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Stainless steel is rusting?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Freddymac, Jun 30, 2006.

  1. Freddymac

    Freddymac Well-Known Member

    I’ve been carrying my Sig 229 lately now due to the warm weather. It has the stainless slide. Last night I noticed tiny dots of what looks to my untrained eye like rust. These dots are small and all smaller that the head of a pin, but they look nasty. The past few days it has been pretty hot and muggy around these parts, and to be honest I do sweat a bit.

    My question is: Can a stainless steel slide rust? I’ve already applied a light coating of oil, but this seems strange to me, none of my other stainless guns have done this. Any thoughts?
  2. unspellable

    unspellable Well-Known Member

    Stainless steel

    Stainless steel alloys, particularly the magnetic alloys used in firearms, are not rust proof, only rust resistant.

    A couple of tips. Segregate your cleaning brushes and have one set for use only with stainless firearms running on smokeless powder. Also, DON'T use steel wool to take those spots off! You can embed microscopic particles of carbon in the stainless and they will act as centers for future rust to start.
  3. engineer151515

    engineer151515 Well-Known Member

    Flitz metal polish. Lightly applied.

    Leaves a protective barrier too.

    Ace hardware carries it.
  4. I bought my mom a stainless steel Security Industries 38 special to keep at her beachfront vacation condo in Florida. The gun wasn't attended to since there was nobody there except a couple months out of the year.

    I was horrified to see it was pretty badly rusting. Next to the ocean and all.

    Even stainless needs care.
  5. HankB

    HankB Well-Known Member

    There are different types of stainless steel alloys - the most common "rustproof" alloys are 300-series, the "rust resistant" alloys are 400-series.

    The 300-series alloys don't heat treat well, the 400-series do, so those are used in guns.

    (Yes, there are OTHER types of stainless steels, but 300- and 400- series covers most of what's made.)
  6. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Well-Known Member

    What makes you think SS won't rust?
    It will. You have to put some oil on it.

  7. DoubleTapDrew

    DoubleTapDrew Well-Known Member

    My mega-dollar super tactical AMT .380 backup :p is stainless and has a little rust on it. I'll make sure not to use steel wool on it and try the flitz thing.
  8. exar

    exar Well-Known Member

    I had the exact same problem to the "T". I own a Sig 228 and noticed the spots starting to form. I used Turtle Wax and gave it a light polishing and it came right off no prob. Some people say not to use automotive waxes because the abrasives can damage the finish. BAH I say. While it is possible, your only going to be applying a very light rub and as long as you don't let rust form again you'll have no issues and you'll be happy to be rid of the rust. I polished the rust off a year ago and have no probs since.
  9. LFI_Grad

    LFI_Grad Member

    Here in West Texas it is usually very dry, but I got caught out at the range one day when it began raining. I had a few other loads I was working up that I needed to try out before I left, so I put away most of my other guns and made sure I only had the stainless ones out. It wasn't raining all that much, so I natrually didn't think much about it.

    The one gun I thought would just love an environment like that was my Ruger Super Redhawk "Alaskan". It is chambered in 454 Casull and has a 2.5" barrel. I shot 50 or so rounds through it and then wiped it down and put it back in the rug. When I got home a couple of hours later, it already had rust on the right side of the frame above the trigger and inside the trigger frame just in front of the trigger. I was aghast! I never would have thought a gun that was born and bred for that type of environment (I spent part of my childhood and later as an adult in Alaska) would ever show signs of corrosion, but it sure did!

    None of the other stainless guns I had out in the rain that day (.44 Magnum Super Blackhawk and a 45-70 BFR revolver) showed any signs of corrosion either.

    I learned my lesson. Wipe the stainless ones down with a light protective layer of oil just like the non-stainless ones!
  10. Freddymac

    Freddymac Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the input guys

    I do apply a little oil, but maybe the sweat/holster combo removed it. I never thought about wax, but I'll try it. I just seemed odd to me. I know that stainless can rust, but I thought it would take a lot more than a little sweat. The strange thing, as I mentioned, was that none of my other stainless guns ever did this. Even my kimber 1911 that resides on my person about 9 months a year never showed even the slightest signs of rust.
  11. redranger1

    redranger1 Well-Known Member

    keep in mind that sweat has a high content of salt and salt is highly corrosive to metals.
  12. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    Stainless steel is supposed to get a "passivation" treatment but sometimes the gun companies 'forget' . It' makes a huge difference !! I would suggest that you also wipe down the outside with gun oil occasionally. For those who polish guns with abrasives or steel wool , you remove the passivated surface which is a layer of protective oxide.
  13. 1 old 0311

    1 old 0311 member

    If you use Flitz you must do the ENTIRE slide. It is a polish and will leave a different finish on that spot. Try it under the grip first. I would rub with a CLP first and see if that clears it up.
  14. Kentak

    Kentak Well-Known Member

    Chances are that it is a very light surface rust. Sometimes, rust like that is so light that rubbing it with an oily cloth will remove it. If not, try the Flitz, rubbing *very* lightly.

    Ezzox has a good reputation for rust prevention. I would suggest buffing a coating of that on your slide and see if that doesn't prevent the problem in the future. If not, then I might try a wax product.

  15. Vairochana

    Vairochana Well-Known Member

    Separate cleaning tools

    Unspellable is right- any tools used on stainles are for stainless only.
    I have a lot of experience polishing various metals and i have noticed over the years that if you polish SS with a cutting compound type product which has been used on nonSS it will become less so.
    I don't know why it is almost as if the surface of the alloy is changed somehow (not a metalurgist).
  16. Joe7cri

    Joe7cri Well-Known Member

    FLITZ is incredible but a little expensive. I bought a large can on ebay for $40.00 much better value than the $10.00 tubes.
  17. atlctyslkr

    atlctyslkr Well-Known Member

    Watch out for rust under grips. I learned this the hard way. I always wipe my guns down with an oily T-Shirt before storing and after handling. Changed the grips on a stainless a few months ago and was horrified and what I discovered under there. It wasn't real bad but I was not happy. Scrubbed it off with a scotch pad before putting on new grips.
  18. charlesb_la

    charlesb_la Well-Known Member

    Many times it is not the actual stainless parts that are rusting but microscopic particles left from the carbon steel tooling used in making the parts that have become embedded in the stainless. Over time cleaning will usually remove most of the particles and even the rusting will "use up" the carbon steel and rusting will not return.
  19. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    That's right . Machining , grinding , polishing , sand or bead blasting machines should only be used for stainless otherwise bits of carbon steel get transferred to the stainless steel. These carbon steel particles rust and the rusting then CONTINUES into the stainless. Passivation , in nitric or citric acid , removes carbon steel particles and produces a thicker protective oxide layer .Though passivation should remove s carbon steel particle s it shouldn't be depended on .
  20. mrmeval

    mrmeval Well-Known Member

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