Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Aluminum

This is a discussion on Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Aluminum within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; John promised that the next gun we bought would be for me. So I've considered and plotted and researched and dreamed and I've decided to ...

View Poll Results: Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Aluminum

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  • Stainless Steel

    30 65.22%
  • Carbon Steel

    14 30.43%
  • Aluminum

    2 4.35%
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Thread: Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Aluminum

  1. #1
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    Question Stainless Steel, Carbon Steel or Aluminum

    John promised that the next gun we bought would be for me. So I've considered and plotted and researched and dreamed and I've decided to go for my dream: a Wilson Combat.

    And here's why...

    I want to get into more trainings and competition and possibly some IDPA shooting. Though my 3" Kimber is a great little carry gun, after about 200 rounds it starts to do a number on my shooting hand, just because of so much recoil in such a little package.

    Some trainings require upwards to 1200 rounds for a couple-day class. That's a lot of abuse from such a little gun, and let's not forget about sight radius and such with that little frame.

    So, I decided I want to go with a 4"-4.25" bbl (no longer, however). I don't want a full size because that just gets too big and heavy for me.

    You might ask why I don't just go with another gun all together like a 9mm Glock or something else, and I'll say, because I want that custom gun with that custom fit in the 1911 frame. All training and experience I get with the Wilson will directly carry over into my daily carry because I carry a 1911. The barrel and weight will just be a little different and my arms won't take such a beating. And why spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars customizing my carry gun, when I can get a custom gun for one lump sum with everything I want and need?

    This will not turn into my everyday carry gun either. Though I may carry it on occasion, it will be reserved mainly for training, classes, and competition.

    However, I now have three frame metals to choose from: stainless steel, carbon steel or aluminum.

    I know that the heavier the gun in the more recoil it will absorb but I don't want such a heavy gun that it's uncomfortable to carry around (because in trainings and such you are still carrying) and heavy to hold.

    I'm leaning more toward aluminum because it's still light and the heavier bbl and slide may help enough with recoil to make it a comfortable shooter (as evidenced with the other aluminum-framed 4.25" 1911s I've shot).

    But, when paying $2,500 for a gun, you want to make sure you're considering all options.

    And before anyone asks, I do want to stay with the .45.

    So, considering what I've written above, what you recommend as far as the frame material.. stainless, carbon, or aluminum?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Carbon steel will last longer than aluminum, and its prettier than stainless IMO. If you're going to fire thousands (probably at least tens of thousands) it would be a shame to wear out the frame on a $2500 aluminum frame gun. You'll get stronger using a slightly heavier gun, then when you shoot your carry gun it will be a breeze to hold it steady. Packing around something heavier will also make EDC that much more comfortable. Plus, I'm just old-fashioned and think that carbon steel is the real thing.

    Austin

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Stainless .. Though my Choice wouldn't be wilson Also stay away from the bushingless guns so go with a 4 1/4 with a bushing

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Blackeagle's Avatar
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    I am a firm believer in the adage, "Train with what you carry on the street." I understand why you want a more comfortable gun, particularly for long, high round count classes. The recoil on little gun firing a big round can be pretty brisk. However, you'll get the most out of that training (and the several hundred bucks of ammo you just blew through doing it) if you use your carry gun. I'd say either stick with your 3 inch .45 for both training and carry or make the Commander sized .45 your carry gun, in addition to being your training gun.

  6. #5
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    I have nothing against aluminum - and of course that is the way to save some weight - but - I have yet to be convinced with high rounds counts (potentially) as to longevity/durability.

    I choose stainless partly for corrosion resistance - and I know you are not planning this primarily for carry but ... it still IMO these days is top of the list. Since galling problems were overcome, it really is the cat's maiow for me. Weight of course about same as carbon steel.

    I have a feeling you'll plump for Al - because of weight aspect!!
    Chris - P95
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    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


    http://www.rkba-2a.com/ - a portal for 2A links, articles and some videos.

  7. #6
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    I think John should offer up one of each, cause you're so nice to 'em.

  8. #7
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Rock and Glock View Post
    I think John should offer up one of each, cause you're so nice to 'em.

    Buy two Wilsons?



  9. #8
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    Awww...His 'n Hers Wilsons...


    Yea, I know...----->


    p.s.: My vote would be for stainless...
    "I surrounded 'em"- Alvin York

    "They're ain't many troubles that a man can't fix with seven hundred dollars and a thirty ought six"- Jeff Cooper

  10. #9
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    Taking everything you said into decently careful consideration I opted/voted for Stainless.

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    I opted for the lightweight , You are an accomplished serious shooter who can handle the weight penalty in shooting , and enjoy it in carry .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array SonofASniper's Avatar
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    I voted for carbon steel. I am not convinced about the longevity of aluminum either.

    I don't think you are going to notice a huge weight difference, and if your comp gun is heavier than that will probably be better for you.

    In fact, one form of strength training you can do is use a 5 or 10 lb. dumbell and do draw, sight, and hold drills with it. It will build the muscle groups you use to shoot with and will make you a steadier shooter and less prone to fatigue.

    If you can hold a 5 lb. dead weight steady on target, certainly you can hold a 1-2 lb pistold even better.
    I will support gun control when you can guarantee all guns are removed from this planet. That includes military and law enforcement. When you can accomplish that, then I will be the last person to lay down my gun. Then I will carry the weapon that replaces the gun.

  13. #12
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    I think Stainless steel is pretty much an ideal metal for firearms.
    It's very low maintainence. They handle sweat better. Galling is no longer an issue.
    The feed ramp cannot be polished on an Aluminum framed 1911 and no other personal adjustments can be made to the Al. frame without redoing the hard coat anodizing.
    In a 1911 format any modifications to a Stainless firearm such as "melting" hard edges or moving up the front strap or cleaning up checkering and other various modifications do not require an added complete refinishing charge.
    For a competition handgun you'll have slightly faster shot to shot recovery and I think any carry weight advantage of an alloy framed pistol is only realized and appreciated after hours and hours of constant daily carry.
    I think for your intended stated purpose Aluminum is kinda ruled out.
    Then the choice is between Carbon and Stainless.
    Since very few Carbon steel pistols are "beautifully blued" these days your choice is really between Stainless steel and Black oxide or "plate" on Carbon steel - and Stainless wins that contest on a hard use competition gun as there is no surface finish to ever replace or wear off.
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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Aluminum framed guns are not made for a lot of shoot they do wear faster than a steel .. I always hear the well its lighter for carry and have carried both i still prefer all steel after 2 weeks of carrying you won't notice the all steel unless its not there.. Againa personal preferance..

    The only alum framed guns i would buy would be a Springfield as they will replace the frame on the lightweights when it wears to much .. Colt probley will to but never a lightweight from colt

  15. #14
    Distinguished Member Array P7fanatic's Avatar
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    Cool

    I voted for the carbon steel.
    If you're ever looking for a custom finish for a steel firearm, I recommend you consider looking into the 'Melonite QPQ' finish.

    http://www.burlingtoneng.com/melonite.html
    http://www.coalcreekarmory.com/finishing.php



  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array AutoFan's Avatar
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    Since you are going with Wilson, I voted for Stainless, for the reasons already mentioned dealing with finish, etc. But if you are more concerned with weight, then I'd not get a Wilson but go with S&W Scandium 4 1/4" Performance Center. Personally if I were going with a steel frame I'd buy from Les Baer, but that's me.

    I envy you your problem!

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