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So on Saturday a customer walked in the door with a low serial # Interarms SS .380 PPK.... one of the first thousand made (had a '00' serial #)
Holy smokes... he wanted the gunsmith go over it to make sure it was clean and in working order.... one of the other guys was talking to him, but I couldn't resist and jump at the chance to fondle the PPK....
I do have to say that this PPK was one of the smoothest PPK's I ever handled. I didn't take it appart as that is the smith's job, but I did play with it for a bit and the slide racked back as smooth as butter, and to my surprise when looking at the slide rails with the slide pulled back it looked almost like the PPK was running dry. It was clean but there was not much lube on the rails at all.....
What I am saying here is .... damn these guys sure knew what they were doing ....
I did check both of the S&W PPK/S's we had at the store and no surprise there... not even close to the smoothnes of the Interarms
 

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I remember when the US plant first began producing Walther PPK firearms (it was in Alabama, right?). There were stories in the gun magazines that the German Walther engineers visited the US factory and were very meticulous going over all the production methods. After a couple days, they stated the US factory was as good, if not better than the German factory. And they gave the final "stamp" of approval for the use of Walther Banner.
 

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The gun magazine stories were mostly pap. Walther's engineers had never produced a gun by the same techniques that Mid-South Industries chose to re-engineer the PPK/s, and had no way to evaluate the production. Their analysis was strictly functional and cosmetic, both of which met Walther's standards.

The Interarms gun was redesigned to be made principally from investment castings, as opposed to the forgings machined by Manurhin. The genius of it was that the parts were completely interchangeable mechanically with the German. Unlike many guns in which investment-cast parts are not machined, but used "as cast", the design of the PP series pistols did not lend itself to that economy, and practically every surface of the Interarms guns had to be machined to finish dimensions. Walther also had never produced a stainless steel gun, and the first Interarms PPK/s pistols to be produced in quantity were in stainless. Overall the finish was as good or better than the German, but QC went up and down like a yo-yo.

The Alabama plant that made the Walther pistols had, a few years earlier, manufactured hundreds of thousands of fuses for cluster bombs for the Air Force for use in Vietnam. They had enormous and recurring troubles trying to correctly make Walther pistols, proving once again that good firearms manufacture is part alchemy-- not easily mastered by people hired from a non-gunmaking labor pool.

M





M
 

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The Interarms gun was redesigned to be made principally from investment castings, as opposed to the forgings machined by Manurhin. The genius of it was that the parts were completely interchangeable mechanically with the German. Unlike many guns in which investment-cast parts are not machined, but used "as cast", the design of the PP series pistols did not lend itself to that economy, and practically every surface of the Interarms guns had to be machined to finish dimensions.
I am not sure what you mean by some of this. Would you please explain in greater detail.

Thank you
 

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I guess I do not see the problem with doing an investment casting and then machining the rest.

If you just cast it and left it I would think that would make a pretty nasty looking pistol that would not function well.

However metal from a casting could actually be stonger than just carving what you want out of a billet.

When you cast the metal the outside will freeze first in the shape of the material. As a result the crystal growth, or grain is aligned. While in a billet you just cut out what you want without regard for the crystal structure or grain.

I am not a metalurgist. However I am a chemist and have an interest in Materials. i would really like to here from a metalurgist and the pro and cons of investment casting.
 

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Forged guns are ALWAYS sronger than cast. Also more expensive. But casting has come a LONG way from the old days. ALL of Rugers guns are cast. I've had Ruger Mini-14s, P89s, and their .22 pistol. All functioned 100% reliably. I've also had one of the very early investment cast pistols in the AMT Skipper...a Commander-sized 1911A1. Right inside the top of the box it came in was a warning about using special lubricant on the slide rails (white lithium grease). The early stainless guns had both the slide and frame cast from the same metal and galling was a big worry on them. Colt and S&W didn't have this problem becasue they used different grades of metals for slide/frame. Smith and Wesson and Colt forge most all of their guns...either aluminum or carbon or stainless.
Having said all that, the main advantage of forging over cast is strength. But especially strength in the form of LONGEVITY. A forged gun will outlast a cast gun every time. But the number of rounds needed to wear out a cast gun is HUGE...way more than any shooter will normally run through a gun.

Dep



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I would agree that a forging is stronger than a cast. However Forgings are basically metal parts that are hammered into shape. Hot forging is done near melting temps while cold forging is done at low temps.

So I guess the real questions is did Walther carve the PPK out of a solid billet or did it forge the parts?

If it was forged I am quite certain that it is stronger. If it was just machined out of a piece of steel I do wonder about its strength compared to a cast.

Of course a forging is better but where the PPK forged or machined? And how does a machined piece compare to a cast piece.
 

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It's all academic, and of no consequence to the shooter. For any practical purpose, PP-series pistols components machined from forgings, machined from barstock or extrusions, or cast by investment (lost-wax) casting, are all plenty strong enough for their intended use.

German and Manurhin made PP-series pistols used about nine forgings, including the frame, slide, hammer and trigger guard.

Interarms guns used no forgings. Slide and frame and most other parts were made from investment castings; barrels and some other parts were machined from bar stock. Late production includes some MIM castings such as the ejector/holdopen.

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I'm not a metalurgist, but I think heat-treating during processing and after final processing/shaping is significant in establishing the strength of the final component. Forged, cast, billet machined----all processes need heat treating, as do the final (desired) condition of the components. Heat treating may be different for the final component, based upon the type of material used initially and the desired strength and "toughness" of the finished component.

The choice of material state -- forging, casting, billet machining -- and the required heat treating to end up with a useable component is usually determined by economics.

OK, metalurgists, chime in.
 
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