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Thread: Life expectancy of Smith tubes?

  1. #1
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    Life expectancy of Smith tubes?

    So the black plastic tubes I purchased for my daughter's Smith are beginning to split. She has probably been to 6 skirmishes. I imagine the tubes have been fired 6-10 times.

    Is this the normal life expectancy?

    I found this thread discussing it. Looks like Hal had similar life expectancy.

    https://www.n-ssa.net/vbforum/showth...-carbine-cases
    Last edited by Maillemaker; 05-01-2022 at 10:40 PM.
    Steve Sheldon
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    Life expectancy of Smith tubes?

    The life for the Poly Smith tubes depends on how much "regrind" (ground up scrap from making injection molding) is used. The more regrind the shorter the life of the tube.
    When you buy anything made by injection molding you are at the mercy of the place making them. Recently because of the rise in the cost of raw material manufactures
    will use "regrind" to lower the selling price and increase their profit margin.
    I purchased Smith tubes in the past (years ago) that lasted for many shots. Not to be repetitive, today you get regrind. I was told by a manufacture that 5% regrind
    was OK. No regrind is the best. The reason the red musket tubes split could be because of too much regrind. unfortunately everything today is dollars & cents.
    When you ask for no regrind material you are at the mercy of the honesty of your supplier!!!! You can have them made out of nylon but skirmishers won't pay the extra cost!

    The life of the tubes also depends on how you clean them. I put the tubes in a net bag. put them in the washing machine & use cold water - then I let them air dry!

    I was trying to get a mold made for Maynard tubes and the place I went to you payed a lot extra for "NO regrind material". By the way they wanted $12,000.00 for a
    mold that made two tubes at a time. Then you pay for the time on their injection molding machine that drives the price up to where brass tubes are cheaper in the long run.


    Joe Plakis Jr.
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    PapaRob is offline
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    Steve thats about right for the life expectancy on the tubes from what I have found. I have some that have lasted more and of course some that lasted less but overall they are good for 6-10 in my experience. Also as Joe said it depends a lot on how ya clean them too. The off color ones (not typical black tubes) don?t seem to last even half that long from my experience.

    Rob

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    I used to design injection molded plastic parts for Bell Labs. We would explicitly specify 100% virgin material - no regrind. I guess if you are a small affair they might lie to you.

    So Nylon tubes last longer?

    What kind of plastic are the black ones made from? HDPE?
    Steve Sheldon
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    PapaRob is offline
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    Yeah I believe the black ones are HDPE but I am no plastics expert by any stretch. They are the only ones I have used though so take what I say from that perspective.

    I don't know about the Nylon ones but my adjutant Andy uses the Yore ones because he shoots an unlined original and they fit his chamber better than the plastic ones do. As far as I know with the Yore ones he hasn't had any of them go bad but then again he shoots his musketoon more than his Smith so I doubt he has more than 4-5 shoots on them at this point.

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    I tried the translucent red Yore tubes but find they are so flexible that they do not hold the bullets rigidly in place. It's easy to end up with a bullet cock-eyed in the tube mouth. When I did load workups, accuracy was noticeably worse with the Yore tubes. I attribute this to random bullet orientation in the case mouth.

    I really wanted them to work as I love the translucency of the cartridge. Makes it easy to verify there is powder and how much gap you have under the bullet.
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    Life expectancy of Smith tubes?

    The black tubes are made out the same material that they make milk jugs out of. It is the least expensive material to use.

    I think that someone put up on the board about using compressed air to get a smith round out of a brass case to see if it reduces the size of your "sized bullet".
    I deal with compressed air every day for a living and I would definitely not use compressed air to clear a brass Smith round. Depending on the pressure you use
    the bullet can come out of the case and cause injury. I personally would take a pair of pliers and pull the round if it did not have powder in the case. If there
    was powder in the case I would soak the round in water to kill the powder. People get injured almost every day with compressed air doing things that should
    not be done with compressed air thinking that they are safe to do so.

    Joe Plakis Jr
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    Kevin Tinny is offline
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    Hello:
    I may have posted this before.

    Went down the black plastic Smith tube lifespan road with my mint original, and found:

    My cases came from Fort sutlers, pre-Covid. They indicated they got them from Jackie, and he confirmed it.
    My testing of useful lifespan was with the steel pop rivet in the flash hole, full charges of SWISS 3Fg, LIGHTLY DEBURRED MOUTHS, several lubes and a commonly used, Bly shortened Lyman "515" bullet sized .001" over land OD.

    After 25 firings with detergent washes after each use, the cases were undamaged, had the same mouth and OAL dim's, and flash holes were also fine. Phil at S snd S said the flash hole will erode to uselessness in a few shots if not lined.
    The group sizes were unchanged, with no case sticking.

    Suggest talking w Jackie if concerned.

    Very respectfully,
    Kevin Tinny

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    J davidson is offline
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    I have bought every color of the plastic tubes directly from jackie for different smith's. I can say the gray/silver ones I am shooting through my original won't make 5 firings they have a noticeable seam from molding and I probably have 25 percent splitting along that seam after 3 shots. I've had several split after 1 firing. The blue color ones my son uses in his pietta and I have thrown 1 away after 4-5 firings. I put the brass grommets in all of them.

  10. #10
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    I think that someone put up on the board about using compressed air to get a smith round out of a brass case to see if it reduces the size of your "sized bullet".
    I deal with compressed air every day for a living and I would definitely not use compressed air to clear a brass Smith round. Depending on the pressure you use
    the bullet can come out of the case and cause injury. I personally would take a pair of pliers and pull the round if it did not have powder in the case. If there
    was powder in the case I would soak the round in water to kill the powder. People get injured almost every day with compressed air doing things that should
    not be done with compressed air thinking that they are safe to do so.
    I've popped several rounds out of the black Smith tubes with compressed air. I just hold the cartridge in my hand and the bullet pops right out into my hand. Probably 150 PSI. No real force behind it at all. It's tame. Might be different with a brass case but the plastic cases must stretch because it's a very mild "pop" and out it comes in your hand.

    Now, you don't want to do it with a case full of powder - makes a mess. I tried it once inside a plastic bag trying to salvage the bullets. Not worth it - then I used pliers and just melted them all down.
    Steve Sheldon
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