Is a zinc alloy frame as strong as polymer?


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mf-dif
November 26, 2012, 09:50 PM
Curious because I have a GSG 1911 .22 and would like to fit a .45 1911 slide and barrel to it. The actual slide, barrel and mags from the GSG will swap over to a .45 1911 and fire. So this gets me thinking...

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rcmodel
November 26, 2012, 10:05 PM
NO!
Don't even think about it.

The plastic guns with plastic grips have real steel frame rails & locking blocks molded & pinned inside them.

If your zinc .22 frame lets go with a .45 ACP slide & barrel recoiling to the rear at high speed?

You will be wearing it stuck out of your right eye hole bone, all the way to the ER, or autopsy.

rc

Arp32
November 26, 2012, 10:36 PM
What RC said!

If pot metal could take the recoil without cracking, you'd think there would be even one model of centerfire handgun made with it.

mgmorden
November 26, 2012, 10:44 PM
If pot metal could take the recoil without cracking, you'd think there would be even one model of centerfire handgun made with it.

There are, but they're generally not very well regarded (think Jennings, Bryco, etc).

Just to reiterate though, if you're particularly interested in keeping all your limbs and/or digits attached I'd give up on this quest now. If you want a .45ACP 1911, then break down and buy one of the real ones with a steel frame that's actually designed to handle centerfire pressure.

Arp32
November 26, 2012, 10:56 PM
Wow, proved wrong by a Jennings... I stand corrected!

el Godfather
November 26, 2012, 10:59 PM
At least there will be a story to tell at BBQs with a patch over an empty eye socket.

Jim K
November 26, 2012, 11:06 PM
"The actual slide, barrel and mags from the GSG will swap over to a .45 1911 and fire."

I hope the company did something to prevent the reverse from working. Of course, if the .45 slide would fit and fire on that soft frame, I suppose the shooter (or his heirs) could sue for negligence for "letting" someone do something like that.

Jim

rcmodel
November 26, 2012, 11:09 PM
I am not a medical doctor.
And I didn't even stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

But I'm here to tell you, if you get a 1911 slide in the eye, you won't be going to anymore BBQ's.

rc

Stringfellow
November 27, 2012, 12:28 AM
Why not stop there? My $15 Crossman Airsoft pistol is an exact replica of a 1911--I can even swap grip panels with it. Its "polymer" frame might be see-through, but I wonder if I can use it with my Colt 1991 slide?

;)

usp9
November 27, 2012, 11:32 AM
I doubt any .45acp ammo would fit into the .22lr mag of the GSG 1911-22 anyway

2wheels
November 27, 2012, 12:31 PM
I doubt any .45acp ammo would fit into the .22lr mag of the GSG 1911-22 anyway
Probably not... But the magwell is large enough to fit a .45ACP magazine (with one minor problem). I just tried with mine, and for some reason the mag will only go about halfway in, there's something blocking it from being fully inserted.

Being the responsible gun owner I am :rolleyes: I can't find my little toolbag containing the allen wrench that came with the gun to field strip it and investigate further, I'm also too lazy to go out and search my toolbox for another allen wrench.

So the mystery must go unsolved for now.

Edit, found the darn toolbag.

Seems that GSG designed the top half of the magwell to be juuuust small enough to keep someone like the OP from inserting a .45ACP mag without modifying the gun.

hentown
November 27, 2012, 01:40 PM
Zinc alloy is pot metal...not intended for firearms manufacturing, e.g., Lorcin, etc.

ColtPythonElite
November 27, 2012, 01:51 PM
I don't want to shoot .22lr out of pot metal guns, much less .45 ACP.

oneounceload
November 27, 2012, 02:12 PM
Sometimes, ya gotta let Darwin perform his magic.............. ;)

2wheels
November 27, 2012, 02:19 PM
Slightly unrelated question to the OP, how does the GSG upper slide assembly shoot on a regular 1911 frame?

Seems to me the barrel wouldn't be as stable vertically since it's lacking the extra pin+screw that help hold it in place on the GSG frame.

GWARGHOUL
November 27, 2012, 03:44 PM
Its "polymer" frame might be see-through, but I wonder if I can use it with my Colt 1991 slide?

Ah man, I was thinking of trying the same thing!

Kiln
November 27, 2012, 04:23 PM
Wow, proved wrong by a Jennings... I stand corrected!
Don't sweat it, Jennings never made a pistol chambered for .45acp, nor did any of the following companies after they were sued out of existance by anti gun groups.

