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  1. #1
    prof_fate is offline Member
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    Stainless or blue: Strength difference?

    Is a stainless gun (frame, barrel, etc) stronger than a blued one?

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  3. #2
    VAMarine's Avatar
    VAMarine is offline Administrator
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    For all intensive purposes...No

    Now, is a stainless finish more durable than a blued one? Yes. But as far as strength of blued (and by blued I mean honest to goodness bluing) carbon steel vs. stainless steel is concerned, it's a non-issue.

  4. #3
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    It once used to be an issue, before the technique of casting void-free stainless steel was completely understood.
    All that's been solved, nowadays.

  5. #4
    Charlie's Avatar
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    Not an issue with either one. Just my two bits.

  6. #5
    prof_fate is offline Member
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    Just asking as I'd never heard this before and my brother in law was telling me that he only buys stainless guns as SS is stronger than regular blued gun steel.

  7. #6
    TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
    TedDeBearFrmHell is offline Senior Member
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    stainless steel is denser than regular carbon steel, therefore marginally heavier and therefore absorbs more of the recoil than the same load in the same carbon steel gun.

    the only MEASURABLE advantage to me.... less time cleaning and oiling to prevent rust....

  8. #7
    MLB's Avatar
    MLB
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    There is an extremely small difference in density between carbon steel (that would be blued) and stainless steel. The density of most steels is about 0.284 lb/in^2, or about 490lbs/cu.ft. There are so many different "flavors" of stainless, and of steel, comparing them in general is difficult. They are both alloys of Iron though.

    I'd be surprised if anyone could tell the difference in weight between equal sized blocks. Stainless steel bolts do not have the same capacity as structural steel bolts though, so perhaps more material may be used to provide the same "strength".

  9. #8
    prof_fate is offline Member
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    That was my thought - having been a mechanic for 15 years I'd seen all grades of steel - grade 8 bolts don't rust (they probably do, but compared to grade 5 they don't). And there are cheap bolts out there than snap and strip and rust to the point they're nearly worthless.

    My experience has been while stainless is certainly less maintenance intensive it too comes in grades - commercial food grade is much harder to stain and more durable (and often shinier) than the consumer grade stuff you pick up at the store or home center.

    I just figured gun makers would be the same - hence a 357 or 44 mag would be made of 'better' metal than a 38 would, stainless or blued.

    Perhaps my brother in law heard that stainless was better early in his shooting experience, or from some trusted source, and has not bothered to further investigate. Being an engineer in the auto industry and now in aerospace I just thought maybe he knew something I didn't.

  10. #9
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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    prof_fate;
    I suggest that you follow-up your question here with a PM to Packard. He is our resident metallurgist, or the nearest thing to it, and his answer might be more complete and definitive than ours.

  11. #10
    prof_fate is offline Member
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    I just figured there'd not be much difference in actuality - metals can be made to all sorts of hardnesses. My BIL only buys stainless guns because he believes they're stronger and in teh case of his 45 auto will take more use before showing wear. I doubt that to be the case, and if it is it'd be a very small difference and may not be consistent from manufacturer to manufacturer anymore than accuracy is.

    In a SS gun is the barrel SS too? Would that make a difference (these days...maybe in corrosive primer/powder days it matterd)?

  12. #11
    Steve M1911A1's Avatar
    Steve M1911A1 is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by prof_fate View Post
    ...In a SS gun is the barrel SS too? Would that make a difference (these days...maybe in corrosive primer/powder days it matterd)?
    Answer to first question: Mostly "Yes."
    Answer to second question: Probably "Not Really."

    In corrosive-primer days, stainless wasn't much used for barrels. There was a well-known, easy way of cleaning the primer residue out. Stainless steel was a young technology, back then, and very expensive. Besides, corrosive primers will rust "stainless" steel, if you don't clean it carefully.
    The modern solution to corrosive primers is to chrome-plate the barrel's bore.

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