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Ruger GP100 Question??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by RinkRat, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. RinkRat

    RinkRat Member

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    Question about the Ruger GP100 357mag's :confused:

    Now I'm not going to over-load any ammo beyond any suggested specs, but ...

    Are the Blued finish-Alloy Steel material versions any stronger then the Satin Stainless finish-Stainless Steel material when shooting hot hunting-loads? Or are they both as durable?

    Also, is one finish more durable and easier to maintain then the other?

    Or is it just a mater of appearance preference, stainless over blue?
     
  2. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    I think the only meaningful differences between the two are that the s/s version requires a little less care when it comes to keeping rust at bay; the s/s finish makes it easier for the user to eliminate slight surface scratches and the blued version is cheaper. In terms of "appearance preference", beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
     
  3. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Stainless is easier to maintain than blued.

    A fellow I ran into at a range many years ago mentioned that he had blown up an SS Ruger Redhawk with an ill-advised handload. Ruger sold him a new one at factory cost even though he admitted it was his fault. The guy he dealt with suggested a blued model because he claimed the steel they used in the blued models of the Redhawk was slightly stronger. That said, I have no idea whether they use the same steels for the GP100s as the Redhawks, nor do I have any idea if the guy on the phone at Ruger really knew what he was talking about.
     
  4. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Stainless steel tends to be a bit more brittle than carbon steel which means stainless will ofen break under stresses where carbon may just stretch and bulge. But that is a general rule. I don't know how it might apply to the steels ruger uses.
     
  5. BigN

    BigN Member

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    I have a stainless model and although I don't overload, I do shoot some authentically magnum loads through it :evil: Many of them, for many years and it's kept up with me magnificently.
     
  6. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    In a specific case it depends on a lot of things. There are a staggering number of steel alloys in both carbon and stainless steel as well as a number of ways to form the part. In addition, the heat treatment/hardening of the part contributes significantly to the final properties of the item in question.

    For example, Beretta used to claim that the stainless steel they used in the 92/96 pistols was actually 30% stronger than the carbon steel used in the blued models.
     
  7. RinkRat

    RinkRat Member

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    ^^^MicroTecniqs;Stainless steel tends to be a bit more brittle than carbon steel which means stainless will often break under stresses where carbon may just stretch and bulge. But that is a general rule. I don't know how it might apply to the steels ruger uses.

    On that subject I forgot to mention being out in the woods in the winter weather where the temperatures dip below freezing.

    Saying that stainless steel might under normal circumstances, be a bit more brittle, might it then be more effected by the cold?
     
  8. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    That is beyond my knowledge. If you really want to know about the relative properties of various steels, you should ask one of the knife makers that hang out in the Non-Firearms Weapons section.
     
  9. bergmen

    bergmen Member.

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    True. Freedom Arms doesn't feel that the stainless alloys they use are "brittle":

    [​IMG]

    Dan
     
  10. codefour

    codefour Member

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    I have always been a fan of stainless steel weapons. I like the corrosion resistance. I take my weapons out in the rain often. I also like the look of SS.

    But, this last January, I was at the SHOT show for my first time. It was a great learning experience. SS is not as hard nor as strong as a carbon steel. I know, I know, I never thought that would be true. But, I was at the Les Baer display and asked why they do not make many SS guns. The rep promptly replied SS does not last as long, it galls, and carbon steel wears better and is stronger. I was shocked.

    I went to the Sig Sauer display. I have two SS Sigs that I love. The rep there again told me the SS pistols need carbon steel inserts in the frame to make them almost as durable as the aluminum alloy frames! He advised the alloy frame guns last twice as long as their SS counterparts.

    It is a trade off. Weather resistance versus strength? SS wears better though...

    Just my experience and $0.02 worth...
     
  11. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    It would take sustained temps of ~-40F or less to start affecting metals that way.

    Back to the original question, it depends too much on the specific alloy used to generalize which steel is stronger.
     
