Steel guide rods, good or just a feel good.


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stchman
August 26, 2014, 06:31 PM
Hello all.

I wanted to ask the forum members if replacing my plastic guide rod in my SR9 is a good thing or just a feel good thing?

I would think that if a steel guide rod was SO much better, they would have put it in there to begin with.

While a steel guide rod may look better, is it just cosmetic?

Thanks.

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Fishbed77
August 26, 2014, 06:57 PM
I wanted to ask the forum members if replacing my plastic guide rod in my SR9 is a good thing or just a feel good thing?

If your pistol was designed to use a polymer guide rod, there is no good reason to replace it with a steel one:

http://www.waltherforums.com/forum/pps/18759-broken-b-t-premium-guide-rod.html

That example was not an SR9, but you get the gist.

Walt Sherrill
August 26, 2014, 07:00 PM
As best I can tell, it's very important to some people but it's not a big deal to gun designers.

The guide rod is not a highly stressed part. The dustcover and frame of most guns constrain the recoil spring so the guide rod seems to be of most use when field stripping and reassembling the gun.

I've had guns of the same basic design with some using plastic guide rods and other using steel guide rods, and I could never tell much difference in function or performance. The guide rod material should NOT have any effect on accuracy, and probably won't have any effect on reliability or function. (I've seen Glocks function beautifuly with broken plastic guide rods...)

With certain gun designs the guide rod never really contacts the frame, and with others, the base of the guide rod may rest or push against a point on the frame (some call it the "receiver stop"). In that second case, a hard steel gruide rod base rubbing against a slightly less hard alloy frame may lead to some wear. It's not something you hear much about or see often.

In many cases, the guide rod could probably be made of bamboo and it'd still do the job.

fletcher
August 26, 2014, 07:12 PM
I agree with the above. Unless there's a history of failure (e.g. bad design) for the polymer guide rod, I see no reason to replace it with a metal one.

Storm
August 26, 2014, 07:18 PM
Years ago I bought a used SigPro 2340. Almost immediately the guide rod broke. Since then if Steve Bedair makes a steel guide rod for a gun that I own it goes into it. Gotten to be habit. If I had not had that one broken guide rod I never would have considered it. Necessary? No, most likely not, but it makes me happy. That said, I don't sweat it if it isn't steel.

tommy.duncan
August 26, 2014, 07:23 PM
Another thing to remember is the money factor. Lets say Ruger makes 100,000 of the SR9 series pistol (just using round numbers). The polymer/plastic rod costs .10 to make and the metal one makes .50 to make. This becomes a financial decision due to profit margins.
polymer rod -$10,000
metal rod -$50,000
I have replaced all mine with metal, but they function fine with the polymer.

Bob M.
August 26, 2014, 07:41 PM
Yep, the bean counters will always try to lower the costs of manufacturing. Nothing wrong with that as long as it works. I would just get 2 or 3 spare polymer rods to have on hand in case of breakage failure. :)

jhb
August 26, 2014, 10:31 PM
Years ago I seem to remember a real problem with swapping the plastic to a steel one in aluminum framed cz pistols. I can't remember what went wrong but it was either bulged frame areas from the steel or cracks. Either way all bad.

I sure prefer steel but then again who am I to ignore the engineers who designed the pistol. Unless one is going to change the use of the pistol as it's designed I see no real reason to change it....so I dont. Too each their own though.

rcmodel
August 26, 2014, 10:36 PM
Use what the gun was designed to use.

Heres why.

http://www.1bad69.com/keltec/guiderod.htm

While this Kel-Tec info does not apply to all designs.
It might apply to yours.

Do you want to be the Beta Tester to find out?

rc

Walt Sherrill
August 26, 2014, 10:38 PM
Yep, the bean counters will always try to lower the costs of manufacturing. Nothing wrong with that as long as it works.

I'm not sure that the bean counters have that much input in gun design and material choices. I wouldn't be surprised if one of the gun designers came up with the idea to use plastic guide rods himself (or herself), because it seemed just as good, was less trouble to make, and cost less -- designers DO worry about things like cost and production processes. And cutting a cost there may have given them some ability to improve something elsewhere without raising total costs.

Way back when, somebody made that same sort of decision when they switched from wood grips to plastic, and I'm sure it offended a lot of gun owners.

