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Old December 18, 2012, 12:09 AM   #1
405FileFound
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Why doesnt S&W make Aluminum K/L Frames!

The Airweight J-frames are made in aluminum weigh in at 15 oz, and cost $470. The AirLite Scandium J's weighs 11-13 oz and cost $1000. The stainless models 10 and 686 and 67 weigh 35-40 oz and cost between $650-$850 new.

Is there any reason a 4" K or L frame cant be made in aluminum, be 38+P rated, weigh a managable 26 oz or so (im guessing thats what the weight would be), and cost ... $550 new? I mean they wouldt be made of the exclusive expensive scandium like the discountinued XS Night Guard, and wouldnt be as heavy as stainless steel, so the price would be all about midpoints of the metal and weight. Stainless steel is heavy and expensive, and Scanidum is light and expensive. For example the SW 325 Sc Thunder Ranch 4" weighs 30z, so aluminum is just a hair heavier. Youd have a much lighter gun in full-size mode for a price in between the aluminum J frames and the steel L frames. Am I onto something here? I bet an alumnium frame 686 weighing 32 oz, light enough for CCW, would be a total hit with the buying public. Ideas and comments?

Last edited by 405FileFound; December 18, 2012 at 12:24 AM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:12 AM   #2
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Because ti is lighter and stronger?

Heck. I don't know.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:14 AM   #3
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Some people just like the feel of steel in their hands as opposed to aluminum.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:20 AM   #4
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Yeah I don't know. The K/Ls would be alot bulkier than the competition. Not sure there is much of a market. Aluminum makes more sense in a pocket gun. Not so much in something that has to be carried in a belt holster anyway.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:29 AM   #5
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might not be a bad idea

Well, good points, but if J frame aluminums are fully +P rated, then a theoretical Model 67 aluminum K frame would be too (?). We've all heard the "well a Glock 23 weighs 21 oz empty and 31 oz loaded, less than an empty 37 oz steel 686". All of a sudden the K frame would be ligt enough for practical CCW. I could totally see them selling off the shelves 3 at a time!
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:55 AM   #6
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They currently make a Model 386 XL Hunter with a scandium alloy frame, stainless steel cylinder and 6" barrel.
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Old December 18, 2012, 01:10 AM   #7
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I own a 396 Mountain Light .44 spec with an aluminum frame...nifty shooter


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Old December 18, 2012, 03:57 AM   #8
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The "scandium " frames are actually aluminum with about 1 % scandium !!
You wouldn't want to pay for a gun with a real scandium frame as it's a 'rare earth metal' [very expensive ]
The sacndium strengthens the aluminum significantly.
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Old December 18, 2012, 04:41 AM   #9
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Do you mean the model 12? With a steel cylinder and 2" barrel they weighed in at 18 oz.
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Old December 18, 2012, 06:39 AM   #10
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If they started making guns out of (recycled) aluminum then they would stand the chance of having the Budwiser or CoCa-Cola emblem imprinted on the inside of the barrel.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:09 AM   #11
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The Smith & Wesson (S&W) Model 12 is .38 Special revolver on Smith & Wesson's K-frame (medium size) platform. It is an aluminium alloy-frame version of the Model 10 (also known as the M&P). It was made from 1953 to 1986 in both two- and four-inch (102 mm) barrel configurations. It weighs 19 oz (524 g) unloaded. Early models used an aluminum cylinder as well as frame.

I carry my 2" in a OWB holster.
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Old December 18, 2012, 07:29 AM   #12
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Quote:
Because ti is lighter and stronger?
Stronger, yes, lighter, no, unless you take advantage of its strength to use less of it to make a part.

Quote:
The "scandium " frames are actually aluminum with about 1 % scandium !!
You wouldn't want to pay for a gun with a real scandium frame as it's a 'rare earth metal' [very expensive ]
The sacndium strengthens the aluminum significantly.
"Rare earth" elements are not necessarily rare. Gold and platinum are not considered rare earths.
Also, a pure scandium might not be as desirable as the aluminum scandium alloy, in alloys, sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Last edited by B.L.E.; December 18, 2012 at 07:39 AM.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:25 AM   #13
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You mean like this one?



Model 12-2. My everyday carry gun. Aluminum "K" frame, steel six shot cylinder and barrel (note the different colors).

