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Thread: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

  1. #1

    How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I bought my Bersa thunder 380 last June 2017. I have shot about 450 rounds and noticed that the feed ramp has suffered a lot of wear, and I was afraid that the bullet wouldn't go through. I sent the gun to Bersa for repair and the gunsmith from Bersa told me that the wearing was very normal and that the feed ramp was not stainless steel, but Aluminum. I told him that it seems that the gun wouldn't be able to shoot 1000 rounds in total, before it breaks. He told me that it is common that Bersa Thunder only last 1000-1500 rounds and later on, I have to discard the gun and buy another new Bersa Thunder or change the lower part of the pistol. If I had known that the lasting life of the gun was so short, I never had bought it, since in the long run is far cheaper to buy a Beretta 84fs, a Sig 238 or 290rs, or even a browning 380.

    I cannot complaint that Bersa has been an excellent pistol in the first 450 rounds, but know I know that I have to replace it very soon!!! The materials the gun are built are so bad in quality, that they do not last more than 1 year or 1000 rounds, whatever it comes first.
    Last edited by Reginald Carstairs; 01-03-2018 at 07:55 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator TuxAir's Avatar
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Hogwash. Plenty of folks on this board have shot much much more than that. As long as the feed ramp has not been molested by a dremel tool and taken the anodizing off, it should last you a long time.

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  3. #3
    Slingshot Renaldo's Avatar
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I'm surprised that a Bersa gunsmith told you they only last 1500 rounds. I think I'd find a new gunsmith. Also, feed ramps don't really wear out.

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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Absolutely a load of male bovine droppings. BT380s are good for tens of thousands of rounds.

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  5. #5
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Welcome to Bersa Chat Tirador. If true, I guess my wife is gonna have to replace her Thunder .380 pretty soon, 'cause she bought it in 2007 & I'm sure she has close to 1500 rounds, probably more thru it. Like the others have said, that's hogwash & no Bersa gunsmith should be spreading that kinda BS. We have a warranty sub forum with a place for feedback on the warranty centers.
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Wow, I think this gunsmith must sell Bersas for a living and wants a new sale? Bersa uses an old ordinance steel known as 4140, it is still an industry standard unless you get into higher end firearms using 4150 alloys. In high power rifles with pressures 35k and upwards 4140 will run 5000 rounds, then accuracy may drop off.

    Your Bersa Thunder using the caliber .380 ACP is a 21K pressure round. That is low like the 45 ACP. Low pressure, less friction among a few other details like bullet hardness will give you many more rounds where barrel life is concerned. You should get 10,000 rounds of accurate barrel life.

    BUT.... I'm not done, this is a short barreled pistol, how accurate can you shoot it at 7 yards or less. Can you do 1" handheld groups at 7 yards with your BT-.380? If you are really good it's possible. Now lets say your barrel craps out above 10K, how much accuracy is lost at these close ranges? One inch would be a big loss. Now your old Bersa shoots 2" groups, what is the size of the center of mass? The old saying "Minute of barn" would still work at SD ranges.

    Now for the title of this thread, "nickel finish", well you may lose a little nickel in that finish after that many rounds.
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I've been reading a lot of gun forum posts lately (on multiple forums) where people seem convinced that retail price corresponds to quality. That applies neither to guns nor to cars, guitars, or liquor. Well, maybe to liquor. The world of manufacturing and retail, especially in these Global times, simply doesn't work that way. Compare a Toyota to a BMW. One guy actually called the Ruger SR series mediocre because military and police haven't bought any. Huh?
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Oddly, folks cite military/law enforcement use as evidence of quality, yet the military & law enforcement often go with low bidder.
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    Site Supporter John_R's Avatar
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    If they based their car buying decisions on that, they'd all be driving Hummers.
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    Slingshot
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Your gun cleaner will affect any nickel finish. For cleaning theBersa, do not use powerful solvents such as Hoppe’s #9 on the slide. It is too harsh and can remove the finish. Also, do not use gun oil because it can cause build up. Instead, use a “CLP” all-in-one (Cleaner/Lubricant/Preservative) such as Safariland’s Break-Free. Finally, after thoroughly wiping it down, some of us who are really OCD will spray some compressed air (the kind you blow a keyboard off) after cleaning to make sure it is really dry.

