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Am I wrong to be unhappy with MIM parts?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Tallbald, Oct 25, 2011.

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  1. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    Folks first off please let me say I'm not wanting to start a negative debate or anything. I know times change and so do manufacturing methods. It's just that having grown up in the days when my Smiths had beautiful color hardened triggers and hammers, and my Ruger double actions were made with triggers that didn't have hollowed out backs, I feel let down that the old ways are being left behind. I bought an SP101 this spring to replace one given up in a split. I never noticed at the shop that the triggers had changed. The revolver is a fine shooter, and I feel I could rely on it very well. But it was somehow just not "right" to me. I have debated on a new SP101 in .22, but you know if it too has the hollow trigger back too I'm going to pass. I have decided to stick with my older Single Sixes for entertainment. No MIM parts. I guess when Ruger came out years and years ago, cast parts were "just wrong" to the forged part Colt and Smith lovers too. Just my thoughts and personal preferences.
    I guess this is similar to my loving wife's and my enthusiastic collecting bug for vintage sewing machines. Lots of cast iron, steel, nickel, beautiful machine work and graphics. No plastic, no computer chips and there are lots of neglected specimens to rescue and display. A 1934 Singer hand crank with beautiful deep black finish speaks to me as does a 1930's made Smith or Colt does. Don
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  2. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    which MIM parts have failed on you, exactly?
     
  3. Geckgo

    Geckgo Member

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    I think the same thing everytime I see a plastic trigger guard, just makes me shudder. Then I remember that I don't intentionally torment my guns and I've NEVER had a problem with one because of materials. One of them things that we just need to accept as time goes on, unless you want to routinely pay more for sturdier things.

    Same goes for:
    computers
    cell phones
    10% ethanol at the pump (this one really bugs me)
    UNleaded gas
    Walmart "furniture" (the MainStays stuff)
    Chemicals in tobacco to make it go out if you don't keep puffing
    Lite Beer
    Combination spices
    premade first-aid kits (wife and I actually argue over this)
    fire ants
    etc.

    All stuff that you just need to get used to cause it's here to stay
     
  4. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    Just buy what you want.
     
  5. Tallbald

    Tallbald Member

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    None have failed on me and I don't expect MIM would. I'm confident they are fine. I just wonder if I'm alone in my aging man hope that some things would never change......Don
     
  6. JohnnyCremains

    JohnnyCremains Member

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    I think these hollowed out triggers look like cheap crap. It's part of the reason I have sworn off buying any more new guns.
    Oh and I've seen MIM AR15 triggers in Busmasters fail many times.
     
  7. MIgunguy

    MIgunguy Member

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    Never had a problem with MIM myself.

    Unless you're an EMT or have accident prone kids, is that really worth arguing over?
     
  8. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    I cannot get myself real excited over MIM, pro or con
    IMO, the one and only definition of quality is fitness for function. Period. If it works it works, if it doesn't it doesn't. MIM, unless badly done, works just fine. Badly done, no matter the new or old technology used, does not fine. Hand fitted doesn't work unless it's done right; people tend to forget that too easily.

    "New & improved" is only rarely either. The more loudly touted, the less likely it is either. In the mass media age, everything is loudly touted. That is a big part of the problem. Marketeers mostly are in hot pursuit of 'different', and anything different will do.

    Dirt cheap too often performs like cheap dirt, that much you can count on, but things do change, it's what life is all about, and improvements do happen slowly over time. You have to notice the little things. It is the accumulation of little things that represent real improvement over time. A lot of firearms, handguns in particular, come with standard features that used to be exclusively aftermarket.

    The good old stuff is good stuff only so long as you are very picky about the stuff you pick. Always was that way.

    Things change. I used to have a deadly jump shot (basketball), but it jumped up and left town so very long ago it's only a dim memory. I don't even miss it anymore.

