Aluminum vs Copper Gas Checks

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GBertolet posted this 11 October 2021

This probably has been discussed before, but do aluminum gas checks wear the bore more than copper ones do? I see aluminum checks advertised, where copper ones are out of stock. I have read that some members have used them with success, but being harder than copper, will they have increased wear on the barrel? If so, how many rounds will it take to notice a difference in wear?

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RicinYakima posted this 11 October 2021

IMHO, if the aluminum alloy is soft enough to be formed with the little tools used today, they are soft enough to be harmless. However, the one cravat is that you are PC'ing bullets and not running the check through a lube and sizer, all bets are off. 

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Bud Hyett posted this 11 October 2021

The aluminum alloy used for the gascheck is the key, aluminum can be alloyed from dead soft to comparable strength of low carbon steel. Being used for gaschecks where it must be easily formable, the alloy choice will be a soft alloy. I cannot see aircraft grade alloys used for gaschecks.  

Theatrically, the crystalline structure of aluminum is rougher than copper and could wear out the bore quicker than copper, However, the erosion by powder gases will act sooner to erode the bore than the gas check, whether copper or aluminum, will wear the rifling. .   

Farm boy from Illinois, living in the magical Pacific Northwest

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Spindrift posted this 11 October 2021

I use aluminium GC almost exclusively, made with my Pat Marlin Checkmaker dies. They work very well, both with lube-sizers, pan lubing and PC. One of the things I noticed when I started using them, was in fact that it required much less force when crimping them in place, compared to Hornady coppers.

 

I have also used some commercial aluminum checks (Sages). I got the impression they did not stick as well as the Hornady checks; occationally, a check fell of during the «shaking stage» of powder coating.

The home-made alu checks have tiny burrs and «bottle cap wrinkles»; I believe these small irregularities help with the grip.

 

Regarding difference in barrel wear, I suspect we’ll never get an answer based on actual empirical research. All I can say is, I’ve shot many thousands of alu GC with no problems whatsoever.

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JeffinNZ posted this 11 October 2021

I have been shooting AL checks for years with no ill effects.

The best material I have found is photolithography plates.  Mostly .012 inch and 3xxx alloy.  The higher the alloy number the higher the quality.  Aircraft materials you are into 6-7 range.  

They have their uses but will only stand so much.  My .30-30 will shoot 40-1 alloy at 1750fps super accurate BUT only using a commercial check as the gliding metal is harder and allows for some good purchase on the rifling.  Using AL checks the accuracy is nowhere near as good.  

Cheers from New Zealand

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Boschloper posted this 12 October 2021

Here is my two cents worth.

7075 T6 is the alloy used for AR15 uppers and lowers and most of the aluminum frame semi auto pistol frames. It is twice as strong as the A36 steel we make bridges and skyscrapers out of.

Aluminum isn't a very stable metal, it much prefers to be in the oxide form. Aluminum oxide is what we make sandpaper out of.

I have considered purchasing the dies to make my own aluminum checks but haven't because of my concern of the aluminum oxidizing upon being exposed to the heat and pressure of the powder gasses and leaving the oxides in the barrel to abrade a little steel off with each shot.  

Sounds like you all aren't seeing adverse effects and my concerns are unfounded. 

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RicinYakima posted this 12 October 2021

"Sounds like you all aren't seeing adverse effects and my concerns are unfounded."

Kind of like the cleaning with paper towels that have pumice in them. Rub the bluing with a paper towel and see how long it takes to change the color.  

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MP1886 posted this 12 October 2021

I wish this myth would go away.  First of all who uses aluminum with corrosion on it to make gas checks?  I use flashing for some checks, have you ever seen corrosion on flashing stored in your house, or see it on it in the hardware store? I doubt it.  Okay corrosion on aluminum is 10 nm thick.  How thick it that?  10nm is about 20 silicon atoms  I hardly doubt that is going to wear out your bore. I've been using aluminum checks for over 20 years.  I also shoot a lot and I don't see my bore rapidly wearing.  I also use soffit material for checks which is powder coated so there's no corrosion on it either, and no trip down the barrel doesn't wear all the white and/or grey off the gascheck in the ones I've recovered.  Please put this myth and fallacy to rest. 

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John Alexander posted this 12 October 2021

Good luck with killing the myths that sprout like weeds in the minds of shooters and those that have passed down from the shooters of yore.  I sometimes think we love the myths, especially the ones that demand more work, more than facts based on evidence.

John

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MP1886 posted this 12 October 2021

I hear ya John!!!

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Eutectic posted this 22 October 2021

We have aluminum jacketed commercial  bullets (the silvertips).no wear reported.  
I have used several aluminum alloys in gas checks, see my article on Disk Checks.There is no difference in performance of Al over brass both made excellent checks. The only caveat is the alloy must be soft enough to form the check without folding, but this applies to both Al and brass. 

I have seen no excessive bore wear in thousands of rounds.

I believe the wear from hot gas is more than any wear from a gas check.

Primers contain powdered glass .Take primer residue and rub it on a polished steel surface. Now you have a REAL worry, good luck sleeping!   

Or just see the previous statement about hot gas.

The only way to keep guns from wearing out is to keep them in a safe. 

 

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