Melting Point Law Question
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    Melting Point Law Question

    I am still learning about guns and today I stumbled across the Melting Point Law. I did a little research and have a couple questions. If someone can answer them, I'd appreciate it.

    1) I understand the law was intended to stop the selling of "Saturday Night Specials" as mentioned in the NFA Act of 1968. Is it correct to assume that the barrel and cylinder will not have the same melting point as the frame or can the barrel and cylinder also be lower melt point metals?

    2) How do polymer frame pistols get around this law?
    By the time you hear the gunshot, it's already too late...
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    >I think< it is because the refined definition of what the actual 'gun' is. The polymer frame is not 'the gun.' >I think< that the barrel and slide are not defined as 'the gun.' Only the trigger mechanism and firing mechanism (pin, hammer, etc..) are considered 'the gun.' Which is why you can take a Sig P320 mechanism and put it into a different frame with a different barrel and slide (thereby changing the caliber) yet still have the same 'gun' i.e. modularity. Again, this is my very rudimentary understanding. Perhaps someone with more in-depth knowledge will chime in.
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    Typically, the only firearms made of alloys with a low melting point like ZAMAK are only used for firearms chambered in low pressure or otherwise soft recoiling cartridges such as .22LR, and only for components like the frame, slide, or receiver. Barrels and Cylinders are always made of steel, because there's no way that either could withstand the heat/pressure if they were made of Zinc/Aluminum alloys. Not even the infamous Saturday Night Specials of old had alloy barrels.

    Outside of .22LR firearms, only companies like Hi-Point, Jimenez, and Rohm-Gesellschaft use alloys with a low melting point. So yeah, if it's a reputable company known for manufacturing quality firearms, then they typically won't built firearms chambered in anything over .22LR out of Zinc/Aluminum alloys because for anything more it has to be so thick that the firearm becomes bulkier and heavier than one made of steel, yet less durable.

    Polymer Frame firearms are exempt due to the fact that the rule was made in regards to alloys made from metals which had a low melting point which the infamous "Ring of Fire" companies were using to cast cheap firearms components from. These alloys were typically made extremely crudely (unlike the firearms of today which use industry standard alloys such as ZAMAK) by melting down scrap metal comprised largely of zinc but never with any consistent or controlled recipe, which resulted in the metal often coming out extremely brittle due to all the impurities in the alloy from trace amounts of stronger metals with a higher metling point such as iron being present within the alloy.
    Last edited by Tuco_Ramírez; 10-23-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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    Yes, I used to have a pot metal Davis .380 poj. Sold it to a pawn shop for $30. Was happy to be rid of it.
    Last edited by NativeTexan; 10-23-2017 at 08:34 PM.
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    Well, I've got a Phoenix Arms HP22 that is true junk. Oh, it's accurate and it works....for a while, until the zamac puts it down. Funny, though, how the Hi Points are supposed to be pretty reliable, yet they're in calibers like 9mm and .45. The way they accomplish that, and they're blow backs to boot, is with slides that are heavy enough to be used as an anchor for the USS Ronald Reagan. Zamac not only is low melting point and malleable (and brittle), it's HEAVY. Its one virtue is it's cheap to manufacture. That's why the "guns" are so cheap. They can outlaw zamac and I won't loose any sleep over it.
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    Truthfully, it's a legacy law which ought to be done away with seeing as it is no longer necessary since we no longer have fly-by-night firearms manufacturers making cheapo pot metal frag grenades, nor could such factories ever be successful in the event in which someone were crazy enough to try to start one these days when pretty much all the old ones got sued into oblivion decades ago and the niche for bottom-dollar firearms has long since been tapped out by companies such as Hi-Point.
    As previously stated, the firearms which are made using alloys with low melting points are built using industry standard alloys such as ZAMAK which lack the inconsistency and lack of quality control of the infamous Saturday Night Specials, so all the law accomplishes these days is preventing folks from buying/selling low-cost yet high quality .22LR firearms such as Henry Rifles.

