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Springfield Armory's raw 1911 slide & frame forgings?

3372 Views 48 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  Jolly Rogers
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

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Again, the old favorite film:

That was a fun film to watch 馃憤

It sure is quite amazing to see how labor intensive milling those forged frames were before CNC came into play and became so advanced.
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.
I know that Springfield Armory lists their barrel as being forged, and it is a one piece barrel now. The more economically priced Turkish made Tisas 1911 pistol also sports a one piece cold hammer forged barrel. Actually, it seems that Tisas was the first gun manufacturer in Turkey to incorporate in house manufacturing of cold hammer forged barrels.
I'd love to see a video on how they do them.
Glock was the first gun I purchased that had a cold hammer forged barrel, and although I have seen some online vids on the process, I have never seen one go into detail on how they do pistol barrel's chamber section.
Again, I would love to see how it's all done 馃憤

Here is a Tisas video on some work they do on their barrels after they cold hammer forge it. But, it doesn't explain how they get the bigger chamber end done in the hammer forging machine 馃
Maybe they don't do the chamber section at all in the forging machine?... I don't know 馃
I spoke to a Glock Rep years ago, and he specifically said that the mandrel placed inside their barrels during the cold hammer forged process, formed the chamber and rifling.

It's not a 1911 barrel shown in this Tisas video, but it still makes for an interesting video to watch...

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Looks like they hammer forged the rifling and left a large cylindrical lump for the breech section to be milled out of. Or maybe they hammer forged it at the large diameter and did not show the rough turn of the tube. The chamber is conventionally reamed.

SchuemanZ says their barrels are made out of bar stock in a single CNC, no fixturing or handling.
Mr Zita told me it takes about 45 minutes.
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Looks like they hammer forged the rifling and left a large cylindrical lump for the breech section to be milled out of. Or maybe they hammer forged it at the large diameter and did not show the rough turn of the tube. The chamber is conventionally reamed.

SchuemanZ says their barrels are made out of bar stock in a single CNC, no fixturing or handling.
Mr Zita told me it takes about 45 minutes.
Yup, there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat 馃樃

I found the following short video that gives a basic/general explanation of a Cold Hammer Forging process used to make rifle barrels. I'm sure some deviations on this apply, but it does give a decent laymans explanation...


All very interesting stuff.
I imagine there may be different ways for different firms to approach this cold hammer forging thing, and age of the machines may make some difference, (since improvements come along from time to time).
My curiosity continues 馃槃

I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for more info on the cold hammer forged barrel thing 馃檪
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
Some people never paid attention in English class JJ. Gun forum members are some of the worst offenders.

Bill
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Some people never paid attention in English class JJ. Gun forum members are some of the worst offenders.

Bill
Sure, we can make ourselves look stupid, but we still have all the guns :LOL:
Some people never paid attention in English class JJ. Gun forum members are some of the worst offenders.

Bill
Yes, which is why you should have a comma between class & JJ. ;)
is that an aluminum cast ?
If you are referring to the first photo posted by to OP the answer is no. That is a forging. The forging process gives you a rough outline of final product whereas the casting process allows for more detail, closer to net dimensions and features. As an example, I copied a photo of a cast aluminum lower from www.80-lower.com so you can see the greater detail possible in the casting process.
Unlike the die for forgings the casting mold can have inserts and slides that allow features like pockets, holes and undercut features to some extent. Holes usually do not come out round so still require machining if they are critical or threaded.


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Here are some examples of hammer forged barrels. First is cut cross section of a .223/5.56mm GI barrel.
Second is a partially forged M-60 barrel which shows the OD of blank before and after forging. Machine had a fault, this was 鈥 half done鈥.
Last is one of a finished 20 gauge shotgun barrel. Barrel would go to a normalizing oven then OD finishing on a CNC lathe.