  12. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    In a recent thread, 1911Tuner and I were relating similar incidents in which a stuck bullet caused damage to the barrels in 2 1911s, in one with a carbon steel barrel, the barrel had a significant bulge. In a stainless steel barrel, the barrel had a bulge, but the bulge split open at 3 and 9 oclock.
     
  13. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    An yet all of the custom target grade rifle barrel makers will tell you that stainless is more wear resistant than carbon steel. Thats because stainless has Chromium in it which is harder and more wear resistant than carbon steel. Then you are also talking about the heat treatment which can make the steel harder and more brittle or tougher and less brittle/ less hard.

    I read somewhere that barrels and recievers are hardened in the range of 38-45 Rockwell so they retain toughness over hardness.

    A Quality Knife may be hardened to 58-60 Rockwell at the cutting edge, harder to retain a sharp edge, and less toward the back of the knife to prevent the blade from breaking.
     
  14. highlander 5

    highlander 5 Member

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    Before I retired I worked for a major jet engine manufacturer,General Electric. The majority of the parts in a jet engine are stainless steel alloys of one type or another and they are subjected to heat and stresses that make any abuse to a rifle/handgun look tame by comparison.
     
  15. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    It's not possible to generalize a couple of instances like this to a rule of thumb that's likely to be accurate.

    To understand why this is true, look up the number of types of "stainless steel" and the number of types of "carbon steel" and then look at the differences in their properties and how those differences are affected by heat treatment.

    It could very well be that the stainless steel barrel that split was actually poorly heat treated. And it could very well be that a different stainless steel alloy would have held and not split. Just as it could be true that a different carbon steel alloy barrel (or the same alloy heat treated differently) might have split.
     
  16. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    No, it is not. And this is not an attempt to do so.

    But it is possible to use an example to illustrate what might be the operation of a general rule of thumb that has already been established. :)
     
  17. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    True. The problem is that no one has established such a rule of thumb as far as I can tell. From what I can see, this is one of those situations where what many people "know" to be true is simply something that's been repeated so many times that people have come to believe it without proof.

    It doesn't seem to be difficult to find material that seems to indicate just the opposite of what has been claimed.

    http://www.bssa.org.uk/topics.php?article=125
    "No limitations on thickness in relation to brittle fracture apply to stainless steel; the limitations for carbon steel are not applicable due to the superior toughness of stainless steel."

    http://www.gowelding.com/met/austenitic.html
    "Austenitic stainless steels have high ductility, low yield stress and relatively high ultimate tensile strength, when compare to a typical carbon steel."

    http://www.edgecraft.com/tips_myth_all.html
    " Stainless steel is a mixture of iron, carbon and various additional elements, especially chromium, which give the alloy high rust-resistance and reduced brittleness or improved ductility (resilience). "
    "A recently introduced forged knife line made from a unique ultra-high carbon stainless alloy holds an edge up to ten times longer than any other stainless kitchen knife and has excellent stain resistance. The new alloy contains about 1% carbon (for hardness), twice the carbon of any other forged kitchen knife. Unlike carbon steel knives that tend to be brittle..."

    http://www.thefabricator.com/articl...ontent-steel-classifications-and-alloy-steels
    "Generally, carbon is the most important commercial steel alloy. Increasing carbon content increases hardness and strength and improves hardenability. But carbon also increases brittleness and reduces weldability because of its tendency to form martensite."

    http://www.differencebetween.net/miscellaneous/difference-between-steel-and-mild-steel/
    "This isn’t always applicable such as in the case of nickel steel. It is nonmagnetic, lacks the brittleness of high-carbon steel but at the same time, has the same tensile properties."
    "Carbon steel is harder than most stainless alloys but it can also be brittle, so pieces of the knife-edge can break off."

    The reason that it's so easy to find material like this is because what I said earlier in the thread is true. The properties of stainless steel and carbon steel vary tremendously with the particular alloy in question and with the heat treat. There are some VERY basic things you can generalize about the differences between stainless and carbon steel, but the idea that it's worthwhile, or even possible, to come up with an accurate rule of thumb about which is more or less brittle without being FAR more specific than "carbon steel" or "stainless steel" does not seem to be something that the facts will support.
     
