Mixing of Metals


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BuddingGunsmith
February 22, 2012, 03:13 PM
Please Help me! I want to replace the barrel in my stainless-steel 1911. Can I use a carbon-steel barrel? If so, what else would I have to do?

Thanks for your help.
David Kraykovic.

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tekarra
February 26, 2012, 03:59 PM
Well first of all a carbon steel barrel would not last very long. What you refer to as a carbon steel barrel is a barrel containing chromium and other elements to withstand the heat and abrasion from firing. If the barrel is properly fit and is kept lubricated, you should not have a problem.

rcmodel
February 26, 2012, 10:14 PM
Well first of all a carbon steel barrel would not last very long.Wrong.
There are carbon steel 1911 barrels made from 4150 or some such alloy that will rust if left to thier own devices. But they will last as long or longer shooting them as any other barrel made from stainless steel.
The best national match barrels have always been made from carbon steel with cut rifling.

Then there are stainless steel barrels as used on many newer 1911's made from 416R stainless or similiar alloy.

I see no real good reason to put a carbon steel barrel in a stainless gun.

But if you do have a good reason, there is no reason you can't do it.

1. The barrel hood has to be fitted to the slide.
2. The locking lugs have to be fitted to the slide.
3. The barrel lugs have to be fitted to the slide stop pin.
4. A new barrel link has to be fitted to the new barrel for proper link-down without interfering with the locking lug fitting when the slide is in battery, or locked open.

In short, it is not a DIY project for the guy with a kitchen table, a nail file, and no idea how to do it.

rc

The Lone Haranguer
February 26, 2012, 11:25 PM
I can't see how the different metal alloys would affect functioning or accuracy. Sometimes, on some guns, frames and slides can be stainless, but not necessarily the barrel.

Skylerbone
February 26, 2012, 11:26 PM
Reached that junction on Friday, wanting a Kart that is not stainless in an all stainless 1911. I opted for a Storm Lake in 416R (the only SS barrel I could find confirming their use of that specific alloy, though I'm sure others may as well).

An aside on 416R, and only what I've read, contains selenium and sulfur added to facilitate ease of machining which can form inclusions that will reduce the barrel's structural integrity to the point of bursting, even with standard pressure loads. 416R has 1/4th the additives of standard 416 allowing for less possibility of such inclusions. 17-4Ph stainless as offered by Wilson would be another acceptable material.

As I trust the smith to his task it will be fitted properly in place of the factory barrel that was poorly fit. Rcmodel has given excellent advice and you need only find a competent 1911 smith to have the work done. As for using a carbon steel barrel I'd recommend a good lubricant like FP-10 or Tetra Oil to prevent rust between shootings, works for my shotgun and rifle barrels.

dwhite
February 27, 2012, 02:42 PM
4150 is not classified as a carbon steel. It falls into the nickel/chrome/moly family like 4140, 8260.

Carbon steels such as 1018, 1020, 1045, 1050 would not make good barrels as they cannot achieve the required hardness and are much less wear resistant.

All the Best,
D. White

tipoc
February 27, 2012, 03:24 PM
It was only in the post WWII period that any major manufacturer made any gun barrels in stainless steel. Prior to that they were made of carbon steel and hardened as needed. Until the second world war neither the barrels, slides or frames of 1911s were hardened, which did lead to some problems and was corrected. Revolvers, rifles, shotguns, and semi handguns...carbon steel. The 1911, the Lugar, the High Power, the P38, etc., etc. all carbon steel. Stainless barrels have been around only since sometime in the '80s on 1911s.

No carbon steel barrel from a reputable manufacturer will burst on you without some external cause. The same is true of stainless barrels. Stainless, depending on grade is not necessarily harder than some carbon steels.

The only significant factor to take into consideration if you are looking to replace an old worn barrel with a new one (other than looks) is that you will want the material of the barrel to be softer than the material of the slide. If made recently both will be hardened, but the slide should be more resistant to wear than the barrel for the obvious reasons.

tipoc

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 03:26 PM
Not classified as such but your answer is only 99.5% correct;-). Good for the sake of knowledge but we generally accept the term in regards to a non-stainless steel barrel. All the same, 4150 which is what Kart uses, assuming the OP is looking that way, is one of the accepted steels used for M16 barrels and should provide excellent service.

