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Old October 29, 2011, 08:33 AM   #1
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Stainless vs. Blue

I'm new to hunting and have to figure this stuff out on my own - no mentor. Anyway does anyone have any successful experience hunting with stainless steel finishes? I was told that I should choose blued over SS 'cause the SS is shinier and will throw glints while hunting (deer). Is this true? I really like the Marlin or Rossi SS 3030 lever action (aesthetics mainly). Won't SS hold up better than blued guns? Or is it like having a Harley with lots of chrome, loud and lots of maintenance? Any guidance appreciated.
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Old October 29, 2011, 08:48 AM   #2
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I use a blued Savage 30-06 to hunt with. It does get wet and I have to be very diligent about drying it off, spraying it down with WD40 (water repellant) and then oiling it after having it in the woods especially when it snows or rains.

It seems that lots of people prefer stainless and composite stocks for hunting - more resistant to the elements. It's all what you like - no one else is going to care one way or another.
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Old October 29, 2011, 08:52 AM   #3
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Part of my interest besides "looking cool" ; b
is the durability issue - the other is spooking the quarry with glints from a SS barrel / action. Does this cause a problem for anyone?
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Old October 29, 2011, 09:05 AM   #4
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I don't have a problem with Stainless spooking anything, but do have problems with rust on blued carbon steel. I live where it is very humid, and if you don't continually keep a coat of oil on a carbon steel gun, it will rust.
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Old October 29, 2011, 09:11 AM   #5
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I had my muzzle loader in it's box ( don't have gun cabinet yet) kept in kitchen above upper shelves. I used it, cleaned it, and put it away. Several months latter I took it down and the inside of the barrel looked like it was growing grass - rust! I quickly brushed it out and re-oiled it. Since I've been spraying it down with Barricade (?) gun oil and haven't seen rust on my .22 mag Savage or the muzzle loader - both blue. This incident makes me think if "shiny" SS doesn't spook game then to hell with blue. I understand blue is a "tactical" advantage but I pray to God I never need to be sneaky to shoot anyone. Thanks.
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Old October 30, 2011, 08:35 AM   #6
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According to several leading wildlife magazine writers, I should never have been able to take a deer during hunting season.

I move around too much where I sit, I drink coffee or hot chocolate while hunting, have the occasional cigarette, I do not wash my clothes in "Scent Free" laundry detergent nor do I wear special cammo boots. Matter of fact, the only money I have spent recently on clothing was for a new orange vest.
My guns are not camouflaged and they do have gun oil on them.

My buddy is the same way AND he hunts with a stainless steel barreled gun. He usually gets his deer before me.

Apparently our deer have not been reading those magazines either, or hanging out where the hunters are talking about this.

OK, Seriously. Buy the gun you want. Learn to use it and enjoy yourself. If you hunt from a tree stand, you'll notice that not very many deer look up. I honestly think this was piece of gun lore was started by either someone looking for an excuse on why he or she did not get a deer, or was speculated on by some of the guys who dress up in cammo.
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Old October 30, 2011, 10:00 AM   #7
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I have mostly blued rifles, but do have one stainless Ruger 77 Hawkeye. I really can't tell any difference with critters seeing stainless versus seeing a blued rifle. Truth is that I pretty much always make sure that the critter is not looking my way when I bring up the gun, so I guess I could have a red or pink rifle and it probably wouldn't matter. What I do really like about the stainless Ruger is that maintenance, other than barrel cleaning, is about zero. I can put fingerprints all over it and not worry about rust. I wipe it down every now and then anyway, but I think that's due to some sort of guilt rather than need. Just buy what looks and feels good to you.
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Old October 30, 2011, 10:53 AM   #8
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I've used a Ruger M77 MkII all-weather stainless (the shiny one) for almost 20 years and NEVER had it spook a deer. Now most are peened to a dull finish so they're better yet. And the main reason for stainless is less chance for rust but stainless steel STILL can rust if not taken care of. The new stainless steel rifles that are also "trinitrided" (Remington and TC make versions) will probably never rust.
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Old October 30, 2011, 03:09 PM   #9
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Weatherby's very shiny blue never seemed to bother Bambi. Never had any rust problems with any blued rifle, and I've hunted some in misty weather.

