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Why no fixed-barrel centerfire pistols?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by The_Next_Generation, Jun 18, 2012.

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  1. The_Next_Generation

    The_Next_Generation Member

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    Hey guys,

    I was looking at a Ruger MkIII today, and I had an interesting thought.

    Why aren't there any centerfire pistols that have the same design as the Ruger MK series? With a fixed barrel and a non-reciprocating slide, you'd think it would be a much more accurate firearm.

    Thoughts?
    - TNG
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    A little fly in the ointment called chamber pressure.

    A blow-back firearm capable of handling any of the high-pressure centerfire rounds would have to have a bolt inside the receiver huger & heavier then anyone would be willing to carry around.

    A .22 runs around 20,000 PSI chamber pressure with a light bullet, and relatively light recoil.

    A 9mm or .40 S&W runs 35,000 PSI, uses bullets several times heavier, and kicks much more.

    So the action has to be locked shut until the bullet leaves the barrel and pressure drops enough to allow extraction of the fired case.

    If it opened too soon, the case would blow, followed by the gun.

    rc
     
  3. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    There certainly are plenty of fixed-barrel centerfire handguns -- almost anything that is blow-back operated (like a Hi-Point) usually has a barrel fixed to the frame -- but they're usually chambered for smaller/weaker cartridges.

    As rcmodel said, though, the issue is handling the chamber pressure. The reason tilt-barrel guns tilt (and rotating-barrels rotate) is to effect some form of locking the barrel to the slide until chamber pressure has dropped far enough to be safe to open.

    Blowback guns are really un-locked breech arms, and they rely on the inertia of a big chunky piece of steel (slide) to be hard to get moving. The bigger the charge, the heavier the slide will have to be (look at a HiPoint .45ACP!).

    The simple and elegant design of the Ruger Mk I/II/III doesn't lend itself to fitting a bolt heavy enough to handle any more pressure than the .22 LR is working with.
     
  4. hammerklavier

    hammerklavier Member

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    Also the accuracy gain is slight. There are a few centrfire autos with fixed barrels in 9mm Makarov, .380, and so forth. They tend to either be heavy for thier caliber, or they kick rather hard.
     
  5. mahansm

    mahansm Member

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    Re: Why no fixed-barrel centerfire pistols

    Well, there are actually some. The Sig P230/232 springs to mind, firing the .380 ACP cartridge. There have been some fixed barrel (blowback) pistols in 9mm and .45 ACP but, as the previous poster mentioned, they had very heavy slides and were more than most people would care to carry around.

    Locked breech actions in the more powerful cartridges are lighter and more compact.

    If you want fixed barrel in a powerful cartridge, look to a revolver of some sort.
    You can get production models up to .500 Magnum and I've seen pictures of custom revolvers in one of the bigger Nitro Express calibers (either .600 or .700).
     
  6. Trebor

    Trebor Member

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    There are fixed barrel centerfire pistols.

    Most are direct blowback in smaller calibers like .380 ACP or 9x18mm. These include the Czech CZ-82, the Makarov, and a whole bunch of U.S. and imported .380's. The thinking is that the .380 or 9x18mm cartridges are about as powerful as can be safely used with a direct blowback setup.

    There are larger fixed barrel pistols as well. The Hi Point is a 9mm and it uses direct blowback. It has a large and very heavy slide to absorb the forces. It's a kludge at best.

    The HK P7 is a gas operated pistol with a fixed barrel. The old Steyr GB also had a fixed barrel and, IIRC, a gas system.

    Overall though, the tilting barrel system is just simplier and more efficicent overall.
     
  7. 4thPointOfContact

    4thPointOfContact Member

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    At one time, at least a decade ago, there was a 'gas gun' conversion for the 1911 that replaced the swinging link barrel with a fixed barrel and had a piston mounted along with the recoil spring. I don't think it made enough difference in operation to justify the additional cost.

    A moving barrel is just the easiest, most cost effective way to lock and unlock the barrel upon firing. Anything else will take separate, discrete parts that add to the complexity of the device.

    eta:
    http://www.m1911.org/hogueavenger.htm
    http://www.getgrip.com/main/whatsnew/avenger.html
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2012
  8. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

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    The P-08 Luger is a fixed barrel centerfire gun that looks very much like the Mk3. There are many other "slideless" autos out there from that area including the Nambu and the Lahti.

    In general though, while those designs worked, the standard slide and barrel with the delayed unlock system just has worked better. Over time technology tends to gravitate towards works best.
     
