How to tell a carbon barrel from stainless steel


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moredes
July 2, 2005, 07:39 PM
Title line pretty much says it all....

How can one tell a barrel is stainless steel and not carbon?

Thank you.

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Jim Watson
July 2, 2005, 07:49 PM
Apply a spot of cold blue. If it colors the metal it is carbon steel, if it won't it is stainless.

If on a finished rifle, I never heard of anybody selling a bare carbon steel barrel, it is just too subject to rust.

KriegHund
July 2, 2005, 07:52 PM
In sooth, it is unlikely you will find such a bare barrel.

If it has blueing it is carbon, if not it be stainless.

Cesiumsponge
July 3, 2005, 04:04 AM
All carbon steels should be magnetic to my knowledge. I don't know what grade stainless steels are used for gun barrels, but stainless can be found in magnetic and non-magnetic varieties.

Cold blue would be a great idea but if turned out to be carbon steel and you didn't want to blue the barrel, you'd have a spot of blued steel on there. I don't know if that affects it if you refinish the barrel using a different method later on. I think bluing can come off with steel wool but I'm not sure how much material you'd need to remove. All my guns are evil black :o

BobCat
July 3, 2005, 09:25 AM
Most stainless barrels are 416 or 416R, which is magnetic. 300-series stainlesses are not magnetic, but no one would make a barrel out of them.

Put a drop of 50:50 nitric acid:water in an inconspicuous spot. No rxn = stainless. Fizz and dark spot = carbon or low-alloy steel. This is from an old ASTM STP - Identification of Metals and Alloys by Spot Test or some similar title. Dark spot easily removed with 600 grit paper / steel wool.

Regards,
Andrew

entropy
July 3, 2005, 03:33 PM
Five seconds on a polishing wheel gets blue right off. So will Muratic Acid, but it will leave a dull grayish spot.

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