P+ rated? I don't know. I shoot P+ through it from time to time. Never saw any reason to shoot them a lot.
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Old December 18, 2012, 08:38 AM   #14
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this is my K frame 44 Special ( I know... it's been discontinued )

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Old December 18, 2012, 08:52 AM   #15
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As has been mentioned, aluminum K and L Frames like the Model 12 and 296 have been made before. The fact that they're discontinued means that S&W probably wasn't selling enough of them to keep them in the product line. Also, notice that the aluminum frame guns are all chambered for relatively low pressure cartridges like .38 Special and .44 Special. In order to make an aluminum frame strong enough to handle a high-pressure cartridge like .357 or .44 Magnum, you have to alloy it with another metal like scandium or titanium. K, L, and even N Frame sized guns have been made with scandium and titanium alloys for some time.
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:01 AM   #16
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I like my S&W 242. 38 Spec., aluminum & Ti, 7 shot, DAO, L frame.



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Old December 18, 2012, 10:06 AM   #17
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Quote:
I bet an alumnium frame 686 weighing 32 oz, light enough for CCW, would be a total hit with the buying public.
You lose that bet.
As you see above, there have been several aluminum K and L frame guns.
None sold well enough to stay in the lineup.
The Airweight Military & Police Model 12 lasted the longest but sank with very little trace.
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Old December 18, 2012, 10:17 AM   #18
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It's the recoil ! most shooting a light 357 prefer using 38+P .
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:12 AM   #19
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I have a 315 Night Guard, which is a 2.5" Airweight K Frame +P 38 Special 6-Shooter.

They also made the 386 Night Guard which was a 2.5" Airweight version of the L Frame 686 Plus 7 Shooter.

Not sure why the Night Guards did not sell better. My guess would be that the store price was probably about $100 to about $150 more than most buyers were willing to pay for one. I could have lived with just the front XS 24/7 sight and skipped the $100 Cylinder & Slide Extreme Duty Rear sight. I really do like the Extreme Duty Rear Sight, however the revolver being $100 cheaper might have saved them from being dropped.

Another Issue. I have a 3" 66-2 along with the 315NG. I carry both in the same Lobo Enhanced Pancake holster. I keep the 66 loaded with Speer 135 grain Short Barrel 357 Magnum. The 315NG is loaded with Speer 135 grain Short Barrel 38 Special +P. I carry the same 2 Safariland Comp II Speedloaders with both revolvers loaded with Speer 135 grain SB 38+P. The 315NG is noticeably lighter if you swap guns after putting the holster on. After a short time I do not really notice I am carrying either one. Due to the added weight I can shoot the 357 Magnums out of the 66 as well as I can shoot the +P 38 Specials from the 315 Night Guard.
I have not shot a 386NG with 357 Magnum ammo. With Speer Short Barrel it is probably manageable. With full power 357 it is going to be unplesant to fire.

I really think most folks who conceal carry either a K Frame or L Frame are also willing and able to carry the SS Version.

Just My 2 Cents.

Bob
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:30 AM   #20
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I HAD a 329PD and it was the worst recoiling gun I have ever owned. It was much worse than my 454 Casull Super Redhawk. Hold your hand up and let someone take a running swing at it with a 2x4. I don't have a glass hand by any means.
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Old December 18, 2012, 11:37 AM   #21
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My guess is fatigue life. Aluminum has a finite fatigue life. Yes, the J frames have aluminum frames but a full sized revolver would be fired much more often and S&W would be responding to all sorts of reports of cracked aluminum frames.

That is my guess.
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Old December 18, 2012, 12:55 PM   #22
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Magnum Wheel, I have one of those also and mine is an L-frame. You might want to check your facts a little closer.

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Old December 18, 2012, 02:17 PM   #23
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I think a better option for Smith would be to expand the J-frame somewhat like Taurus did and add a 6th hole in that cylinder. It would be a Smith Detective Special of sorts. Taurus guns aren't high on my opinion list, so I didn't buy one, but the idea is neat. A 6-shot J+ frame would be my new carry gun, especially if they made a 3" with good, sturdy, adjustable sights. They could call it the JK.
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Old December 18, 2012, 02:55 PM   #24
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Sorry DAVE, not intentional... can't keep all that info straight sometimes... ( still fits within the topic though ) never could get a handle on the model numbers
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Old December 18, 2012, 03:55 PM   #25
Jim Watson
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chewie, S&W did prototype a small sixshooter comparable to Colt DS.
They did not think it would sell and scrapped them. I have seen pictures of one that escaped.
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