With regard to potential damages:

rcmodel's response (illustrated with frightening photos) also addresses my earlier concern about using steel in SOME guns. (Although I had NOT thought about their effect on certain hybrid frames.) The Kel-Tec P40, the gun shown in the last photo, like the P11, has an aluminum frame with a polymer cover, so it's really more substantial than it looks... but the metal guide rod obviously induced a type of stress that the designers had not anticipated.)

Walt Sherrill
August 27, 2014, 12:40 AM
Years ago I seem to remember a real problem with swapping the plastic to a steel one in aluminum framed cz pistols. I can't remember what went wrong but it was either bulged frame areas from the steel or cracks. Either way all bad.

I don't think it was bulged frames or cracks. (The bulged frames problem occurred with some polymer-framed RAMIs and the earliest P-07s. The P-07 was slightly redesigned, and they discontinued the polymer RAMI. I don't think either of those problem caused functional issues, but just didn't look right. I've only heard of ONE cracked frame with a CZ, and that was years ago, in an 85 Combat with a steel frame.)

Years back, when I was one of the moderators on the original CZ Forum, I was told by one of the senior gunsmiths at CZ-USA that using the steel guide rod with alloy-framed guns could cause "receiver stop" wear, and such wear was not covered under warranty. (They had begun to see that wear on guns sent in for warranty work, and it was a problem.) CZ-USA had always refused to sell steel guide rods to folks when they were told they were to be used in an alloy-framed gun.

The receiver stop is where the base of the guide rod rests when the slide is on the frame and the slide stop is installed.

When the slide starts to move back, the bottom of the base of the guide rod engages the frame and stays put as the barrel continues to move back and disconnects from the guide rod. (The guide rod base is positioned against the base of the barrel underlug when it is first installed in the gun.) Because the compact guns are shorter, and because their guide rods are full-length and the slides move just about as far, their guide rods tend to tilt MORE than the shorter (or full-length) guide rods in some of the fullsize and SA models. (The guide rod tilts more in a compact CZ than in a full-size CZ with a full-length guide rod.)

I no longer participate on the CZ Forum and I'm sure they'll have better info, but I've heard other responses more recently, supposedly from "official sources," that a steel guide rod in an alloy-framed gun is not a concern. If you have an alloy CZ compact, It might be good to check with CZ-USA to see if it IS or IS NOT something to be worried about. It was never a problem with the steel-framed guns.

.

Hamfisted
August 27, 2014, 11:22 AM
I prefer steel guide rods just to put some weight up front, and their durability.


-Mike

RainDodger
August 27, 2014, 11:39 AM
Rc's link is interesting. I replaced the polymer rod with a nicely made steel rod in a little Ruger SR22. Although I rarely shoot it, I will now inspect the way the rod acts when the slide moves to the rear. I shoot it so rarely that I doubt I'd have any problem, but why tempt fate if there's a possibility of any down-side with a steel rod? I'll leave it in only if I see no chance for weird wear or the rod banging on the underside of the barrel, etc.

That being said, I do (and always have) used one-piece rods in all my 1911s. I just like 'em and that's that. No discussion necessary, as it's a personal thing. :)

jhb
August 27, 2014, 11:50 AM
Thanks Walt. Good clarification on that side topic. Appreciated.

jcwit
August 27, 2014, 01:22 PM
So how about a company that switches from a plastic guide rod to a steel guide rod on the same model???????????????

NGIB
August 27, 2014, 01:28 PM
My SR9c has probably 5000 trouble free rounds through it and it still has the factory guide rod...

sigarms228
August 27, 2014, 01:58 PM
I stick with what the manufacturer puts in my pistols. Poly is very durable and also can flex more than metal which may make a difference depending on the design.

The poly guide rod on my SP2022, which I bought brand new, is a little bit scraped up but no issues with functionality with over 3000 rounds now.

No worry about voiding warranty either with aftermarket part.

5-SHOTS
August 27, 2014, 01:59 PM
I prefere steel guide rods but I can live with plastic. Some guns born with plastic rods have been reported to become unreliable with steel rods, so think about it.

fletcher
August 27, 2014, 02:01 PM
I'm not sure that the bean counters have that much input in gun design and material choices.

Bean counters will not make those decisions, but they will set cost targets that force engineering to get creative and/or make compromises. Pretty standard occurrence from my experience. Something like that could have prompted a design review, and determined that polymer was OK for a guide rod.

ku4hx
August 27, 2014, 04:11 PM
Use what the gun was designed to use.

