The Ultimate Firearms Destination for the Gun Lifestyle

Getting them 1911s Muddy

In Range TV has produced another mud run — this one is a mud test of the WWI and WWII era 1911s. Mostly. (It’s actually a contemporary naval issue Ballester Molina Argentine copy of the 1911.) Take a gander.

Forgotten Weapons 1911 Mud Test

Getting them 1911s Muddy

Want to know more about the Ballester-Molina? Read Ian McCollum’s article on Forgotten Weapons.

Trivia alert: legend has it the steel in the Argentine Ballester-Molinas came from the armor plating of the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee.

From the American Rifleman:

But was it the Graf Spee’s armor? Probing deeper, I consulted metallurgical studies of German armor plate commissioned during World War II by the U.S. National Defense Research Committee. Even before the war the Germans had tried to conserve nickel, which they chronically lacked, by using alloys correspondingly richer in chrome. To obtain properties necessary for face-hardening, their armor plate also contained vanadium in percentages described as “lavish.”

The studies found that German tank armor typically was composed of 1.45 percent chrome, 0.50 percent carbon, 0.60 percent molybdenum, 0.65 percent manganese, 0.25 percent silicon and-most significantly-0.20 percent or more vanadium. Nickel was present only in traces. Found in a pistol, this unusual alloy would be conspicuous as former German armor plate.

For this article a Ballester slide, serial number 19924, well within the British-contract range, was sacrificed for chemical and spectrographic analysis. The results were both disappointing and perplexing. The slide turned out to be high-manganese low-carbon steel having 1.07 percent manganese, 0.33 percent carbon and 0.19 percent silicon, roughly corresponding to SAE1033. It contained virtually no chrome, nickel or vanadium. So much for the Armor Plate Theory … .

While the metallurgical analysis does not show that the steel came from the Graf Spee, it also does not show that it didn’t. A warship contains large quantities of many different types of steel besides armor plate. Steel with high manganese content is not an ideal choice for gun manufacture because it is tough to machine. This suggests that HAFDASA was forced to improvise with raw material salvaged from something, but unless and until more evidence comes to light, its source remains a mystery.

Read the remainder of the article right here.

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