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From: (Ed Harris)
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Stainless steel barrels
Date: 9 Oct 90 17:28:41 GMT

In article <> (Jerry Roe) writes:
>I believe you'll find a stainless barrel worth the money.  I've seen rifle
>advertisements which suggest up to double the life of a standard steel barrel
>(can't quote which one, unfortunately).  Stainless has a high chromium content,

The bore life of stainless barrels depends alot on the particular
alloy and the hardness, the method by which the barrel is made, and the
presence of machining additives.  In general the use of selium or
sulphur would weigh against use of stainless in high stressed
environments due to poor notching characteristics. as typical alloys
like 416R while offering mirror finish machining, have failed when used
in M14 rifle barrels and other applications where exterior machining or
welding (as for the operating rod guide on an M14) was done.  This
would also suggest against use of stainless in hot belted magnums such
as the .300 Win. or 7 mm Mag. in light sporter barrels because the
presence of sulphide stringers, which could act as stress risers, could
affect ultimate strength.  Most button rifled stainless barrel are only
about 20-24 Rockwell C, whereas the lower sulphur grades which are
hammer forged are usually about .006 max. sulphur - nuclear grade
material, and are much stronger.  When I was at Ruger we used a type
415 stainless for .44 Mag. Redhawk barrels and cylinders, of Rc 35
Min., and this was incredibly strong stuff.  I don't know anybody else
except Steyr and HK who make barrels out of steel of this cleanliness.


   	Ed Harris,
   	via The Black Cat's Shack's FidoNet<->Usenet Gateway   and   Fidonet 1:109/401

From: Rock McMillan <>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Gun barrel metal?
Date: 21 Aug 1996 16:21:31 -0400

# #Most non-stainless steel barrels are made of AIME 4140 chrome-moly alloy
# #steel.  It's tougher than a $2.00 steak, and moderately difficult to
# #machine.  I don't know what alloy is used for stainless steel barrels,
# #but suspect that it's a 300-series (in the US, these are know as 18-8's,
# #reflecting the percentages of chromium and nickel).

# Not likely 300 series. These are generally too soft. Need hardness for all
# that wear on the grooves.  Most references to SS firearms barrels that I
# have seen are 400 series. These can be machined in the annealed condition
# and heat treated to very high hardness.

Stainless steel was originally developed around the turn of the century and 
its first application was in rifle barrels, the alloy is 410.  This is a 
heat-treatable martinsitic grade of stainless that is still used today in 
many applications.  Later a more machinable alloy was developed by adding 
free machining additives to 410, this new alloy is 416.  A slightly more 
refined version of 416 is now used by most of the custom barrel makers in 
this country, 416R.  I have no idea what stainless alloy is used for pistol 

From: Bart Bobbitt <>
Subject: Stainless Barrels vs. Cold Weather

Several arms companies have recently offered hunting rifles with a
stainless steel barrel.  Here's some cautionary information about
stainless steel barrels.

When the temperature goes down, stainless steel has less fatigue
resistance.  Its physical properties drop off with temperature.
There have been instances of stainless barrels in hunting rifles
bursting when the ambient temperature is around zero degrees, or

Some custom barrel makers specifically caution against using their
stainless barrels in hunting rifles.  One (Krieger) doesn't even
make sporting/hunting barrels in stainless steel.  In a conversation
with B.J. Obermeyer some years ago, he told me that some of his
stainless barrels were installed in hunting rifles and used in
Alaska winter-time hunts.  Some of these barrels burst when fired.

Chrome-moly (i.e., type 4140 or 4150) barrels maintain their fatigue
resistance very well in really cold temperatures.  Stainless steel
(i.e, type 416R), typically used for rifle barrels, is the really
cold-weather culprit.

I'm wondering if anyone who has bought a new rifle with a stainless
steel barrel has noticed any cautions in printed material supplied
with the rifle.  Even more so, I'm wondering if rifle makers even
concern themselves with this issue.


From: Gale McMillan <>
Newsgroups: rec.guns
Subject: Re: Stainless vs. Blued
Date: 13 May 1998 10:17:34 -0400

Bbemory wrote:
# #What advantages/disadvantages does stainless have over "regular" blued
# #steel for a rifle barrel? Am considering purchase of (another) varmint gun,
# #and am thinking of one of those newfangled stainless fluted barrels...
# #
# #
# #
# #Bill McCormick
# #Member, Los Fresnos Rodeo Committee
# #
# #
# #
# #Ring Master, Texas Rodeo Web Ring
# #Join the Texas Rodeo Web Ring:
# #
# #Texas Rodeo Schedules:
# #
# #
# I would be interested in hearing from the match shooters who nave experimented
# with both. They have very different thermal characteristics and St St  has
# generally poorer machining quality so is one more accurate than the other? I
# have never used stainless on a rifle.
# Blair

Contrary to genral impressions Stainless steel that is used in the
firearms is not more difficult but is much more machineable than
chromoly. The s/s used in barrel steel is stainless screw stock 416R made
to run on auto screw machines at high speed. The steel used in s/s
actions is 1704, a tougher steel that take more tool pressure but
machines nicely. Stainless doesn't have the tensile strength that a
chromoly like 4340 does. Due to the softness of barrel s/s which is 27
to 29 Rockwell C it will not last as long as 4140 and while it is
believed to withstand heat erosion better I have not found that to be
true. As a summery due the better machine ability, s/s barrels can be
made with closer dimensions and surface finishes. It will produce more
accurate barrels. The sole benefit of fluted barrels is that to some
people it looks neat. If you are lucky a fluted barrel will shoot as
well as or nearly as well as an unfluted barrel. And the gunsmith needs
the money.
Gale McMillan

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