    I like the good old stuff (and aged bourbon), but I also like -
    graphite composite fishing rods and gun cleaning rods
    stainless steel guns
    cell phones and rechargeable batteries
    automatic defrost
    electric smokers with digital time/temperature control
    computers & usb memory sticks and internet gun forums
    digital watches and digital cameras (and digital hearing aids)
    gun cleaner in aerosol cans
    zip lock bags & nylon tie-wraps
    keyless car door locks & air conditioning in autos
    modern scopes and red dots and fiber optic sights
    laminate rifle stocks
    LED flashlights
    nylon holsters and cordura boots

    and... easy opening cans & bottles...but only when they open easy !
    (and MIM is a lot like that last one)

    but.. I just cannot develop any personal fondness for "blocky glocky" guns, no matter how well they function
    somewhat like "cheap bargains", I guess you can stand only just so much "new & improved" in your life
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  9. Tcruse

    Tcruse Member

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    The new parts may very well be stronger and last longer than the old parts. Maybe not as visually appealing to us. Remember when "they said" that a plastic gun would never be good, well lots of us own Glocks with very high round counts.
     
  10. lobo9er

    lobo9er Member

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    heres a little info that might cheer you up.
     
  11. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Another way to say this is that should your gun ever need repair, it'll be an easier and cheaper fix, as MIM replacement parts are generally drop-in; little-to-no fitting hand fitting required.

    The newer guns may not have the fit and finish of the older ones, but they shoot just as well, maybe better. So, if you fit and finish are most important to you, no you're not wrong. If functionality is most important, yes you're wrong. If the doom and gloom you read on gun forums about MIM parts has convinced you new guns categorically suck, yes, you're wrong, IMHO.
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    For decades, starting in the late 1940's I have watched a sometimes slow, and sometimes fast, decline in fit and finish in top-line handguns. Sometimes a quick end has come when the older models have been discontinued and replaced with new ones that are less labor intensified.

    In fact most of the changes or discontinuance can be attributed to increasing labor and overhead costs which are a fact-of-life in manufacturing economics in all industries.

    While in some cases the newer guns are equal to the older ones so far as function is concerned, they lack a certain intrinsic look and feel that was the hallmark of the uncompromised "best quality" of the past.

    It would seem that most of today’s buyers are satisfied if the things they buy will simply work, but some of us who have longer experience are harder to convince.

    We are not satisfied with simply equal (or even better) mechanics. We are guilty of wanting it all. Anyone who has ever completely disassembled and examined an older Colt or S&W revolver knows exactly what I am trying to explain. In comparison to current or recent production the differences are obvious.

    Admittedly if manufacturers still made them "the old way" I couldn't afford to buy them - which is the reason they don't do it - but for my modest requirements I'll stick with the old, that are sometimes available on the second-hand market at very reasonable prices, especially if you factor in the handcrafted quality they represent. ;)
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2011
  13. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Undeniable Fact Alert

    MIM parts are used to so as to increase profitability...not improve the revolver.



    The MIM apologists can't get by that simple fact.
     
  14. jrb_pro

    jrb_pro Member

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    Is it bad that I thought "MIM" meant "Made in Mexico" for about two years.

    :(:D
     
  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    How does that distinguish them from any other components used by a for-profit gun manufacturer? The question is whether they sacrifice quality for that profitability.
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    handling a new S&W revolver there is no doubt that quality has been sacrificed while increasing price.

    the last 3 new 686's I handled had manufacturing defects.

    (one horrendous crane/frame fit...2 barrels)

    That said...more power to them.

    What company would not use a cheaper method to make crappier guns and raise the price if they could?
     
  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    OK, were any of those issues MIM? I have no particular view on MIM, but it seems that quality problems can certainly come from forged, cast, milled, or MIM parts.
     
  18. lobo9er

    lobo9er Member

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    If I understand it right MIM parts also utilize better metalurgy.
    MIM haters may get hung up on that.
     
  19. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    ATLDave's got you in quicksand, Guillermo. Best stop struggling. :D

    Listen, as modern production has gone to more modern methods (e.g. CNC machining, MIM parts), QA/QC becomes more the issue: It's not whether the manufacturing process inherently sacrifices quality, but rather does the company have a good QC process in place to identify out-of-spec parts & guns before they go out the door?

