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Old May 17, 2013, 01:29 PM   #1
old fart
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polymer with steel, better than alluminum?

i recently bought a stoeger cougar 40s&w, i love the gun and after 200 flawless rds i guess it loves me too. a friend of mine bought a sigma 40 at about the same time and shooting the other day he commented on something i've never thought of. he said the polymer guns with steel rails are superior to alluminum framed guns. he said his sigma will be going strong long after i've replaced the cougar. how true is this?, after the break in i will be shooting about 50rds or so a month. thanks
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Old May 17, 2013, 01:45 PM   #2
lcpiper
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A polymer framed gun will most likely outlast an aluminum framed shooter but then again, even all steal guns can last an exceptionally long time.

My point is, even if a polymer framed gun can last 3 life times do I care after the first one is done?

By the time you wear that aluminum frame out you'll be moving on to something better anyway if you are like most of us.
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Old May 17, 2013, 05:43 PM   #3
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The main reason for polymer frames on guns was initially a cost thing, not a better quality. Several improvements have reduced wear, and increased reliability.

One has nothing to do with the other. Replace my polymer frame with an aluminum alloy, Steel rails, and it will be the same as far as reliability, just weigh differently.

Designs have changed to reduce friction that caused more wear as well as the material used. Also drop-down barrels improve feeding.
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Old May 17, 2013, 06:18 PM   #4
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Your Cougar was first made by Beretta. Beretta guns like the 92 are aluminum framed. U.S. Army, etc., seem to think they're a fine design. Even if I felt like your friend does (which I don't), I just don't think I'd ever feel the need to say that to a friend who was happy with their gun. Sounds like a silly thing to say. Wasn't all that long ago that the S&W Sigma series was thought of as a piece of junk.
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Old May 17, 2013, 06:34 PM   #5
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U.S. Army, etc., seem to think they're a fine design.
Higher ups who wanted to standardize ammo with our popgun loving allies in Europe thought it was fine design. The SEALs hated it, I hate it, and nearly everyone who is issued one and has a basis for comparison would rather have something else.

Sorry, had to get that out there. Rant off.
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Old May 17, 2013, 07:01 PM   #6
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I knew when I wrote that, someone would be along soon to tell me how lousy the military thinks the 92 is...but that wasn't my really my point. I was just trying to point out that the OP need not worry about his friends comparison of the Cougar and Sigma.

I would like to see some details as to what makes the military hard the 92 so much? Is it only caliber?, or something about the gun specifically, like unreliability/durability??
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Last edited by Doug S; May 17, 2013 at 07:41 PM.
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Old May 17, 2013, 07:15 PM   #7
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nearly everyone who is issued one and has a basis for comparison would rather have something else.
Hey Tucker, just curios, do the guys have a preferred replacement ?

I have to say I like the Beretta 92, but civilian uses have no relevance or resemblance to real life military demands on form, function and reliability in the demanding and severe elements they use them in.
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Old May 18, 2013, 04:17 PM   #8
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NO ONE can say (with ANY validity) that "a polymer framed gun will outlast an alloy framed one" , or a steel-framed one, for that matter. Poppycock. All of the "anecdotal engineers" around, proffering such "wisdom", need to take a step back.....and give it a rest. There are MANY more factors involved than simply frame material, such as the structural design of the frame, frame to slide fit, length of the rails, etc. etc. In addition, there is another factor which makes nonsense out of such "out of the a##" engineering statements in an instant - lubrication. Add a high quality grease to the rails of almost any semi-auto frame, thus substantially reducing friction..... and any such "calculations" become virtually meaningless.

The important (and relevant) factors are : overall design quality, quality of manufacture/ fitting of components, frame to slide fit, distribution of forces tending to cause wear and tear, precision of operation (which only comes from good design)....and augmentation or modification of friction (dirt and grit or cleanliness and lubrication, respectively). Those factors determine the service life of the frame of a firearm. Any of the commonly used materials, in a bad design, badly treated, will wear at an accelerated rate. Conversely, with good design, any of these materials can last longer than the operator. Properly lubed, the service life can be extended substantially.
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Old May 18, 2013, 04:27 PM   #9
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I have Glocks and Springfield guns and have no problem with them. I gave my son in law a Sig P220 with the alloy frame and I have one in SS.

