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Old October 27, 2012, 12:51 PM   #1
rrruger
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Top break revolvers in Titanium?

Looking for feedback.

The issue that I keep hearing about top break revolvers in anything larger than .32 is that they have a heard time withstanding the pressures over the long haul. I also keep hearing that titanium is far tougher than steel.
I would like your views on using titanium in the critical stress areas of a top break frame to strengthen a revolver enough to handle higher pressure loads.
I am thinking that in today's world of CAD/CAM manufacturing a "modern" top break wouldn't be that difficult.
What am I missing... aside from cost?
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Old October 27, 2012, 01:23 PM   #2
DPris
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The hinge & latch.
Denis
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Old October 27, 2012, 02:46 PM   #3
rrruger
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Hence the titanium
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Old October 27, 2012, 02:48 PM   #4
Bob Wright
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So far as I know, only market acceptance.

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Old October 27, 2012, 02:51 PM   #5
DPris
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Titanium/strength can't overcome weak design points.
Besides, crafting such a gun out of titanium would be expensive & result in a sale price that would take it off the market right there.
Critical stress areas involved would be both upper & lower frame sections, as well as the latch.
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Old October 27, 2012, 03:16 PM   #6
rrruger
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I'm not an engineer and I'm not disputing you, but as Lucy Van Pelt said, "There has got to be a loophole!"
I have wanted a .357 mag top break revolver since I put my H&R 999 out to pasture.
Thanks for the feed back!
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Old October 27, 2012, 03:26 PM   #7
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It's a shame Webley can't be persuaded to make their exceptionally strong top breaks again. They were probably the sturdiest top break ever made.
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Old October 27, 2012, 03:29 PM   #8
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Still a relatively weak design. It's not recommended to shoot standard .45 ACP loads in them nowdays (yes, I know people do).
One I had years ago had a very loose latch engagement from wear, and the hinge wasn't very tight, either.
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Old October 27, 2012, 04:07 PM   #9
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You have to wonder why a company would make such a gun even if it would be durable. A modern, stronger spin on an obsolete technology? I have many top breaks, and the swing out guns to me are not any slower or anything than a top break.

You may reply and say "well people like top breaks, and shooting them" well of course they do. There are many affordable shooter grade examples. Uberti makes a modern S&W Schofield replica. To make one that would take high pressure ctgs would be a major financial blunder. Of course some people would buy them, but the reality is few would be made, and then people like me in the future would collect them because its a bad idea, and that always makes something pretty rare in the future.
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Old October 27, 2012, 05:57 PM   #10
barnbwt
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Quote:
The issue that I keep hearing about top break revolvers in anything larger than .32 is that they have a heard time withstanding the pressures over the long haul. I also keep hearing that titanium is far tougher than steel.
The main issue is no one's tried (seriously) to come up with an improvement on 100+ year old latch/hinge designs. Pretty sure we wouldn't have magnum revolvers either if development had stagnated similarly with swing-out DA revolvers. Supposedly, the design concept was mortally wounded when Colt won many military contracts out from under Smith (since the S&W's weren't in 45LC), and was then killed (by Colt again) when semi-auto's replaced revolvers altogether.

Quote:
So far as I know, only market acceptance.
This is truly the only legitimate reason. Everyone seems to forget how delicate the cranes are on those "strong" swing out revolvers when they bring up latch/hinge strength... The Mateba Unica 6 (swing-out) didn't even need a top-strap to contain .454 Casull pressures. Materials science isn't magic; if you make the contact surfaces and structural members big enough, they will not fail at design loads.

I guess stupid import laws also killed the (only?) shot the design had at re-emerging when Baikal attempted to export the MP412 to our shores (very well done, Bubba)

FWIW, I'm developing my own latch/hinge/action in a top break platform. According to the stress calculations I've done, numerous latch schemes could handle .357-level loads (my design limit-load is at 100K psi). If I ever piece together the scratch and time to make a demonstration prototype, I may convince somebody to machine a real one to test

A man can dream, though...

TCB

Quote:
I have many top breaks, and the swing out guns to me are not any slower or anything than a top break.
With lots of training, they're both as fast with speedloaders. Way easier to learn the motions on a top-break, though (and less likely to damage the axle than a crane with overzealous movements). The biggest advantage (which I'd think defense-pistoleers should be screaming for top-breaks for) is they can be easily loaded with one hand.
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Old October 27, 2012, 06:58 PM   #11
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While titanium is very light and strong compared to steel it cannot be hardened to the level of tool steel used in firearms. I think the hinge would wear fast enough to seriously loosen up the locking mechanism.
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Old October 28, 2012, 12:13 AM   #12
Bill DeShivs
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I believe it could be done with modern steels. Titanium is stronger than steel by weight. A pound of titanium would be stronger than a pound of steel, but much bigger.
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Old October 28, 2012, 01:02 AM   #13
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yeah i like to see a top-break in 357 too
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Old October 28, 2012, 02:32 PM   #14
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its how the forces are distributed onto the latch. webley had the best. sw created the perfected model andwell that was a beautiful two part latch system.

the style itself is most suited for slow bullets, not the super fast lightweight stuff.
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:17 PM   #15
barnbwt
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Quote:
the style itself is most suited for slow bullets, not the super fast lightweight stuff.
I'm not sure I follow your logic; are you saying fast loads are too percussive, and peen the latch/hinge interfaces? I've heard that argument before, and I wondered if simply tensioning the parts with springs or wedges would prevent this. Break-open shotguns and rifles are plenty strong, but it's because they don't really have a hinge like the pistols, just two interlocking machined pieces that "hook" together and bind up when the action is closed. The latch is also held under tension, so the "there has to be a gap, and therefore, peening" issue is solved.

