Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

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    Charlie Foxtrot
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    Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Charlie Foxtrot on Sun Mar 16, 2014 6:13 pm

    Okay Doc, this should be right in your wheelhouse:

    Just how long will a plastic pistol be serviceable?  

    In another thread I blovated that firearms are likely to be multi-generational. I also had a 30 year old G17 mag split during reloading. All of which got me thinking; how long will my plastic fantastics be fireable? I know that overtime polymers lose their plasticizers and structural integrity. Any idea how long? Google is no real help.

    I might just have to go back to the real steel.

    You know, you could publish a professional paper and become a paid gun writer, all at the same time!
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    Devereaux
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Devereaux on Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:58 am

    From a round count perspective they last >70k (per a friend who has fired that many through his Glock). But i also know that they WLL wear out and when they do, they are junk. You CAN rebuild a steel gun, but not a plastic one.
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    Doc Wesson
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Doc Wesson on Mon Mar 17, 2014 10:56 am

    This was covered in:
    http://www.gunnation.us/2013/03/03-13-2013show-no69-science-redux-it.html

    Carbon black is added to the nylon which gives it similar properties, when compared to uv and atmospheric degradation, to that of steel.
    As far as tensile strength, it is obviously less than steel and has more elongation properties. So, as Dev says, continued slamming on the frame from the slide would be more of a culprit. As to how long, time will eventually tell us from those that have been in the field. They do round tests, but you need to add the time of degradation that influences that too...
    All that being said, the plastic should outlast us.


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    Cornmastah
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Cornmastah on Sun Apr 13, 2014 3:16 am

    That's why you buy a glock to carry now, and a 1911 and/or wheel gun to pass on to your posterity.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Devereaux on Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:05 am

    Cornmastah wrote:That's why you buy a glock to carry now, and a 1911 and/or wheel gun to pass on to your posterity.

    Amen. When I first bought my one Glock, which I no longer own, I tried a Sig against it. I bought it because the the recoil was less with the Glock. I know a guy whose G17 has had >80k rounds through it. He reloads, so I doubt the rounds were full house +P type, but rounds are rounds.

    That said, I also know the P-mags will disintegrate at some point. I believe the heat of the sandbox is an additional factor, but still, you don't hear of aluminum mag disintegrating. I have 10 OLD 30-round AR mags and I just put new springs and followers in - and they work like a charm. And they looked old when I bought them back in '94. I did shoot them as is and found feeding problems, but this time they worked like a charm.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Cornmastah on Mon Apr 14, 2014 11:29 pm

    Did you go with the magpul followers?
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:17 am

    Cornmastah wrote:Did you go with the magpul followers?

    I got the non-tilt followers from Brownell's. I am not sure they are MagPul's. AND I may have some MagPuls also, as I bought a bunch (like enough for 20 or so). I knew I had at least 10 mags to refurbish, and I figured having some extra wouldn't be a bad idea.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Cornmastah on Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:19 am

    Did you have to bend the feed lips at all or did the followers fix all feeding problems?
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Devereaux on Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:54 am

    Cornmastah wrote:Did you have to bend the feed lips at all or did the followers fix all feeding problems?

    Followers fixed all the feeding problems.

    I was having problems with rounds not being chambered - at all. Not jamming but not going in at all. The chamber would be empty. If I then manually cycled the bolt, it would feed in a round. But when I fired the round, a new one would not be fed in. Now the rounds feed properly. Indeed, I can rapid fire and the rounds feed properly.

    The only problem I had was related to the ammo having primers that fell out of the spent cartridges. I am not sure there was a pressure problem though, as the cases came out fine except for one. One guy said he thought the primers looked flattened; I don't really believe that. The gun didn't cycle violently. Indeed when it was shooting it was quite smooth.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by LHUSBY on Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:21 am

    Devereaux wrote:From a round count perspective they last >70k (per a friend who has fired that many through his Glock). But i also know that they WLL wear out and when they do, they are junk. You CAN rebuild a steel gun, but not a plastic one.
    I couldn't agree more with that.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by LHUSBY on Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:25 am

    Cornmastah wrote:That's why you buy a glock to carry now, and a 1911 and/or wheel gun to pass on to your posterity.
    Ha! My Beretta M9 is the best of both worlds.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Devereaux on Thu Jun 05, 2014 8:29 pm

    Thought it was interesting in the Safes thread that CF posted, it mentioned that the combat tupperware guns melt about 480 degrees. FWIW, that's about the smoke point of olive oil.

    Just thought you guys would want to know.
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    Re: Doc: Polymer Pistols - How Long Will The Plastic Last?

    Post by Doc Wesson on Fri Jun 06, 2014 12:22 pm

    480F is a good number for Nylon 6,6.  There is a range that goes from 390F to over 600F depending on the additives and type of crosslinking the polymer is exposed to.  But keep in mind, that is the MELT temp.  Prior to that, there is the Glass Transition Temperature (Tg).  That is considerably lower on run of the mill 6,6.  It is where the main bonds in the polymer are not broken, but some of the crosslinking bonds are.  This reduces the crystalline areas in the polymer and increases the amorphous areas.  In other words, it makes the polymer revert back to the more favored random state of molecular orientation.  6,6 Tg starts around 122F.  BUT, with carbon black, other additives and crosslink promoters AND the fact that they are glass filled, the stability of it is much higher and should not be worried with, with normal use and carry.  Like in a hot car on a sunny summer day.  I still would not leave it on the dash on said summer day... the light and heat together are like a WWE tag team.  Even then, you would not have a gun puddle in the floor of the car.

    oh... and I love olive oil!!!


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