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Old March 7, 2013, 06:10 PM   #26
ScottRiqui
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True - there's no doubt that the selling price for a forged part (for example) is higher than MIM. But the MIM part itself may not be inherently less-expensive to make, until you count the finishing work necessary to bring the forged part into spec. That's what Buck was talking about.
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Old March 7, 2013, 09:34 PM   #27
thedudeabides
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Forged and milled vs MIM is one way of justifying higher prices for 1911s.

It's assuming that they are of higher quality and less likely to fail.

Not sure that a gun made of MIM parts is a time bomb, tho.
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Old March 7, 2013, 10:19 PM   #28
James K
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A good firearms engineer/designer uses the techinque and material that will give the best results at the least cost. No one in his right mind would make a barrel out of polymer, yet it has been proven to perform well as a material for pistol frames, at least for those frames designed for its use.

Likewise, plastic, aluminum alloy, and other materials can be used where some quality, like light weight, makes them superior to steel.

Same with manufacturing techniques. Casting, stamping, machining from solid, MIM, forging, each has its place in modern firearms design. Sure, some materials or techniques have been introduced prematurely or used in unsuitable applications, and that is not good. But insisting that only one material or one method of manufacturing is acceptable often is more the result of blind prejudice and ignorance than of any realistic appraisal and understanding of what is involved.

I once had a man tell me that, "I won't own a gun that is not made from forged steel". He then informed me that one of his favorite guns was a Ruger Mk I .22 automatic. I never told him that his "forged steel" pistol was made from round bar stock, thick-wall tubing, and a stamped out "clamshell" frame.

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Old March 7, 2013, 11:39 PM   #29
K_Mac
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The argument that betting your life on a MIM part in a well engineered and properly manufactured firearm is somehow reckless or uninformed is a losing one in my opinion. We all drive automobiles that use MIM components in applications that are absolutely critical to their safe operation. It is a manufacturing process that saves time and money without compromising safety or performance in countless applications.

Now if I buy a part that I believe is made from bar stock based on the manufacturers description and find that it is not, I would want an explanation. It may be the description is deliberately misleading in this situation. That is more of a concern than it being MIM in my view.
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Old March 7, 2013, 11:48 PM   #30
ShelbyV8
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If you drive a GM vehicle it most likely has MIM connecting rods, even Corvettes have MIM connecting rods.
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Old March 8, 2013, 06:02 AM   #31
mes228
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MIM

I've not had a MIM part fail in all the years I've owned and fired handguns. I have had several top end pistols and many "lower" tier pistols. If a pistol is made right it "wants to run". And will run with either type of part. I surely can no longer afford enough ammo to wear either part type out.
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Old March 8, 2013, 10:58 AM   #32
buck460XVR
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Hmmm, really? So the forged and barstock hammers, which cost $40-$50 each are not more expensive to make than the $15 MIM hammers?

In some cases....no. Mass produced items are generally less expensive to buy than those produced one at a time even when quality is the same. It boils down to profit margin. Two guys make the same part in their garage. They both work 8 hours a day. One uses the MIM process and can produce 10000 a year. Cost of materials to make them is $2 a piece. The other guy uses bar stock and a milling machine and produces 1000 a year. Cost of materials is $1 a piece. First guy has $20000 invested in materials while his buddy only has $1000. Both want to make $40000 a year profit. First guy needs to charge $6 a piece for his part. Second guy needs to charge $41 for the same part, even tho the second guy's product only cost half as much to produce. Now the second guy will only stay in business if and when there are folks in the buying public that think that even tho the quality is the same, the more expensive ones are better. Bottled water is another prime example. Take tap water, put it in a cute bottle, give it a fancy name with an endangered animal on the label and folks will trip over themselves to pay $2 for it. Still the same water they could get from the tap.
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Old March 8, 2013, 11:32 AM   #33
RickB
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Still the same water they could get from the tap.
But the barstock and MIM parts are clearly not the same. While there is an element of marketing involved, the water in the bottle and the water out of the tap are just packaged differently.
If a company was selling a MIM slide stop in a silk purse and charged $10 more for it than the same part in a bubble pack, that would be a valid analogy.
One manufacturer putting both MIM and machined barstock parts in the same packaging, but charging more for the latter, is a different story.
I'm sure Coca Cola has a bottled water; does it cost as much as a bottle of Coke? Both are beverages, but one requires more processes to create a final, packaged product. If I saw both on the shelf, and they were priced the same, I'd conclude that the Coke is worth more than "just water", but if the water were less than half the price, I might decide the water was good enough, and I think that's the way most people look at the relationship of MIM to machined.
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Old March 8, 2013, 02:57 PM   #34
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This bothers me. I don't care if MIM is good, bad, or made from fairy dust and elf snot. If someone pays for forged or billet from a reputable (supposedly) manufacturer and gets something completely different, that's bad.

I'm building an AR15. I am trying to use only aluminum parts made from 7075 aluminum, so I pay MORE for this because of the way it is represented. However, I have no way of testing the grade of aluminum used. If Wilson is playing this game (maybe not, could be a mistake....maybe) substituting cheap parts for more expensive parts, then how wide spread is this? How do we know we are getting what we are paying for?
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:42 PM   #35
buck460XVR
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One manufacturer putting both MIM and machined barstock parts in the same packaging, but charging more for the latter, is a different story.

On this we agree. Regardless of cost, knowingly misrepresenting something for greater profit is fraud. Not only is it unethical, but it is also illegal. If BoogieMan ordered and paid for a billet part....that is what he should get.
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Old March 8, 2013, 04:51 PM   #36
Gaerek
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Here's my observations:

Someone posts on TFL:

This MIM widget broke on my ZY 2000 9mm! If they'd have used a forged widget, I'd have a working gun.

Someone else posts on TFL:

This Forged widget broke on my SH 17 .40! Must have just been a bad part. Sending it back to the factory.

Basically, if a MIM part breaks, clearly that's because it's a MIM part.

But when a forged (or whatever other process) part breaks, they just got a bad one.

People, parts break. I've seen parts break that were made with all sorts of different processes. MIM parts, used in the proper way aren't any more likely to break as any other process.

Anyone who says they won't trust their life to a MIM part better stop driving cars, and flying in airplanes. The process is used in so many industries.

Having said that, OP bought something, and got a something different. That's just wrong, regardless of how the part was made.
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Old March 8, 2013, 07:08 PM   #37
James K
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Short of having a metallurgical laboratory in your back pocket, I don't know of any way to be sure what method or metal is used to make a part except to ask the maker, preferably in writing, by snail mail because that is the best way to get an authoritative answer. E-mail gets ignored and the telephone answerer might tell you what he thinks you want to hear, but a letter gets attention.

FWIW, a line in the part does not necessarily mean MIM or cast; forging and some machining can leave a line also.

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