Plastic vs heirloom

Discussion in 'Firearms' started by GrandpaDave, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Something I thought to bring up... those of us in the gun business have taken to calling all metal guns by the phrase "Heirloom" vs "Plastic" really were talking about poly or carbon fiber and not true plastic.

    Yes I too was once enamored of the Glock... it had such potential... and a moderate price tag compared to a Colt 1911.

    But the problem with being a working gunsmith is you quickly hear about the things that go wrong... early models of glocks had a torque problems when people started mounting lasers and lights... failures to feed and function... glock's fix was to recall and redesign the slides and the mag springs... most of those problems are gone now... come on, every new idea is bound to have a few minor adjustments to make, right???

    will the newest problem facing "Plastic" guns is those made back in the 1980's and early 90's are starting to show signs of degradation... it's been explained to me that hydrocarbons used in the manufacturing process are very slowly evaporating, leaving the poly brittle. as yet we have no real idea of what the usable life expectancy of a poly framed gun is... maybe 20 years....???

    then we have the heirloom guns... all metal parts... already we have examples that have seen a 100 years of use and with care and cleaning are still as reliable today as they were when first made and in all likelyhood will still be going strong 100 years from now...

    So what does all that mean to you.... maybe nothing, maybe everything...

    I'm not saying poly guns are bad, what I'm saying is don't expect to be passing it down to your grandkids...
    20 years life is pretty damn good... probably longer than I have left....
    All metal guns cost more and still need a good deal of proper care and maintenance. so to, do the poly guns....
    so is one better than the other???
    not really... both types will give you years of reliable service... you take care of them and they will take care of you....

    but it does look like there is an expires on date for poly guns... not so for the heirloom weapons

    Edit to add... Just cause it's all metal doesn't make it a good gun... the big Desert Eagles are famous for jams, misfeeds and generally not getting through an entire mag without something going wrong... pretty yes, Impressive too... reliable? not so much
  2. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    "Heirloom" guns is a good name - Being 'old school', I much prefer 'steel&wood' over any "Plastic Fantastic".
    But.... the Glocks do shoot so very well. I'd use a Glock or other polymer gun as a current carry piece, but would expect to be passing my steel guns down the line.
    GrandpaDave and Sapper John like this.
  3. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    I tried to be open minded... and on those rare occasions when I make the gun show rounds I do sell a lot of poly framed guns... all the while expounding on their virtues... but my daily carry is my Ruger P944.

    soon to be replaced by a Ruger SR 1911 I ordered mine a month and a half ago and I'm still waiting for it
    Ruger SR1911 45 ACP Semi-Auto Pistol

    I guess deep down I'm still to old school to give up my all metal firearms too


    now that's a pretty...
    Gator 45/70 likes this.
  4. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    The only plastic on my "heirloom" Helwan was the grips. Easy remedy. Replace with custom wood. Single stack low capacity (8 round standard) mag aside, a Helwan (aka Egyptian Beretta 951 Brigadier) is a workhorse. It held up to the rigors of literally decades of shooting. I "upgraded" to a poly/stainless Ruger P95 (with rails) - for mag capacity increase alone it was worth the cost (15 double stacked with a minimal grip size increase). So far so good.

    Just do NOT fire +P ammo out of the Helwan (I had to replace the pistol after firing a +P round - it was literally irreparable. Damn lucky I did not get hurt). They can be had for around $2-300.00 (or at least could be) and are the EXACT same as a Beretta 951. YMMV.
    GrandpaDave likes this.
  5. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    They were made in Egypt as I recall (Out of business for a while now)... used the same tool and dies as the Beretta too... All I can say is I never had one come in for repairs and that in itself says a lot, don't it???

    PS: Gun Broker has one listed right now for $155.
    HELWAN 9MM : Semi-auto at
  6. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    This auction has ended
  7. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

  8. Pax Mentis

    Pax Mentis Philosopher King |RIP 11-4-2017

    Well, for the cased "special" guns that are primarily for looks that I will "pass down", of course they will be the old metal ones.

    I was seriously Glock resistant when my former agency switched to them in '90ish...and made fun of them to friends who still worked there.

    I think it was about '04 when I actually tried one, and I switched to one for EDC in '05...and wouldn't carry anything else.

