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Problems with stainless 1911's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by russlate, Jun 26, 2004.

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  1. russlate

    russlate Member

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    I'm not referring to the old AMT Hardballers or that ilk.

    I read 1911Tuner's review of the Springfield mil-spec and am wondering if the stainless version would be as reliable as the carbon steel. I believe that the SS slides and frame are forged as are the blued guns ( correct? ).

    I remember the Smith Model 66 357 mags locking up in rapid/sustained fire and am wondering if like problems have been worked out of the SS versions.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2004
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Stainless

    Howdy russ,

    Aside from the fact that stainless is prone to galling...which
    has been pretty well solved lately...and that it's a real bear to machine
    and murder on files... the main problem with stainless is that it has a slightly lower shear strength than in the same product made of good carbon steel.

    On occasion, I run into a stainless pistol that has a gritty feel in the slide to frame fit, which works out pretty well with a good application of the slurry
    and mucho elbow grease...but that's not really the norm any more. The
    notion that QC shouldn't have even let a gun like that leave the factory
    seems to be too much to expect these days.

    Keep in mind that stainless isn't rust proof. It's rust resistant, and any
    rusting that does occur will be less damaging, being limited mostly to the
    surface unless badly neglected over a long period of time.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  3. shep854

    shep854 Member

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    I got my SS Combat Commander in '88. Zero problems.
     
  4. mec

    mec Member

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    my series 70 stainess colt would function perfectly with the clean hornady outside lubricated lead bullets or any jacketed bullet but was not reliable with grooved lubed cast bullets until I had about 3000 rounds through it.

    The Lubricant- fairly clean synthetic stuff would make function sluggish after one or two magazines. I could keep it running by wiping the stuff away and and then squirting breakfree on the rails.
     
  5. stans

    stans Member

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    Hmmm....let's see. S&W 640-1, all stainless, never a problem, even when the gun was so hot that the stocks were the only part that I really wanted to touch. Ruger GP-100, same experience. Colt Delta Elite stainless, one 1911 that has never failed....NEVER!!!!! S&W 4506, bought it used, had some extraction issues, fixed with a thorough cleaning of the extractor and polishing a pretty rough chamber. When stainless was first used in firearms there were some problems with softness and galling. I think these problems were solved almost 20 years ago. By using slightly different alloys and/or heat treatments, the galling problems have been pretty well eliminated. They are still ever so slightly softer than carbon steel, but I don't think there is enough difference to really matter for most people.
     
  6. DelayedReaction

    DelayedReaction Member

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    What kind of stainless and carbon steel are we talking about? Depending on the process used to treat the metal, stainless can be significantly harder than regular carbon steel. Tuner: how much does shear strength play into the quality of the pistol over time? With the exception of the extractor, I would assume most parts would be well under any yield limits.

    It's definitely a bitch to machine though, so keep that in mind if you want any work done on it.
     
  7. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

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    "Stainless Steel= Evil Mojo." Eagle's Law.
     
  8. Brian D.

    Brian D. Member

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    Hi Dave Sample!

    Okay, you baited the hook with that post, and I'm a-bitin' on it. Stainless guns really given you that much grief, sir?
     
  9. DoubleAction

    DoubleAction Member

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    AMT was one of the first to manufacture stainless 1911s, with their Hardballer, and it was with those that I've heard of issues concerning gauling. Stainless has came a very long way since the '70's, and many of the carbon steel guns have been discontinued in favor of their stainless counter parts. I have a couple of Stainless Series 80 Colt Gold Cups that have been nothing but smooth and reliable.
     
  10. russlate

    russlate Member

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    I was referring to stainless' more rapid heating up and stretching, changing the dimensions like on the S&W 66 leading to binding. Galling as noted seems pretty well solved.

    Just wondering if a stainless springer mil-spec would be worth getting.

    Also, is the springer internal lock removable by replacing the mainspring housing as I seem to recall?
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2004
  11. DoubleAction

    DoubleAction Member

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    I've put the Stainless Colts Gold Cups and Wilson's Stainless Protector through 500rds of continuous shooting with zero malfunctions, no change in accuracy or recoil, using 230 gr. FMJ with standard velosities. The Colt has been using a standard factory recoil spring, while the Wilson uses one with an 18 1/2 lb. rating.
     
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    2 Questions

    russ axed a coupl'a things...

    Just wondering if a stainless springer mil-spec would be worth getting.

    If the standard mil-spec is as good as the WW2 mil-spec...yep.
    The recent (standard) mil-specs have been very good...Ironically,
    the gritty one that I saw was the stainless version, but it was one of three that the dealer got at the same time and the other two were smooth.
    Fell thru the cracks, I'd guess.
    _______________________________

    Also, is the springer internal lock removable by replacing the mainspring housing as I seem to recall?

    Yep...and if the snake-eye lock on the ILS housing isn't an issue, all ya gotta do is swap the spring and cap, and get the small pin that retains
    the cap. The plunger in the ILS housing will work in a standard housing.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  13. stealthmode

    stealthmode Member

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    I dont think anybody answered the mans question completly. he was specifically asking about the springfield milspec not colts. I would like to know myself if the stainless springfield milspecs are forged also or cast.
     
  14. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The Question

    Stealthmode said/asked:

    I dont think anybody answered the mans question completly. he was specifically asking about the springfield milspec not colts. I would like to know myself if the stainless springfield milspecs are forged also or cast.

    Dang! You're right...I didn't see the cast/forged part. *Brainfart*

    Yes...Springfield stainless slides and frames are machined from forged barstock. Not sure if any of it is hammer forged and finish machined,
    but my guess is not.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  15. russlate

    russlate Member

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    Went back and highlighted the pertinent question in my first two posts..

    Does stainless, by heating up faster and stretching farther than carbon steel, cause added dimensional differences when fired 'till heated up that cause problems in functioning that aren't a problem in carbon steel guns?

    Look at the carbon steel S&W Model 19, which worked fine when shot to hotter than a two dollar pistol, versus the stainless steel Model 66 which when made to the same specs and shot similarly stretched enough extra when hot to bind up the gun.

    Since folks don't seem to recognise the question, I'm guessing the answer is that it doesn't happen. Even wiith any decent brand.

    Thanks for your patience and generous sharing of your expertise. Sorry wasn't clearer before.
     
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    re:

    Russ asked:

    Went back and highlighted the pertinent question in my first two posts..

    Does stainless, by heating up faster and stretching farther than carbon steel, cause added dimensional differences when fired 'till heated up that cause problems in functioning that aren't a problem in carbon steel guns

    Howdy Russ,

    While steels of different alloying content do vary in the amount of
    dimensional change that they undergo when heated to a given temperature, it wouldn't likely be enough of a difference to tie up a gun unless it was heated to the point that you couldn't hold it...or something was very close to an interference condition anyway...which would probably show up as soon as the area became dirty or dry of lubricant.

    Hope this nails it down a little closer to what you wanted to know...

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  17. russlate

    russlate Member

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    Question answered, and thanks again one more time.
     
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