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Are modern guns relatively immortal

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by bushmaster1313, Jun 24, 2010.

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  1. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    I see many formerly fine guns from about 100 years ago for whom the passage of time has not been kind.

    It seems that many of these guns are unsafe or unreliable merely because of normal use and old age.

    With normal use will today's guns be in relatively good shape many years from now? I would think that the use of plastic and modern steel would make many guns relatively immortal.
     
  2. Airman193SOS

    Airman193SOS Member

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    I would suspect the opposite. The plastic will eventually degrade to the point where it becomes too brittle to shoot without breaking.
     
  3. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    A lot of those 100-year-old guns suffered from decades of shooting corrosive ammunition, and were made from relatively soft, easily corroded steels with nonprotective finishes.

    I would expect that many guns, if regularly lubricated and protected from corrosion, and not shot enough to wear them out, could last a thousand years. As Airman193SOS points out, guns that use a lot of polymer parts could be an exception (I don't think we have much data on that either way), but I'd say any modern gun that is taken decent care of is going to outlast its owner and probably its owner's great-grandchildren.
     
  4. Guncollector1982

    Guncollector1982 Member

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    i would say any gun that was neglected would be useless.... A neglected one may look prettier though if it were made out of plastic in 100 years.
     
  5. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    I have seen Savage .22/.410 and 12 gauge shotguns from the 1940s with Tenite plastic stocks showing no more failures than common with wood stocks (my 12ga Model 94 with a fifty year old plastic stock is still strong). I would hope that the poymer plastic technology in my H&K USP or my son's Glock is equal to 1940s plastic technology.

    I retired an inexpensive polymer framed pistol (one of the Grendel P10s produced in the last days of production) not because the plastic failed, but because the tack welds holding the frame rails on the frame block failed.
     
  6. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    Good point about plastic getting brittle

    Anyone know what kind of plastic is used in a Glock?
     
  7. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Glock doesn't say (claim it's a trade secret or somesuch), but other, similar pistols made by its competitors use glass-fiber-reinforced nylon or similar (polyamide 6,6, polyphthalamide, etc.), such as DuPont Zytel. Nylon/Zytel is extremely durable and chemical resistant, and the glass certainly isn't going to degrade either.

    I did find this:

    And then there's this, from a chemical engineer:

    Do keep in mind that there are reinforced-nylon-framed guns out there that are now half a century old and still going strong, and many of those have seen hard use in adverse conditions:

    http://americanrifleman.org/ArticlePage.aspx?id=1795&cid=9
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  8. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    Very true about plastic getting brittle. Or getting soft. The only real hazards I know of in using older guns are damascus barrels, and one should not use smokeless powder or jacketed bullets in black powder cartridge guns.
     
  9. psyopspec

    psyopspec Member

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    Anything that man creates or assembles, nature will attempt to break down. Over the long-term, my money's on nature.

    That said, anything you care for properly should survive a "long time" by our human standards. There's no reason you couldn't shoot your great grand-dad's 1911 if it was well maintained, and there's no reason your great grandkids can't own your Glock/SIG/Beretta as long as you did your part.
     
  10. saturno_v

    saturno_v Member

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    Yes...it is called entropy.....

    I don't know how ong it will take for nature to take over my Mosins though.....LOL :D:evil:
     
  11. Guncollector1982

    Guncollector1982 Member

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    one must relize when discussing firearms made around 1900 to that smokeless powder was relatively new and metals/designs werent really perfected. Even the ammunition itself was undergoing alot of changes at that time. The only old gun ive ever owned that i wouldnt shoot was a rolling block bored out to a 16 guage/20 prob still be safe with black powder shot gun shells. Most of these primitive techonologys i am convinced are still safe to shoot when kept with in the designs operating range most of the people that get hurt by them i think are using the wrong ammo or loading them to hot so i feel some get a bad rap that is mostly do to human stupidity.

    In response to the spring suggestion below.. Ive replaced most the main springs in most my rolling blocks. Most guns ive had apart of the very old ones 1900 and earlier i think the springs (with some exceptions) are prob more durable then those found in the guts of a AR reciever. But thats just a thought i have no facts to back that.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  12. BLACKHAWKNJ

    BLACKHAWKNJ Member

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    I suspect many older guns could use a new set of spring to restore them too shooting status.
     
  13. yeti

    yeti Member

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    Nothing lasts forever.
     
  14. Hawthorne2k

    Hawthorne2k Member

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    I dunno. Slice the top of one off with a sword: If lightning starts sparking all around you, than yeah, I'd say that gun was immortal.

    :D
     
  15. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    The primary thing that hurt older guns was corrosive powder and primers. Guns made after World War II will have a much longer lifespan than ones made previously for this reason.
     
  16. Quiet

    Quiet Member

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    H&K made the first polymer frame handgun in the 1970s.

    The polymer frames on the 40 year old H&K VP70s have not degraded/become brittle.
     
  17. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Some parts wear more than others. With enough shooting, any rifled barrel will eventually wear out. But other parts have no set lifespan. I'm shooting a Mosin-Nagant with a receiver from the 1890's.

    My bet is in the year 3000 when mutant crabs and mole men rule the world, they'll be using Mosins and Rugers.
     
  18. ChCx2744

    ChCx2744 Member

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    As long as my GLOCK outlives me, I really don't care how long it lasts, as it would have served it's purpose well. :)
     
  19. Erik M

    Erik M Member

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    i look for my gp100 and S&W 10 to become heirlooms. i don't know about the other stuff though.
     
  20. Sport45

    Sport45 Member

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    Maybe, maybe not. Kind of depends on who or what get's you, doesn't it. ;)
     
  21. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    My oldest Glock is about 18 years old. It's likely fired 600 rounds or less. It's only been exposed to sunlight when outside shooting, in other words not much. If I'm fortunate, I'll be around for another 40 years + which would make the pistol about 60 years old, I'm sure it should still be okay; but, I would like for my boys to inherit a useful pistol.

    Considering inside storage (limited UV exposure) and limited exposure to solvents how long would the expected useful life of the polymer be?
     
  22. Manco

    Manco Member

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    It depends on what type of plastic and how it's manufactured. The plastics used in firearms are among the most stable available, generally. In previous threads, I've used vintage plastic pens as examples. The Parker "51" passed down to me from my grandfather outlasted him and will likely outlast me. This is the common case for this particular model--some of the metal parts might corrode, but the plastics seem virtually immortal. The Parker 61, on the other hand, commonly suffers from shrinkage and embrittlement over time. Some blame this on the fact that polystyrene was substituted for acrylic, but the polystyrene pens of the same era from Sheaffer rarely suffer from these problems, which implies that even the basic type of plastic used doesn't tell us the whole story. Only time will tell how well polymer pistols will hold up over the long term, and so far polymer pistols have held up very well for decades, so I wouldn't bet against them.

    By the way, some metals can become brittle or even change dimensionally over time, but I'd hardly use this to condemn all metals.

    As for Nylon 6 costing more than steel per pound, while that may be true, Nylon 6 is still cheaper because so little material is used in terms of weight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2010
  23. wishin

    wishin Member

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    My WWII HiPower is on the road to immortality......
     
  24. JellyJar

    JellyJar Member

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    My BHG Ruger Vaquero is all SS except for the easy to replace grips. It will probably still be shooting come the next Ice Age :)
     
  25. Zack

    Zack member

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    I like this :p mosin has been around a very long time... 1891 first year of production??
     
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