Stainless Steel Barrels


December 29, 2011, 06:51 PM
Did a search and couldn't find a clear response to this, so I apologize if it exists elsewhere.

Are stainless steel barrels any less accurate than regular blued rifle barrels? Thinking in terms of bolt action rifles, here.

When I was researching AR15s a while back, I recall reading that chrome-moly barrels are a bit more accurate than chrome-lined barrels, but don't hold up as well after thousands of rounds fired. That got me wondering if straight stainless steel barrels are also going to differ in accuracy in a bolt action rifle [from other barrels].

If there is no accuracy difference, is there anything that I should know about stainless steel barrels before deciding that's what I want on my rifle, or is there essentially no difference other than the look, and the stainless steel being less prone to rust?

Thanks for the help. :)

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December 29, 2011, 07:51 PM
I know very liltte about the 1/4 moa "crowd'.

I have, however, had some experience with quite a few honest to goodness 1/2 to 3/4 moa rifles.

My experience has been:
Chrome lined barrels can be accurate, 1 to 1 1/2 moa. ( Not with fmj )

Stainless steel and chrome molybdenum on average are more accurate than chrome lined,with no advantage to either.

I've owned & shot enough of each to say that even though there's probably no accuracy advantage between stainless or "chrome moly", stainless requires far less maintenance on the outside.

Enough for me to go that route on most rifles.

December 29, 2011, 08:13 PM
You might take a look at

They have a very unique process that makes them last a very long time.

I have one in 16.5" heavy barrel and two 20" heavy barrels.

The Army Marksmanship Unit replaces their match barrels every 700 rounds.

Acceptance on M16 system for gov't is 4.5" at 100 yards. Rejection is 7.2" at 100 yards.

Aberdeen tested the M16A1E1 adopted as M16A2 to 12,000 rounds with genuine SS109 and they went 12,000 rounds. Other ammo tested took out the barrels before 6000 rounds.

It all depends on how what propellant, bullet weight and firing schedule you use.

Most ARA2 type match shooters change out barrels at 2000 rounds.

We don't know how long the superiorbarrels will last as no one has shot one out yet.

the shorter your barrel the slower your bullet and the less effective the terminal ballistics are. that is why the AR varmint barrels are 24" which increases the range.

December 29, 2011, 08:29 PM
Bench Rest rifles wear stainless barrels.

As explained by Shilen (maybe it was Hart), stainless is a purer steel, contains less contaminant particles (that cause hot spots and throat erosion) resulting in longer accuracy life.

I like stainless barrels on bolt guns because the bores clean up quicker and easier. I have never owned a stainless AR barrel but imagine they are the same.


December 29, 2011, 08:36 PM
Utilizing identical loads, a quality stainless barrel will give from 10-20% longer life, compared to a chrome-moly version, before detectable throat erosion occurs.
That's one reason that they cost more.


December 30, 2011, 12:31 AM
My question was answered despite apparent confusion. Thanks.

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