Blued vs Stainless Steel


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twhman
January 27, 2008, 08:30 AM
I have been thinking about getting a 44 mag rifle and then a revolver to take to the range and for general use (rifle) around our farm and woods carry (revolver). The more I think about this choices available I realize I personally like blued guns better than SS. Not that I don't realize that SS offers some advantage when it comes to rust resistance and overall durability of the finish for carry. For example, in the case of the 44 revolver I believe that SS would actually be the better choice for me for woods carry yet I find my self still looking at blued guns. On further reflection I believe as I get older my preferrence has moved more toward blue and away from SS. This got me thinking I wonder what the majority of shooters prefer in a gun and if that preference has changed over time.

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Mazeman
January 27, 2008, 09:00 AM
I've always liked SS for exactly the reasons you state.

It sounds like you prefer the aesthetics of a blued gun, which is a totally valid reason to want one.

bharen
January 27, 2008, 10:09 AM
There is nothing - nothing - that matches the beauty of a finely polished and blued or case hardened firearm. Think Colt Royal Blue. You could lose yourself in the finish.

However, on my working guns (which describes most of what I own) I much prefer stainless. I live in the hot, humid south and I see rusted firearms almost every week. After my experiences in Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina and Rita I now actively search for stainless versions of firearms I have an interest in buying.

Nugilum
January 27, 2008, 11:43 AM
Since I moved to the "humid" south, I'm pretty much become a SS kinda guy. :)

BozemanMT
January 27, 2008, 12:23 PM
I'm not an old fart (yet, really) and I totally agree. Blued guns with wood stocks look so much better than SS.
Certainly SS is better for carry, will survive things, etc. But for most of my guns it's not really about toolness, but about pretty.
I"m weak that way.

BozemanMT
January 27, 2008, 12:25 PM
I'm not an old fart (yet, really) and I totally agree. Blued guns with wood stocks look so much better than SS.
Certainly SS is better for carry, will survive things, etc. But for most of my guns it's not really about toolness, but about pretty.
I"m weak that way. :rolleyes:

CWL
January 27, 2008, 04:21 PM
I'm just not into stainless myself (though I have a few) and much prefer the look of a quality blued gun. If you are willing to take the extra care necessary to keep the blued ones in working condition, then go with what you like.

twhman
January 27, 2008, 10:35 PM
Almost 50/50. Kind of thought that the SS maybe would be more popular.

I totally agree on the Colt Blueing. I have seen a couple of Pythons that you could about swim in. Dang they were pretty. Someday, when I have enough shooters I might have to get one in good condition and put some fancy wood grips on it and then just keep it cleaned and oiled and look at it. Nothing I have seen can compare to that bluing.

Furncliff
January 27, 2008, 10:48 PM
I AM an old fart and i like blue. But I can see the preference for SS in a humid environment or a duty piece. If I had to choose between a SS gun and parked one, I'd pick ss in a heart beat. I do have one ss firearm, a Marlin 60. I like it fine.

weisse52
January 27, 2008, 10:56 PM
I really love blued guns. To the point that I am having my SS SA GI covered in something to resemble a blued gun. It is a lot easier to keep a SS gun from rusting in a humid environment.
I am looking for a new gun now, I want something in blue. I know it will be a little more work, but they are worth it.

scrat
January 27, 2008, 10:57 PM
if it were a handgun i would say stainless steel. but being a rifle you can have any color you want as long as it is BLUE

sm
January 28, 2008, 12:08 AM
Blued.

Set aside Wood-n-Blue looks if you will.

I am over 50, and growing up in the hot, humid south, duck hunting in freezing rain, and being outdoors in all sorts of weather, we used blued guns.
I /WE still prefer Blue, though I and we do have some stainless guns, of certain makes and models.

Bluing is a form of "forced rust" and then stopped.
The key to the deep bluing Colt and S&W were known for was the Master Polishers that prepped the Quality Carbon Steels for bluing.

No finish is ever any better that what the metallurgy will allow and how well one can polish it out.

Be this Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Gold, Silver, Copper , - any metal.

We did not have all the hyped up cleaning solvents and gun oils, just common sense and inspected and maintained.

Bluing actually resists corrosion.

How many threads have we seen with Stainless Steel guns rusting?
New guns, name brand mfgs, pretty pricey and new solvent and lubes also expensive used and one hot , summer day, that gun is rusty?

Human pH factor comes into play as well. Some folks are just more acidic than others.

Metals have properties, and it is how these properties are used, that make up the integrity of metals.
Some metals have smaller "pores" and some are more "granular".