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Heres an old list of forges in the US many years ago. I will bet 90% are long gone. Sad, really sad.
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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?
Not Jimmy but I would like to see the source for this information. Joe
View attachment 659371 View attachment 659371 Heres an old list of forges in the US many years ago. I will bet 90% are long gone. Sad, really sad. View attachment 659371
The downturn in 2008-9 buried quite a few forging and casting houses. I have done some work for a couple of casting houses, one in Spanish Fork, Utah that was bought out and then closed. The only forging house that I have done work for is Anchor Harvey in Illinois. I designed and we fabricated some gages for a Harley Davidson frame part they were producing in the USA and Canada. They specialize in aluminum. You Harley riders were getting top quality from those guys. I never confirmed but I think they also did AR upper and lower forgings.
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View attachment 659371 View attachment 659371 Heres an old list of forges in the US many years ago. I will bet 90% are long gone. Sad, really sad. View attachment 659371
You really got me curious about Trinity Forge because I bought some 1911 forgings from them for some prototype ideas. They are still in Mansfield, TX and still serving the firearms industry.
The downturn in 2008-9 buried quite a few forging and casting houses. I have done some work for a couple of casting houses, one in Spanish Fork, Utah that was bought out and then closed. The only forging house that I have done work for is Anchor Harvey in Illinois. I designed and we fabricated some gages for a Harley Davidson frame part they were producing in the USA and Canada. They specialize in aluminum. You Harley riders were getting top quality from those guys. I never confirmed but I think they also did AR upper and lower forgings.
Ahhh, Harvey, best be armed going there theses days. Used to be many mfg鈥檚 in and around Harvey years ago. IIRC, last time I was there was 82.
Ahhh, Harvey, best be armed going there theses days. Used to be many mfg鈥檚 in and around Harvey years ago. IIRC, last time I was there was 82.
It's funny you bring up the Freeport,IL area. I have never been in their facility. I used to do a lot of gage work for TEAM Industries who made a lot of drive train components for Polaris, Arctic Cat and others. They are the ones who referred us to Anchor Harvey because TEAM was going to be one of the companies machining forgings for Harley Davidson. I made a lot of gages for TEAM for their HD production. It's interesting how time and the economy has changed our industries. For several years my largest customer was TEAM then 3M pretty much captivated our capacity and this past year it was Collins an aerospace company that builds cargo systems. We don't design for them but machine prototype components and assemblies.
Yup, there is definitely more than one way to skin a cat 馃樃

I found the following short video that gives a basic/general explanation of a Cold Hammer Forging process used to make rifle barrels. I'm sure some deviations on this apply, but it does give a decent laymans explanation...


All very interesting stuff.
I imagine there may be different ways for different firms to approach this cold hammer forging thing, and age of the machines may make some difference, (since improvements come along from time to time).
My curiosity continues 馃槃

I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled for more info on the cold hammer forged barrel thing 馃檪
GFM from Austria started cold forging barrels at the end of WWII. AFAIK they mfg most of barrel forging machines. Not limited to small arms either as outer barrel of everything up to large artillery are mfg鈥檈d. Russia bought many years ago as 鈥 high pressure pipe鈥 mfg. LOL. Ruger bought their first barrel forging machine early 80. Bill Ruger and John Amber were there to observe, they were fine Gentlemen.
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Here are some examples of hammer forged barrels. First is cut cross section of a .223/5.56mm GI barrel.
Second is a partially forged M-60 barrel which shows the OD of blank before and after forging. Machine had a fault, this was 鈥 half done鈥.
Last is one of a finished 20 gauge shotgun barrel. Barrel would go to a normalizing oven then OD finishing on a CNC lathe.
Interesting. Notice that they are all circular cross section, no lumps and bumps like a 1911 barrel. You would have funny ID variations if you tried to get close to the finished contour.
The first well known hammer forged barrel was on the Steyr Mannlicher of maybe 40 years ago. It was forged to bore, chamber, and taper. All they did was polish the spiral hammer marks. I think mostly for advertising but there were thoughts they did not want to cut into the stressed material and let it relax and distort.

I read that Ruger had their hammer forge sitting in a corner for a good while before they figured it had become cheaper to make their own barrels instead of buying commodity blanks. A friend was very proud of his Douglas barreled M77 Swift, and justly so, he won more than the price of the gun in sporter benchrest matches before it was shot out.
Interesting. Notice that they are all circular cross section, no lumps and bumps like a 1911 barrel. You would have funny ID variations if you tried to get close to the finished contour.
The first well known hammer forged barrel was on the Steyr Mannlicher of maybe 40 years ago. It was forged to bore, chamber, and taper. All they did was polish the spiral hammer marks. I think mostly for advertising but there were thoughts they did not want to cut into the stressed material and let it relax and distort.

I read that Ruger had their hammer forge sitting in a corner for a good while before they figured it had become cheaper to make their own barrels instead of buying commodity blanks. A friend was very proud of his Douglas barreled M77 Swift, and justly so, he won more than the price of the gun in sporter benchrest matches before it was shot out.
Not sure if Ruger let it sit or used in a trial mfg鈥檌ng hammer forged barrels. Quite a few Ruger rifles were/ are sold with the hammer marks on. The process is ,stress relieving heat in an oven or normalization as some call it after forging. There are quite a few barrel mfg鈥檈rs that run their GFM machines about 20 hours a day. Standard time for forging a barrel is about 7 minutes. Stress relief varies with barrel dimensions. Crowning and breech work will vary too. The process is automated with loaders/unloaders.
The original picture appears to have mold lines, or is that just me?
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