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Zinc Alloy

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by dashootist, Nov 13, 2010.

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  1. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    EAA Windicator 38spl

    Some sermise it is made out of Zinc alloy and pigeon hole this revlr into the class of Sat Night Spl, that is, to be avoided.

    What's wrong with Zinc alloy frame?
     
  2. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    You will find that the actual zinc-alloy (Also known as ZAMAK) frames of the cheaper revolvers out there tend to be the one part of the gun that actually stands the test of time well. Where these guns typically encounter issues is in springs breaking, mechanics going out of time (chamber not fully inline or secure when the gun goes off) and things like the grips cracking or other small parts falling off and getting lost.

    I don't have any experience with the Windicator (beyond holding one in a gun shop not long ago), but I can almost guarantee that if it were to have problems, cracking of the zinc frame wouldn't likely be one of them.
     
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    The main thing wrong with it is it cannot be blued or otherwise finished like a conventional firearm.
    So they are almost always painted.

    And the companies that make cheap guns with zinc frames don't generally use very expensive or long lasting paint either.

    There are exceptions such as the Walther P22 which has a Zimak slide and a very nice & durable finish. But it ain't cheap paint.

    rc
     
  4. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    Zamac alloys are brittle and with low tensile strength - not good for firearms use. Too many of these cheap revolvers (EAA Windicator - Arminius, Rohm, Cora Brno and etc.) do break after just moderate use. In my opinion - they are too cheap to trust them. Even for plinking.

    Boris

    Walther P22 IS a cheap gun.
     
  5. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    I have an RG40 with over 100 rounds of +P .38spl along with several hundred rounds of standard pressure .38spl through it that would seem to go against the theory of "breaking after just moderate use". Though zinc alloy isn't as hard or strong as steel, it hold up just fine as a frame material, at least as well as most aluminum alloy framed revolvers. For something like the slide on a semi auto, zinc alloy would be much more likely to fail.
     
  6. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    I have seen and handled enough broken Zamac-framed revolvers to come to this conclusion. You have ONE RG40 that is running fine... Timing problems, broken hammers, broken triggers, barrels that "jump" the frame threads, barrels that just shear off the threads, cracked frames... Should I continue?

    Boris
     
  7. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    I never said it wasn't.

    I said the finish they use holds up pretty well compared to the cheap paint most zinc gun companies use.

    rc
     
  8. mgkdrgn

    mgkdrgn Member

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    Well, one problem here in South Carolina is that you can't buy one from a dealer, or have one transferred in. (SC state law)

    You -can- legally buy one from an individual, so long as you are both SC residents.
     
  9. Radagast
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    Radagast Contributing Member

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    I do recall a discussion on this where a member recounted being shot in the chest with an RG during a mugging. He survived because the bad guys second shot exploded the gun. It was so out of time that the second shot fired into the frame, shattering it.
    Note the RG has not been imported for decades and is not the Windicator. Cute story: The windicator was originally the Vindicator, but another company already had the trademark on that name, so EAA overstamped the V with a W. :)
    For a while S&W made a .380 auto with a Zamac frame. Apparently it's effective lifespan was several hundred rounds.

    TL,DR: Unless someone who already owns a Windicator answers this thread you are only going to get speculation and prejudice as an answer.
     
  10. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    Zinc alloy is very heavy too.
     
  11. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    And everything else about the guns is usually cheap to go along with it. The receiver is usually the most expensive part to manufacture. The reason they use zinc is because of its low melting point, which makes it easier and cheaper to manipulate than aluminum or steel.

    I also agree that the P22's slide does have a pretty durable finish. Mine is still going strong after several thousand rounds and has been quite reliable. It just ain't a target pistol.
     
  12. ljnowell

    ljnowell Member

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    A friend bought a windicator, it now has over 1000 full power 357 mag loads (125gr jhp and 158gr SWC loaded with 2400). It is definately loose, but still shoots very accurately.
     
  13. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    The 357 Windicator is allegedly made out of steel while the 38 out of zinc alloy. The difference in price at Buds is twelve bucks.
     
  14. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    If it's so out of time, how did the firing pin contact the primer?
     
  15. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Zamak has standards of purity and strength and a pretty good track record.

    "Saturday Night Special" "pot metal" zinc frames were supposedly impure zinc and whatever scrap could be thrown in the pot (like the bulk alloy used for decorative car parts and trinkets or cap guns and toys) and had no standards of purity or strength.

    You can't throw all zinc alloys into the same pot.
     
  16. Taroman

    Taroman Member

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    My only experience with Zinc guns was an RG(?) single action .22 revolver I had in high school MANY years ago. I wore it out shooting probably 5K rounds. It wasn't the zinc parts that gave out but rather the stamped sheet steel internal bits.
     
  17. Mizar

    Mizar Member

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    The .38Spl Windicator is OK for a cheap self-defense revolver, just do not expect it to last considerable amount of rounds. It will not going to explode in your hands, but one can not overcome the fact that this is a cheap gun. To buy such a revolver and to shoot some 100 - 200 standard pressure rounds just to make sure that it is running OK and then keep it as a home defense gun is one thing, but to expect it to digest thousands of rounds, including modern high pressure +P rounds, without failure is ridiculous. Like I said - I don't like it - it's not made to last. There are enough used S&W and Ruger revolvers on the market in this price range.

    Boris
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2010
  18. Radagast
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    Radagast Contributing Member

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    dashootist: Good question and one I can't answer. I'll have to throw in hearsay along with speculation and prejudice as a typical answer and kick myself for being guilty of it.
     
  19. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    I agree, but I already have 4 S&W and 1 Ruger. Time to taste something different, I suppose.
     
  20. DrLaw

    DrLaw Member

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    Zamac

    Zamac is also a metal that is used in some model train locomotives. Over time, it becomes brittle, and I have had some break. One manufacturer of model trains used to advertise that their locomotives were made of Zamac. One bad thing, until the advent of superglue, it was impossible to superdetail a Zamac loco to make it look more than a toy.

    Consequently, I would never trust a gun made out of Zamac for any part.

    The Doc is out now. :cool:
     
  21. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    This is also the reason that some repressive jurisdictions have "melting point laws" that ban guns with low temperature alloys like zinc. South Carolina as mentioned above is one such place. If we keep the poor from buying cheap guns, we can get around to the middle class eventually.
     
  22. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    How would one know if the frame is zinc or aluminum?
     
  23. RevolvingGarbage

    RevolvingGarbage Member

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    Zinc is much heavier and maybe slightly softer. Bare zinc is shiny like aluminum initially, but if left bare it will quickly tarnish to a dull grey color.
     
  24. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Wear on soft revolver frames can show up in a number of places, such as where the cylinder crane swings in and out and at the recoil shield where the cartridge case backs up under pressure. I have seen zinc alloy frames with indents in that area deep enough to prevent the cylinder from turning. In addition, they will stretch under firing stress, eventually becoming inoperable.

    It depends a bit on what is expected. For a defense gun, where the owner never intends to fire more than a few dozen or at most a few hundred rounds, zinc alloy will probably stand up as well as the best steel.

    But the alloy frames will definitely show stretching, peening, and wear after a thousand rounds or so and break or begin to go seriously awry after that. Basically it is once again of getting what you pay for.

    I have to note that much of the above also applies to aluminum alloy frames, though the better aluminum alloy guns will last longer than any zinc alloy guns.

    Jim
     
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