One cannot simple say Stainless will not rust - as some stain-less is actually more of a pain to maintain due to properties of that "stain-less" steel.

Early days, RIG+P was developed to deal with Stainless guns galling.
Blued guns never had this problem, due to metallurgy and properties.

Stainless Steels of different properties were then used to alleviate or lessen galling we never had a problem with, with blued guns.

Oh I remember when Cops started getting Stainless Model 60's for instance and it was the rookies, all into status and telling the seasoned cops how the new guns were better.

Old seasoned cops were using old blued S&Ws here, and Colts elsewhere and BHPs and 1911s in blue and looking at the young bunch, shaking heads.


A lot of sin can be hidden with a finish.

Stainless is easy for a gunsmith , and less monies for a customer to have worked on, simply because it can be sandblasted.

Blued guns means re-bluing for some of this adding curb feelers and fuzzy dice folks seem so intent having to have today.

The stainless does not have to finished out to the degree a blued gun old was as it is going to have a emery, sand blast or whatever finish done.

Master Polishers are a dying breed, the craft is less and less being passed forward like so many talents of craftsmanship.

Yes some environments are that harsh and some metallurgy and finishes hold up under those environments.
That dive knife for example is not as sharp as a carbon steel knife and can't be made as sharp as one, nor hold the edge as long...Function dictates this is sacrificed for Salt water use.

Function...some of these stainless steels are for the function of the mfg not having wear and tear on equipment, not having to pay for better metal, or someone skilled to polish out.
It is not about you, instead them.

Razzle dazzle marketing and the stainless cult is born.
Tool steels and carbons are used to cut stain-less steel...

Old hand tools , non stainless, got a patina, and resisted rust, so does Carbon Steel and CV knives...

Those old screwdrivers, channel lock pliers, linesman pliers, were tool steel, not stainless...better ones still are.

Set aside the looks, cult status, marketing, and investigate your pH , where you live, and how well a metal is metallurgically, how prepped and finished out.

glockman19
January 28, 2008, 12:49 AM
I have a Stainless S&W 629 and a stainless Marlin 1894SS combo I like a lot. My next combo will be a Blued .357 and a marlin 1894C. Unless Marlin/Remington makes a stainless to go with my 686.

rockinrussky
January 28, 2008, 01:13 AM
I kinda wished that the poll allowed more choices. I'd say I'll go for stainless steel in revolvers, and blued in most everything else. For the record I went for blued as that seems to work for everything, whereas I could never see a stainless steel shotgun, or for that matter a stainless steel AR :barf:
This is 'general gun discussion' so I guess I'd have to apply that question to every firearm I can think of.

Sun195
January 28, 2008, 01:29 AM
Hmm... I prefer blued guns, but I tend to buy SS when given a choice just because I don't like rust (or the potential). Looking in my gun locker, I'd say the majority are blued.

10-Ring
January 28, 2008, 01:34 AM
I prefer old school blue guns. Don't get me wrong, I like the glitz and the rust protection of the SS guns but the stainless guns just don't have the personality I look for when I buy a firearm

Black Majik
January 28, 2008, 01:35 AM
I prefer blued guns, I can't stand stainless steel guns. Matte stainless always look really cheap to me, and instead of having finish wear away, it just accumulated dings and scratches.

I like hardchrome however for a "bright" finish.

Kind of Blued
January 28, 2008, 02:38 AM
I like some guns better blued, some guns better in stainless.

It has to do with PERSONALITY.

JackOfAllTradesMasterAtNone
January 28, 2008, 02:50 AM
I do not own a stainless rifle. But only because of finances. I subject my blued rifles to more weather extreems than I do my pistols though. Still, I try to take care of them. My next hunting rifle will be SS. My pilstol collection is mostly blue, but purchases in the last few years have all been stainless. I appreciate the asthetics of blue, but the care and upkeep hours far surpass that for my SS arms. Then again, I do like the look of SS for certain pistols.

I can see why this poll is +-3% difference.

-Steve

Thefabulousfink
January 28, 2008, 03:20 AM
If I was going to buy a gun that would get dragged through the mud, shot, and then thrown in the back of the pick-up without cleaning I'd probably by Stainless . (Actually I wouldn't pay for stainless, but buy the cheapest thing around.) In that situation stainless might hold up a day or two longer than parkerized or blued.

Personally I like the look of blued or parked guns much more than SS. I also like to take care of my guns so I've never needed the extra protection of SS. The one time that I didn't clean soon after shooting I had a little surface rust that was removed with oil and steel wool.