Quote:
yeah i like to see a top-break in 357 too
Not enough to pay for one though, I'm sure . Even my untrained eyes can tell my little topbreak design would cost over a grand to mass produce (and I don't even know if it would work well ). Granted, it has some other unique features that could make up for the price, but still; totally unmarketable. See my above comment about designing them like double rifles to get an idea of the costs involved. I think a new modern topbreak would have to be made of titanium or scandium alloy simply because it would be very heavy compared to the perfected DA swing-out which has had 100years to trim its fat.

TCB
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Old October 28, 2012, 08:25 PM   #16
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For those who want a top break in . 357 , easy enough. Get your hands on a Navy Arms Schofield chambered in 38 Special. It is not hard to load a 38 SPL. to .357 pressure. Or get one in 45 and load it to 44 Mag pressure. ( Elmer Keith did it ), The Navy Arms guns are made with modern high quality steel. I think it would be very interesting to read the range report. Funny thing about titanium, it is stronger per weight than steel, but it is much more flexible and elastic. That's why they use a steel liners in the Titanium guns. with out liners in the chambers the the brass would stretch so much it couldn't rebound and in effect the brass would weld it self to the cylinders. Same with the barrel, the barrel would flex so much there would be no accuracy. I can imagine how using such metal would work on a latching devise, but hey' I'm not an engineer so who knows Note!!!!! now you know I'm being sarcastic about the 38 Special and 45 Colt, right? I would not recommend anyone to attempt such a thing. Never, ever.
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Old October 28, 2012, 10:35 PM   #17
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And if Ford would only re-introduce the Model "A" in titanium!

For nostalgia, fine, and you can find them in nostalgic old calibers as they were originally produced. but for modern high pressure rounds, why?
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Old October 29, 2012, 06:57 AM   #18
Newton24b
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its hard to explain. so lets look at this paradigm for help.

small bullet, high velocity creates more impact to the gun, to a certain point. notice that SOME poorly made revolvers beat themselves to death if you use high powered ammunition like that, but can last for ever if you use low speed ammunition?
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Old October 29, 2012, 07:54 AM   #19
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Aside from a few people that want them as an oddity, there is not much market for them. The weakness of the design is another issue to overcome.
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Old October 29, 2012, 07:55 AM   #20
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The Baikal MP412 looked like a interesting idea. I would love to see a break-top 357, but price to manufacture would probably kill it.
OTOH, if the Russians could do it in the MP412, maybe it can be done. You need to look at a MP412, or better yet get a copy of the blueprints.
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Old October 29, 2012, 08:24 AM   #21
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NAA seemed to have no technical troubles in making a tiny breaktop for the 24,000 PSI .22WRFM with today's materials. I wonder how difficult it would be reaching 35,000 PSI in a big revolver with big locking surfaces.

As the NAA example plainly shows, financial matters are another thing altogether.
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Old October 29, 2012, 12:15 PM   #22
rrruger
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Quote:
Funny thing about titanium, it is stronger per weight than steel, but it is much more flexible and elastic.
Again, I'm not an engineer, but engineers have made turbine blades out of titanium for over 50 years. These engines fly across country thousands of times a year under tremendous temperatures and pressures. Tolerances are critical in this application, and the parts seem to hold up? I understand that these engines get routine maintenance, but I would venture a guess that one trip across country would produce more wear than the most dedicated shooter could produce in a lifetime.
My interest would be in a "modern" design in a top break frame, not a rehash of a 100 year old design.
I don't know if it is practical or not, but it would be a lot of fun!
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Old October 29, 2012, 12:24 PM   #23
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No Market for modern Top-Break ?

A revolver that fires 45 colt and also fires 410 shotgun shells.
Who'd buy it ?
Well, a bunch of people (not me - but enough people).

A 22 magnum pistol with a 30-round magazine - who'd buy it.
Me (as soon as they offer it in a 6.5 inch barrel).

Semi-auto version of a Thompson sub-machine gun.
Who'd buy it ?
Well, a bunch of people (not me - but maybe enough people).


A modern top-break in 38 special, 44 special, 9MM, or ?
Me (if it was designed as a super-compact, light weight, pocket pistol - hence my inclusion of 9mm).

Advertising means niche products can be advertised all over the USA (I'd guess 60 to 90 million potential customers).

.
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Old October 29, 2012, 05:08 PM   #24
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It has been so long that I don't remember if the turbine engines I worked on had titanium blades or not, it sure doesn't ring any memory bells, Regardless the vanes in a turbine engine are subject to a number of different type of stress factors, violent, sudden impact stress was not one of them. The information I posted about the clyinder liners in Ti cylinders is from Smith and Wessons by the way.
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Old October 29, 2012, 10:15 PM   #25
barnbwt
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Fun Fact:
GE (and others) use small amounts of Rhenium in their high-strength "hot parts" engine alloys.

Quote:
It takes, on average, approximately 120 metric tons (264,554 pounds) — or the equivalent weight of 44 Cadillac Escalade SUVs — of copper ore to produce 1 ounce of rhenium
I think it's running about 5000$ per Troy ounce...

So be thankful S&W cheaped out on their Scandium Pot Metal gun frames

Quote:
A modern top-break in 38 special, 44 special, 9MM, or ?
Me (if it was designed as a super-compact, light weight, pocket pistol - hence my inclusion of 9mm).
What if it was semi-auto as well (hint, hint...)

TCB
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