  18. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    The term "stainless steel" is itself an oft misused generality. And I have observed that, as a general rule, general rules are generally useless in specific applications, even if they are generally true. Likewise, general misconceptions may be true in specific cases even if generally false.

    In the example, I gave, the particular steels used for that particular purpose apparently had the properties necessary for the characteristics exhibited in the failure. It is an example, not a proof. An observation of an incident, not a statement of natural law. And it is a mole hill, not a mountain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  19. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    I agree 100%. The term "carbon steel" is a similarly frequently misused generality.

    I once did some quick "research" and determined that there are upwards of 1500 cataloged steel alloys and more are likely being developed on a regular basis.

    Besides carbon, there are other alloying materials present (or not present) in varying amounts in "carbon steel". The same can be said of "stainless steel". The presence and quantities of those alloys can dramatically alter the properties of the resulting alloy.

    My primary point is comparing two often misused generalities in an attempt to derive a third generality is unlikely to result in any sort of useful rule of thumb.
    This is still missing the point. This comment assumes a general rule (i.e. it's possible to make an accurate general statement about the relative brittleness of "carbon steel" and stainless steel") which is at best unproven and at worst nonexistent.

    In other words, you're still trying to argue that the "general rule" you stated earlier in the thread is accurate. I'm saying no one's proven it's even possible to come up with a general rule that applies with any reasonable level of accuracy to the brittleness of "carbon steel" vs. "stainless steel".
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2012
  20. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Actually, at this point I have moved beyond the specific case of the earlier stated general rule and am making a general observation about general rules in general. Which may or may not be generally true in this or any other specific case.
     
  21. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    I think the first response to the thread is as good an answer as you can get.

    More technical-y comments on the steel questions:

    1. Is stainless more brittle tha carbon steel?
    Echo what has been said - "it depends". As noted earlier, heat treatment can have a much greater effect than alloying differences with regards to brittleness. There are very strong and tough steels, and alloys that are less so, in both varieties.

    2. Does the cold affect the brittleness stainless more?
    In general, no, but it depends on the specific alloy. I don't think it would be a concern with a modern alloy of either type in a firearm. Some additional explanation on this - Steels, amongst other materials, exhibit what is called a ductile to brittle transition temperature (DBTT). This temperature/behavior is dependent on the composition of a particular alloy, and the transition is more abrupt and pronounced in ferritic steels. This was a big concern with ship steel in the early 1900's when in cold waters (Google Liberty Ships and DBTT).
     
  22. 2zulu1

    2zulu1 Member

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    It would be interesting to compare Colt Trooper forgings to the GP100 carbon steel castings and Smith's stainless hammer forged, heat treated frames to Ruger's cast stainless frames.
     
  23. RinkRat

    RinkRat Member

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    So now that all of this tec talk has given me a throbbing headache I'm still a bit puzzled as to which would be more forgiving in a cold northern winter environment shooting stout 357magnum rounds ... a stainless steel or blue carbon PG100 Ruger 4" frame?

    Or is it just a mater of personal desire?? As in liking the look of ss or blue frame; one over the other? Maintenance aside, as I do take loving care of my firearms so either one will do I just want to get the optimum performer.

    If it boils down to just liking the color appearance hence the look of one over the other then step-up and say so but if one MIGHT be a bit more durable then say so. Some say the ss and some say the blue carbon ???

    Or am I just reading too much into all of these great remarks :eek: and should just pick one already??
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  24. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    One might be a bit more durable than the other under certain conditions. Change the conditions and the opposite might very well be true.

    If you want to know for sure which is superior in the conditions you care about most, you'll have to contact Ruger and ask them. A few folks there probably know, but it may not be easy to get your question to them.

    What I can tell you for certain is that either one will provide a lifetime (or two or five) of service under any reasonable conditions when maintained properly and used with ammunition that conforms to industry standards.
     
  25. fletcher

    fletcher Member

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    Either will be fine - I'd just pick whichever one looks best to you. If you can find the specific alloys from which each is made (low alloy & stainless), I will be glad to help you find material property data for comparison.
     
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