Heres why.

http://www.1bad69.com/keltec/guiderod.htm

While this Kel-Tec info does not apply to all designs.
It might apply to yours.

Do you want to be the Beta Tester to find out?

rc
This. I'd rather have the gun wear the rod than the rod wear the gun. OEM RSA's are generally dirt cheap and a few spares are not going to break the bank.

Onward Allusion
August 27, 2014, 06:13 PM
Stick to the plastic guide rod. It gives the gun a bit more wiggle room when the slide flies back from the recoil. A metal rod can and do bind some guns made for plastic ones. First hand experience with a bunch of my Kel Tec's . . . My personal feeling is that one should stick to stock as much as possible for SD guns.

56hawk
August 27, 2014, 06:17 PM
I prefer steel guide rods just to put some weight up front, and their durability.


-Mike

Yeah, it's good if you want to add weight. Tungsten guide rods are even available for a lot of guns if you want to add even more weight out front.

http://www.glockmeister.com/Glockmeister-Tungsten-Recoil-Assembly-For-Gen-4-G19-and-23/productinfo/G4TG19CS/

http://www.brownells.com/handgun-parts/recoil-parts/recoil-guide-rods/1911-auto-tungsten-guide-rod-prod5534.aspx

Walt Sherrill
August 27, 2014, 06:25 PM
So how about a company that switches from a plastic guide rod to a steel guide rod on the same model???????????????

I think SIG did that a number of years back, after introducing plastic guide rods with some models.

There was such a stink raised by SIG owners, that SIG just reverted to steel. I never heard or read much about problems with or failure in the plastic guide rods, but did hear/read many, many SIG owners complaining about SIG's use of plastic guide rods in a SIG weapon. They felt it cheap and inappropriate.

As I said in an earlier response, guide rods are not a part that must endure high stresses.

skoro
August 27, 2014, 06:26 PM
I think it's obviously a cost-saving measure. In normal usage the plastic probably holds up well enough. But I'd prefer real metal. That said, I have plastic guide rods in several of my semiautos and have never had any problems with them. I have metal in others and to be honest right now I can't recall for certain which are which.

leadcounsel
August 27, 2014, 08:42 PM
Too lazy to look up prices, but believe metal guide rods are much more costly than plastic.

Since they are there solely to capture the spring and keep it in line, there's very little pressure against it. Never had a problem with a plastic one. Engineers seem to think it will be fine. Cost and weight savings.

Easy to replace/repair part if there is an issue. Due to their low cost, just buy an extra plastic one to have on hand in case it breaks.

If it's free, I'd prefer metal. It's nice when a used gun comes with a metal guide rod. But if I have to spend my money to upgrade, plastic is fine for this particular part.

gazpacho
August 27, 2014, 08:54 PM
I have a Kahr K9 Elite, PM9 and P380, all of which I upgraded to steel guide rods. In each case, I used Kahr's own optional steel guide rod. I figure if they sell it, it must be okay in their guns.

In the case of the P380, there was a small but noticeable reduction in felt recoil. It seemed to point a little easier also.

In the case of the PM9, I experienced similar results but to a lesser extent.

In the case of the K9 Elite, I also installed Kahr's extended and ported barrel. I use this gun as both a range toy, and as an introductory pistol for new shooters, as the extra weight and porting make it a soft shooter for newbies. I have never actually shot this firearm in its standard configuration, so I can make no observation there.

rcmodel
August 27, 2014, 08:59 PM
A metal guide rod might very possibly cost more to produce in limited numbers for after-market replacement parts.

However, in mass production by a firearms manufacture, I doubt there is much difference, or savings.

Metal guide-rods can be turned out from round bar stock on an automated screw machine lathe faster then the help can pack them off in big containers to the finishing department for de-burring, polishing, bluing, or whatever.

Plastic offers a lower cost for raw material then steel.
But require no further be-burring or finishing.
But, the injection mold dies to mold them may cost more then the automatic screw machine used to spit out steel ones.
At a faster production rate.

No cost savings for an OEM manufacture if thats what the design calls for.
Major expense for an after-market parts manufacture making them in relatively small numbers.

rc

1SOW
August 27, 2014, 09:40 PM
Two things I've experienced:
The plastic (Delrin) guide rods last virtually forever and if the owner gets worried, it's $2.50 to replace it.
In some pistols, because of the tilt Walt mentioned, the steel rod just barely tilts in when trying to remove and reinstall the bbl. The stock guide rod will flex just a skosh and make for easer install. Depending on the length of the bbl, the base of the steel rods can show metal wear/dents from riding on a very hard bbl surface.
My CZ Shadow Custom came with the upgraded stainless full length guide rod. After 15K rounds, the base of of the rod looks hammered on the rear edges.

