posted 07-10-2001 00:38
Some technical info on why we prefer forged frames for 1911 pistols:
The 1911 frame is a load bearing component. Note the tendency of the rails to wear due to loads under fire. Impact from the slide during cycling is also considered loading. Very forceful loading.
The tendency of pin holes to elongate or otherwise change shape is caused by loading.
Basically, any part that is subjected to sliding forces, impact, rotation, pressure or other forces must be considered a load bearing part from an engineering aspect.
Certainly, some see less load than others, but nearly all of the components in a 1911 are, in one way or another, subjected to greater or lesser loads during cycling of the weapon.
A properly manufactured forged steel frame or slide will be far stronger and outlast a barstock piece, and they are especially better than a cast piece. Cosmetically, they take a polish much better than castings and in some cases better than barstock.
An examination of the best pistons, connecting rods and crankshafts used in F1 race cars, GP motorcyles, the high end German cars like BMW, Mercedes and Porsche and you will see that they utilize forged crankshafts. One reason: STRENGTH!
A properly forged component will be stronger and have better grain structure than one made from bar stock. Roll forged bar stock is generally superior to castings, especially when the roll forging direction of the grain is selected so that it complements the structural necessities of the part.
Basically, castings do not have much in the way of desirable grain structure. Their grain direction is by and large amorphous.
Forging modifies the grain structure of the steel to conform and flow through areas like the trigger guard and frontstrap. This allows greater directional strength and structural integrity.
A cast slide is a nightmare waiting to happen. Castings, especially those with sufficient carbon content to be hardenable, tend to precipitate the carbides in fernlike dendrites, rather than allowing even distribution of the carbides throughout the structure.
This causes built in weaknesses. Imagine the dendrites as the perforations in paper, in the nature of fracture lines waiting to occur after stresses have been exerted on those areas. Obviously, this is less than desirable in a combat weapon.
There are also problems with cast slide rails holding tolerance, the breechfaces peening, and the locking lugs stripping out.
Our mission at MD Labs is to build HARD USE guns. Our priorities are reliability and durability, we do not cut corners on the guns we build.
In the grand scheme of things, the cost of a forged frame and slide is not significantly higher than barstock or castings.
Cast frames and slides should to be avoided.
Properly treated, barstock is excellent.
Forged frames and slides are the best for durable hard use guns.
[This message has been edited by Steve (edited 07-10-2001).]