    There's nothing like a pretty shiny metal gun on the mantle or in a glass case on my wall, but my tired old bones will carry a glock for the rest of my days...and be glad they were invented.

    Alpha Dog likes this.
  9. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    All my Handguns are "Heirloom" types, and some are even antique Heirlooms... My original Pack Gun was a Colt Pocket 1903 in 38 Auto. That weapon traveled all over Alaska, with me, for years. Then an Old Gunsmith Friend told "Me" that it was an antique, and belonged in a Museum, NOT in my Pack, so I invested in a Belgium FN Browning HiPower, and put the Colt in the Gun Locker. The SW29 8" sits in there as well, since Momma got her Dan Wesson Stainless .357 Pistol Pack. Then there is the Flintlock .45 Cal Tower Pistol, and the Stainless Ruger Old Army .44, as well. These last two are my Ultimate SHTF handguns, as I can MAKE all the components that they require to remain serviceable. ..... YMMV....
    Alpha Dog and VisuTrac like this.
  10. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Completely off topic but whenever I see your avatar it reminds me of the story of the guy who's plane was tore up by a bear and used duct tape to fix it up and fly out
    Unusual bear attack in Alaska (not graphic) -

    PS: Dan Wessons... one of my all time favorite revolvers... I have three now... .44 mags... with pistols being all the rage no one wants those old big bore large frame revolvers anymore.... good news for those of us who love em as they can be had cheap ...
  11. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    That kind of thing happens all the time up here, Dave.... Airplane repairs in the field with duct Tape and Wire. Had a Cessna 207 that got caught in between two snow squalls, a few years back and needed to put down on our "Road that Airplanes land On" It would have been fine, IF it had frozen the night before, but it didn't, and when the Nose Gear finally hit the snow it tipped the aircraft up until the Prop hit, and then it threw him sideways and he clipped a small willow and trashed the Plastic Wingtip. The Chief Pilot, and Head Mechanic, for the Outfit, flew out that afternoon, and brought a different Prop, a couple of rolls of Duct Tape, and had the thing back in flying condition, in about three hours. I got the Dozer Started and cleared off about 1500 ft of road, and they flew out the next morning, back to town. The Pilot didn't lose his job, but had to get re-certified on the Type, and wasn't allowed to fly out this way, again. It was too bad for the Prop, because they had JUST swapped the old one out, with a Rebuilt One right before the original flight, and the prop they brought with them was the One just removed and headed in for rebuild. That was a $10KUS expense, for sure... .....
  12. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Not me... I use to fly an old Beech Bonanza 36, remember the old V tails...she was my baby and I took care of her
    sadly they pulled my ticket when I got a touch of high blood pressure...sighs...

    Oh yeah Poly guns... Glock Gen 4's good :D ... older models... not so much
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    In my youth, I had a clipped wing Taylorcraft, with a 120 HP geared Continental... Wing was rated at +8 and -7 G's... Had 300 hours on my Student Pilot Ticket, when I decided if I could NOT pass the Physical (Color blind, before there was a Waiver) for Private Pilot I should get out of the Biz..... Six months after I sold out, the FAA changed the Regs, on that, so that IF you had a working Radio when you tookoff, you could get a Waiver on the Physical Requirement. Never had the money to get back in, and I got married, soon thereafter..... Still love the Air, just not as a Command Pilot.....
  14. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    I sure hope your wrong. I own 4 of them:

    1. 20 - 1992
    2. 21 - 1992
    3. 27 - 1995
    4. 29 - 2002

    Purchase dates are within a year +/-. Any specific problems that you know of with these?
  15. Wolfgang2000

    Wolfgang2000 Monkey++

    How many of you remember the growing pains the 1911 went through in the 60's and 70's to become what it is today?

    During that time you had 2 different 1911s. The Government model and the Colt gold cup. The gold cup was considered a match gun that wasn't reliable for "duty" use. The government model was not as accurate and the gold cup, but it was loose, if you shook it it rattled, but as reliable as an AK.

    Then people like Secamp and Novak started making "duty" guns. But it cost big bucks and a year or more wait. Just when they were getting it right stainless became the thing in "duty" guns. There was a big problem with galling, etc, etc..

    It's only taken 100 years for the 1911 to make it to where it is today.