I was with him yesterday and he told me he has shot thousands of rounds through the gun he has from Tula and including good commercial ammo and the gun has never hiccupped on him.

He is in the Air Force and he shoots a lot. He says he keeps the gun clean and greased and it runs for him. Personally, I don't like the alloy frames much but it seems that properly maintained guns run pretty good for a very long time. I have two P226s in .40. One is alloy and one is SS. I shoot the SS one and just can't seem to warm up to the alloy frame one. What I should do is sell it to someone who will use it.
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Old May 18, 2013, 05:06 PM   #10
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Plastic guns should cost less that they are bought for!!!! I have no problem with them. steel is better imo.
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Old May 19, 2013, 05:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Hey Tucker, just curios, do the guys have a preferred replacement ?
Yeah it usually sounds like this:

"Man, I wish I could use my [Glock, 1911, Insert name of favorite pistol here] instead of this POS"

Quote:
I would like to see some details as to what makes the military hard the 92 so much? Is it only caliber?, or something about the gun specifically, like unreliability/durability??
Large circumference of grip, awkward safety, the sights leave something to be desired, and yes, it's not a .40 or .45. I've shot it a few times and the SA trigger pull is actually ok but I just can't get a proper grip on it and don't shoot it nearly as well as I would a 1911 or even a Glock, and I don't find Glock grips comfortable at all.

*edit

I realize the military is never going to allow personally owned sidearms and everyone is always going to have their own personal preference
And switching back to .45 ACP is also highly unlikely.
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Last edited by Tucker 1371; May 19, 2013 at 05:45 PM.
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Old May 19, 2013, 07:28 PM   #12
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Thanks, Tucker 1371, I appreciate the response.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:41 AM   #13
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And switching back to .45 ACP is also highly unlikely.
Tucker1371: Any talk about changing to the .40S&W? With its growing popularity in the Fed agencies (esp. DHS....they can't seem to buy enough of the stuff....), what's the chances that the gov't pulls a MacNamara & standardizes .40 across the board?
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Old May 20, 2013, 08:09 AM   #14
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Generally, I hate aluminum. However, I believe my LC9 is poly with aluminum insert and steel parts. I beat the crap out of it and it is proving to be a rock-solid gun.
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Old May 20, 2013, 10:17 AM   #15
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Like most thing...they both have ups and downs.

I have 2 SIG's that are alloy framed and they do nothing but run all day long. A P220 and a P226. The P220 is a little older and has some wear on the frame rails, where it is now discolored. Doesn't stop it from running
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Old May 20, 2013, 12:41 PM   #16
30-06 Pistol
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Poly Frame - steel rails

Hello all, although I have been a member of this forum for a while, and have been lurking before that, this is actually my first post.

With regard to the slide/base interface I do prefer steel over aluminum. When I purchased my M&P 40c I did not look at the internals before delivery. I almost never do.

I was quite surprised to find the metal skeleton had tabs or lugs, two on each side, that were 4 tenths of an inch long. Seems a bit light to me, but I am no authority. After putting 100 rounds through this gun, which is a pleasure to shoot, Imagine my surprise while cleaning the gun that, as looking down with the frame pointed forward the left front lug could be pushed inward, which we all know shouldn't happen. This was due to a crack in the frame. I do not know how many rounds went through the gun after the crack occurred, but it never failed to function. I think had I serviced the gun and put it back together with the crack it would still function correctly.

I sent the gun back to S&W, which they promptly repaired and returned. The repair slip said the smith had replaced some part with an unrecognizable name that is not listed on the parts diagram. I was not totally pleased with some peening marks on the roll pins, but it is my doctor's professional medical opinion that I am "anal".

After immediately putting another hundred rounds through the pistol I saw nothing to be concerned about, and even now after more than several hundred rounds the gun has been flawless.

