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Apothecary

Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum Follower

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Hello Everyone,

 

I'm newly registered here, and this is my first post. I've looked through some old threads and have seen some questions regarding the length and cycling reliability of a few aftermarket followers, but I couldn't find anything that addresses the hardness of stainless steel as opposed to aluminum.

 

I've finally broken down and bought a Benelli M4, and true to form, before firing the first shot through it, I'm looking to replace some parts. (I'm sure that's not a foreign concept to many here...) I've ordered a Carriercomp titanium magazine tube and picatinny rail, and have also picked up forearm parts from FFT as well as several parts from GG&G. As part of a package deal, I bought the GG&G stainless follower, and was wondering if the (I'm assuming) harder composition as compared to aluminum presents any problems. This might be a moot question, as the first "hit" I found with a search for the respective hardness of each metal yielded an average of B90 for commercially pure titanium, and maximums of B87-88 for several annealed types of stainless. However, if stainless is hardened, it looked like the hardness was more in the C40-45 range. At first glance from a Wikipedia article, it doesn't appear to be as simple as the C scale beginning where the B ends, but it does appear that stainless steel can be made harder than titanium.

 

I don't get as much spare time as I would like, so I doubt I'll ever be able to wear a hole in the magazine tube, even if I had a diamond follower. My guns are all range toys, so my life will hopefully never depend upon the reliability or lubricity of the follower. However, in the past few weeks when I've been looking around on this forum, I haven't seen much mention of the GG&G follower, good or bad. I do realize that the Carriercomp tube will include a follower when shipped, but for visibility, it requires the original Benelli insert. (The GG&G has a red anodized aluminum insert.) If possible, I wouldn't mind leaving all of the original Benelli parts in pristine condition, should I ever need to get the shotgun back into stock condition. (I should be well beyond 922R compliance, but it might be good for resale/trade to keep the original parts.)

 

Has anyone here noticed any undue wear or had a bad experience using a stainless follower in a titanium tube?

 

Thanks, and I know I can be a bit long-winded...

Carl

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Stainless usually plays well with titanium, but under the right (wrong) circumstances can gall. Aluminum if hard anodized, is outstanding as a reciprocating component, being that its surface is at or around 70C on the Rockwell scale. That's why aluminum AR15 receivers stand up well to hardened steel bolt carrier abuse. My guess is your GG&G follower, while heavy, should work well. FFT also makes red followers, but not sure if they are hard coat, or decorative anodized. Do you have the factory follower? The Carriercomp hard anodized follower you'll get use to include a tool so you could adapt the factory safety insert.

A quality stainless follower, or hard anodized aluminum follower would be my choice. Avoid too much lube with the stainless follower, as it may self imbed dirt particles picked up by the lube. Hard anodized aluminum won't have that problem, and is lighter (followers should NEVER be heavy).

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Hi marc63,

 

Thanks for the reply. I did finally decide to use the Carriercomp follower, with my original Benelli high-visibility insert. I thought that the considerably longer length of the Carriercomp one would lessen its chances of canting inside the magazine tube. It's a remote possibility, but I thought that if it were to cant, it might chatter or even grab as it traveled down the tube. Even though this shotgun will almost certainly never see combat or defensive duty, I still don't want to introduce anything that might impede its functioning.

 

Again, thanks for the reply.

Carl

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It's my pleasure. And in case you thought I was really smart or something, I'm not. I'm just a nerd who reads a lot!:D

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