    Just for balance, here's my exhibit: A bone stock MIM & Lock-infested 4" 617 with a stagey DA trigger. Shot at 25 yards, unsupported, double action, with ammo I bought locally at Dick's:

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Tallinar

    Tallinar Member

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    Not all parts on a gun endure the sort of strain that necessitates the use of casting or forging. For such parts, I am not opposed to the use of MIM or even a bit of plastic (such as a plastic trigger guard). Yes, MIM allows manufacturers to keep costs down and profits up. But on the other hand, in some cases it might allow them to keep costs down for the consumer as well (whether this plays out or not would have to be examined on a per manufacturer basis).

    As long as the function of the gun is not inhibited in any way, I'm really not enough of a gun snob to go on the witch hunt for MIM parts. Frankly, I don't have enough of an expendable income to have that luxury. Given my financial stance, if I want to be a shooter (ie, one who shoots guns, not just owns them), I am perfectly willing to accept a certain level of manufacturing expediency if it's not at the expense of functional quality.
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    All that proves is that you have excellent trigger control with a "stagey DA trigger."
    And the barrel isn't MIM. Although it may be ECM rifled these days.

    My FLG was in the habit of "boosting" the hammer of a 1911 as the last step in a trigger job. Hold the hammer forward against the sear HARD (he uses a popsicle stick for leverage) and dryfire a few times to burnish the parts into each other. Works fine with milled parts but he rolled the hammer hooks right off a Major Big Name Brand gun's MIM hammer.

    I have quite a good trigger pull on a MIMful SA 1911A1. It might not last as long as with milled parts that SA will cheerfully sell you, but it is fine now.
     
  22. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

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    Naw - I have excellent trigger control with all triggers. :D

    Somehow these MIM/Lock threads always seem to devolve into "new S&Ws suck" threads, and there's some evidence of that already. I offered that they still function & shoot fine, and posted a target (using a factory stock gun) to back it up. The shooter matters not - if I had one, I could've used a ransom rest to make the point.

    One can tap complaints about the newer guns out on a keyboard, or they can practice with the gun they have. I know which route improves proficiency, and which doesn't, so to me, MIM/Lock threads always seem predictable & pointless. This thread started out with a legit & open question, though, so it seems fair to the OP to provide some balance.
     
  23. blindhari

    blindhari Member

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    Point Of View
    A Rolls Royce Silver Ghost was available in 1906. Salesmen by 1908 had instructions to tell any who inquired about "previously owned" cars to have a skilled mechanic take apart the transmission, engine and all gears to inspect for wear before purchase. This would be the equivalent of having a high end master gunsmith take apart a Colt Python prior to purchase. The average gun buyer today neither knows or cares about exquisite craftmanship in firearms. Like Chevy and Ford, firearm manufacturers will go out of business trying to make a living with highly finished handcrafted weapons. If you want a car to race you can hot rod it yourself($$), buy someone elses work($$$), go to a custom shop($$$$), buy a Ferrari($$$$$$). If you need to get to work a used VW Beetle will do it for you at 30 mpg. Regular production firearms are just that, regular. Give it another 100 years though and they will be on Antiques Roadshow as examples of fine craftmanship.
    You pay your money and get what you pay for. Me I just want it to work.

    blindhari
     
  24. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    not in any way shape or form.

    everyone admits that Smith's revolvers are not as good and more expensive than their earlier counterparts.

    MIM parts, 2-piece crush fit barrels do not a quality revolver make.
     
  25. gdesloge

    gdesloge Member

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    "everyone admits that Smith's revolvers are not as good and more expensive than their earlier counterparts."

    "MIM parts, 2-piece crush fit barrels do not a quality revolver make."


    Let's quantify this, shall we?

    How exactly are the revolvers inferior?

    Do they shoot less accurately or consistently?

    Do they fail more often?

    May we please have some proof - other than opinion - as to how exactly the newer guns are inferior?

    Charts and graphs are excellent for this purpose.

    gd
     
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