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Do Open Tanfoglio guns in 9mm Major crack often?


Cy Soto

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It is no secret that Tanfoglio guns have a reputation for cracking frames. Is this the reason why, outside of Eric Graufel, I have never seen anyone else shooting an Open Tanfoglio gun?

My wife and I currently shoot Witness Limited in .40S&W and, thus far, we have experienced one cracked frame each. I look at guns as a tool with a limited life expectancy and would like to start shooting Open next year. However, I would not want to setup a gun which won't last more than one season.

Have you had any experience shooting one of these Open guns in 9mm Major?

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What happened with your limited frame and how hot were you loading?

One of them cracked under the trigger guard; that one has been welded and it's still in service. The other one cracked behind the thumb safety on the left side; that one is out of commission. Both were shooting 180gr bullets at 170 to 172PF.

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Cy. I know plenty of guys shooting tanfog open guns but ALL in 38 super.

I know of one cracked cone part of the comp (easy fix). I've had a slide stop break. I know of one rolled barrel lugs. That's about it. I've not seen a cracked open frame.

They have their quirks no doubt.

It's up to you. Plenty of 2011s crack slides and grips. But there is a boatload more of them in service.

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170-172 powder factor, that's major with a margin, not a hot load. I'd think the 10mm or .45+P guys would be having lots more problems than the .40 major guys.

Did both cracks start from the magazine release opening in the frame and how close are the serial numbers on these two frames? If so, maybe we could smooth the sharp edges of the magazine release opening to reduce the chance of stress risers (cracks) starting there.

And maybe the heat treatment or the hard chrome finish (which can make the underlying metal brittle if done wrong) were below Tanfoglio's usual quality standard. Or do they even heat treat cast steel/iron frames (I don't know whether Tanfoglio uses cast iron or cast steel in the frames). You might write Tanfoglio and ask them if they will make it good on the frame you couldn't get fixed. They might be aware that they had a problem in that production run.

What were the round counts on the frames? And what weight recoil springs were you using with that load?

I've got more questions than answers, I guess. Must be time to go back to bed.

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What year were they made? Sorry for the small questions about this but I am curious to see how common it is with the newer models.

did I hear you gulp?

Nope, this was the 1st I have heard of it.

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Cy. I know plenty of guys shooting tanfog open guns but ALL in 38 super.

I know of one cracked cone part of the comp (easy fix). I've had a slide stop break. I know of one rolled barrel lugs. That's about it. I've not seen a cracked open frame.

They have their quirks no doubt.

It's up to you. Plenty of 2011s crack slides and grips. But there is a boatload more of them in service.

I really like the ones I have - we've shot them 9mm minor. I found no easy way to get to 9mm major, though Canyon Creek will help there by putting a real comp on the factory ammo barrel, but your gun is out of commission while they do it (saw one at a match - they did a nice job).

So, I contacted EAA about 38 super which seems the wise choice for this gun. They said conversion kits were very rare and they had some more 38 supers ordered but didn't know when they'd land.

I'd like to get a 38 super some time, but in the mean time I've gone to the 2011 which as you say are certainly more available.

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Probably just a bad batch of frames. I have two, one was the frame from my 38 super Gold Team that has thousands of rounds through it and no cracks, the other is my 9mm Limited and it has about three thousand rounds on it with no cracks. Both of my frames have the relief cut.

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My Match has 13K+ mostly minor .40 loads with no problems. I can't check for the relief cut that praetorian mentioned (nice photo-by the way) because I can't find the right screwdriver and I don't want to use a regular screwdriver and mess up the grip screw.

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I have a Limited in 40 that I bought new in February. I noticed a crack in the trigger slot, radiating forward from the corner, at about 9000 rounds. It has grown a little, at 11,000 now. There is also another slight crack forming at the back of the trigger slot, from the 90 degree corner and radiating back towards the grip. Both of these cracks are heading for the thickest part of the frame and I don't think they will be a problem any time soon. I just picked up another Limited to set up as my match gun and to have something to shoot when the cracked gun goes back to EAA.

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Maybe it's only in my neck of the woods but, most everyone shooting Witness Limited guns here have, at one point or another, cracked either a frame or a slide. Nonetheless, the cracked Limited frames is not what I care to discuss. What I really would like to talk about is why are there so few people shooting them in Open?

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why are there so few people shooting them in Open?

I had a 9mm V12 for a time and it is pretty hard on the gun to make major. 8.3gr of HS6 under a 124gr only made 164pf in my 9mm GT, that was as high as I ever went :surprise: I never shot that load through any of my other Open guns because it only took 7.8gr to get 176pf in my CZ TS Open gun.

I've heard tales of "soft lugs" and "soft slides" on 9mm GTs, but I think the reality is that a steady diet of ammo that hot would chew up any gun in short order. My regular 175pf 9mm load in a 5.1" barrel with no holes only makes 158pf in a V12 GT barrel.

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I had a 9mm V12 for a time and it is pretty hard on the gun to make major. 8.3gr of HS6 under a 124gr only made 164pf in my 9mm GT, that was as high as I ever went :surprise: I never shot that load through any of my other Open guns because it only took 7.8gr to get 176pf in my CZ TS Open gun.

I've heard tales of "soft lugs" and "soft slides" on 9mm GTs, but I think the reality is that a steady diet of ammo that hot would chew up any gun in short order. My regular 175pf 9mm load in a 5.1" barrel with no holes only makes 158pf in a V12 GT barrel.

I can see how that could be an issue. Thank you!

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Yep lugs on my 38 super Gold Team looked pretty ragged when I sold the upper. Which is why I still have the frame which is now a 6 inch 40 s&w Gold Match. I believe my STI will much more durable shooting Open.

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