Mim parts on a 1911


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SorenityNow
February 26, 2012, 11:51 PM
Hello everyone .. I been thinkin of getting a 1911 for about a year now and still have questions.. I have narrowed it down to a Colt gov 1991 series 80 in blue steel, and the springfield armory "loaded" in stainless steel.. I noticed that the springfield has much more mim parts.. Is that a concern?? Thanks for your feedback

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Fremmer
February 27, 2012, 12:07 AM
Probably not if well made.

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 12:29 AM
The concern is nearly always with parts failure in high stress areas. Using MIM allows for precise tolerances not afforded with cast or forged parts and require much less fitting by manufacturers resulting in lower labor costs. The machinery required is expensive, the raw materials for parts is expensive and the results do vary.

Sifting through threads will net you polarized responses so it's best to decide for yourself what level of tolerance is acceptable on a personal level as there is much hype in both camps. I can say I've yet to see anyone, given the option of tool steel vs. MIM (at even money) claim they would pay the same money for MIM. Not an indictment, just what I've read.

bigfatdave
February 27, 2012, 12:30 AM
the concern over Metal injection molding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_Injection_Molding) parts is pretty overblown. Of course, if you want a reason to waffle for another year, feel free to quietly worry about MIM all you like, or look into the cost for making a pistol entirely MIM-free (hint, it ain't cheap!)

Do you really expect to shoot enough through the gun to wear it out and NOT notice wear during maintenance? By the time you've run enough ammo through to damage a part (and parts are fairly easy to replace in a properly built 1911-pattern pistol) you'll have spent more on ammo than on the gun, the part's cost would be chump-change at that point.

csa77
February 27, 2012, 12:41 AM
I wouldnt worry about mim parts. I dont know if colts have glued in ejectors but I know springfields do.....I had one come unglued.

SorenityNow
February 27, 2012, 12:45 AM
the concern over Metal injection molding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metal_Injection_Molding) parts is pretty overblown. Of course, if you want a reason to waffle for another year, feel free to quietly worry about MIM all you like, or look into the cost for making a pistol entirely MIM-free (hint, it ain't cheap!)

Do you really expect to shoot enough through the gun to wear it out and NOT notice wear during maintenance? By the time you've run enough ammo through to damage a part (and parts are fairly easy to replace in a properly built 1911-pattern pistol) you'll have spent more on ammo than on the gun, the part's cost would be chump-change at that point.
Why would you post if you have absolutly nothing to say??

cyclopsshooter
February 27, 2012, 12:55 AM
I wouldnt worry about mim parts. I dont know if colts have glued in ejectors but I know springfields do.....I had one come unglued.

Colts are pinned.

MIM parts on Colts, sear, disconnector, mag catch, mag catch lock.

ApacheCoTodd
February 27, 2012, 01:00 AM
MIM is the future and has been getting used for a long time in places most owners never knew about. I'd certainly be more comfortable with a company like Ruger who is continually setting the standard with their MIM reliability.

wow6599
February 27, 2012, 01:10 AM
or look into the cost for making a pistol entirely MIM-free (hint, it ain't cheap!)

It ain't expensive either. Colt has a 70 Series repro that I sent them last September for custom shop work. They charged me an extra $75 (I think) to replace all MIM parts (3?) with bar stock ones. Now, I do understand the gun is already disassembled, but if the OP knows what he is doing, it wouldn't cost much to replace MIM parts on a Colt.......or Springer.

I think the only MIM parts on a new Colt are - mag catch, disconnector and sear. I could be wrong though.

wow6599
February 27, 2012, 01:11 AM
cyclopsshooter got the one I didn't think of, the mag catch lock.

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 01:17 AM
I could have bought a Dan Wesson Valor for what I've got wrapped up in my Colt XSE and it's not finished by half yet. Some will tell you the DW is now an overpriced 1911 but I'd challenge anyone to show me a factory offering from anyone that exceeds it in quality at the same price level. I wanted at least one nice Colt and I will have one...in time. Of note is that the only parts I chose to change for reliability were the slide stop which was a tad undersized and the ambi-safety which had a bit too much flex to it and is weaker by its specific design.

