Differences in quality/grade of steel [Archive] - Glock Talk

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mr00jimbo
01-10-2011, 20:45
I understand that a good casting job can be as good as forging.

Now I made a thread displaying my distaste for Norinco firearms, based on heard experience from others who have owned malfunctioning ones and the basis that everything from China seems to be dismal in quality.

I will admit that I am surprised to find out, that the Norinco 1911-A1 is made from steel that is supposed to be harder and "better" than any other gun out there.

To quote a larger writeup on another forum
So now we get into the 5100 alloy Norinco 1911 in particular. 5100 is an EXCELLENT receiver material. It hardens very well on the surface but maintains an adequately ductile core. This gives great wear resistance and great resistance to plastic deformation (deformation that causes the parts to permanently deform or warp). The one achilles heel to 5100 series alloys is that they are notoriously hard to machine. Norinco, I suspect, machines their parts with carbide cutters prior to heat treating. On a finished gun the only way you're going to cut it with HSS mill bits is if you spot-anneal the steel with a torch first. Most smiths have to buy carbide mill bits to work the steel, and even then there's a very high tool wear rate. This is probably why so few smiths will do Novak cuts to a Norinco slide - they probably only have HSS tooling!

Now if we want to talk about relative hardness of steels, Norincos are made from a different steel formulation than Colts are. Comparing Rockwell hardnesses really won't tell you much, but as a general observation, on average the Norincos are at least 30% harder on the surface than most other 1911's, including the Colt. This does not mean they are more brittle - it means that the alloy used to Make the Norincos (5100 tool steel*) results in a much harder surface when heat treated than does the Colt alloy (4140 Ordnance grade tool steel*).

I am surprised to hear that Norinco 1911s apparently use a better steel than a lot of 1911s on the market.

The question I ask though, (and partially to m'self) is..."So?"
Does it make a lick of difference the quality of steel used?

Does the money of 1911s tend to go into the steel quality, or more into the customization/fitting work?
And is harder always better?

I'd be interested to know the difference in steel grade from say, a RIA to a Colt, to a Wilson Combat. And if it makes a lick of difference to the average or even high-mileage shooter.

I would also like to apologize for badmouthing Norinco 1911s; they apparently make a damn fine frame/slide.

bac1023
01-10-2011, 20:58
Norincos are built from old forged railroad steel. Its difficult to find a harder, more dense steel anywhere.

Jim Watson
01-11-2011, 00:01
My Sistema made out of the armor of the Graf Spee trumps your Commie railroad track.

pistolwrench
01-11-2011, 00:25
A lot of myth here.
I've machined on more than a few Norcs.
The front sight area is HARD.......due to a silver-solder reinforcement of the front sight stake.
Experienced smiffs anneal this small area before attempting machining.
Overall, the metallurgy is very good, but not anything remarkable.

Old railroad steel?
:rofl:

No offense intended. It is a curious myth.

Huevos
01-11-2011, 00:56
Old railroad steel?
:rofl:

No offense intended. It is a curious myth.

You know, Chinese - Railroads, it's an easy transition.... :rofl:

Levity aside, why would anyone CHOOSE to send their money to China? :upeyes:

bac1023
01-11-2011, 03:45
You know, Chinese - Railroads, it's an easy transition.... :rofl:

Levity aside, why would anyone CHOOSE to send their money to China? :upeyes:

Who the hell said we're sending money to China?

The guns aren't even imported anymore.

bac1023
01-11-2011, 03:45
My Sistema made out of the armor of the Graf Spee trumps your Commie railroad track.

:rofl::rofl:

knedrgr
01-11-2011, 09:01
Levity aside, why would anyone CHOOSE to send their money to China? :upeyes:

Oh god, here we go again. :upeyes:

Good luck trying to buy most things that you have in your house, or use daily w/o you supporting China.

Welcome to the 21st century where we live in a global economy.

quantico
01-16-2011, 18:37
I choose to build a very very high end 1911 on a norinco frame. It is just awesome. I would not trade it for the best gun that ever left wilson.combat. working on that gun was tough yet a labor of love. Norinco steel rocks in my opinion. Sometimes you have to look deeply to see the beauty in some people and some things.

bac1023
01-16-2011, 20:37
I choose to build a very very high end 1911 on a norinco frame. It is just awesome. I would not trade it for the best gun that ever left wilson.combat. working on that gun was tough yet a labor of love. Norinco steel rocks in my opinion. Sometimes you have to look deeply to see the beauty in some people and some things.

I agree 100% about Norinco. Its a shame people are blinded due to the fact they're from China.

Pretty? Hell no, but very solid construction.


http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n5/bac1023/000_2282-1.jpg

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n5/bac1023/000_2283.jpg

presidingglock
01-16-2011, 21:55
If you can find a pistol with quality fitting and steel then that is always a wise choice. But if not, there is no harm in picking a quality steel in case you want to go the custom work route.