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Old September 20, 2013, 07:51 PM   #1
Clevinger
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Winter Hunting: Stainless versus Blued Barrel

I want to get a Tikka T3 light with the regular blued barrel for a year round predator gun, which would include winter hunting in Minnesota.

In terms of performance in cold weather, do stainless steel barrels really make that big of a difference? I really don't want to get the stainless if the blued barrel can perform in winter.
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Old September 20, 2013, 07:56 PM   #2
Brian Pfleuger
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Nope.

Unless you're the type that's not likely to wipe down your gun after hunting then it might help. Otherwise, clean and lightly oil the barrel and other blued pieces and you'll be fine. Bluing has been fine for... very long time.

I buy stainless because I like the way it looks but I've never had a problem with blued guns in rain/snow.
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Old September 20, 2013, 08:11 PM   #3
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Stainless will be easier to keep looking nice for longer. A little more attention will be required. Blue metal will show "character" marks sooner, may have some surface rust, but anything bad enough to cause problems is a neglect issue, not a metal issue.

I prefer SS/synthetic on my rifles because I expect them to be used in any conditions. I could live with blue/synthetic. Just need to pay attention a little closer.
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Old September 20, 2013, 08:22 PM   #4
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I agree with Brian 100%. I have both and neither have any rust even hunting in WNY snow and rain.
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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I am a perfectionist about cleaning my guns. So I am good, even down to -5 F or so?
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:39 PM   #6
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We have blued guns in the family that have been hunting in the snow for 50 years and they look great. IMO, a older blued gun is better looking than a SS gun.
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:53 PM   #7
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It's not temperature that's the enemy, it's moisture. Bringing a cold gun into a warm house will create significant condensation. Just wipe it down after it's warmed up a bit then lightly wipe down with oil (scent free if it's a hunting gun). You'll be fine.
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Old September 20, 2013, 09:56 PM   #8
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Winter Hunting: Stainless versus Blued Barrel

Blued gun has nothing to do with temps. As others have said make sure it is cleaned well after use
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Old September 20, 2013, 10:18 PM   #9
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A couple of barrel makers told me stainless steel barrels are not as strong as chrome moly ones in sub zero temperatures. While the difference is small, folks insisting on the hottests loads might want to check with a good metalurgist for their stainless barrel type.
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Old September 22, 2013, 09:30 PM   #10
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Cold weather has no effect on the strength of any rifle barrel. There are instances where cold can affect fracture toughness (Google "Liberty Ships"), but not in any steel used for modern rifle barrels.
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Old September 22, 2013, 11:30 PM   #11
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I've never had any problems with a blued barrel. I've had a wood stock - that I didn't take care of properly - show problems with a week of snow and rain. Still that wasn't the stock's "fault". It was a "user" issue because I didn't tear down the rifle to dry and inspect it - when it was brought into a warm cabin. I was careful about the metal - but neglected the barrel channel.

Anyway it was still a successful hunt and I managed to take a very nice elk with the gun.

So I 'd be more interested in the stock material if you think you are going to be in a situation where you can't maintain the weapon.

P.S.

But Lord Almighty I do hate the look of a synthetic stock!
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Old September 23, 2013, 12:05 AM   #12
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Winter? .... no ...Summer?..... yes ....My bad experiences with blue rusting were hunting woodchucks in the hot summer sun. Salty sweat transferred to the gun is more corrosive than winter condensation. I learned also that salts are not oil soluble. Simply wiping the gun down with gun oil just spreads the salt around.
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Old September 23, 2013, 04:08 AM   #13
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You folks who hunt with blued rifles can answer this.

If you go out hunting with your blued rifle in the wind, snow and rain, when you return from your quest do you take the action out of the stock to get any moisture that may have got itself between the barrel and stock, and the insure you have oiled right in there?

I have heard folks say not to remove your stock from the rifle too often as it will affect accuracy? This is what I do anyway and my rifle is SS
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Old September 23, 2013, 07:22 AM   #14
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If the gun is in need of cleaning, which it would be if it gets rained on, I take it down just like I'd be dong a complete cleaning. I don't clean the bore but everything else gets wiped down and then lightly oiled. You can't just oil them, oil doesn't remove water, they have to be dry first.

Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; September 23, 2013 at 04:55 PM.
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Old September 23, 2013, 11:03 AM   #15
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Small air compressor on the workbench is dandy for blowing out tight spots. Small cans of air sold at RadioShack work fine when away from your bench.

Many fine aerosol products intended for guns do the trick also. I take a small can of CRC Electronic Cleaner with me when I BP hunt... really dries a gun out instantly with no lube film to mess up the flint/flash pan spark NOT to be confused Electromotive Cleaner which can damage finishes.
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Old September 23, 2013, 04:52 PM   #16
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I'm a hunter in Michigan, never had a stainless barrel and have never had rust issues from rain and snow. Just wipe it down and oil and you'll be ok
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Old September 25, 2013, 05:44 AM   #17
trg42wraglefragle
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What's your definition of a full clean Brian?
I can't say any of my regular cleaning routines involve removing the action from the stock.


Quote:
I'm a hunter in Michigan, never had a stainless barrel and have never had rust issues from rain and snow. Just wipe it down and oil and you'll be ok
I envy you, I live in possibly one of the most humid places in the world which isn't a rain forest, and my guns can get corrosion from just sitting in the safe, even after oiling. Although funnily enough my 1943 Lee Enfield doesn't ever get corrosion where my other guns will. I guess they did a job properly back then.
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Old September 25, 2013, 07:47 AM   #18
Brian Pfleuger
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Hm. Yeah, if I'm cleaning the gun, the action is out of the stock. Otherwise, I'm only cleaning the top half. It doesn't have to take but 5 minutes, if that. Clean dry rag, lightly oiled rag, wipe it down with both, put it back together.
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Old September 25, 2013, 11:05 AM   #19
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.

The only issue I have with stainless bbls is that they glow brightly in the semi-darkness of prime game shooting hours, especially when situated in non-snow covered areas. (I apply camo tape to them)

FWIW, for the past 40+ years, BEFORE I hunted in wet or Winter weather, I removed the bbl'd action from the stock & slathered the inletting (except the trigger area) with a thick coat of paste wax - the excess of which was pressed out & mostly wiped off when the rifle was reassembled. ( I also leave a thin coat on the exposed metal.)
The wax prevents the entry of any moisture, and (so far) hasn't made any difference in accuracy.

I've never had even a single moisture/rust issue, since I started using the paste wax.



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Old September 25, 2013, 12:12 PM   #20
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Stainless? A lower grade steel than chrome molly hot or cold. Don't need one for bad weather. I keep beater rifles around for that.
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Old September 25, 2013, 06:02 PM   #21
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Regardless , I either use my Sako stainless with synthetic stock or Ruger No 1 stainless 45-70 with laminated stock in really wet weather....in fair to nice weather it might be one of my blued lever actions ! The Sako is easy to field strip and dry out but the lever guns not so much ! To each their own and the stainless guns shoot nicely...the .243 cal Sako is almost unfair its so accurate and easy to shoot ! A friend of mine has A Tikka that is really accurate as well
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Old October 2, 2013, 09:03 PM   #22
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I've just bought a Tikka T3 in 6.5x55SE , I waited for the shop to find me a blued one. There were plenty of stailess ones available, but I prefer chrome molly. After 45 years hunting, in all conditions, I've had no rust problems with any of my rifles.
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Old October 4, 2013, 01:09 AM   #23
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shiny

My only gripe about stainless is that some versions are too shiny! Seems pointless to go to extremes in camo and concealment, and have a neon rifle.

I've thought hard about getting my worst offender professionaly coated or finished in some manner to fix this, but tape is cheap and not as messy as paint.
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Old October 4, 2013, 10:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
I've never had even a single moisture/rust issue, since I started using the paste wax.
I agree completely. Automobile wax works fine, but I try to use the kind that doesn't have polishing compound.
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Old October 4, 2013, 12:22 PM   #25
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First off... I hate shining things on hunting rifles.

That said, I live in the coastal mountains in Oregon and the humidity here is horrible. Anything not well oiled will rust. Indoors or outdoors. For that reason and that reason alone I'm slowly switching to Stainless.

If you're worried about rust well on a hunting trip just keep your gun well oiled and cleaned and it won't be a problem.

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