The only zamak .45acp that I know of is made by Hi Point and the only reason it works so well is because the slide is massive.

Even Jennings and Lorcin knew that zamak couldn't handle anything more powerful than 9mm. Even the .380 versions are known for frame cracking under the stress of the round. As long as people know the limitations of these guns though they can be made to work just fine.

ku4hx
November 27, 2012, 04:37 PM
The phrase "Saturday night special" come to mind here. And ... it's called "pot" metal for a reason.

Kiln
November 27, 2012, 06:00 PM
It is called a Saturday Night Special because people were brainwashed by the Brady campaign.

tarosean
November 27, 2012, 07:18 PM
It is called a Saturday Night Special because people were brainwashed by the Brady campaign.

Really? Odd since "Saturday night specials" were banned in '68 and Reagan's assassination attempt was in '81 resulting in all things "Brady"

ColtPythonElite
November 27, 2012, 07:23 PM
You never had to really worry about frame strength too much with a Jennings or Lorcin. All the ones I saw spent more time jammed up than firing.

Kiln
November 27, 2012, 07:42 PM
Saturday Night Special is just a blanket statement applied to any gun that anti gun people don't like that contains zinc alloy. The Brady campaign against gun ownersh...I mean against gun violence labeled any zamak gun a SNS along with your hunting rifle as a long range sniper weapon. The media helped them spread the word by giving them lots of airtime.

The Brady Campaign IS the reason you call "Ring of Fire" guns SNS and not just imported guns that were banned.

huntsman
November 27, 2012, 08:29 PM
Curious because I have a GSG 1911 .22 and would like to fit a .45 1911 slide and barrel to it. The actual slide, barrel and mags from the GSG will swap over to a .45 1911 and fire. So this gets me thinking...
quick someone hold his beer while we all watch this :)

Bovice
November 27, 2012, 08:40 PM
A certain group of students tried making a set of universal joints for a four wheeled bicycle out of a cheap zinc alloy.

The second that torque was applied, they sheared cleanly in half and all four wheels fell off.

Zinc metals are the last thing you would want in a high mechanical stress application.

Jaymo
November 27, 2012, 10:46 PM
It depends on the particular Zinc alloy. ZA12 and 27 are stronger than the Nylon plastic used in pistol frames.
They are as strong as cast iron, which is plenty strong. Trouble is, both prone to cracking when shock loads are applied. This has nothing to do with strength.
But, the Tupperware pistols all have steel, and/or aluminum slide rails and frame inserts.
Tupperware frames are more elastic and resistant to cracking.

Yes, you could do it. No, it's not a good idea. It would absolutely suck to blow your own brains out from behind the gun.

mr.trooper
November 27, 2012, 10:58 PM
The ZAMAK alloy used in firearms is far from mystery "pot metal". It is a very consistant and carefully formulated metal, with a yield strength over 30,000 psi.

Kiln
November 28, 2012, 01:13 AM
The ZAMAK alloy used in firearms is far from mystery "pot metal". It is a very consistant and carefully formulated metal, with a yield strength over 30,000 psi.
This.

Zamak isn't the same as your average "pot metal" which most ignorant (not stupid, there is a difference) people seem to believe. It is a decent material when used within its limits. Hi Point even makes a .45acp that while definitely ugly and huge, seems to work pretty well for alot of people.

MachIVshooter
November 28, 2012, 02:34 AM
it's called "pot" metal for a reason.

Yes, it is. But probably not the reason you're trying to assert.

The Brady Campaign IS the reason you call "Ring of Fire" guns SNS and not just imported guns that were banned

"Ring of fire" had nothing to do with imported guns. It refers to a half dozen manufacturers in California.

Kiln
November 28, 2012, 04:21 AM
Meh I'm done trying to explain because I'm having trouble articulating what I actually mean. I was trying to explain that the Brady Campaign was instrumental in labeling any zamak pistol as a dangerous Saturday Night Special that was only useful in crime.

They used to be on the news all the time raving about how they were so scary because anyone can afford one and even the gun loving crowd ate it up at the time. The rumors that a Hi Point will blow off your hand didn't even go away until a few years back.

I am aware that the original term was coined before the ROF was even thought of and have been since before I posted anything here. Anyways I'm going to go away now because I know what I mean but can't put it into words.

ku4hx
November 28, 2012, 07:34 AM
Yes, it is. But probably not the reason you're trying to assert.
Given the multitude of posts on the subject, it's exactly as I'm trying to assert. Now if you're asserting you probably can read my mind ...