Speaking of the OP, is there a specific reason for your wanting to re-barrel?

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 03:54 PM
Tipoc, that external cause is gas pressure. An inclusion in the steel (the internal cause) will induce a leak path that can rupture the barrel. It can and does happen and with reputable manufacturer's barrels. The difference as I understand it is usually a bulge in chromoly vs. shrapnel in stainless. I have also at a safety seminar laid eyes on such barrels. I recall one revolver that had 5 slugs lined up in the bore causing a cylinder jam before the owner could fire the sixth. The gunsmith made it a cut-away for training purposes.

If such failures did not exist, why the change to 416R? Remember pistol barrels aren't proofed like rifle barrels so much is simply assumed.

tekarra
February 27, 2012, 10:31 PM
The term carbon steel refers to an alloy of iron and carbon. AISI 4150 is termed an alloy steel as it contains a high percentage of carbon with additions chromium, molybdenum, silicon and manganese.

gearhead
February 27, 2012, 10:55 PM
There would be the potential for galvanic corrosion between them, carbon steels are more reactive than stainless steels.

PO2Hammer
February 27, 2012, 11:03 PM
There would be the potential for galvanic corrosion between them, carbon steels are more reactive than stainless steels.

I don't see it. Galvanic corrosion requires very dissimilar metals and an eloctrolite to make it happen. It's an issue on ships where aluminum and steel are in contact with each other in the presence of salt water. I don't think it's a realistic issue with carbon steel, stainless steel and gun oil.

Sounded good though.

Skylerbone
February 27, 2012, 11:37 PM
Better yank those aluminum shoe triggers out a them stainless frames then. Doubly so if it's a carbon steel frame and if you've got a two-tone you better set it down before it eats through itself...if that's a concern.

gearhead
February 28, 2012, 02:00 AM
I don't see it. Galvanic corrosion requires very dissimilar metals and an eloctrolite to make it happen. It's an issue on ships where aluminum and steel are in contact with each other in the presence of salt water. I don't think it's a realistic issue with carbon steel, stainless steel and gun oil.

Sounded good though.

Here's the table. I wouldn't have thought it either but the professor emphasized it when I took Corrosion as a technical elective in college.

http://www.engineersedge.com/galvanic_capatability.htm

Obviously, when the metals are coated it negates the conductivity required for galvanic corrosion. The environment does have a huge effect too, a carry gun subjected to perspiration will be much more susceptible to it than a gun that lives in a dehumidified safe.

Skylerbone
February 28, 2012, 03:46 AM
With any sort of reasonable care there isn't enough potential to matter. The charts always stress environmental factors as the significant contributor. Plenty of two-tone 1911s out there proving the combination works. Any insulator (including grease) will break potential reactive contact, pretty convenient for a pistol.

tipoc
February 28, 2012, 05:58 AM
Tipoc, that external cause is gas pressure. An inclusion in the steel (the internal cause) will induce a leak path that can rupture the barrel. It can and does happen and with reputable manufacturer's barrels. The difference as I understand it is usually a bulge in chromoly vs. shrapnel in stainless. I have also at a safety seminar laid eyes on such barrels. I recall one revolver that had 5 slugs lined up in the bore causing a cylinder jam before the owner could fire the sixth. The gunsmith made it a cut-away for training purposes.

Not to be too nit-picky but you're looking at two things here. First an "inclusion in the steel". Seems by this you mean a bit of foreign material or a void of some type in the metal of the barrel which over time can be effected enough by the passage of the bullet and the hot gases to cause a bulge or a rupture. Well sure, but such "inclusions" are rare. Particularly rare in barrels by reputable manufacturers who use good steel. Unless the "inclusion" is visible to the naked eye, as a flaw in the barrel, it will also take a good many rounds to open this "inclusion" to the point it does any harm much less a catastrophic failure.

Second, in the case of the 5 bullets jammed in the barrel. This was likely caused by a squib load becoming stuck and the shooter just kept pulling the trigger till he could no longer pull. The squib was the cause of the problem and not the "inclusion" if there was one.

