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How to tell a carbon barrel from stainless steel

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by moredes, Jul 2, 2005.

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  1. moredes

    moredes Member

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    Title line pretty much says it all....

    How can one tell a barrel is stainless steel and not carbon?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Apply a spot of cold blue. If it colors the metal it is carbon steel, if it won't it is stainless.

    If on a finished rifle, I never heard of anybody selling a bare carbon steel barrel, it is just too subject to rust.
     
  3. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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    In sooth, it is unlikely you will find such a bare barrel.

    If it has blueing it is carbon, if not it be stainless.
     
  4. Cesiumsponge

    Cesiumsponge Member

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    All carbon steels should be magnetic to my knowledge. I don't know what grade stainless steels are used for gun barrels, but stainless can be found in magnetic and non-magnetic varieties.

    Cold blue would be a great idea but if turned out to be carbon steel and you didn't want to blue the barrel, you'd have a spot of blued steel on there. I don't know if that affects it if you refinish the barrel using a different method later on. I think bluing can come off with steel wool but I'm not sure how much material you'd need to remove. All my guns are evil black :eek:
     
  5. BobCat

    BobCat Member

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    Most stainless barrels are 416 or 416R, which is magnetic. 300-series stainlesses are not magnetic, but no one would make a barrel out of them.

    Put a drop of 50:50 nitric acid:water in an inconspicuous spot. No rxn = stainless. Fizz and dark spot = carbon or low-alloy steel. This is from an old ASTM STP - Identification of Metals and Alloys by Spot Test or some similar title. Dark spot easily removed with 600 grit paper / steel wool.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Five seconds on a polishing wheel gets blue right off. So will Muratic Acid, but it will leave a dull grayish spot.
     
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