If brand doesn't matter buy a DW or Les Baer. If a small MIM count doesn't bother you and you don't need a precision fit a Colt will serve you better than most.

gc70
February 27, 2012, 03:13 AM
Parts in the high pressure compressor sections of jet engines are often made of MIM. If you ever fly on jet airliners, you are probably trusting your life to MIM parts.

bigfatdave
February 27, 2012, 03:22 AM
Why would you post if you have absolutly nothing to say?? why would you open the never-ending MIM debate opener and expect anything but snark?

http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-3725.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-103464.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-574621.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-91178.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-146381.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-76019.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-608337.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-607784.html
http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-241976.html

hey, that was easy to search for!

HDCamel
February 27, 2012, 08:44 AM
John Browning's design philosophy was "Make it strong enough, then double it". Basically, every JMB design and every part within them is overbuilt. Advances in engineering have allowed us to more accurately determine exactly how strong something has to be to do a certain task.

MIM parts are more than strong enough. Stop blowing stuff out of proportion.

boricua9mm
February 27, 2012, 09:20 AM
Parts in the high pressure compressor sections of jet engines are often made of MIM. If you ever fly on jet airliners, you are probably trusting your life to MIM parts.


There are a great many articles describing the non-destructive testing methods involving the engine components during an airline inspection, to include MPI, Liquid Penetrant, Ultrasonic Flaw Detection and X-Ray examination (one example here (http://www.ndt.net/article/ecndt98/aero/031/031.htm)).

While there is a very specific knowledge base for firearms and component parts in platforms such as the AR15 (where High Pressure Testing and Magnetic Particle Inspection are used), there seem to be no published specs for quality assurance testing of the MIM parts found in 1911s. Some MIM suppliers openly share their testing methods (one example here who states they test via 10,000 cycles (http://www.globalspec.com/FeaturedProducts/Detail/MegametSolidMetals/MIM_Application_for_Firearms/196483/0)), but the majority do not. They might be tested using some method, but short of pushing the parts in extreme conditions/circumstances, how can one know that they've got the "Good MIM?" Do you personally X-ray or submit your parts for testing in the same manner as aviation parts are tested? Considering the price points of MIM parts, you can rest assured that the suppliers of these parts are not.

I think it's safe to say the correlation between airline engine components and 1911 parts is a loooong stretch.

SorenityNow
February 27, 2012, 10:23 AM
Great input everyone, thanks a whole bunch. The other day I was cleaning my friends Colt Police Positive. It was his great grandfathers service revolver for the Chicago police dept before prohibition of alcohol. And other than needing a good cleaning and some holster wear, the gun is very shootable.. So that got me thinkin of purchasing a family herloom type of gun.

Winkman822
February 27, 2012, 12:42 PM
I really don't worry too much about MIM parts on a 1911 unless we're talking Kimber. I've had more than my fair share of Springfield 1911s and still own a TRP and an EMP both have mostly all MIM small parts and I've had no issues with parts failure. I carried the TRP every day for about four years and ran around 1000 rounds a month through it before getting my Wilson Combat CQB and let me tell you, I've never had any issues with the small parts on the TRP. The EMP has not been shot or carried as extensively as the TRP, but again I have no worries about it. I would say the same of MIM parts used in SW and Sig 1911s.

Kimber MIM, I would be a little more worried about. I've owned three Kimbers (presently own none), and of the three none would function properly under all conditions the way my Springfields and my Wilson Combat do. My worries with the Kimber MIM are prefaced on the many reports of parts breakages wth Kimber's MIM parts as reported here and elsehwere on the net and my own experience with parts breakages on my Desert Warrior. With in the first 2,000 rounds my thumb safety broke (normal use only, gun not at any time dropped), and shortly after that my slide stop broke. Both parts were replaced with Wilson Combat Bulletproof parts and the gun sold shortly thereafter.

Bottom line, most MIM is good enough that it's a non issue, but for some reason Kimber still has issues with their MIM parts. As far as whether to get the Colt or the Springfield, it's like asking whether you should buy a a Nissan or a Hyundai.

HisSoldier
February 27, 2012, 01:04 PM
Some of us have actual negative experience with MIM. An MIM part disabled my gun while shooting recently, good thing it was range shooting and not combat!

I take the position that substitution of MIM, zinc alloys and even 7075 aluminum is bad policy for a gun you must depend upon. It's all part of a trend in US and foreign manufacturing towards cheapening production. Once you have the equipment to squirt out MIM parts the cost goes down down down as the quantities increase, cost per hour for materials and labor drop fast.

