Okay, you guys (and gals) that don't like guns, just ignore this post. Don't even look at it.
I've had my Randall .45 Raider (right hand, rounded top slide) since the early-80's. Never had a problem with it. I've put more than a thousand rounds through it. This weekend, while shooting it, the front end of the slide broke clean off. Here's the pistol with the crack in the slide:
Here's a closeup:
And this is to show that the whole front end just blew off:
Okay, so what causes this? I don't believe I erred when I reassembled it after I cleaned it last. I've done that so many times, I can't imagine not getting it right. Anybody have any clue? Hopefully I can get a new slide. They don't make Randall pistols anymore, but perhaps another 1911 style slide will fit.
I doubt you did anything wrong. There are several reasons a slide can crack. Most will over time w/ a lot of shells fired through them. Impurities in the cast will also cause cracks (which probably is the case here). I think you can buy a generic slide for it, but you will likely need a gunsmith to fit it. W/o it being the exact replacement slide you have a low probability of an out of the box fit.
I actually got some pretty nice information about this when I posted it over on the 1911 forum.
Yes, the various fatigue causes outlined at that forum are very good assessments.
Chances of this type of failure are greatly minimized by slides that are forged (not investment cast) with shot-peening following machining.
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