010, 06:01 PM
Considering inside storage (limited UV exposure) and limited exposure to solvents how long would the expected useful life of the polymer be?
The Glock nylon/glass mix also contains about 3% carbon black, the purpose of which is to prevent ultraviolet light from degrading the nylon. I don't know how many years it could sit in the sun before suffering some degradation, but if it's not sitting out there in full sunlight then I doubt UV would affect it much at all, even on a time scale of many decades. Ditto for oxidation and exposure to gun oils, as nylon is a very chemically stable material.

I don't know that we have much data on whether a typical Glock will hold up for one century or five, but the Remington Nylon 66's from the 1950's and 1960's were made of the same stuff as the Glock (nylon 6,6) with less UV protectants, and they all seem to be holding up fine, even though many of those are a half-century old.

Are there any organic chemists here? And if so, is there any industry data on UV-protected polyamide/polyphthalamide longevity?

Tallinar
June 25, 2010, 06:20 PM
If it lives as long as I do, then it doesn't matter much after that.

I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.

azyogi
June 25, 2010, 06:34 PM
FWIW my fiirst major purchase of polymer plastic was a Coleman 17' canoe [RamX Plastic] that was in 79. It has never been stored inside or covered and it is as flexable as when new slight fading of color but still sound. After 31 years of AZ sunshine I think it shows the toughness of some modern plastics.

Lee Roder
June 25, 2010, 06:36 PM
I'm definitely not smart enough to foretell the future, but if hindsight is any clue, if you are actually around in a hundred years, you might be surprised.

ConstitutionCowboy
June 25, 2010, 06:53 PM
There is a "fire stick" pistol, rifle, or whatever you wish to call it at the J. M. Davis Firearms Museum in Claremore, OK, that was built somewhere around 1350. It's cast iron, and doesn't look like it's about to rust or otherwise fade away any time soon. 'Course I wouldn't charge it with anything I didn't grind between a couple of rocks and blend with a stick in a hand-carved wooden bowl and use sparingly, but I'll bet it could still fizzle a small quantity of gravel out fast enough to do someone serious harm!

It's all about how you care for them. Look how long the Dead Sea Scrolls lasted! King Tut. ... I was gonna mention Helen Thomas too, but in retrospect I think it would be uncalled for.

Woody

Hatterasguy
June 25, 2010, 08:01 PM
Depends what it is. Mosins will probably be around longer than mankind and some sort of mutant roach's that replace us will probably use them.:D

parsimonious_instead
June 25, 2010, 08:36 PM
This thread has really tickled my funnybone.
BenEzra with a wonderfully timed reference to Highlander,
and Hawthorne's chemical analysis conjuring an image of
a Glock lying casually in the sample tray of a spectroscope.
However, would a true gun person ever say, "there can be only one?"

Gryffydd
June 25, 2010, 08:47 PM
If it lives as long as I do, then it doesn't matter much after that.

I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.
I take it you don't have kids?

However, would a true gun person ever say, "there can be only one?"
No, but it does sound like the sort of thing a Glock fanboy would say.

inSight-NEO
June 25, 2010, 09:28 PM
Immortal? Perhaps not. But, given that the ammo of today is not nearly as "caustic" as before, along with the use of higher quality (generally speaking) finishes, metals and in certain cases, design...given proper maintenance and care, I see no compelling reason why most "high quality" guns of today would not last at least 2 or 3, in some cases 4, lifetimes. This, of course, does not account for items such as springs.

I am not sure about the plastic guns (I own a few). But, I would imagine that even these would last a few lifetimes, if properly maintained.

Manco
June 25, 2010, 10:39 PM
If it lives as long as I do, then it doesn't matter much after that.

I've never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.

Concealed carry doesn't have to end at death, you know. :evil:

leadcounsel
June 25, 2010, 10:52 PM
I'm guessing the major muscles such as the plastic receiver and steel slide and barrel of my Glocks and similar steel handguns will last thousands of years. They are kept inside, cleaned after use, kept from the elements, etc.

I doubt that humans will be around - we'll be long gone from wars, disease, depletion of resources, etc. Actually, the biggest risk to everyone's guns will be the harsh environment when people are fighting for survivial in the end of days...

ConstitutionCowboy
June 25, 2010, 11:59 PM
Think that's bad? Wait till nightfall!

Woody

Winger Ed.
June 26, 2010, 12:12 AM
With the same use & storage conditions-
Due to the non-corrosive primers, smokeless powders, and better oils,
I'd think a modern production weapon would probably last a little longer than a old one, but not by much.

Years ago I got ahold of a very ornate, high quality flintlock pistol made in the mid-late 1700's.
If it was ever fired, even once, it was immediatly scrubbed/cleaned real, real well.
True Black Powder, when fired- leaves a residue that will just rot a barrel if not cleaned out very soon.
This pistol doesn't have a trace of corrosion or wear on it anywhere.

It is just as functional and as sturdy as when it was when new.
If a modern production handgun or rifle was stored carefully and hardly, if ever fired-
I'd expect it to be in about the same condition 250 years later also.

.