A lot of people like to think that SS is a magical material that doesn't need cleaning, but it is not idiot proof. If you are looking for a gun to drag through foul weather on an extended hunting weekend, SS is a good choice. If you want a gun that will go week without a dry safe or cleaning, try parkerized covered with lacquer and a liberal supply of grease.

10 Ring Tao
January 28, 2008, 03:34 AM
Get a SS gun, and then duracoat it using the "gun blue" color.

Regolith
January 28, 2008, 03:49 AM
IMO, on most guns blue looks better, save for a few excpetions (certain revolvers or pistols, for instance).

Essex County
January 28, 2008, 02:59 PM
My Marlin carbine is blue. My revolver is stainless. I'm happy...Essex

P97
January 28, 2008, 03:49 PM
I like to use stainless and look at blue.:)

BobbyQuickdraw
January 28, 2008, 04:57 PM
Blued for classic beauty.

Stainless is for pimps.


Kidding... Sort of.

Zoogster
January 28, 2008, 06:03 PM
As SM covered, blued is also more durable as the additions to create stainless steel reduce some of its desirable properties, but blued is more corrosion susceptible.
A carbon steel blade for example can be made much sharper and hold an edge much longer than any stainless blade.

It is more than just the finish, the durability is also impacted. However that might be a suitable sacrifice for a firearm requiring less maintainence in some environments. The best of both worlds would be a carbon steel with a corrosion resistant coating (though it wouldn't wear as well, and would have to be redone on occasion) at least until it wore a little and was a pain to have redone.
Blueing is easy to redo, as long as you do not let the firearm get too bad prior.

Most of the thread focuses on asthetics or rust prevention, but many other qualities are different in the alloys as well.
Stainless will scratch, ding, or bend easier than blued carbon steel. It is easier to damage a SS firearm than a blued carbon steel firearm. An impact that might change the dimensions of a stainless firearm ruining it, might only cause a scrap or superficial damage on a quality carbon steel blued one.

Not all carbon steels are the same however and speaking in too great of generalities is misleading.

SM said it well though. Softer steels produce less wear on the tools used to shape them. So firearm manufactures actualy benefit from using softer steels like most stainless because they can make more firearms before replacing parts. Cutting tool steels with tool steels( or high speed steels) leads to rapid wear on the manufacturers tools. However it leaves you with a firearm that is much more durable.

If the average customer won't know the difference, why would they reduce thier profits? They will just use softer steels that wear out thier shaping and cutting equipment less, all while thier customers gleefuly exclaim about the improvement and of thier firearm's superiority over traditional ones.

There is some steels I would like to see firearms made from that are never used because they create too much wear on the tools. Since the average customer wouldn't appreciate them, they have no real incentive to appease my desire :(

MKEITH
January 28, 2008, 08:35 PM
With me, it depends on the gun. I think that some guns look better in stainless and others look better blued.

Juna
January 28, 2008, 08:39 PM
I like the appearance and color of blued steel better than stainless. It's darker, less flashy, and gives off less glare.

That said, the added benefit of stainless led me to get my CZ RAMI in SS and polymer frame for more durability and rust resistance. My BUG, however, is blued. My favorite gun that I own is also blued. I really only own 1 SS gun and that's my usual carry gun for the above reasons.

Superlite27
January 28, 2008, 09:18 PM
It's a gun, not a hood ornament. If I wanted something shiny, I'd buy a faucet.

Rust is not a problem as I perform routine maintenance on my firearms.

twhman
January 28, 2008, 10:31 PM
Dang. Neck and neck at 50%. Closer than the republican primary in FLA.

30-06 lover
January 29, 2008, 12:32 AM
For a field gun, stainless for me. Wait. No I like blued.

Stainless is more resistant and less care is required so I like it better. Nah, blued looks better and I can oil my gun.

Blued wears out and gets ugly, so I don't like it, but slight wear is a sign of a great gun that was used for it's intended purpose. No, it has to be stainless. Stainless won't show wear and I like my guns to look nice, but stainless isn't as nice as blued.

Awh damnit I don't know.

30-06 lover
January 29, 2008, 12:33 AM
For a field gun, stainless for me. Wait. No I like blued.

Stainless is more resistant and less care is required so I like it better. Nah, blued looks better and I can oil my gun.

Blued wears out and gets ugly, so I don't like it, but slight wear is a sign of a great gun that was used for it's intended purpose. No, it has to be stainless. Stainless won't show wear and I like my guns to look nice, but stainless doesn't look as nice as blued.

Awh damnit I don't know.

Erik
January 29, 2008, 12:47 AM
I prefer blued by a slight margin.

serrano
January 29, 2008, 03:48 AM
I like SS, but all my guns are blued. My first wheel gun will be SS.

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