Forged and machined, and machined from barstock parts do cost more, and people will argue that MIM has an equal breakage ratio to forged/machined and MFB, but I don't buy it.

The camels nose has been snorting under the edge of the tent for a long time now, but if enough people know about the failure rate of MIM they can reverse the trend.

In many guns you don't have a choice, but part of the beauty of the 1911 is the fact that you will always have a choice with that platform. Dan Wesson!

Oh, and if you can find a Norinco, those have all forged and barstock parts I believe! I have three DW's and a Norinco, two Colts and an RIA.

The RIA I got for $350, and it's a fine gun considering it's MIM parts, but for $350 that's OK. There's no way I'll pay $600-$1200 for a 1911 with MIM parts.

SorenityNow
February 27, 2012, 01:11 PM
As far as whether to get the Colt or the Springfield, it's like asking whether you should buy a a Nissan or a Hyundai. Haha that makes me crack up.. Your right on the money but thats what i can affort for an entry level 1911.. The guy at my gun shop show me a $2300 Ed brown and called it the Lamborgini. Haha. He also said and i agree that unless im a competition shooter or workin for the Secret Service that a Lambourgini is not nessesary

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 02:12 PM
Les Baer sells a $7,000 Presentation Grade, does that mean an Ed Brown is a Chevy? I didn't know a Lamborghini could be had with a cast thumb safety...hmm.

They are what they are regardless of snobbery, I suppose as a Colt owner I could claim all others are imitation 1911s but I own imitations as well. I'll say it again, MIM is a polarizing arguement as is cast when compared to barstock. You must decide what your threshold is as it relates to you budget otherwise you'll be walking till you can afford a Lamborghini.

1858
February 27, 2012, 02:35 PM
I really don't worry too much about MIM parts on a 1911 unless we're talking Kimber. I've had more than my fair share of Springfield 1911s and still own a TRP and an EMP both have mostly all MIM small parts and I've had no issues with parts failure. I carried the TRP every day for about four years and ran around 1000 rounds a month through it before getting my Wilson Combat CQB and let me tell you, I've never had any issues with the small parts on the TRP.

And yet a few months ago, I personally witnessed and assisted a shooter on our squad whose extractor broke during a stage using a new TRP (< 3,000 rounds). Luckily I had a spare tuned extractor (Ed Brown) that he was able to use but the harsh reality is that if he were using that pistol to defend himself he'd be in a world of trouble. A case was stuck in the chamber and he had a tough time getting it out. His pistol was inoperable so he didn't finish the stage but luckily for him it was just a game.

Personally, I don't want any MIM in any of my 1911s. My three Ed Browns and two Dan Wessons all arrived MIM free (critical parts) and it was easy enough to swap out all the MIM (critical parts) from both of my Kimbers. MIM isn't such a big deal because we can either live with it or change it so life is good in 1911 land. So far I haven't had a breakage of any sort after thousands of rounds through various 1911s.

gc70
February 27, 2012, 02:36 PM
They might be tested using some method, but short of pushing the parts in extreme conditions/circumstances, how can one know that they've got the "Good MIM?" Do you personally X-ray or submit your parts for testing in the same manner as aviation parts are tested? Considering the price points of MIM parts, you can rest assured that the suppliers of these parts are not.

How do you know you have good forged or cast parts without testing? The point is that MIM parts can be as good as forged or cast parts, or better in some applications. The thoughtless rejection of MIM parts today is like the thoughtless rejection of cast frames a few decades ago.

Maybe it is because the 1911 design is more than a century old and people like the tradition involved with the gun, but applying the same no-MIM-parts standard to other guns would mean that you would not be buying many other semi-automatics today.

MIM isn't such a big deal because we can either live with it or change it so life is good in 1911 land.

That is the bottom line.

1858
February 27, 2012, 02:41 PM
The point is that MIM parts can be as good as forged or cast parts, or better in some applications.

I don't think that anyone markets or uses 1911 MIM parts because they're "better" than forged or cast parts. MIM has one objective ... cost reduction. When has cost reduction ever lead to a superior product ... in the 1911 world? I had to add that because you could make a good case that GLOCK used cost reduction to make a superior product ... I don't own a GLOCK by the way.

