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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some months ago, while catching up on some 1911 information, I came across this picture. They are supposedly a raw forged slide and raw forged frame that Springfield Armory acquires from somewhere in the US to produce their pistols from.
My question, out of pure curiosity, is if anybody has ever uncovered the source for these US made forgings?
Thanks in advance for any insight you may have on this 馃憤

Font Wood Metal Gun accessory Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
looks like cast, not forged, to me
Absolutely not, they are definitely drop forged ingots 馃憤

Investment castings save money in one big way, and that's because they require much less final machining then do drop forged components. As you can see from the picture above, these parts still need quite a bit of final milling/machining.
They are drop forged.
馃憤馃檪馃憤
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Here's a link to a 1911 frame being forged by the S&W factory. Notice how the end result raw forging is very similar to the one in my photo shared above 馃憤


Here's a screenshot of a S&W raw forged frame...
Automotive design Bumper Automotive exterior Font Wood


And here is a raw 1911 frame investment casting... As one can see, a lot of the work is already done, it will need a lot less machining then a raw forged frame would require.

Wood Gun barrel Composite material Trigger Tool


Btw, I have no idea the manufacturer of this frame casting, I just put it up here as an example 馃憤
 

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Here's a picture from inside the Colt factory in 1942:
Photograph Motor vehicle Automotive tire Engineering Auto part
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
They used to come from Imbel in Brazil, which is supposedly one of the best forgers of steel firearm parts on the planet. I don't know where they get them now.
Yeah, for a long time the Imbel of Brazil forgings were the source.
But, they went to a US source some years back now. Once they are in Springfield Armory's hands, they do the machining of them in house 馃憤

Any decent foundry here in the USA is likely as good/equal or better than anything else around the world. At this point, drop forging is pretty much old settled technology. So, as long as the steel is of good quality, the forgings should all be in the same range as far as overall quality is concerned 馃檪
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here's a picture from inside the Colt factory in 1942:
View attachment 659241
Such a cool picture 馃憤馃槑馃憤
It's why I like my 1911's to have it's major components be made of forged steel, (the frame & slide), since it just fills my nostalgic needs a little better.
I like my Glocks to have a polymer frame for kind'a the same reason, it just fits better to what I feel the design calls for 馃檪
 

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, Springfield did use some cast frames from Brazil, I don't know if or when they stopped.
 

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Here's a link to a 1911 frame being forged by the S&W factory. Notice how the end result raw forging is very similar to the one in my photo shared above 馃憤


Here's a screenshot of a S&W raw forged frame...
View attachment 659236

And here is a raw 1911 frame investment casting... As one can see, a lot of the work is already done, it will need a lot less machining then a raw forged frame would require.

View attachment 659240

Btw, I have no idea the manufacturer of this frame casting, I just put it up here as an example 馃憤
awesome video! its cool too see how it goes down
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
, Springfield did use some cast frames from Brazil, I don't know if or when they stopped.
When Springfield Armory was using Imbel as their source partner, they used Imbel's forged frames and slides. Some of these were partially machined in Brazil and sent to SA for final in house machining. Some forgings were sent to SA for complete SA final machining, (usually SA higher end models). Some of the forgings were completely machined and all assembly fully done in Brazil, (usually the more basic models).
In any case, that was all back when Brazil's Imbel was SA's 1911 source.
Fast forward to some years ago when SA switched to using a US sourced forged frame and slide, which then gets sent to SA for all the final machining, (for all of their 1911's. Basic to higher end versions get done in house using the US sourced forgings). 馃嚭馃嚫

The Brazil connection has been old news for some years now, but since so many folks were used to hearing about it, many simply never knew the US forged sourcing transition had occured.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I remember an old gunzine piece showing the S&W drop forge... and a crate marked "Kimber." All these outfits are in cahoots.
No different than Ruger's Pine Tree investment casting division making the casted components for many other gun firms, (receivers/frames, are a part of that). Yup, business is business, they will gladly sell their services to other firms, even their competition. Ruger still maintains a very good reputation for making good investment castings.

In any case, no matter what US firm is supplying SA with their raw forged frames and slides, they get finished in house by Springfield Armory.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
By the way, this link is where I found the picture of the raw forged frame & slide that Springfield Armory uses to make their 1911...


As for whether or not Springfield Armory still uses frame and slide forgings to build their 1911's, their website clearly states that they do...
Font Line Wood Musical instrument Brand


They also have forged barrels, but the method used for the barrel making is called cold hammer forging, it not being the same hot drop forging method used to make their frames and slides.
The Cold Hammer Forging of barrels does also increase the steels strength, similar to what hot drop forging does for the frames and slides.
Cold Hammer Forged barrels are pumped out quite quickly during their production, but it's done at facilities that are well heeled, because these cold hammer forging machines are pricey.
Big name companies like Glock, Remington, Ruger, and others, have these machines in house and produce their own barrels. If a company doesn't have the resources to have such machines in house, they can still, of course, have them done elsewhere for them. So, just like SA sources their raw frame and slide forgings from an outside US foundry, maybe they also get their cold hammer forged barrels from an outside source. Not uncommon in the gun world. It's just like AR-15 maker's that use forgings for upper and lower receivers... they don't actually forge their own. They buy them from outside foundries, and then get them delivered to their own facilities, where they machine them to their final dimensions.
There are exceptions, like S&W that has it's own in house foundry, but that is not the norm for most manufacturers.
 

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looks like cast, not forged, to me
I understand your conclusion. It does look like there is a mold parting line but forging does the same thing. Investment casting (lost wax process) gives them a lot more opportunity to get closer to net finished form. According to casting house customer that I did some repair, upgrades and revisions on their molds for told me that they can move porosity around but can never completely eliminate it. The porosity and resulting grain structure are why castings are generally considered less desirable. Forging produces almost zero porosity and a more compact grain structure.
So does anyone have a problem with Ruger cast frames or how about Freedom Arms? Ruger knows casting about as well as anyone and FA uses 17-4 PH which is some d**n tough s**t.
 

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They also have forged barrels, but the method used for the barrel making is called cold hammer forging,
I wonder how they get the rotary forge past the link lug.
Note that Imbel barrels were two piece with a rifled tube mono bloc into the breech shape.

Smith and Wesson stayed with cut rifled, then broached because the asymmetric revolver barrel would not button evenly.
 

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Well Jimmy , I ain't your partner and I never said that the cast frames came from Imbel, I said from Brazil.Did you not know they used cast frames from S. America at one time?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Well Jimmy , I ain't your partner and I never said that the cast frames came from Imbel, I said from Brazil.Did you not know they used cast frames from S. America at one time?
They claimed some time back to having switched to a US source for their frame and slide forgings.

Any previous use of cast frames from Brazil, no matter what Brazilian firm(s) they may have come from, would be irrelevant to how they are making them now. SA touts them as being forged, and that has been the case for quite some time now 馃憤

Oh, and as for calling you "partner", that didn't happen. Read my post again and realize I wrote "their source partner", not "their source, partner". Using a comma or not does make the difference 馃檪
It should be obvious that I was talking about Springfield Armory's source partner 馃憤
 
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