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Old March 20, 2009, 08:39 PM   #1
Johnywinslow
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steel vs stainless ???

Is SS realy that much better then blued steel, cosmetics aside? in referance to the 58 remingtons.
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Old March 20, 2009, 10:32 PM   #2
mykeal
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Well, in order to answer that I need to know how much better 'that much better' is.
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Old March 20, 2009, 10:57 PM   #3
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Stainless versus carbon steel is a question often asked in the knife industry. Many claim that a stainless blade is softer and doesn't hold an edge like the higher carbon ratio in carbon steel. But given the additives today and sharpening techniques, this argument doesn't hold water. So evaluating barrels based on knife blades would tell me it is more a want than a need.

Stainless offers better protection from rust. But if you clean your carbon steel firearms, you will not have the problem with rust. I have an old Damascus barrel on my 1860 vintage shotgun that doesn't have any rust. I have a 1920s hand me down .22 that also has no rust. It is how it is cared for that really matters.

Saying that, there are a lot of folks that clamor to stainless steel. But no one has shown me where stainless steel makes a firearm shoot straighter or last any longer than blue steel. So it is a preference issue to me.

But I stand to learn from the metallurgy experts here to correct my thinking and open my eyes so that I may consider investing in a stainless firearm.
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Old March 21, 2009, 02:25 AM   #4
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For black powder pistols, cosmetics seem to be an important part of the equation. However, cosmetics aside, stainless steel offers not only rust protection but much better internal corrosion resistence. Black powder residue inside a barrel is quite corrosive and in regular steel barrels cleaning after firing is critical, stainless steel somewhat less so. I would not consider leaving my 'blued' steel blackpowder rifle uncleaned for even a day after firing.
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Old March 21, 2009, 02:50 AM   #5
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Depends how much of a blend

To find how much stainless is in the stainless (the quality of the SS. Pure SS will not attract a magnet at all), try sticking a magnet to it. If there is a good amount of stainless the magnet should hardly stick. If there is alot of plain ferris steel in the blend, the magnet will stick more. The more ferris in the mix, the more it will develop rust or pitting. I dont know how much stainless a product has to have to be labled "stainless" the magnet will tell you

Stainless does have to be cared for tho.... sweat (salt) salt water and sea spray, and some powder residues will still need to be cleaned off (especially black powder residue), or the stainless will end up pitting, rusting or discolouring to darken (lose its shine) like around pistol hand grip areas where sweat (Salt) is prevailant. Stainless is softer than steel, so dings and scratches occur easier than blued steel, and SS screws are soft and easily damaged with ill fitting screwdrivers. I prefer SS in most cases for revolvers, some parts of SA's have to have the rockwell hardness of normal steel (thats why I like polymer SA's with a SS barrel (Go the Glock)

Go Stainless is MHO

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Old March 21, 2009, 08:40 AM   #6
Indian Outlaw
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I don't like stainless for 19th Century (-designed) revolvers. It looks funny to me. And stainless steel is noticeably softer, at least the stainless used in firearms. If you don't believe me, and you have a couple of old junker guns to tinker with, take some emery paper (320 grit will work well) and run it down the length of a stainless barrel, back and forth. Now do the same with a carbon steel barrel. Unless the carbon steel is total crap (Armi san Marco?), it should be harder to shave with the paper. I once "touched up" a S&W stainless revolver with some 320 grit, followed by 600 and 1500. I was pretty shocked at how easily the steel came off. Before I knew it, I had gone too far. Surface hardness may not matter to you, however. If that's the case, then disregard this.
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Old March 21, 2009, 09:11 AM   #7
williamfeldmann
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Company selling stainless matters too

There are some guns I prefer in stainless and some I don't.

The Ruger Old Army looks awesome in stainless, and their stainless is a better quality stainless than some of the older Italian stainless models (a new Uberti 1858 of a friends is the same magnetic properties as my Ruger). Does it shoot any better? No, you would get the same action out the blued.

Where the stainless really shines, pardon the pun, is in regular use. I believe that a gun needs to show some use to show character. But stainless will hold up better to many trips out and into a holster. Put a nonglare finish on and that gun will look as good after its 1000th trip out of a holster as the day you unboxed it. It cleans up nice and easy and the internals, if stainless, hold up better.

I really like a blued gun that shows its use in fading of the blue around the cylinder and barrel, but don't like the in between looks, but thats just me. Not to mention they are bit more finicky in cleaning.

One thing noone has really mentioned is 'in the white' guns. A bit of polish and they really look sharp. They need cleaned well every time as the blueing process adds some rust resistance, but over time they will develop almost a patina from oils mixed with dirt(BP) and heat and sweat and really get a personality to them. It almost makes me think about defarbing. Almost.
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Old March 21, 2009, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
the quality of the SS. Pure SS will not attract a magnet at all
That's simply not true. I'm no metallurgist, but 400 series Stainless Steels are highly magnetic, while the 300 series are not. They both have roughly 16% Chromium, trace amounts of other elements and for the 400 series, the balance is iron. 300 series, for the most part, have an additional 12% or so of Nickel that the 400 series don't. Most definitions of Stainless Steel describe a minimum Chromium content that determines it is "stainless" rather than "carbon". So if the determining factor is Chromium content, then the two series are equally "pure" and the magnet test has no bearing. Different manufacturing processes and elemental additives determine if it is magnetic, but not it's "purity".
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Old March 21, 2009, 01:13 PM   #9
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SS has to be softer. If its hard, its brittle. If you want to talk barrel hardness, contact Mike Bellm. www.bellmtcs.com
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Old March 21, 2009, 03:16 PM   #10
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SS has to be softer. If its hard, its brittle.
In a general sense, stainless steel is often used in less-hard conditions than alloy carbon steels, but in the range of hardness used in firearm barrels, many stainless steels can and do meet the criteria without being brittle. And there are very strong, very hard and not so brittle stainless steels, such as 17-4 PH.

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Old March 21, 2009, 04:13 PM   #11
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ok Mr.Knowitall
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Old March 21, 2009, 11:03 PM   #12
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Grym

I stand corrected on the magnetic issue, I can only speak from my learnings/experience, and I can handle being proven wrong
(just don't do it again!..... lmao)

Live and learn, I always say ..... aint life grand

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Old March 22, 2009, 02:39 AM   #13
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Grym
I stand corrected on the magnetic issue, I can only speak from my learnings/experience, and I can handle being prove
Don't worry; for 30 years or so, I was a machinist by trade and have cut a lot of metal and know a little bit about it, but someone who really knows this stuff may come along and hand me my hat at any moment.
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Old March 22, 2009, 09:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Is SS realy that much better then blued steel, cosmetics aside? in referance to the 58 remingtons.
Stainless may be more forgiving about proper cleaning, but it can still have rust or corrosion issues. I find the major benefit is it can be buffed out when it starts shows a lot of handling wear. It boils down to personal preference.
Nickle plate was and still is popular, I'm surprised there aren't more nickle cap and ball revolvers offered.
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Old March 22, 2009, 10:12 AM   #15
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as a matter of fact I do elctro plating and have nickle plated my 51 navy sherriff .44 , my attempt at an antique finish.
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