Ghost Tracker
February 27, 2012, 02:51 PM
Some gun manufacturers are the s-l-o-w-e-s-t to experiment & adapt modern manufacturing techniques & then use that intentionally conservative approach as a marketable attribute. Others conversely tout "cutting edge technology" & "value pricing" as the attributes to convince us to buy THEIR products. As soon as any new technology (percussion vs. flintlock, autoloader vs. bolt, cast vs. forged, polymer vs. cast, MIM vs. machined, etc.) becomes more acceptably mainstream, then a NEW technology will come along to give us something to cluck about! The younger you are, the more quickly you'll accept a new technology. The older...the slower. Modern mid-grade 1911 variants have better; value, durability, reliability, accuracy, tolerances, fit & function than ANY "gold-standard" factory 1911 (re: Colt Goldcup) from the 50-60-70's. I readily admit to being a pig-headed, gray-bearded gun snob. But MIM parts in a well-manufactured 1911 is a tempest in a teacup. I like Chevy pickups, you like Toyotas. But I'd be STUUUUU-PPPPID to believe, simply because of more modern manufacturing techniques, that an OLD Chevy would top a NEW Toyota. :cool:

Winkman822
February 27, 2012, 02:54 PM
And yet a few months ago, I personally witnessed and assisted a shooter on our squad whose extractor broke during a stage using a new TRP (< 3,000 rounds). Luckily I had a spare tuned extractor (Ed Brown) that he was able to use but the harsh reality is that if he were using that pistol to defend himself he'd be in a world of trouble. A case was stuck in the chamber and he had a tough time getting it out. His pistol was inoperable so he didn't finish the stage but luckily for him it was just a game.

Personally, I don't want any MIM in any of my 1911s. My three Ed Browns and two Dan Wessons all arrived MIM free (critical parts) and it was easy enough to swap out all the MIM (critical parts) from both of my Kimbers. MIM isn't such a big deal because we can either live with it or change it so life is good in 1911 land. So far I haven't had a breakage of any sort after thousands of rounds through various 1911s.
Extractors are something that there should be extras of around in your tool kit anyway, however, I said that Springfield has a lower occurrence of MIM part breakages than Kimber, not that they are immune from same. I'm at about 12-15k rounds through my TRP with no issues (other than those caused by tired mag springs) and I will continue to shoot it. When I do end up with an extractor failure, I'll fit a new one and adjust tension properly and go right back to shooting the daylights out of the gun.

My Wilson is still a baby so to speak with only about 4,000 rounds through it, but I'd venture a guess that it'll go a whole lot further before any parts breakages than my Springfields.

Something else to keep in mind is the price difference between a Springfield and Wilson, Brown, Nighthawk, Volkmann, et al...one could easily buy a Springfield TRP twice over for the price of a pretty basic offering from any of the custom houses.

gc70
February 27, 2012, 03:23 PM
MIM has one objective ... cost reduction.

Bingo! However, I was recently surprised to read how Smith & Wesson achieved their cost reduction with MIM parts, not just in 1911 but in all of their guns. The S&W rep wrote that they first tested candidates for MIM parts to the same durability standards as existing parts. As to costs, he said: the setup for MIM parts was very expensive, but was offset by lower production costs; the MIM mix was about a wash with other materials, and; the real cost savings was in reduced QA reworks and CS repairs.

dom1104
February 27, 2012, 04:22 PM
The answer to this question, like so many 1911 <And AR15 for that matter> questions....


1. Buy a Colt.

2. Quit worrying about it.

boricua9mm
February 27, 2012, 04:26 PM
How do you know you have good forged or cast parts without testing? The point is that MIM parts can be as good as forged or cast parts, or better in some applications. The thoughtless rejection of MIM parts today is like the thoughtless rejection of cast frames a few decades ago.

Barstock parts are not on trial here. The question was, and still is, "How do you know that you've got Good MIM parts? If MIM is a rock-solid technology, why do we have people (myself included) with MIM parts breaking in less than 1k rounds on current production pistols? This is not about the fact that somebody, somewhere has had a barstock or cast part fail prematurely, but rather, how does what determine what is "Good MIM?"

Maybe it is because the 1911 design is more than a century old and people like the tradition involved with the gun, but applying the same no-MIM-parts standard to other guns would mean that you would not be buying many other semi-automatics today.

Yes, plenty of manufacturers use MIM, but they are not the small, spindly parts like those found on a 1911. Compare the thickness of a MIM HK slide stop pin to that of the 1911. Therein lies a clue. The application matters, sure. The testing methods behind MIM parts are widely unknown. The only way to know is to push the gun hard and see how it fares. For those who carry a pistol for protection, a CCW encounter is not the time to call up Customer Service and cash in on a Lifetime Warranty.

