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Posted: 10/26/2003 9:51:18 AM EDT
On another board a younger poster (but these days most posters are younger) asked if we thought a wheelgun would last as long as his GLOCK.

Well the GLOCKs are still new so we really don't know what an expected lifespan might be, so the jury is still out on that. But I do shoot quite a few Semi-automatics and Wheelguns that are fifty, sixty, seventy years old and older.

So what do you folk think a reasonable life expectance of a modern handgun would be? Twenty-five years? Fifty years? Seventy-five years? Longer? Shorter?

And why?
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 10:29:18 AM EDT
I would think it has more to do with round count than years. One of the LEO competitors at our USPSA/IPSC matches has a Glock 17 approaching 200,000 rounds. He's replaced a few minor parts such as a slide stop, and springs. Glock has offered several times to buy it back from him. I hear there are glocks with even higher round counts than this.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 11:05:11 AM EDT
There is supposed to be a Glock belonging to a rental range that has over one million rounds through it.

I don't think many centerfire revolvers would take that.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 3:29:31 PM EDT
It`s not hard for a glock to go half a million rounds. I don`t think any gun can last that long.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 5:22:15 PM EDT
Round count aside, any gun properly maintained will last indefinitely.

Now, when you shoot that thing, thats another story.

I think (I stand to be corrected) that the Beretta's are rated at 20,000 rounds between major failures (slide cracks, etc).

The big boys in IPSC will shoot their 1911's about 100,000 and then retire them (so I hear) out of discretion if not necessity.

Yar is that Taylor you shoot with? I thought he was up to 300k by now???

I really have no idea about a 6 shooter, but as there are less moving parts, I am inclined to say a revolver would last longer, all things being equal, but I wish someone with a bazillion rounds through a revolver would chime in here. Somebody send Mickuleck an email
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 5:53:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/26/2003 8:47:40 PM EDT by Yar1182]
Bob Hostetter. He is one of the top IDPA and USPSA/IPSC production and limited shooters in So. Cal where I spend much of the year. Are you refering to Hawk Taylor who shoots out at Bigfork MT
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 7:31:23 PM EDT
I've got a COLT 1911 that's seen combat through at least 3 wars and is still shooting.

Good condition too.

CRC
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 7:56:43 PM EDT
My grandfather's 1911 from WWII still renders good groupings and the thing got beat to hell in Pacific and European theaters.
On the other hand it's only taken out a couple times a year by him over the last twentyfive years or so, I've shot it when visiting around ten times. So I don't know about number of rounds through, but just about 60 yrs and kicking.
Link Posted: 10/26/2003 8:02:38 PM EDT
Why are you trying to measure it in years and not round count?

Link Posted: 10/26/2003 9:36:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Lumpy196:
Why are you trying to measure it in years and not round count?




My thoughts exactly. Chronology would have nothing to do with it, unless you don't take care of it (i.e. rust and such). It might get more lose over the years and need some parts replaced, but the gun should be good for tens of thousands of rounds. New springs/barrels and such is all you'll need to replace.
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 3:34:03 AM EDT
Well, particularly with handguns that were service units, after 30 years or so it's hard to establish round counts. I have seen a few where the rifling was about gone but so far none where it was totally gone. But even that coould be fixed with a simple barrel replacement.

But as most of the posts have said, except for replacing worn items and given reasonable loads, why shouldn't a handgun last virtually forever?

The question of longevity seems to come up fairly often. Perhaps it's just a new to firearms question?
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 4:58:33 AM EDT
It depends entirely upon the quality of the handgun AND the chambering AND the number of rounds through the gun.
I've heard of Glock 17's with 125,000 rounds through them. My S&W 686 needed to go back to the factory to have its barrel set back after 1,200 rounds of .357 Magnum ammo. A 1911 can easily go 50,000 rounds if its not abused. A .22 caliber pistol, with regular maintenance, who knows?
This is why I always caution the guys who think that more power and velocity are always better.
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 5:09:35 AM EDT
When revolvers were the "standard" LE handgun, there were many, many S&W M10's and M15's at LEO academies that were pretty well documented as to round count. Typically with light wadcutter and / or standard pressure lead loads, these guns with an occasional cylinder stop or hand replacement and some yoke peening, etc. would easily pass 500,000 rounds. ("X" number of rounds per gun per class x "X" number of classes per year x "X" number of years, etc) +P loads with lead bullets increased wear significantly as did jacketed bullets.

9mm autos at today's academies have also done well, although the number of years they last is down due to a great deal more shooting by recruits, including many rounds on reactive steel target systems, the use of factory, jacketed / plated bullets and the much higher chamber pressures of 9mm loads in general. Many of these guns will see 10 or more classes a year and fire 600-800 rounds or more per class...60,000 to 80,000 rounds per year. It does not take long to reach a 500,000 round count at that rate. The Berettas hold up as well as any others and better than many BTW.

My guess is that we will not see the various .40 caliber pistols now being used at some academies hold up nearly as well as the 9mm's, and I will not be surprised to see them expire at less than 250,000rd.

Few handguns ever see anywhere near this number of rounds simply because, even if shooters had the money to buy the ammo, they do not have the time or range access to shoot that much...remember, the guns above were used by many different shooters, sometimes with both day and night classes going at the same time. The IPSC guys who shoot .45's and "retire" a gun at 100,000 rounds do so more out of desire to keep up with newer trends and rules than because of any real need to stop using the gun...most just need a tune up at that point, and often even that is only to keep up serious accuracy...the guns function fine. Occasionally you will see a dust-cover crack on the side if a frame, but the gun can do just fine even if you cut the dust cover completely off! The higher pressure rounds like .38 Super or .40 are a different matter of course.

FWIW, the handgun with the generally recognized LEO acadeny reputation as "toughest of them all" was the Ruger Security/Speed Six...crappy action, ugly gun, but tough as woodpecker lips!
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 7:07:58 AM EDT
The useful life on my Security Industries .357 was over in about 44 rounds...or until I realized the frame was bending and the forcing cone was splitting.
When the cylinder no long closed, I knew it's short life was indeed over...all in one shooting session.
I expected a lot more "life" from it.
Depending on the gun and it's "lifestyle", that could determine it's overall longevity.
On a 1911 type, as one example, parts can be changed until the frame fails, so if transplanting parts counts toward the expected life span, that could be almost forever.
I have seen a Ruger P-89 where the rifling was worn smooth and the frame was cracked in the web area, it's life was over in about 13 years total.
But in all fairness, I suspect it was a range gun for those years and if owned by an individual, would have lasted for life.
There is no correct answer, obviously.
Link Posted: 10/27/2003 10:09:46 AM EDT
According to the LEO's who shoot USPSA/IPSC matches with their beretta's pins break or come loose every 20,000-50,000 rounds. I've seen one break during a match.

The para's don't seem to last very long. Frames crack and need to be welded, or pins work loose in a manner that it opens the ID of the hole, forcing you to weld it up, or use oversize pins.

One guy who shoots Limited 10 with a 1911 single stack claims he regularly shoots out his barrels. He does shoot 60,000 rounds a year. That's 2 matches every weekend, plus a practice session or two during the week.

I'm shooting 1000-2000 rounds a month through my glock 35 (.40). Even at that rate it's going to take me a while to reach 100,000 plus. I figure I'm in the 25,000 range.
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