Just my 2 cents worth,

Harold

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Last edited by 30-06 Pistol; May 21, 2013 at 12:17 AM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 12:55 PM   #17
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Quoted from wpsdlrg ...NO ONE can say (with ANY validity) that "a polymer framed gun will outlast an alloy framed one" , or a steel-framed one, for that matter.
Sure you can, if you can control the conditions.

Example, take 3 guns, one all steal, one alloy framed and another polymer framed.

1) Lub them up for long term storage and lock them up in a perfectly climate controlled safe. Pull them all out in say 200 years.

2) Put all three in a compartment on a shrimp boat and check them in 3 years.

3) whatever else you want to dream up ....

You're statement is false.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:26 PM   #18
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I realize the military is never going to allow personally owned sidearms
Tucker you know better then this, they already do .... if you're a General Officer
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Last edited by lcpiper; May 20, 2013 at 06:06 PM.
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Old May 20, 2013, 01:49 PM   #19
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Quote:
Sure you can, if you can control the conditions.

Example, take 3 guns, one all steal, one alloy framed and another polymer framed.

1) Lub them up for long term storage and lock them up in a perfectly climate controlled safe. Pull them all out in say 200 years.

2) Put all three in a compartment on a shrimp boat and check them in 3 years.

3) whatever else you want to dream up ....

You're statement is false.
Actually, yours is as well, since you assume that all steel frame pistols are of equivalent materials and manufacturing process, as well as the same for aluminum frame pistols, as well as polymer frame pistols.

Fact is, these are not commodities. A steel-framed pistol from manufacturer "A" is not necessarily identical to one from manufacturer "B", and so on.

Not to mention, we all have different definitions as to what criteria define a firearm's durability/reliability/strength, etc.

I just don't think any blanket assertion about any of these frame types can be made with any degree of verifiability.
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Old May 20, 2013, 02:24 PM   #20
lcpiper
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My original statement was very general. And it wasn't absolute ....

Quote:
A polymer framed gun will most likely outlast an aluminum framed shooter but then again, even all steal guns can last an exceptionally long time.

My point is, even if a polymer framed gun can last 3 life times do I care after the first one is done?
The point of my statement was that any of the guns will likely last so long that what they are made from is a moot point. The biggest issue is how well it's taken care of.
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Old May 20, 2013, 05:50 PM   #21
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Way to backpedal....to cover your butt. You said NOTHING about maintenance in your original, massive over-generalization post. Now, of course, as you got caught out..... "you meant" something quite different. Yeah right....
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Old May 20, 2013, 06:07 PM   #22
lcpiper
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No, I made a general statement and you hone in on a small part, single it out, and try to claim it's false when given it's context it is not.
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Old May 20, 2013, 11:23 PM   #23
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"He said his Sigma will be going strong long after I've replaced my Cougar."

Uh....no.

As long as you clean and lube your Cougar as a part of regular handgun care-and fire the -power- rounds the guns were designed to shoot-both guns should last the same.

I have to laugh when someone brings up a "My gun is better then yours" argument at the range.

They get a very quick-"Who give a "cheese sandwich" what you think about my handgun,i like it."
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Old May 21, 2013, 12:12 AM   #24
30-06 Pistol
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Who's on first?

Quote:
I just don't think any blanket assertion about any of these frame types can be made with any degree of verifiability.
That is true of most blanket statements about anything.

Just to add a little levity: "Everything I say is a lie."

Last time I saw that was in a Star Trek episode in the TV series, but I believe it is much older than that.

Of course, I could be lying

Harold
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:48 AM   #25
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Quote:
And switching back to .45 ACP is also highly unlikely.
Tucker1371: Any talk about changing to the .40S&W? With its growing popularity in the Fed agencies (esp. DHS....they can't seem to buy enough of the stuff....), what's the chances that the gov't pulls a MacNamara & standardizes .40 across the board?
Slim to none, I could see a switch to .45 ACP before .40, there's a few elite units using .45 as standard issue currently, MARSOC being a good example.

Quote:
Tucker you know better then this, they already do .... if your a General Officer
Haha, don't even get me started, that and your own personal set of dragon skin for you and your entire security detail
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