I, for one, am glad I didn't trust this "Good MIM" from S&W without subjecting the pistol to a 1k round testing phase...

http://www.ricanhavocproductions.com/images/sw1911problem_2.jpg

http://www.ricanhavocproductions.com/images/sw1911problem_3.jpg

mljdeckard
February 27, 2012, 04:54 PM
Colt uses MIM too.

I am not at all worried about MIM. From the homework I have done, if you have a part that is porous enough to cause breakage, it will most likely happen early. I really think it's a concern that is small to begin with, and the vast majority of gun owners will never shoot a gun enough to force it.

gc70
February 27, 2012, 07:04 PM
If MIM is a rock-solid technology, why do we have people (myself included) with MIM parts breaking in less than 1k rounds on current production pistols? This is not about the fact that somebody, somewhere has had a barstock or cast part fail prematurely, but rather, how does what determine what is "Good MIM?"

You had a MIM part break, so they must all be suspect. Replace the MIM parts in your gun with something else if it makes you feel better.

wow6599
February 27, 2012, 07:10 PM
Colt or the Springfield, it's like asking whether you should buy a a Nissan or a Hyundai.

Comparing a Colt to a Nissan and a Hyundai? Colt, Nissan and Hyundai - which one doesn't belong in this group?

jerkface11
February 27, 2012, 07:20 PM
If the parts were designed as MIM from the start there's no problem. We get issues when someone starts substituting materials. Machine a Glock frame out of solid steel and you'll get issues. Make a 1911 slide stop from MIM and it's the same thing.

HDCamel
February 27, 2012, 07:34 PM
The parts breakage thing is kind of a moot point. I've seen machined extractors break too. It's usually because of too much tension or a bum magazine pushing rounds in front of it and the claw having to jump over the case rim.

Basically, far more problems come from improper installation/maintainance/use than the process by which the part was made.

boricua9mm
February 28, 2012, 08:51 AM
Originally Posted by gc70
You had a MIM part break, so they must all be suspect. Replace the MIM parts in your gun with something else if it makes you feel better.

Actually I had three "Good MIM" parts break on the very same S&W pistol before I replaced everything with barstock components from known, top-quality manufacturers, but that's not really the issue. The issue is parts breaking far earlier than their expected service life, or as you can see above, parts breaking in ways that nobody has ever seen before. I don't know of anybody who has ever had the legs completely shear off of a plunger tube.

Again, if you or anyone else can explain the non-destructive testing means to MIM parts then maybe we can begin to develop an understanding of how we can separate "Good MIM" from "Bad MIM" since clearly, whose pistol it is found in is not a surefire bet of quality. Everyone likes to throw out the airplane argument, or say they are "just as good as barstock" whenever MIM is being questioned. It seems to me there are those who defend MIM in 1911s and those who have had them fail prematurely or in ways that barstock parts do not.

SorenityNow
February 28, 2012, 10:23 AM
Hey Boricua is that you on "youtube??" . There is another Boricua that owns a S&W 1911 and trashes the MIM parts on his gun. I was just wondering if your that same person.

The Lone Haranguer
February 28, 2012, 08:37 PM
Are you sure the plunger tube is MIM? If so, that seems like a poor application for it, considering the "legs" or pegs are supposed to be staked onto the inside of the frame. I would expect them to break off ... which they obviously did.

My "beef" with it is not the material or process itself, but the fact that it is supposed to be a cost-cutting measure, yet it is found in some pretty expensive guns.

theQman23
March 1, 2012, 12:49 AM
That's my beef as well. If you're selling a cheap gun, and you use cheap parts, buyer beware of cheap. But when you go $1500 + on a gun, you expect parts not to break, regardless of how they are made.

bigfatdave
March 1, 2012, 01:30 AM
there's some merit to that idea, but there isn't a standard "MIM quality", becuase it isn't always done exactly the same way or to the same standards. The same is also true of machined parts, there are crappy barstock parts out there as well.

The truth is, MIM and machined parts overlap in quality, and materials in guns are leaps and bounds ahead of where they were in 1911 and through wartime production. Read up on antique original 1911 pistols, they have lousy (or no) heat treatment and thus a shorter lifespan than almost any modern production gun ... and they're 100% MIM-free!

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