View Poll Results: Steel or Aluminum Frame Ultra

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  • Steel

    11 40.74%
  • Aluminum

    16 59.26%
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    spanish073187's Avatar
    spanish073187 is offline Junior Member
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    Steel vs Aluminum in a Ultra

    Looking at getting an Ultra in .45 soon and I know the only ultras that are steel frame are the Eclipse and Super Carry HD. I know most don't care for the aluminum frames due to hp ammo wearing out the feed ramp and overall frame not being able to take as much punishment as a steel frame, but seeing as the ultra uses a ramped barrel does the general consensus still stand as far as your much better off with the steel frame?

  2. #2
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    Thumbs up

    If your going to carry 10 hrs or more a day the aluminum frame is the only way to go for me and my wife.

  3. #3
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is online now HGF Forum Moderator
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    I owned an Aluminum Kimber around 2004/05. Never would buy one again.

    Admittedly, the smallest Kimber 1911s DO come with ramped barrels. But most do not. Without a ramped barrel, you are stuck with the aluminum frame being the feed ramp. Also, you have to worry about what magazines ya use too. If you don't want one with a polymer follower, ya get the dreaded "gouge" - this is where the follower bangs the inside grip frame and slowly puts a hole in it that gets bigger and bigger the more ya use the gun.

    I have a 5" Kimber Tactical aluminum 1911. The gun would not function with many types of mags (the safe ones). It would ONLY work 100% with the Kimber factory mags. Why would Kimber sell a gun with mags that would damage the gun? Anyway, after just 400 rounds thru the gun, I was getting that gouge just beginning. And the aluminum feed ramp was already showing a horrible amount of wear.

    Never again... Stick with steel, if I were you.

  4. #4
    Josser's Avatar
    Josser is offline Junior Member
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    No problem with my SS Ultra Raptor. had it for over a year now. Have had no problem with the Mag that came with the gun and the 2 Kim-Pros I bought. No damage at all to the feed ramp!

  5. #5
    Tomcatt is offline Junior Member
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    I've had my Ultra Carry II since '03. No problems with wear on the frame of any kind. I have carried it 12/14 hours a day and forget it's there.
    Tomcatt

  6. #6
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Anodizing hardens and penetrates the surface of aluminum. In fact it hardens it enough that Indy race cars can eliminate the cast iron sleeves in their cylinders and rely on the hard-anodized surface to take the wear. Of course they rebuild the engine after each race so it is not nearly as durable as cast iron (mainly because cast iron provides some added lubricity).

    So if you have an aluminum frame and it is "hard anodized" which penetrates significantly deeper than decorative anodizing your frame will wear much longer with less damage.

    Note: A forged frame is much stronger than a billet frame but there is little difference in the hardness of the materials. Only the structural strength is improved by forging.

    Hard anodizing is called "Type III" anodizing. It can achieve a hardness of Rc60 to Rc70 on the Brinnel scale and is "file hard".

    Here are some hardness levels on the MOHS scale:

    Aluminum 2.0 to 2.5
    Copper 2.5 to 3.0
    Lead 1.5
    Hardened Steel 7 to 8
    Iron 4.5

    I could not find the MOHS value for hard anodizing but "file hard" would be equal to the harder levels on hardened steel, somewhere in the vicinity of 7 - 8.

    What you can see from this is that if you shoot lead (non-jacketed ammo) you should see almost no wear on the aluminum frame as the lead is softer than the aluminum.
    Copper, though is marginally harder than aluminum and will cause wear.

    If you have your frame hard anodized (Type III only) it will wear much longer.

    Note: Type II is decorative and will make for a harder surface but it is only the Type III that will provide the performance cited above.

    You can find more information on line by Googling "MOHS hardeness scale".

    (A little science can make a lot of sense sometimes.)

  7. #7
    rex
    rex is offline Senior Member
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    I'm with Shipwreck.If you want to shoot it get steel,for carry aluminum.Personally I'd never buy a Kimber,but an aluminum frame will live with good mags and well shaped rounds for carry and some practice.If the ramp goes rebarrel it or put George's ramp insert in it.I still wouldn't shoot it like a steel frame after that.

  8. #8
    usmcj's Avatar
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    I've carried a 1911 of some make for over 25 years. I've carried aluminum frames, and steel frames, all day, every day. I've never worn out, (or worn into) an aluminum frame, and I've always used a sturdy enough belt/holster combination, to carry any 1911 comfortably.

    Whatever works best for ya...

  9. #9
    spanish073187's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by usmcj View Post
    I've carried a 1911 of some make for over 25 years. I've carried aluminum frames, and steel frames, all day, every day. I've never worn out, (or worn into) an aluminum frame, and I've always used a sturdy enough belt/holster combination, to carry any 1911 comfortably.

    Whatever works best for ya...
    Well never did end up getting the ultra.... But I did figure out how to successfully conceal carry my full size stainless II comfortably. Cross-breed super tuck deluxe w/ full forward cant at 4:00 with a sturdy belt just did the trick. Still want an ultra, but probably going to be a while before I pick one up. Thanks for all the input guys.

  10. #10
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Before the Crossbreed type of holster came out I carried a Gold Cup for 7 years in a pancake holster. Very comfortable. Completely concealed with a sports jacket or a loose button up shirt. If your apparel allows it, use a pancake that day. Much more comfortable than an inside the waist band holster. Think of it as "holster vacation" day.

  11. #11
    BearTaylor is offline Junior Member
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    Steel is tougher and less subject to wear. I have a ss frame Pro TLE 2 which a little heavier but I don't mind.

  12. #12
    Packard is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BearTaylor View Post
    Steel is tougher and less subject to wear. I have a ss frame Pro TLE 2 which a little heavier but I don't mind.
    It depends upon how you carry. When I carry strong side with a pancake I like the extra weight. I find it reassuring. It if is really light I can forget about it, and I'd rather be reminded of it.

    But ankle or pocket carry is entirely different. There I want a light weapon, though I find that the Galco Ankle Glove is very comfortable with my Glock 27, and that is not all that light. But then I'm of an age where I am not likely to do much running. So that is a factor too.

  13. #13
    Bennett's Avatar
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    I have both the steel and aluminum frame Kimber's, Kimber Eclipse Ultra II 45 ACP, this gun is all stainless steel and can get very heavy after a long day, I have run about 1500 rounds through it with absolutely no problems and find the gun very accurate. I also have a 9 mm Kimber Ultra Aegis II which has the aluminum frame, this gun is very comfortable to carry, I have put approximately 500 rounds through it with not one problem. I do plan to get an aluminum Kimber 45 ACP, have a couple of friends that have them and they are very satisfied. I use King Tuck IWB holster which fits both the 45 and 9 mm.

  14. #14
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    I think you will find that most guns are aluminum (investment casting) or poly now because they are the easiest to work with and bring in the highest profits because it takes less man to produce one

  15. #15
    rex
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    Again,if you want to shoot it-steel,if you want to carry it-aluminum.This meaning 500 rounds does not constitute shooting it,1K rounds is deemed broke in,reliable,and some maintenance practice gone in 2 years?

    You can't beat carrying aluminum,but you can beat them shooting it for real.They can be extended but not with the ramped barrel.

    The ramped barrel prematurely cures a follower problem,unless it's done for other reasons.A good plastic or split follower will let the bullet alone work the ramp,which will make it last.Alot of follower dings are still no biggie because if the gun is spec'd correctly the dings are not going to affect feeding for a while.Another area is the frame's barrel stop,the poorer the fit the quicker it goes south.If you start normal,you now have the option of a well fit ramped barrel to start over with.

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