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1911-22lr conversion kits: aluminum slide -to- steel frame galvanic corrosion?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Jackal1, Aug 24, 2010.

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  1. Jackal1

    Jackal1 Member

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    I called a NAME BRAND company and asked what surface treatments they used to protect their aluminum 1911 22lr conversion kit slides from galvanic corrosion when installed on a steel 1911 frame. I expected to hear something about a chromate conversion coating or perhaps type III hardcote anodize.

    I got transferred to a guy that sounded an awful lot like their company president who shows up on a radio show every so often. I repeated my question to him and he exclaimed: "Oh my gosh! We never even thought of that!"

    So....

    Anyone leave their conversion kits installed for months at a time? Anyone use these near salty environments like the ocean, or sweat on their gun while backpacking? Any issues to report?

    The bottom picture at the link below shows galvanic corrosion occurring in aluminum due to a stainless steel bolt. The material was exposed to nothing more than central florida air near the beach where I live.
    http://corrosion.ksc.nasa.gov/galcorr.htm
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2010
  2. skipsan

    skipsan Member

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    I have no answer to your question--theoretically, it probably is a concern. That said, I don't think the situation is unique to .22 lr conversion kits as there are tens/hundreds of thousands of steel slides installed on aluminum frames in pistols manufactured all over the world, without any galvanic corrosion issues that I've ever read about. Its probably there, just not serious enough to warrant any concern.
     
  3. John Holbrook

    John Holbrook Member

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    Here is an example of aluminum alloy slide and steel frame. I know of no reports on galvanic action with of this type, and I have been working on guns for 60 years.... Most pistols would have a thin film of lubricant between the components, however even without the film I have never encounered a problem. So it may be possible but unlikely!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer member

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    What about aluminum framed guns with steel slides? I've never heard of any corrosion issues with them.
     
  5. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    I had/ have the same concerns over the AL frame and steel slides. AKA most light weights, Kimbers, etc..

    It does not seem to be a problem.. keep it well oiled.
     
  6. zhyla

    zhyla Member

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    When aluminum oxidizes it form a layer aluminum oxide (duh) which is both incredibly tough and a fantastic insulator. Because it is an insulator there will be no further galvanic activity. It is possible but requires something in the environment to break down the oxide layer.

    Here's a link that goes into more detail:

    http://aluminumsurface.blogspot.com/2009/04/corrosion-between-anodized-aluminum-and.html

    Just keep it oiled, you won't have anything to worry about.
     
  7. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    I've had a marvel unit sitting on several frames, usually an STI Trojan or a Dan Wesson stainless, for several months, and never had issues. It is generally pretty dry here though.
     
  8. ABTOMAT

    ABTOMAT Member

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    Unless take your gun into the ocean with you I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  9. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    On cars and trucks with aluminum wheels, I've had plenty of them corrode and sieze to the iron or steel hubs or axles. But these are tightly bolted together, only coming apart every few months, if that (e.g., for tire rotations) and exposed to the elements for months or years at a time. None of these conditions apply to any aluminum-slided gun, which has clearance between the slide and frame and (presumably) is kept lubricated. Your concern, while not unfounded, is more theoretical than real.
     
  10. gofastman

    gofastman Member

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    like others have said, keep it oiled and it will be fine.

    If you are loosing sleep over it, a thin coat of zinc anti seize could probably be used, in addition to a bit of oil.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Not a problem!!

    I have an aluminum frame S&W Model 39 made 40 years ago, and it ain't turned to white powder yet!
    Also a Ruger 10/22 made in 1967 with an aluminum receiver, and a Colt .22 Scout older then that with an aluminum frame & steel barrel. Not a trace of galvanic corrosion where the two metals meet.

    All Ruger Single Actions have used an aluminum grip bolted to the steel frame since the early 1950's and they don't turn to dust either.

    A gun would have to be totally devoid of lubrication or care, and left setting in a salt water bath before galvanic corrosion could even be remotely possible.

    rc
     
  12. MrOldLude

    MrOldLude Member

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    Someone's overthinking what they learned in their intro to materials class.

    Under anything but the most unimaginable hard use, for years, a failure will not result from an aluminum/steel couple.
     
  13. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I know the mfr you called wasn't Ciener. You would never get him on the phone.

    I lived in Monterey for a while, and I saw things rust I had never imagined before. It's one of those places where you take a towel out of the dryer, hang it up, and the next day when you gram it, it feels slightly damp. Fog every morning. I didn't have my guns with me there, but if I had I might have taken more care.

    Where I live in the desert, I don't anticipate this ever being a concern, and I plan on building a dedicated frame for my Ciener kit.
     
  14. akadave

    akadave Member

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    I have a 25 year old Star PD (Steel slide, aluminum frame) zero corrosion. Am I missing an ingredient?
     
  15. Jackal1

    Jackal1 Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input. It seems that galvanic corrosion is not much of a concern so long as I keep the pistol well lubed.

    I live near the ocean so the air is salty enough that it even smells like salt (those who have been to the FL gulf beaches know what I'm talking about).

    Galvanic corrosion will slightly occur any time aluminum and steel are in tight contact... the effect is accelerated if sweat or salt water gets between the two metals.

    Moral of the story: If you keep your Aluminum/Steel guns clean, well lubricated, and don't sweat like a pig on them you shouldn't have any issues whatsoever.

    Thanks again to everyone that responded.
     
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