I dunno. Six of one, half-dozen of the other. I've always figured that the biggest deal in hunting is wind direction. Then, noise, but that oughta be obvious.
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Old October 30, 2011, 06:11 PM   #10
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Stainless will be easier to maintain, but in most cases blue works just fine. As far as animals being able to see the gun, stainless is no worse than blue and in most cases better. Most stainless guns use a bead blasted surface so as not to reflect light. Some blue guns do, but most have a more highly polished suface that will actually reflect more light than stainless with a textured finish. The older Ruger stainless guns are the only ones that could be problematic.
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Old October 30, 2011, 06:51 PM   #11
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jmr40. See my post above about my older Ruger stainless. Never has scared a deer in almost 20 years. And the new blued rifles with the peened surfaces (like my new SPS Buckmasters) won't reflect light like they used to.
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Old October 31, 2011, 07:31 AM   #12
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I don't think it makes a difference. I would avoid using polish on your stainless gun but other than that I think its ok.
Shot placement is everything! I would rather take a round of 50BMG to the foot than a 22short to the base of the skull.

all 26 of my guns are 45/70 govt, 357 mag, 22 or 12 ga... I believe in keeping it simple. Wish my wife did as well...
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Old October 31, 2011, 10:22 AM   #13
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Everything I own is now stainless. I just wrap a little camo tape around the barrel, before the season, and then remove it after season is over.
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Old October 31, 2011, 10:48 AM   #14
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Six of one, half - dozen of the other...
I don't think it makes a difference

Have shot deer with both blue'd and stainless.

Although the stainless may be a bit of a more durable foul weather finish, it still requires maintenance.
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Old October 31, 2011, 11:53 AM   #15
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Brushed stainless (low polish) should reflect less than a high polish blued gun. I don't think there is any practical difference.
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Old October 31, 2011, 12:26 PM   #16
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I would go parkerized over both, no glint at all. half my collection of hunting rifles are blued, the other half parkerized. I used to hunt with stainless and never got anything. coincidence? I think not.
ignore my complete lack of capitalization. I still have no problem correcting your grammar.
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Old October 31, 2011, 12:40 PM   #17
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I have one of Art's aforementioned shiny, blued, Weatherby rifles. Finish really doesn't matter, in my opinion. I bought this rifle because I couldn't find ANY .308s in my price range ($500 or less) in the whole Seattle area - and believe me I checked. When I finally found one, finish didn't matter, I bought it. Deer, to me, and elk to a bit of a lesser extent, will look to see what something is before spooking. Sounds and smells will send them scurrying before a glint of steel, blued or stainless, sends them into the wallows.

Just this year, on two occasions, I stepped into a fairly open area and there were bulls in it. I was trying to be spooky and not make any noise while playing the breeze. They looked at me and my shiny blued rifle, glinting in the morning sun, for a good 15 seconds before trotting off; plenty of time to kill one (I generally have a cow and buck tag in Idaho when I hunt there - no shot today). But oh, just try and sneak up on a herd bedded down on the side of a hill while they are laying in the bushes and deadfall.

Just get the rifle you really want and don't skimp on the scope.
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Old October 31, 2011, 12:51 PM   #18
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Stainless ..... stains less.

Easier to maintain.

Not enough difference in "shiny" to matter, if you hold still. Movement, noise and odd scents (windward) will do more to spook deer than a shiny barrel.

Odds are, if you hold still and be quiet, if a deer comes in from upwind, he'll never see you, and if he does, he won't recognize you as a threat until it's too late. Often, if a deer senses danger with one of their senses, they'll try to confirm it with another before fleeing..... it takes a lot of energy to run away from every alarming sight, sound or smell, and when running, there is no guarantee that they are not running blindly into a real threat.