    The Glock came out in the 80's. It changed the the gun world. Both manufactures and individuals. Yes it had some teething problems. but for the most part they are reliable and reasonably priced.

    I agree that there is something to be said for a deep rich blue and a nice set of walnuts. But I gave up on the 1911 in 79. I bought what was then called the Browning BDA. Today it's called the Sig P220. It wasn't a big seller because people said it was "ugly". Yet it out shot most of the custom 1911 I went up against.

    I later gave up the Browning for the Glock.

    I still appreciated a deep rich blue and polished walnut. But when the rubber meets the road, my holster will have a Glock in it.
  16. Alpha Dog

    Alpha Dog survival of the breed

    My 1911 is my pride and joy and I hope to pass them down to my daughters. My Glock 26, Glock 19, and Glock21 have been with me through some rough and dirty time during different traing's and just out shooting. I have complete faith in my Glocks and that what I carry on and off duty. I look at them like motorcycle's, you take a dirt bike out and run the dog out of them mud, dirt, rock, through bushes, beat the hell out of them in rocks. Then your Harley Davidson is different you take it out for highway rides, clean and polish it after every ride keep it it a temp controled gaurage, Every scratch on it you know it's like a scratch on your soul. With that being said my Glocks are my dirt bike and my 1911's they are my Harley Davidson and are very special.
    STANGF150 likes this.
  17. Espada

    Espada Monkey+

    'Fraid I'm a walnut & steel guy... to me, a gun is not just a bullet-launching tool - it's a work of art, and if it's merely beautiful, but not accurate (for its intended purpose), it gets traded.

    About my favorite pistol is the 1937 (I think, going from depleting memory!) Argentine "Sistema Colt" which was a commercial-type 1911A1 built under contract by Colt craftsmen using Colt tooling, for the Argentine Marina de Guerra.

    Only slightly less accurate than my Clark Hardball, it has all serially matched major parts, indicating hand-fitting at manufacture.

  18. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Watch for a white (Chalk like) power usually in the recess.
    As yet I haven't seen it myself but in the tech papers I subscribe to that, is supposed to be the first warning sign the the frame is starting to degrade... I don't know if you could see any micro cracks with the naked eye... a jewelers loop is what I use... one trick I use to detect unseen cracks on a Bow limbs is to rub a cotten ball on the limbs... fluff will snag on the cracks... but by then it's a pretty big crack... to be safe you might want to take them to a local gun smith for a good through inspection... just in case.

    also on older gen Glock's don't mount anything heavy under the barrel... times have changed and lasers and lights are much smaller than they were... but excess weight and over torquing of mounting screws cased a lot of problems...

    Evan Marchall the creator of "Stopping Power" has a web site and in that site there's a forum where they talk about glocks... all the good and bad... go check it out Forums - Glocks including fixes tips and tricks

    Edit to add...
    Here's the section they have that addresses Known problems with Glocks

    Edit to add even more... After going back to reread those tech note they advise to inspect the front slide rails... seems some models started to just flare out... in this instance they refer to G 22, 23 AND 35 models... no fix was published as Glock simply replaced all those weapons with new ones
    Suerto and Mountainman like this.
  19. Wolfgang2000

    Wolfgang2000 Monkey++

    IIRC I read (at stopping power) that is was the type of light used is what caused the issue, or at least that is what is coming out now.

    I have a M3 light on my 3rd gen G19. It just snaps on and off. I've never had a issue.

    One of the lights has a cross screw to hold the light on. (I believe it was the Sure fire light, but I not sure.) Any way is is believed that people were torquing the screw too tight, and that was causing the issue.

    Either way the gen 4 seems to have solved the problem for the 40's. BUT have created some problems in the 9's. I think Gaston Glock is going to have to realize that not everything can be interchangeable.
  20. GrandpaDave

    GrandpaDave Monkey++

    Yup over tightening the screws... odd as that sounds it causes more problems than you'd believe... not just glocks... I've seen people screw up cars from doing that too...

    the fellow who started that thread Ten Driver... is there resident Smithy... he knows glocks... Evan Marshal himself was the first to reply
    Know what I like most about Evan... He's one of us... not only is he a legend in the shooting community, he's been preaching about the need to prep long before we had the Internet....

    his best quote ever is
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