RedAlert
November 28, 2012, 09:46 PM
The sad thing about this thread is that somewhere out there is a clueless individual who will make this conversion. The only hope is that it happens before he contributes to the gene pool. Stupidity like this should be eliminated.

I am glad; however, that the OP asked rather than experimented. Smart move.

mf-dif
November 29, 2012, 04:19 AM
No harm in asking. Was curious as these guns where marketed as being basically interchangeable with most standard 1911 parts. Recently saw that they started selling the GSG .22 slides, barrel and mags as a package for .45 1911 so i just had to ask. Pieces looked identical.

mgmorden
November 29, 2012, 07:24 AM
But, the Tupperware pistols all have steel, and/or aluminum slide rails and frame inserts.

Actually not all of them do. The Ruger P95 's frame has no inserts and the slide rides right on the polymer. I'm pretty sure the same is true of the S&W Sigma.

Kiln
November 29, 2012, 04:22 PM
Actually not all of them do. The Ruger P95 's frame has no inserts and the slide rides right on the polymer. I'm pretty sure the same is true of the S&W Sigma.
Hi Point C9 also. The difference is that those guns were designed to ride on polymer rails. The zamak frame was designed for low powered rounds, swapping a large caliber slide would make it pretty unsafe given that it wasn't designed to handle it.

Jaymo
November 29, 2012, 06:49 PM
Where are you getting that the glass filled nylon has such a high yield strength? I've never seen anything showing more than a tensile strength of 30,000 psi.

MachIVshooter
November 29, 2012, 08:14 PM
The Ruger P95 's frame has no inserts and the slide rides right on the polymer. I'm pretty sure the same is true of the S&W Sigma.

I'm pretty certain the block that incorporates the rear recoil spring housing and frame rails on a P95 is steel.

The Sigma has steel inserts.

Blue Brick
November 29, 2012, 08:30 PM
Ruger's .45 ACP Polymer Auto Pistol
by Dick Metcalf
Technical Editor
Shooting Times
Category: Gun Reviews

August 24, 2001



The P97 frame material itself is a custom compounded, high-strength polymer with a long-strand fiberglass filler, which, as the company says, serves as “a natural shock absorber.” This filler interweaves during molding to produce some of the highest tensile and stiffness strengths available in an injection-molded material. The urethane-based resin that binds the filler together is corrosion and solvent resistant, lightweight, and compatible with most gun oils and lubricants.



n terms of mechanical operation, the P97 barrel tilts to lock and unlock, Browning-style—as do all P-Series pistols. However, the P97 uses a camblock system to cause this motion, instead of the 1911-type toggle-link employed on other P-Series gun. During the firing cycle, the P97 barrel is accelerated to a high speed as it moves back and down to unlock from the slide. Once it leaves contact with the slide, the barrel must be brought to a stop. As Ruger puts it in the P97 information release, “a novel system allows us to do so without impact damage to the polymer frame.” Novel, indeed. “Unique” or “innovative” would be more how I would put it since the P97 system is nothing like what Ruger uses on its polymer-frame 9mm P95.

The effect of barrel (and slide) impact has been a major engineering problem for polymer-frame autoloader designers since the moment Gaston Glock woke up from the middle of a good night’s sleep with the original “plastic gun” idea floating through his head. Many different ideas have been tried and discarded, and a wide variety of different solutions are used by various manufacturers for their varying-caliber, current-production polymer-frame pistols. For high slide/barrel-acceleration loads like the .45 ACP, the most common systems involve either a separate metal “recoil block” or camblock of some sort set into the polymer frame, or some type of cushioning system involving the recoil spring/guide rod assembly (or a combination of both). The P97 takes those concepts a step further.

The frontstrap, backstrap, and both sides of the P97’s slim polymer frame have molded-in grooves to provide a controlled grip.
On the P97 the linkless camming surfaces that guide and pull the unlocking barrel downward from the slide and absorb the impact of the barrel’s rearward recoil acceleration are an integral part of the rear portion of the recoil spring guide rod itself. In fact, this part—which on any other autoloader would be called the guide rod—Ruger calls the camblock (there is no part actually called a “guide rod” anywhere in the P97). The thing looks like an ordinary full-length guide rod with a big, cam-ramped lug on the end, and it’s a really neat design. The camblock is held in the frame by the crosspin of the slide stop. In firing, the barrel comes backward, is pulled away from the slide by the camming ramp, and is stopped by the recoil-spring-enclosed camblock, with no direct impact against the frame at all. It’s a slick idea. And it works. Plus the P97 still disassembles and reassembles in a completely conventional manner, just like any other P-Series pistol.

mgmorden
November 29, 2012, 08:33 PM
I'm pretty certain the block that incorporates the rear recoil spring housing and frame rails on a P95 is steel.