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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reginald Carstairs View Post
    Wow, I think this gunsmith must sell Bersas for a living and wants a new sale?
    Probably as well as the used Bersas he gladly took off their hands for $20 each, including the mag, just to resell on Gunbroker or Armslist.
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I never got into the habit of keeping a total round fired count, but my first Bersa Thunder 380 has got 10 years on it now and my second, a nickel version I bought used and is by serial number older than my first. Even though I carry a 9UC for my Church security team, the original matte black Thunder is still my go to and it's sitting on the desk beside me while I post.
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  13. #13

    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Wonder what round you're shooting out of that gun?
    The GF and I can put 200 rounds each through our Thunders in one range trip and I haven't seen anything like you describe. We run FMJ.

  14. #14
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I would bet good money this gunsmith "from Bersa" Is not Wolfgang and not John from JG ECT from Texes. John fixed my BT.380 after about 3,000 rounds for a broken hammer. I was shooting 100 grain then. Now shoot 92 or 95 grain. I had a range person tell me Bersa's were not made to shoot a lot of rounds. Mentioned it to John in Texas and he told me it was BS. His friend uses BT.380 as rentals on his range, and they last forever.

    Sent the same gun to Wolfgang after 5 to 6 thousand rounds. The spring under the right side grip broke. Wolfgang fixed that and called me said he went over the gun since he had it and everything looks good. I have shot another 500 rounds through it no sweat. I now have 7 pistols, 5 of which are Bersa's and rotate them more. That is why only 500 since I got it back from Wolfgang. My carry gun is a full size BT9Pro
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    Slingshot
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    I have a nickel slide BT380 bought in 2002. With age and handling the nickel began darkening a bit. Discovered that a dab of hand soap on a damp rag removes all of the darkness which is really just dirt etc.

    The frame is another story. It, too, darkened. Possibly oxidation and nothing would help. Ended up sanding (200, 1000 then 2000 grit) the whole frame to a mirror finish. Mothers Mag keeps it shiny. Looks OK I guess. Wife likes it.

  16. #16
    Bersa Warranty Center wolfgang the gun doctor's Avatar
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    Re: How long would a Thunder 380 nickel finish last?

    Does the "gunsmith" in question also sell Bersas? Sounds more like a sales pitch than a statement of an actual fact.
    They will last many thousands of rounds and keep on ticking. There are quite a few members of this forum who can attest to that fact. Even thought the frame feed ramp is aluminum, remember that is only copper or lead which is contacting it. I've worked on many, many hundreds of Bersas and have NEVER found a worn-out frame ramp (plenty that had been damaged by Dremels + lack of skill/knowledge, though). Other parts can and do wear out, but not the feed ramp. I definitely advise against the use of any steel case bullets.
    The Bersas have a lifetime warranty for the original owner, so keep that in mind when you state the guns are "so bad in quality, that they do not last more than 1 year or 1000 rounds". No company could have that sort of warranty and at the same time be of very poor quality; they would quickly become bankrupt.
    Also, you can't just replace the frame, "the lower part of the pistol". It is legally "the firearm" and would require an FFL and 4473 background check to get a new one. Basically, it's the same as getting an entirely different firearm from a legal standpoint.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tirador View Post
    I bought my Bersa thunder 380 last June 2017. I have shot about 450 rounds and noticed that the feed ramp has suffered a lot of wear, and I was afraid that the bullet wouldn't go through. I sent the gun to Bersa for repair and the gunsmith from Bersa told me that the wearing was very normal and that the feed ramp was not stainless steel, but Aluminum. I told him that it seems that the gun wouldn't be able to shoot 1000 rounds in total, before it breaks. He told me that it is common that Bersa Thunder only last 1000-1500 rounds and later on, I have to discard the gun and buy another new Bersa Thunder or change the lower part of the pistol. If I had known that the lasting life of the gun was so short, I never had bought it, since in the long run is far cheaper to buy a Beretta 84fs, a Sig 238 or 290rs, or even a browning 380.

    I cannot complaint that Bersa has been an excellent pistol in the first 450 rounds, but know I know that I have to replace it very soon!!! The materials the gun are built are so bad in quality, that they do not last more than 1 year or 1000 rounds, whatever it comes first.
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