Are alloy-framed revolvers junk?


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A strange person
August 23, 2011, 08:23 PM
OK, to make it short: I need a good, light, concealable carry gun, I like (the idea of) reloading for only one caliber, I like that caliber to be the .44MAG, and I have been eyeing the alloy-framed .44MAG snubs available from Taurus and S&W. The only problem is that I don't know anything about alloy-framed revolvers.

What are the known issues with scandium and titanium revolvers? Should I stay away from max loads in them (not that I'd use anything more than .44 special-ish loads in such a weapon)? Is there any difference between a steel revolver and an alloy revolver other than that the latter is lighter and more expensive?

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ColtPythonElite
August 23, 2011, 08:24 PM
My oldest alloy gun is a 1966 vintage. It is far from junk.

GP100man
August 23, 2011, 08:33 PM
They`re just not meant to go to the range & bang 300 rnds a visit .

Some are very hi quality revolvers ,I consider em not meant for heavy use & there useful lives can be shortened with hi pressure loads.

Guillermo
August 23, 2011, 09:11 PM
My 55 Cobra is wonderful

kludge
August 23, 2011, 09:13 PM
You can reload .44 Special with the same dies.

MMCSRET
August 23, 2011, 09:15 PM
I have a beautiful little S&W Model 37 Airweight, definitely not junk and I have a Taurus Ultralite in 32 H&R Magnum, also definitely not "JUNK"!!!!!!!!!

A strange person
August 23, 2011, 09:47 PM
You can reload .44 Special with the same dies.

That's plan B.

A strange person
August 23, 2011, 09:50 PM
They`re just not meant to go to the range & bang 300 rnds a visit .

Some are very hi quality revolvers ,I consider em not meant for heavy use & there useful lives can be shortened with hi pressure loads.

The only loads I would use in it are my .44-40-duplicate loads that I use in my rifle for practice and small game hunting. WAY below max pressure for the .44MAG. That will probably let it live a long life.

beatledog7
August 23, 2011, 10:13 PM
No gun (or any other tool for that matter) that can reliably perform its designed function is junk.

armoredman
August 23, 2011, 11:37 PM
CzechpointUSA is now bringing in some interesting alloy framed revolvers from AlphaProj in the Czech Republic at a decent price, and Czechpoint stands behind all their products.

pendennis
August 23, 2011, 11:42 PM
I own, and carry, a S&W Model 325NG. While I don't want to stand at the range and put 1k rounds down range a lot, it's a solid revolver. I use only ammunition loaded up to reload manual specs.

Drail
August 24, 2011, 08:05 AM
If comparing it to the same gun made from high grade steel, yeah, they're junk IMO. Ultra lightweight guns are not much fun to actually shoot.

PabloJ
August 24, 2011, 08:21 AM
If you like to shoot a lot and buy alloy-framed revolver you will need second revolver for range use (something heavy, ugly and indestructible like Ruger GP100 comes to mind). I have only one handgun now and it's S&W Model 12-2 but I hate to shoot and for me the so called practice is total waste of time and money. I can go to range anytime and place all my holes inside of dixie size plate at 10 yards or less even in "rapid fire" mode.

PreMod70
August 24, 2011, 09:08 AM
Plan A will get you a quicker visit to a orthopedic surgeon than Plan B but both will do the trick if you shoot that light of a .44 very often.

MrAcheson
August 24, 2011, 09:46 AM
Depends on what the alloy is. You can do some pretty amazing things with aluminum, but it still won't hold up like steel. But it'll be a whole hell of a lot lighter. On the other hand I have a heritage .22 with a cast zinc-alloy frame that I wish I hadn't bought.

Old Fuff
August 24, 2011, 10:09 AM
Aluminum frame revolvers made by mainline manufacturers are not junk, and in .44 Magnum - which I wouldn't touch with a 10-foot pole - the gun will likely outlast the shooter's hand. In .44 Special they are still a handful (pardon the pun) and given the revolver's weight vs. cartridge recoil I much prefer an all-steel gun.

Taurus has recently introduced an aluminum/steel combo in .44 Special which might float your boat. Charter Arms has some .44 Special models, but I believe they are all steel.