I've 60K rds + on a CZ 75B with the short delrin guide rod. I did replace it with another plastic rod once (maybe 40K rds), just because I was ordering other supplies. The original rod is still fine and would run with no problem.

The plastic isn't shiny, super strong or even pretty, but it will function just fine for a very long time.

leadcounsel
August 28, 2014, 06:03 AM
A metal guide rod might very possibly cost more to produce in limited numbers for after-market replacement parts.

However, in mass production by a firearms manufacture, I doubt there is much difference, or savings.

Metal guide-rods can be turned out from round bar stock on an automated screw machine lathe faster then the help can pack them off in big containers to the finishing department for de-burring, polishing, bluing, or whatever.

Plastic offers a lower cost for raw material then steel.
But require no further be-burring or finishing.
But, the injection mold dies to mold them may cost more then the automatic screw machine used to spit out steel ones.
At a faster production rate.

No cost savings for an OEM manufacture if thats what the design calls for.
Major expense for an after-market parts manufacture making them in relatively small numbers.

rc

I will dispute this until I see the actual figures. If that were the case then there would be no reason for the change. A metal part requires great raw material costs, greater manufacturing costs, and greater polishing costs versus the nearly free cost of polymer and deburring. My albeit uneducated guess is that a metal guide rod costs at least 5-fold the manufacture cost over a plastic guiderod. Given that aluminum or other quality metals are expensive, the aluminum or whatever metal they use would be significantly more expensive than the polymer material, which would probably cost almost nothing per piece.

Let's use other parts as a comparison. Some shotgun companies have switched from metal to plastic trigger guards. These are less popular, and weight savings are unimportant in this part. They are less durable. So there must be a reason - and the only reason would be a significant cost savings.

We see these examples all across the small parts manufacturing in cars, small engines, lawn tools, etc.

Lucky Derby
August 28, 2014, 07:59 AM
Unless it has problems it's a waiste of resources ($$$) to change it. Buy more practice ammo instead.

Big Shrek
August 28, 2014, 06:55 PM
I'm going to say...NIETHER!

Get a Laser Guide Rod :evil:

Courtesy of Lasermax
http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/d4/bc/3d/d4bc3db143f89821ee725b2999d7905c.jpg

Walt Sherrill
August 28, 2014, 08:58 PM
Laser guide rods will work with some guns, but not with others. While many do, not all guns have an opening on the front of the slide for a full length guide rod to poke through, and it may be difficult to make them work in guns like the 1911.

I've often wondered how to keep the laser guide rods calibrated, when they can seemingly rotate or move a bit when they act as part of the guide rod...

wally
August 31, 2014, 02:19 PM
General rule to live by: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

If the people giving good customer support by paying return shipping to fix your broken gun say a polymer rod is OK, believe it!


Our "free-market" system allows all manner of solutions to imaginary problems to be sold, don't fall for it.

snooperman
August 31, 2014, 06:03 PM
I agree with rc model , use the guide rod that was designed for that gun. His article that he listed is good evidence for his advice. And , I might add that one should use the proper recoil spring that was designed for that gun too.

MICHAEL T
September 1, 2014, 01:02 AM
My old Mustang became very unreliable with a metal guide rod . I removed and went back to factory and all reliability returned . learned my lesson

Blue Brick
September 1, 2014, 01:08 AM
My bottom feeder doesn’t even have a guide rod.

Zerodefect
September 1, 2014, 11:32 AM
I almost always use a SS guide rod in Glocks. No idea on other polymer guns.

flyingtiger85
September 1, 2014, 11:58 PM
There's some old H&R 22 revolvers that had a plastic trigger spring assembly that was made of plastic and after 20 years or so it would disintegrate and crumble in the grip handle.Plastic mixed with metal parts Fail!
The Marlin-60 has a plastic part in the trigger spring assembly that fails after 20 years or sooner!Plastic mixed with metal parts Fail!
And yes it's cheap on the manufactures part and makes the gun feel cheap.
I replaced the plastic guide rod on my SR-22 the same day I brought it home.
I just bought a CZ-75 compact and was pissed it had a plastic guide rod when I picked it up.I'll replace that one too!

astra600
September 3, 2014, 08:35 PM
The Sig P250c I bought in January this year had a steel guide rod. When I ordered extra springs, they came captured on plastic rods. I bought some original springs from TopGun. Originals are round wire and replacements are flat ';wire'.

