Stainless- what benefits other than weather resistance?


February 21, 2006, 11:49 AM
Just wondering.

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February 21, 2006, 12:03 PM
Me too -AND- will a chromed AR barrel last longer than a SS AR barrel?

February 21, 2006, 12:07 PM

Most stainless steel is harder, I think. There are lots of formulations.

Of course, "regular" steel includes chrome-moly steel (sometimes cromoly or some bastardization) a chrome-molybdenum alloy, as well as carbon steel, and they can be quite different from each other, as well.

Steel is the element iron plus various small amounts of alloys and/or carbon. There's lots of variation, and over the years, it has become far more refined. That's why you can now get a 3500 fps rifle that weighs only a few pounds. This was unheard-of in the black powder era and into the early 20th century. Steel was weaker and less consistent; thin barrel walls meant explosions, even with black powder.

February 21, 2006, 12:11 PM
Cleaning resistance. And to me, my stainless guns are easier to clean. Mostly because it's easier to see the carbon and such on the lighter metal than it is on a blued or parkerized frame. I can use more harsh chemicals or even harder bristled brushes and not worry about maring a chemical coating. (as much)

I have both blued and stainless pistols. Blued rifles. But my next rifle purchases will be stainless. In my case, at least one of my blue hunting pistols has ... 'Character marks'. My stainless hunting pistols have had some of the same. A trip to the glass bead blast cabinate or little time spent with some steel wool in hand fixes the finish in a jiffy. I can't do that with a blued gun.

Kinda like a Diesel pickup truck. Stainless guns seem to hold their value a bit higher.


February 21, 2006, 01:07 PM
I'm told it resists heat, worping, and rust..
it is also a MUCH hard steel

February 21, 2006, 01:09 PM
But does SS last longer than a chrome lined barrel?

February 21, 2006, 01:40 PM
Wolf, a chrome lined barrel will last longer than a stainless steel barrel, and a stainless barrel will last longer than a chrome moly barrel. I think when extreme accuracy is concerned, as in competition, stainless wins because it is generally more accurate than chrome lined barrels (the chrome plating supposedly creats a less consistant bore surface), and lasts longer than cm, yet resists corrosion fairly well.

February 21, 2006, 02:03 PM
Stainless has the property of rusting less because it has less carbon than carbon steels of firearms grade. The improved ease of maintenance and finish are good for the user and manufacturer.
As far as barrels go, they burn out at the throat, not really wear out at the bore. SS wears better because it has less carbon to burn out of the metal than CM. Chrome wears better for the same reason and the fact that it is harder.

SS generally has slightly less tensile strength than equivalent carbon steels and cannot be hardened to quite as high a level because of reduced carbon. The differences are minor though and hardness of the typical barrel or pistol slide or frame seldom exceeds 30-40 Rockwell C in any case.

February 21, 2006, 02:14 PM
I am wanting to get involved in CPM Highpower matches.

For this, a SS barrel is recommended first, a chrome moly barrel second and a chromed lined last.

Does this about sum it up?


February 21, 2006, 02:22 PM
Oldwolf, You are about to start a GREAT sport! I dont know if you're experienced in competitive shooting, but I found there is no better way of improving your shooting. If you are a fairly~ good shot, as I was, and are just starting out in Highpower, alot of experienced shooters will tell you not to worry too much about your barrel. They say to work on form, breathing, sight picture and breathing before worrying about the gun's accuracy. They say that most likely, you'll wear out the first barrel learning how to shoot well! But if you have the money, by all means, go get the best you can afford!

February 21, 2006, 02:30 PM
Oh, and from what Ive heard, most chrome moly barrels (non-lined), keep thier competitive accuracy somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000-5000 rounds. Stainless barrels will extend the barrel life about 2000 additional rounds. I've heard chrome lined barrels have somewhere around 20,000 to 25,000 rounds of "serviceable life". Wow, that chrome lining must be tough stuff! :eek:

Bartholomew Roberts
February 21, 2006, 03:04 PM
But does SS last longer than a chrome lined barrel?

Depends on your uses I think... I know my chrome-lined Bushmaster HBAR began to see negative accuracy effects from throat wear at 6k and by 9k was showing enough problems at the 600yd line that I decided to retire it (that and I wanted a new barrel, it probably would have kept the rounds on an E-silhouette for a while yet).

Based on what some High-Power competitors have told me, their stainless barrels are outlasting that mark considerably in competition. I have a few of my own SS barrels now so I'll see if they show the same lifespan with my uses.

February 21, 2006, 03:57 PM
Well, I already have a 20" Bushmaster that I planned on using to get things started. I have a stripped lower waiting for a build and am thinking way in advance about how I want to build it.

I have been shooting for a long long time, but never in any formal competitions. In fact, I know nothing about the CMP shoots (other than what is in the orange CMP manual) so will need to do a lot of studying prior to my first shoot.

OT - I was planning to use the White Box Winchester 55gr available at WalMart. I know the more experienced guys load their own but I am not at that level yet.

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