Titanium is lignt, strong, but elastic. There have been problems, especially in cylinders, and I recommend you pass on it.

CraigC
August 24, 2011, 10:31 AM
I agree on the 10ft pole but I have seen some reports of guys wearing out the S&W .44Mag's. Actually, I think Paul105 has worn out two of them. Personally, I don't wanna shoot a .44Mag ligher than the 629MG.

kludge
August 24, 2011, 10:50 AM
That's plan B.

In that case, might I suggest the following...

165 GR. LRNFP CAST IMR Trail Boss .430" 1.500" 6.0 960 17,200 PSI 8.0 1086 18,800 PSI
185 GR. LRNFP CAST IMR Trail Boss .430" 1.540" 6.2 936 19,500 PSI 7.8 1050 21,100 PSI
200 GR. LRNFP CAST IMR Trail Boss .430" 1.570" 6.1 890 17,900 PSI 7.7 988 20,700 PSI
240 GR. LSWC CAST IMR Trail Boss .430" 1.620" 6.0 828 19,100 PSI 7.3 917 21,600 PSI

I wouldn't worry too much about the reliability of the gun with hot loads... It's not like your going to want to shoot that many of them. I would worry more about the ammo jumping crimp. And that stinging sensation in my hands.

The Trail Boss loads above will kick, but nothing like regular .44 Mag loads.

Old Fuff
August 24, 2011, 10:56 AM
I am aware of several cases where a Smith & Wesson aluminum frame/.44 Magnum sent the barrel downrange with the bullet :what:. But this apparently was caused by a manufacturing defect.

I think that the gun builders concluded long ago that the shooter would give up long before the revolver did. Of course they're are exceptions to any rule.

One who handloads can download the Magnum, but why bother when .44 Specials are available?

easyg
August 24, 2011, 12:14 PM
Definitely not junk.
Aluminum alloy frames have been used for decades and have proven themselves quite durable.

http://i112.photobucket.com/albums/n165/allenXdog/HPIM6334.jpg

The Lone Haranguer
August 24, 2011, 12:53 PM
It depends on what alloy. A good aluminum alloy, such as is (or was) used by Smith & Wesson or Colt, is very durable.

Guillermo
August 24, 2011, 01:19 PM
I am aware of several cases where a Smith & Wesson aluminum frame/.44 Magnum sent the barrel downrange with the bullet

started as a two piece barrel, ended as a two piece gun

CraigC
August 24, 2011, 03:42 PM
I am aware of several cases where a Smith & Wesson aluminum frame/.44 Magnum sent the barrel downrange with the bullet . But this apparently was caused by a manufacturing defect.
If I remember right, Paul's just shook themselves to pieces. Not defective. Just more shooting than S&W ever planned on anyone doing with one.

webfox
August 24, 2011, 06:49 PM
No disrespect to the other post, but I disagree with getting a heavy range gun and using a light EDC one. The POI will be different, behave differently, and getting back on target will take different timing. Since we're talking .44 mag, I'd be esp. careful about overpenetration and missed shots. The firearm should, at the least, behave as you expect it to, and have practiced with, in a stressful situation.

Definitely find a good gun and practice with IT, not a substitute, unless it's the same make.

VA27
August 24, 2011, 07:24 PM
I've tried a few of the lightweights, the new ones with the two-piece barrel, (L-frame .357, J-frame .357 and J-frame 22 mag) and have found them to be less accurate (sometimes drastically) than the old airweight revolvers with the one-piece barrel. I will not buy another.

The Lone Haranguer
August 24, 2011, 07:42 PM
I like that caliber to be the .44MAG ...
I missed that part. :o I am sure a Smith & Wesson will outlast your hand, though. :uhoh:

Guillermo
August 24, 2011, 08:16 PM
No disrespect to the other post, but I disagree with getting a heavy range gun and using a light EDC one

While I understand your reasoning on this...and you have a point, I must disagree.

Your theory is along the lines of the old adage "beware the man with one gun" .