Nope. All polymer. Looking at it in my hands right now ;).

BTW I'm not in any way suggesting that the OP's idea is sound. Just stating that there are some polymer pistols out there designed such that the slide rides on the polymer frame and not steel inserts. I knew my M&P and Glock had steel inserts, but was pretty sure and just confirmed that my P95 did not.

ceetee
November 29, 2012, 08:45 PM
Hi Point C9 also. The difference is that those guns were designed to ride on polymer rails. The zamak frame was designed for low powered rounds, swapping a large caliber slide would make it pretty unsafe given that it wasn't designed to handle it.
As does the CZ-100 (and possibly the CZ-101, though we'll probably never see any 101's imported into these fine United States).

TimboKhan
November 29, 2012, 11:01 PM
Crap.

Seriously, I just spent an hour doing math and correcting my somewhat faulty post that I deleted for being inaccurate and it did not post. I am uttering some magnificent curse words at my iPad right now.

Short answer, my numbers were off in my last post, but nylon 6 has a higher strength to weight ratio, thus making it the stronger material despite its slightly LOWER tensile yield strength compared to Zamak 3.

So, my conclusion was correct, my data was not. I apologize.

Here is a picture of my notes before I started doing math any tapping my ultimately useless post:mad:

TimboKhan
November 29, 2012, 11:03 PM
Also, yes. I am at a hotel. Have been all week. It is the suck.

meanmrmustard
November 30, 2012, 06:14 AM
Wow, proved wrong by a Jennings... I stand corrected!
And Walther/Umarex. The pk380 is zamak.

MachIVshooter
November 30, 2012, 01:13 PM
Nope. All polymer. Looking at it in my hands right now ;)

OK, I stand corrected. The only P-series I've owned was a P94 (Alloy frame), and it's been long time since looked at the frame of a P95 (A gun which has zero appeal to me, hence I've payed little attention to them)

All the P-series guns feel like they're cycling in slow motion (especially the P90), which lends more to the already clunky feel of them. Reliable and reasonably accurate, but downright goofy guns in terms of handling.

atblis
November 30, 2012, 04:46 PM
And Walther/Umarex. The pk380 is zamak.
Nope. The P22 is a Zamak turd, but not the PK380. Slide is steel.

Were the RG centerfire revolver frames made out of Zinc?

meanmrmustard
November 30, 2012, 05:06 PM
Nope. The P22 is a Zamak turd, but not the PK380. Slide is steel.

Were the RG centerfire revolver frames made out of Zinc?

You're right about the slide. Apologies.

The PK380, however, is a turd.

SlamFire1
November 30, 2012, 05:20 PM
The ZAMAK alloy used in firearms is far from mystery "pot metal". It is a very consistant and carefully formulated metal, with a yield strength over 30,000 psi.



That is not bad for a zinc based material but compare to historic materials used in 03 Springfields and to 4140.


Receivers and bolts of SA, serial number 1,275,767
Material WD 2340
Treatment: Heat to 1425-1450 for five minutes in a salt bath, oil quench
Temper at 700 F for one-half hour and air cool
Hardness Rockwell C-40 to C-50.

Source: July-Aug 1928 issue Army Ordnance, “Heat Treatment and Finish of Small Arms at Springfield Armory

Mechanical Properties of AISI steels with various Heat-Treatments*

AISI 2340 normalized at 1600 F, quenched in oil at 1425 F *


Draw Temperature Tensile Strength Yield Point
600 F 222 kpsi 205 kpsi
800 F 180 kpsi 165 kpsi

*Source Mark’s Mechanical Engineers’ Handbook, sixth edition


Today’s receivers are often made of 4140. I picked a mid range heat treatment for comparison. For a 1 in round AISI 4140 Steel, Heat treatment normalized 870°C (1600°F), reheated 845°C (1550°F), oil quenched, tempered 595° (1100 F)

Hardness, Rockwell C 34 Converted from Brinell hardness.
Tensile Strength, Ultimate 148000 psi

Tensile Strength, Yield 132000 psi

Elongation at Break 19.0 %

I was told this heat treatment of 4140 was too hard for firearms applications, but I am putting down for reference.

For a 1 in round AISI 4140 Steel, normalized at 870°C (1600°F), reheated to 845°C (1550°F), oil quenched, 260°C (500°F) temper, ultimate strength 270,000 psi, yield 240,000 psi, elongation at break 11%, Rockwell C53.