Oyeboten
June 26, 2010, 12:30 AM
Makes one wonder how long long could be, as far as an Arm ( well stored, good condition ) still being able to function.

Springs might be the weakest link, and, those could always be re-tempered if need be.


As say, a Thousand years from now, I imagine the Guns of the 17th, 18th, 19th, and early 20th Century, and many or most of the ones then to now, would still function fine.


Two Thousand years from now...might even be about the same.

Three Thousand years from now...Hmmmm...maybe...but I would keep the Loads 'light'.

Guncollector1982
June 26, 2010, 12:52 AM
most my "bad" rolling block main springs were the tip of the leaf that catches on the hammer breaks off. One common defect ive seen in old military guns would be cleaning rod/ram rod wear in the bore from cleaning aggressively and to much from the muzzle end. Guess dont make em not function just not shoot good at all. None of mine are like that but sometimes you see one.

Sunray
June 26, 2010, 12:52 AM
"...the passage of time has not been kind..." Caused by neglect. There are lots of completely serviceable 100 plus year old firearms around.
"...how long would the expected useful life of the polymer be?..." Far longer than you. UV light doesn't bother every kind of synthetic material. It's estimated that a plastic shopping bag ina land fill can take 1,000 years to decompose. Plastic shopping bags are not made out of the same polymer as a Glock.

Tallinar
June 26, 2010, 12:56 AM
I take it you don't have kids?

I have kids, and I absolutely don't want them to become materialistic. Guns are tools. You take care of your tools and they will take care of you. There's nothing wrong with having some nice tools, but they are still tools. Don't elevate your tools to the point where they possess some sort of spiritual value to you. =-]

Gryffydd
June 26, 2010, 01:15 AM
I have kids, and I absolutely don't want them to become materialistic. Guns are tools. You take care of your tools and they will take care of you.

:confused:

I'd like to be able to pass on my hammers and other tools to my kids as well as my guns. I'm not sure how that'll make them materialistic. Nor do I see how it involves some kind of spiritual value to think of being able to pass them on.

leadcounsel
June 26, 2010, 01:46 AM
Thought about this some more. I have several firearms that are 80+ years old (I'm thinking of my Russian Mosins, the Mausers, etc.) or even 50+ years old (the SKSs, Garands, etc.). These are weapons that were carried, trained with, used heavily in dirty, wet, muddy, harsh conditions; yet they are steel and wood and still funtion just fine and, aside from evidence of use, they are in good shape. Heck, the bolts on some of my C&R rifles look like they were machined yesterday!

I venture to guess that my weapons will never see the abuse these ones saw, and my modern ones are made of tougher materials than those. And they are pampered in comparison.

If the war implements are still fine after a 5, 6, 8, 10 decades, then lasting 10 times that, being rarely fired and cleaned after each use, stored in my climate controlled house will have zero effect on them.

Sport45
June 26, 2010, 05:12 AM
Quote:
I have kids, and I absolutely don't want them to become materialistic. Guns are tools. You take care of your tools and they will take care of you.
:confused:
I'd like to be able to pass on my hammers and other tools to my kids as well as my guns. I'm not sure how that'll make them materialistic. Nor do I see how it involves some kind of spiritual value to think of being able to pass them on.

I think I know what Tallinar means and if I'm right I agree with him. I too, intend to leave my guns and other tools to my children. My tools are well used, many of them from my dad and granddads. Some look new, others are splotched with paint and there's the old hammer that has a generous wrapping of friction tape on the handle. The tools and guns will all be functional when I pass them on. A few dents on the stock or scratches in the bluing are just part of life for a firearm that is used. Sure, I try to be careful with them and I clean them when it's needed, but I don't obsess over cosmetics. That's probably because I know I won't be selling them so monetary value is of little concern.

Tallinar
June 26, 2010, 08:43 AM
Thanks Sport45. That pretty much encompasses where I'm coming from. I want my kids to appreciate and use Dad's guns, but I don't want them to obsess over them in any fashion.

Even so, in the end, when I am gone; if I am somehow looking down from above, I won't be disappointed if they sell my guns. I'd rather they sell them than obsess over them.

Hobbies are good. Idols are bad. :)

chicharrones
June 26, 2010, 03:45 PM
I never knew about the poly construction of the Glocks. Cool stuff.

Nylon 6 sounds like an old black and white sci-fi movie.

Nylon 6/6 sounds like a remake in color. http://bestsmileys.com/lol/16.gif

12131
June 26, 2010, 03:50 PM
relatively immortal
Either something is immortal, or it's not. No such thing is "relatively immortal".:p

benEzra
June 26, 2010, 11:34 PM
Concealed carry doesn't have to end at death, you know.
Yeah, but being dead really slows down your draw.

Gryffydd
June 27, 2010, 04:57 PM
That pretty much encompasses where I'm coming from. I want my kids to appreciate and use Dad's guns, but I don't want them to obsess over them in any fashion.

Even so, in the end, when I am gone; if I am somehow looking down from above, I won't be disappointed if they sell my guns. I'd rather they sell them than obsess over them.

Hobbies are good. Idols are bad.

I guess I still don't see how this translates into complete lack of concern as to whether something might outlast you or not...

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