    I own a Walther PPK/S .22 which is supposedly made of some sort of zinc alloy, yet it has never given me any trouble, nor has anyone who actually owns one ever said anything bad about them, (aside from the ridiculously heavy 17lb DA trigger which has nothing to do with the alloy) and regardless of what certain folks on certain forums may say *coughWALTHERFORUMScough* they have never had any catastrophic failures from cracked slides, which can be verified with a simple Google Search.
    Last edited by Tuco_Ramírez; 10-23-2017 at 08:55 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Austin_Powers View Post
    Typically, the only firearms made of alloys with a low melting point like ZAMAK are only used for firearms chambered in low pressure or otherwise soft recoiling cartridges such as .22LR, and only for components like the frame, slide, or receiver. Barrels and Cylinders are always made of steel, because there's no way that either could withstand the heat/pressure if they were made of Zinc/Aluminum alloys. Not even the infamous Saturday Night Specials of old had alloy barrels.

    Outside of .22LR firearms, only companies like Hi-Point, Jimenez, and Rohm-Gesellschaft use alloys with a low melting point. So yeah, if it's a reputable company known for manufacturing quality firearms, then they typically won't built firearms chambered in anything over .22LR out of Zinc/Aluminum alloys because for anything more it has to be so thick that the firearm becomes bulkier and heavier than one made of steel, yet less durable.

    Polymer Frame firearms are exempt due to the fact that the rule was made in regards to alloys made from metals which had a low melting point which the infamous "Ring of Fire" companies were using to cast cheap firearms components from. These alloys were typically made extremely crudely (unlike the firearms of today which use industry standard alloys such as ZAMAK) by melting down scrap metal comprised largely of zinc but never with any consistent or controlled recipe, which resulted in the metal often coming out extremely brittle due to all the impurities in the alloy from trace amounts of stronger metals with a higher metling point such as iron being present within the alloy.
    It ain't just cheap alloy guns that have problems.

    Take a look at how many issues have been had over the last 40 or so years with the alloy frame COLT Lightweight Commanders. Shoot them hard and/or use hot ammo and you end up with a cracked frame- usually, from what I've seen, right around where the hole for the slide stop is located.

    That's why both of my Colt Commanders are 'Combat Commanders'- meaning they have steel frames. They weigh a few more ounces than the Lightweight aluminum framed ones, but it's a comforting weight and I don't have to worry about cracking a frame after paying Colt prices for a 4 1/4" 1911.

    That being said, I wouldn't miss a minute's sleep if they just did away with the use of ZAMAK in firearms completely. Some of those pre '68 imports are so poorly built that they are just scary.
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    Oh, I completely understand where you're coming from, and as previously stated, while alloys can be used in higher quantity/thickness in order to withstand the necessary pressure/force stronger cartridges generate, it will never equal the strength or durability of Steel.

    The trick with various alloys is that it's always a trade off, with Aluminum alloy you are sacrificing strength/durability in exchange for lighter weight, and with Zinc alloy you're sacrificing strength/durability in exchange for a lower price, both of which makes perfect sense for a carry/home defense gun that you don't really plan on taking to the range very often or shooting really hot ammo out of, but can easily be a waste otherwise.
    However, in both cases it is possible to make more durable firearms by either strengthening the alloy by adding in stronger materials (like how Smith & Wesson adds Scandium to their Aluminum alloy to strengthen it) or otherwise simply using more of the alloy (like Hi-Point does with their extra thick ZAMAK slides) but regardless neither will ever equal Steel.

    So the way that I see it is, while I generally prefer Steel, I'm not against the use of alloys as long as the company is up front about it and passes any costs savings on to me the consumer.
    Like I said, I own a Walther PPK/S .22 which is supposedly (I say supposedly because the source is the unreliable American website which has mislabeled a number their German-made firearms with incorrect/inaccurate information including certain pistols like the PPQ .22 having a "Zinc Diecast" slide when in reality it's Aluminum alloy as correctly stated on the German website) made of some sort of Zinc-Aluminum alloy, but it doesn't bother me because it works great, is fun to shoot, cost roughly 1/3 of what it would have cost for an all Steel model, and appears to be built well enough to withstand the pressure/force generated by the .22LR cartridge seeing as Walther themselves recommends using High Velocity ammo, not to mention that there are folks out there who have shot tens of thousands of hot rounds like CCI Stingers/Velocitors out of there's without any visible signs of damage or structural compromisation from wear.
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    Zamak sounds more like a medication than a metal.

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    I know the Heritage revolvers aren't legal in Illinois due to their melting point law.....that's all I got.
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    Definition of clip

    1: any of various devices that grip, clasp, or hook
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