You have to look at the load path to determine just how much load the material is carrying. The receiver or frame of a blowback is not carrying much load which is why they can use such low grade materials.

atblis
November 30, 2012, 05:26 PM
The PK380, however, is a turd.
I wanted to say that, but resisted because I've never actually shot the PK380. P22 I have plenty of experience with its turdiness.

Kiln
November 30, 2012, 06:53 PM
I wanted to say that, but resisted because I've never actually shot the PK380. P22 I have plenty of experience with its turdiness.
My Raven MP25 and Phoenix HP22 work better than my Walther P22 ever did and both costed 1/3 of the price.

Jaymo
November 30, 2012, 07:22 PM
Sorry, Tim, but ZA-27 has a yield strength of 55,000 psi.
ZA-12, 46,000.
ZA-8, 42,000.
Where's this mystery Tupperware that's stronger than that? ;)

That said, there's no way in hell I'd convert a ZA framed 1911 into a .45 cal. If I want to commit suicide, I'll point the muzzle at my head, not the rear of the slide. :)
Recoil operation would be a lot harder on the frame than I'd be comfortable with.
It could be done. Safely, even. That level of strength is plenty for the application.
The problem is that it wouldn't last. It would fail, sooner or later. Probably sooner.
How many rounds could you crank off before the frame or slide failed?

Sounds like a great idea for some testing. My buddy has a Goobtube channel and wants me to make some vids with him.
I'm thinking I should convert one to .45 and remote fire it, to see how long it lasts. (not long, I'd guess)

In the words of the demo man on Team Fortress 2, KA-BEWM!!

Kiln
November 30, 2012, 08:47 PM
The issue is not zamak's strength but the fact that it is prone to cracking under stress from shock. A zamak framed gun will often crack after only a few hundred rounds of .380 acp but works fine for .22lr pistols as long as the design is correct.

You couldn't pay me to slap a .45acp slide onto a frame designed to fire .22lr and shoot it. There is a good chance of a rail shearing off and allowing you to be struck in the face by the slide.

Cosmoline
November 30, 2012, 09:25 PM
AFAIK it's called pot metal because it will melt in a lead pot. That's disconcerting.

MachIVshooter
November 30, 2012, 10:42 PM
AFAIK it's called pot metal because it will melt in a lead pot. That's disconcerting.

Well, not quite.

There are two definitions for "pot metal"

The first would obviously be metals used to make pots other than elemental metals or well establshed alloys like steel or bronze (cast iron or copper pots were usually referred to as such, not lumped into the pot metal group). The common denominator is pretty much that they're cast metals with low melting points.

The second definition is close to what Cosmoline wrote, but it doesn't specifically refer to melting in a lead pot, especially since lead is the lower melting point element in many of the alloys in this class. The most common elements are zinc, lead, copper, magnesium, aluminium, and sometimes tin or even iron. Tin is about the only pot metal element with lower melting point than lead. Anyhow, though, yes, the colloquial definition does refer to an alloy of these elements that doesn't require foundry temperatures and really could be melted together and cast from a pot over a good, hot fire.

Kiln
November 30, 2012, 10:52 PM
I'm creating a new phrase:

Pot plastic, aptly named because it is such low quality plastic that it melts in a pot.

hentown
December 1, 2012, 07:28 AM
"Saturday Night Special" has been around at least from the 60's.

meanmrmustard
December 1, 2012, 12:15 PM
I wanted to say that, but resisted because I've never actually shot the PK380. P22 I have plenty of experience with its turdiness.
I have. Don't fret, I said it for you. After reading your post, called my coworker who has one, and a magnet sticks to it.

The SR22 is what the P22 should have been.

Jaymo
December 1, 2012, 02:20 PM
Soldering iron plastic, because you can melt it with a soldering iron. (I prefer to use my plastic welders)

brickeyee
December 1, 2012, 02:33 PM
30,000 PSI sound like a strong material to you look at decent grades of steel.

The Lone Haranguer
December 2, 2012, 01:25 PM
Zinc is brittle, polymer isn't.

Cosmoline
December 4, 2012, 07:14 PM
Well then there's that notoriously dangerous WOOD that will burn in a mere fireplace.

Kiln
December 5, 2012, 01:01 AM
Well then there's that notoriously dangerous WOOD that will burn in a mere fireplace.
So true. I say we ban all firearms using zamak, polymer, or wood in their construction.

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