But most of us have a bunch of guns...autos, revolvers, different calibers, barrel lengths etc. So we are going to be shooting things that are different than our EDC.

rich642z
August 24, 2011, 09:08 PM
Just watch out for those cracks on the airweights from S&W on the yoke. They start out small and get bigger during shooting. Machining isn't programmed right.

webfox
August 24, 2011, 09:09 PM
You're absolutely right. But I take my EDC to the range every time I take another firearm. I practice with anything else, plus the EDC. I *know* my EDC. I am very familiar with the others.

But you're right. Those of us who have the addiction buy several guns and love to shoot each of them. I just think that the EDC needs to be a firearm you can practice with so you are proficient. Buying one that's light and easy to conceal, but kicks oddly, has weird habits, and never gets practiced with because it might crack... <shrug>

I just hope I'm helping with my suggestions. I'm just another writer on the internet.

Guillermo
August 24, 2011, 09:15 PM
I just think that the EDC needs to be a firearm you can practice with so you are proficient.

Totally 100% agree

I am unwilling to carry a gun that I can't shoot well. (my standard is a pie plate at 10 ft, 6 shots in 4 seconds or under...Old Fuff thinks that 5 feet, 5 shots, 5 seconds is a good starting point)

But EVERY time I go to the range I shoot my EDC. I opine that it is irresponsible to carry a gun with which you are not proficient.

atblis
August 24, 2011, 09:21 PM
I have a 329 PD. It is fun to shoot. 44 mags are not only unpleasant to shoot, I suspect they would do damage to your hands and wrists if shot enough.

Mines already been back to S&W once due to the blast shield being compromised. They paid shipping there and back.

I have doubts about its long term durability, but my plans are to shoot it as long as they'll keep fixing it.

It is a cool looking gun, feels good in hand, and is accurate. Mouse fart trail boss loads are about the only thing I care to shoot out of it.

gearhead
August 25, 2011, 11:21 AM
There's nothing inherently wrong with aluminum alloy for a firearm but the main difference between steel and aluminum alloy in this application is that a properly designed and fabricated steel part will never fail due to metal fatigue unless it is abused. An aluminum part will begin to fatigue from the first use and will eventually fail. The trick is in understanding what that life expectancy is for an aluminum alloy part and carefully inspecting the parts which see stress to identify the signs that a part is at the end of its useful life.

Fat Boy
August 25, 2011, 09:28 PM
The issue I have is with the concept of "carried a lot, shot a little" I understand that there is a lot of room in the comment, in that the word's "lot" and "little" cover a lot of territory.

However, I struggle a bit with the thought of intentionally not shooting a gun as often as I might because I would be fearful of damaging it, or wearing it out early, so to speak.

That said, the local shop has an "older" Charter Arms .44 special bulldog that I am thinking about buying... :)

Fat_46
August 26, 2011, 07:42 AM
My EDC is a S&W 325PD - Scandium frame, titanium cylinder. I hit the range almost weekly, and fire a minimum of 96 rounds through it. Not one issue that wasn't caused by me. On the other hand, I have a model 19 no dash made in '59 that's in fairly rough shape. It, too, has never had an issue.

Get what you want, as long as its from a quality maker.

A strange person
August 26, 2011, 08:23 PM
I'm leaning towards the .44 Special now, but mostly because the alloy .44MAG's I've seen so far are so bloody gaudy. Especially the S&W. It looks like something from an 80's science fiction movie.

vellocet
August 27, 2011, 06:40 PM
There is always a trade-off between weight and durability for all handguns. But for daily carry in a reasonable caliber the lightweights come out ahead. Forget ragging them out with practice; most real encounters happen at around five or ten feet. How much practice do you need? The largest lightweight caliber I would consider is .357, and I have pretty strong hands.

hardluk1
August 28, 2011, 10:40 AM
The problem with the light weight snubby 357 and up is shooting heavier hot loads in them. If that is what you feel you need to shoot then buy a standard with a 4" barrel as the lighter handguns can back bullets out in there brass under recoil and lock up your revolver. Do a bit of research and find where the line is drawn. If the run of the mill winny, rem, fed or hornady ammo is all you need then buy the light weight snubby.

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