That said, all my hunting guns are blued.
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Old October 31, 2011, 01:02 PM   #19
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I have taken a mature doe with a S&W M657 (stainless). But, having been in the army and had the advantage of camouflage demonstrated, and having observed how the deer notice objects that reflect light (our faces and hands), the suggestion of using camo-tape on the gun makes much sense. I can envision a stainless gun being brought up to take a shot being seen by a deer in regard to both movement and reflecting light.
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Old October 31, 2011, 01:10 PM   #20
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Stainless ..... stains less.
They had to name it something...I would question weather or not the persons who named that type of steel, intended it to actually mean, stains less. After all, there is the name for Cast Iron, which is not elemental iron, and should not be taken as a literal synonym for the element of Iron but in a cast form. A better name for it that would actually describe what it is more accurately might be, "Hyper-Carbon Casting Steel".
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Old October 31, 2011, 01:29 PM   #21
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Deer are wired to see motion. I have been busted many times raising my camo bow just a few inches. From my experience they see/smell/hear the world in binary threat or no threat. A shiny motionless barrel is not a threat. A camo barrel in motion is a threat.
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Old October 31, 2011, 01:31 PM   #22
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Much to do about nothing.

Along the lines of LE Snpers in Ghillie Suits leaning over the hood of a police car out side of a bank to deal with a hostage situation.

You think the bandit can't figure out what that swamp thing is.
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Old November 1, 2011, 06:55 PM   #23
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Neither stainless or blue will effect your deer hunting. Deer see movement and that is what captures their attention.

Stainless can be easier to take care of but blueing is pretty durable as well. My rifles are all blued and have been in a lot of bad weather. A little oil afterwards and they are as good as new.

It really comes down to which finish you prefer.
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Old November 1, 2011, 07:49 PM   #24
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might be, "Hyper-Carbon Casting Steel".
Medium Carbon high Chromium alloy steel. Never more then .40% (medium) carbon in it. Chromium minimizes the rusting.

Wikipedia says....

Stainless steel does not stain, corrode, or rust as easily as ordinary steel, but it is not stain-proof.[3] It is also called corrosion-resistant steel or CRES when the alloy type and grade are not detailed, particularly in the aviation industry. There are different grades and surface finishes of stainless steel to suit the environment the alloy must endure. Stainless steel is used where both the properties of steel and resistance to corrosion are required.
Stainless steel differs from carbon steel by the amount of chromium present. Unprotected carbon steel rusts readily when exposed to air and moisture. This iron oxide film (the rust) is active and accelerates corrosion by forming more iron oxide. Stainless steels contain sufficient chromium to form a passive film of chromium oxide, which prevents further surface corrosion and blocks corrosion from spreading into the metal's internal structure.

Passivation only occurs if the proportion of chromium is high enough.
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Old November 6, 2011, 12:31 PM   #25
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I tend to agree with "Uncle Buck" on this. I believe it is far more important that you are alert to movement around you so you see them when they come into view, than making yourself invisible. Of course, consider normal precautions like paying attention to wind direction, hide your outline a bit and move slowly. I have on occasion started a small fire to warm my hands and had critters walk within a few yards of me. I'm sure that the "serious hunters" that use scent blocker, camo that best matches the local landscape, and shower with special soap will be more scuessful, but when hunting becomes that much work, I'll just stay at work and make money. As for stainless vs blued firearms I don't think there is a notable difference. Stainless will be more durable but then again, I've carried the same blued Rem 700 for several years, I wipe it down every day or two during the hunt, and clean it good when I put it away after the season, its holding up quite well. I'd be concerned about using a shinny stainless rifle for tacticle/Military type use, but not so much for hunting. General advice for a new hunter, find a good stand, figure out the most likely area for game to pass by, them watch everywhere else because they will often show up where you least expect them, and make it a real chalenge for you to get in position for a shot. Happy Hunting
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