I also bought a steel rod for the Sig SP2022, which came with a plastic rod. It makes a 'schwing' sound when cycled. I may go back to the plastic, but wonder if the French guns came with steel or plastic. I also wonder if the spring/steel rod interface slows the slide down. I haven't tested them side by side yet.

HKGuns
September 3, 2014, 09:57 PM
All of my HK pistols have steel guide rods and I trust HK more than any other company to do the design correctly. I also assume if there were no reason to use steel they wouldn't use steel.

Therefore if I buy another model with plastic it gets a steel replacement. Never had an issue with a steel replacement.

Walt Sherrill
September 3, 2014, 11:20 PM
All of my HK pistols have steel guide rods and I trust HK more than any other company to do the design correctly. I also assume if there were no reason to use steel they wouldn't use steel.

Therefore if I buy another model with plastic it gets a steel replacement. Never had an issue with a steel replacement.

And, if the next H&K you buy comes with a plastic guide rod from the factory, would your original logic still apply? You know -- that bit about, "I trust HK more than any other company to do the design correctly." And WHICH "design" do you means when you write "the design?" The fact that steel guide rods have been used in H&K designs suggests that H&K designers consider steel the best choice for those weapons. It does not follow that steel is best for all guns and all gun designs.

With the alloy-framed CZ compacts mentioned earlier in this discussion, the plastic guide rods seem to be a good application -- given the shorter slide and the fact that these guns come with a FULL-LENGTH GUIDE RODS. (Only a few CZ models use full-length guide rods.) The longer (FL) guide rods in the shorter compact slide ROCK/TILT more than the guide rods used in CZs with longer slides. The base of a steel guide rod used in an alloy-framed compact has the potential to damage the alloy frame where it rests as the gun cycles. In another case addressed in this discussion, we saw a photo example of a steel guide rod DAMAGING a gun that wasn't designed to use a steel guide rod.

It may be best to do as the gun designers intended...

HKGuns
September 4, 2014, 12:08 AM
What if the moon were really made of cream cheese? Not going to get into a straw man argument with you.

Don't fool yourself into believing certain guns aren't built to a specific price point and that corners are cut to hit that price point.

Plastic sights anyone?

Jim K
September 4, 2014, 12:13 AM
The steel rod adds weight to the front end. That can be good or bad.

Jim

Walt Sherrill
September 4, 2014, 10:54 AM
What if the moon were really made of cream cheese? Not going to get into a straw man argument with you.

For those unfamiliar with the term, a "straw man" is the debate technique of attacking a different (sometimes fabricated and often unrelated) point, smashing it, and then claiming victory -- while not addressing the original point in question. It's considered a logical fallacy.

So, you didn't like my question about what effect it would have on your logic if H&K used plastic guide rods in a future gun design. Ignore that original question, and address the other points you ignored. You declared victory and walked away, but didn't really answer the questions.

That wasn't a Straw Man argument, by the way: it was a question based on the fact that SIG introduced plastic guide rods a few years back and SIG owners raised such a stink that SIG quickly backed off and returned to metal. It should be noted, however, that all P-series models since 2009 use plastic guide rods. SIG offers optional metal guide rods, as does GRAY GUNS, but you have to pay for them. I've never heard of a SIG guide rod failing, regardless of it's composition, probably because, as noted before, guide rods are not high-stress parts. I'd be a little skeptical if I heard of a failure. (If you read the on the SIG forums, you'll find that many SIG owners didn't really notice the change... and SIG owners can be picky.)

You said H&K knew best -- and I agreed, when addressing H&K designs. H&K builds good guns. But other gun makers do, too. SIG immediately comes to mind. Some of these other gun makers use plastic guide rods. I don't see a logical fallacy in claiming that H&K only knows what's best for H&K designs, and not other designs.

How about my assertion that just because H&K designers use steel guide rods, it doesn't follow that STEEL GUIDE RODS are best for all designs? You apparently think that's flawed reasoning. You ignored several cited examples of steel guide rods causing problems in guns where plastic guide rods were standard. Those weren't PRICE POINT issues -- they were matters affecting the functionality of the guns. All guns aren't created equal.

I saw a straw man being used, but it wasn't in my reply.

