Magnesium bodies

Started Mar 26, 2012 | Discussions thread
T3 Forum Pro • Posts: 20,349
Out-dated thinking. Time to join the 21st Century!

Bill Force wrote:

You are referring to Canon primarily and they were guilty of using a plastic chassis with magnesium shells.

I hate to break it to you, but this is a Nikon body:

The basic reason magnesium is used in Pro Level cameras is basic, it's is simply a better material if used in rough and adverse conditions. I packed a Speed Graphic for 8 years in the Navy and military cameras had to survive many endurance tests before they were adopted for military use. I never saw a PLASTIC FANTASTIC all the time I was in the service.....HMMMM, I wonder why?

You wonder why? Probably because you were enlisted during World War II, before the age of modern plastics? LOL.

What you fail to realize is that many of the latest, modern assault rifles make heavy use of plastics. Why? Because they don't corrode, have greater temperature stability, are lighter, absorb shock/vibration better, etc.

Consider that the latest generation of high tech military assault rifles are being made of plastics! Yes, plastics are being applied to the latest military assault rifles because they provide for a strong, durable, resilient weapon that is also lighter. The following are all military assault rifles that have plastic body frames. And no, I do not mean "plastic over metal subframe". I mean a true plastic body frame. The gun barrel and springs and small mechanicals inside the body frames are still metal, but the structural body frames are plastic. These are the next generation of weapons that the soldiers of tomorrow will be carrying. Lighter, with less metal and more plastics.

Here's the Israeli Tavor 21 (bottom) alongside the HK SL8-4 (top), both of which have plastic bodies. These are the latest generation of military assault rifles. And, as I mentioned, these are not "plastic over a metal subframe". Their body frames are actually injection-molded plastic.

Here are other plastic-bodied military assault rifles:

And yes, even good old Smith and Wesson recently introduced an updated, all-plastic (except for the barrel) version of their venerable AR-15 (you might know it better by the US Military's designation: the M-16) that is said to be every bit as good as the standard model, but a lot lighter! This plastic version is called the M&P 15-22.

And it even won Smith and Wesson the 2010 Rifle of the Year Award from the shooting industry.

Oh, and I should add that to the best of my knowledge I know of no assault rifles with magnesium alloy frames or bodies. I know some air guns and paintball guns use some magnesium components, but by and large you rarely see magnesium used in real weaponry. And obviously, nowhere to the same degree that plastics are being used! Gee, I wonder why? (It's because magnesium is brittle and prone to cracking.)

It's funny that plastics are good enough for the latest military assault rifles, but your average weekend warrior photographer thinks it's not good enough for a DSLR! And conversely, you hardly see magnesium used at all in military weaponry, and certainly not to the extent of having an assault rifle body frame made from magnesium, and yet some photographers think it's a miracle metal! Maybe weapons designers and testers and military weapons experts know something that the average magnesium-adoring photographer doesn't know? I'd be surprised if weapons designers hadn't considered all potential materials, including all types of magnesium alloys and plastics. I'm sure these weapons designers tried out the same magnesium-molding processes that camera manufacturers use to make their magnesium cameras, testing out magnesium-framed weapons just like they did with plastic, and maybe they found out that magnesium just wasn't all that it was cracked up to be? And somehow these different weapons manufacturers all started using plastics for their body frames? Not magnesium? Hmmm.

Hopefully, this will get people to re-think their false notion that plastic is such an inferior material and magnesium is such a superior material. If plastics are good enough for hotshoe flashes, lenses, and today's toughest military forces, I'm pretty sure it should be good enough for a DSLR body.

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