Seems a lot more is being made of this "mixing metals" concern than is warranted by any real world experience.

tipoc

tominct
February 28, 2012, 08:05 PM
There would be the potential for galvanic corrosion between them, carbon steels are more reactive than stainless steels.
So what's going to happen to my EDC knife with the steel blade and aluminum body? Is it going to turn into an unusable chunk of corrosion in my pocket?

Skylerbone
February 28, 2012, 10:57 PM
The inclusions or stringers are defects to the microstructure of the steel and aren't visible. They aren't necessarily rare but rather will vary depending on the batch. Remember most steel is simply recycled with additives to provide specific properties. Think of it this way, whisk 10 times and you have pancakes, 50 times and you have frisbees, throw that Bisquick in the oven and you've got biscuits. There are plenty of failures on record if you think to research them, ask any AR guy why he buys M and P marked barrels. The previous example was indeed an example of a squib, several actually, but the point was that the steel held without fracturing. Think this time of dropping an egg vs. A pane of glass.

An example of a stainless barrel fracture with what was touted as the strongest muzzleloader ever built. It was pressure tested with loads exceeding 120,000 psi. The failsafe was the use of a sabot that, if overcharged, would allow the gasses to split the sabot and blow by. This was a proof-tested barrel to boot. Pictures are graphic, Savage confessed that demand was so overwhelming for its other SS barrels they could no longer allocate stainless for these rifles. http://www.downrange.tv/forum/index.php?topic=11187.0

tipoc
February 29, 2012, 05:17 PM
We may be going a bit off topic. Most examples you cite are of rifle barrels. The barrels of rifles tend to operate at pressures and velocities much greater than that of the 38 Spl., the 45acp or the .40 S&W from a handgun.

I agree that "defects to the microstructure of the steel" are common and are usually not visible, even in well made quality barrels. They are also most often of little or no consequence in handgun barrels. It is simply not a common issue. When is the last time you have seen or heard of a barrel of a Ruger Super Black Hawk in 44 Mag. rupture due to a "defects to the microstructure of the steel"? Or of a S&W M629?

Some handgun rounds, due to their pressure and velocity, are hard on barrels. The 10mm and the Winchester 9x25 are two of note, there are others.

Now if we look at it another way than the small defects or flaws in quality steel do mark the first spots that wear will show itself on a barrel. It will be the spot where there is a micro flaw that lead or copper fouling may tend to accumulate and cause build up that over the years and thousands of rounds may become a problem. But this is what is called normal wear. It is one reason we clean barrels.

I think over concern with this issue can lead a fella off track. For precision rifle shooters it is a factor but a fella with a Colt?, not so much.

tipoc

Skylerbone
February 29, 2012, 06:45 PM
It's belaboring the point but inclusions do not mark the barrel in any discernible way and they are far more common than you may think. The issue is not one of quality material but rather appropriate material. A quick perusal of the Kuhnhausen manuals will net you pics of several 416 barrel failures and though not specifically named have generally been agreed by markings to be Schuemann barrels. Another incident involved 3 Nowlin barrels, (bought by the same individual) both long time well known makers. In all these instances what must be seen is that there is cause and effect. If you double the amount of sugar in a recipe don't be surprised with the results. If it were any other way we could simply make the entire pistol of aluminum, barrel and all to save weight. If you wouldn't chance that consider investigating what any part is made of that goes anywhere near your firearms. Believe it or not some manufacturing decisions are made with cost in mind including which alloys will machine easier saving wear and tear on machinery.

Consider it or don't. I hope everyone does.

tipoc
March 1, 2012, 05:43 AM
In Vol. 2 of Kuhnhausen's books on the 1911, pg. 185, he does show several pictures of abused custom barrels. In the cases not caused by over pressure loads, the primary cause was poor fitting which caused undue stress on the barrels. Improperly fit barrels can break.

The original question was will a frame of one grade of steel, mated to a frame of another and a barrel of yet another grade lead to problems. The answer is that it could. The main issue being the mating of parts of different hardneses and wear rates. If you have particular concerns speak with your gunsmith.

tipoc

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