.

ATLDave
September 4, 2014, 11:49 AM
One thing that may have been mentioned already: Sometimes people replace a guide rod with one of heavier material (plastic with steel, steel with tungsten) not for reliability or strength but to add some weight to the front of the gun, on the theory that it will reduce muzzle flip. Whether a heavier gun is desirable is kind of a user (and use) specific question.

Omaha-BeenGlockin
September 4, 2014, 12:14 PM
The plastic rod in a Ruger or Glock wouldn't bother me one bit.

The plastic rod in the Beretta 92 I looked over a while back is just plain wrong and would be replaced immediately had I bought the gun.

Storm
September 4, 2014, 04:34 PM
As Astra600 points out, SIG has used both plastic and steel with the 250. I don't recall what my now traded subcompact and compact used, but my full sized 9 and 45 uses steel. I was glad to see them.

astra600
September 4, 2014, 04:47 PM
I'll bet if I handed anyone two guns, same model, one with a steel rod and one with a plastic rod , there would only be WAGs as which was heavier or lighter.

flyingtiger85
September 5, 2014, 01:07 AM
If the "original" 1911 pistols had plastic guide-rods they would be broken,cracked and need replaced right now.

Walt Sherrill
September 5, 2014, 10:44 AM
]If the "original" 1911 pistols had plastic guide-rods they would be broken,cracked and need replaced right now.

The "original" 1911 steel was not heat treated. If the original guide rod had been made of modern plastic, the guns themselves might have cracked BEFORE the guide rod failed. But, plastic wasn't widely used until after WWII; since then the material has become much more versatile. (There's a LOT of plastic used in new cars, for example.)

I've got a couple of guns with plastic guide rods. One has well in excess of 10K rounds through it, and the guide rod still looks like new. The plastic used in one of my compact gun wouldn't crack or break if hit by a sledge hammer -- the material is too pliable: it would simply be "squashed" by the impact, but would probably still work. Other plastic guide rods would break if given that same treatment, as would many metal guide rods.

As I said in earlier responses, guide rods typically aren't a highly-stressed part. Metal arguably works better in some cases, plastic in others...

ATLDave
September 5, 2014, 11:42 AM
I'll bet if I handed anyone two guns, same model, one with a steel rod and one with a plastic rod , there would only be WAGs as which was heavier or lighter.

That's probably true. The question is whether any difference would show up in the splits. I'm not expressing an opinion on whether it would, but that would be the relevant measure, not how heavy they feel.

Walt Sherrill
September 5, 2014, 04:17 PM
The question is whether any difference would show up in the splits. I'm not expressing an opinion on whether it would, but that would be the relevant measure, not how heavy they feel.

I would argue that IMPROVED SPLIT TIMES would be a relevant measure ONLY if you're shooting competitively, and you shoot at a sufficiently high level that a slim fraction of a second will makes meaningful difference in the final scores. But that would be possible only if metal guide rods allowed a quicker return to battery than a plastic one. Does it? Otherwise, the question of reliability and durability would seem to be far more relevant.

On the Smith & Wesson forum a number of folks have commented about experiencing bent metal guide rods that disabled their guns; those guns included BHPs and Berettas, not just S&W weapons. Others participating in the same discussion used metal instead of the plastic guide rods that came with their guns, and had problems. One Kahr user said that switching to steel made his gun inoperable; reinstalling the factory plastic made it run as it should.

Interestingly, one participant on the S&W forum claimed that installing a metal guide rod in his S&W 410, which came with a plastic guide rod, reduced (improved) his group sizes slightly. While he may have seen a difference in group sizes after the swap, I'm not sure it was due to the guide rod change. That's because the bullet leaves the barrel BEFORE the barrel has fully disengaged from the locking lugs, and the speed with which the barrel disengages isn't really affected by guide rod material. Here's a YouTube video showing (what appears to be a .45) the bullet leaving the barrel after the slide has moved just a fraction of an inch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySO0EWIlOKc (You have to use the STOP/START button very precisely to see it happen, as it's happens VERY QUICKLY. Notice, however, how little the slide has moved when the bullet is out of the barrel -- the bullet and slide aren't moving at the same speed!)

Given those factors, unless someone can show us that a metal guide rod will somehow cause the slide and barrel to lock up more consistently or reliably than a plastic one when the next round is chambered, I will consider the use of plastic to be a non-issue, if the gun maker uses plastic.

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