  9. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    Desert Eagles are fixed barrel design, as are 9mm AR15 pistols:)
     
  10. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Desert Eagles are gas-operated locked-breech with a rotary bolt like an AR-15.
    Lugers are toggle-locked.
    The HK P7 and Styer GB are gas delayed blowbacks.

    A 9mm AR is a blow-back, but you would not want a handgun hanging on your belt that weighs 5-6 pounds.

    None of them are anything at all like a huff & puff Ruger .22 pistol.

    All the others mentioned like the MAK, SIG P232, etc, are low pressure .32 ACP/ .380 ACP/ 9mm MAK calibers a blow-back action can safely handle.

    rc
     
  11. JDGray

    JDGray Member

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    I take back my DE suggestion, as the OP said fixed barrel and no reciprocating slide. So all that would be like the Ruger would be the AR pistol, with a bolt(no slide)

    He never mentioned weight or need to carry in the OP...
     
  12. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    Generally, as has been observed, the need to lock the breech necessitates a barrel that moves with the slide or bolt or toggle action until chamber pressure has dropped to a safe level and the slide or bolt or toggle can unlock.

    The only truly fixed barrels you find in handguns firing something more powerful than pocket pistol rounds are unwieldly blowback guns that use super heavy springs (like the old Astra 400) or massive, bulky slides (like the Hi Point); gas operation (like the Wildey or Desert Eagle); gas delayed blowback (like the HK P7 or Steyr GB;, or some type of mechanical disadvantage that must be overcome to open the slide, such as the roller delay actions of the Vorgrimmler (HK P9S) or Budischowsky (Korriphila HSP 701).

    The advantages of these various systems are generally not enough to offset the greater simplicity and lower cost of some type of locking mechanism that requires the barrel to move.
     
  13. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    HK P7 - delayed blowback using gas piston.

    Steyr GB - another gas delayed system.

    Luger - toggle locked

    Other than that, look at the Tec-9, you've got a big metal cylinder in there about the size of mini Coke can.
     
  14. SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE

    SEE IT LIKE A NATIVE Member

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    How about a Keltec PLR-16 or a Krinkoff ? Kevin
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Kel-Tec is a gas-operated rotary bolt same as an AR-15.

    Krink is a gas-operated single-lug bolt just like an AK-47.

    rc
     
  16. tuj

    tuj Member

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  17. tbone1964

    tbone1964 Member

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    deleted
     
  18. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Again, Desert Eagles are not blow-back.

    They are all gas-operated, with a rotary bolt that locks into the barrel extension, just about like an M16 rifle.

    rc
     
  19. Ash

    Ash Member

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    The Luger is not really fixed barrel, as the barrel recoils rearward until the toggle lock breaks and moves up. In fact, the rearward movement of the barrel is as much as a CZ, Colt, or Glock. The difference, of course, is that the barrel neither rotates nor tips. But move it does (just as the Lahti moves).
     
  20. The_Next_Generation

    The_Next_Generation Member

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    Thanks for the info guys, that Dragon gun is pretty slick. It makes sense that you would need a ton more steel for the larger cartridges than the design of the .22 chambered MK series utilizes. Obviously, using a reciprocating slide and a moving barrel is the easiest way to keep pistols small because that is what we use today ;)

    - TNG
     
  21. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    Who said they were blowback? Reading back over the comments, I don't see anyone here making that claim.
     
  22. murf

    murf Member

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    a fixed barrel with a reciprocating slide is a "blowback" action (the ruger mkIII the op cites).

    murf
     
  23. Steve C

    Steve C Member

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    There are several fixed barrel blow back centerfire pistols. The Walther PP and PPK series pistols are an example in the .380 acp which is chambered in pistols that are commonly fixed barrel blow back type. The 9mm Mak is considered at the top of the pressure level that works in blow back pistols. Many of the Makarov pistols are essentially copies of the Walther PP system with fixed barrel.

    The Spanish Astra 400 chambered in 9mm Largo like shown below is one of the few relatively successful pistols that was chambered for higher pressure cartridges. A large pistol it has a very heavy recoil spring to keep the chamber closed against the pressure of the more powerful 9mm Largo.

    [​IMG]
     
  24. Gunnerboy

    Gunnerboy Member

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    There is a fixed barrel mannlicher pistol if i remember correctly... and its a blow forward action also if im remembering right.
     
  25. Taurus 617 CCW

    Taurus 617 CCW Member

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    The closest handgun I can think of to the OP's idea is the P01 Luger. It has a fixed barrel with a toggle action. There is no reciprocating slide, rather the toggle moves rearward within the frame, similar to the bolt reciprocating on the Mark III except the Mark III bolt doesn't have a pin to pivot on during operation.
     
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