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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1911's can be built or bought with barrels made of carbon steel or stainless steel. The forum has many discussions on the quality and reliability of barrel makers' offerings. I would like to know the intrinsic differences in the materials used. Besides superior corrosion resistance, are stainless steel barrels better in other ways too? Or are they worse? In other words, what do you folks prefer and why?
 

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I have some questions about this too. I know that on my Kart barrel (which is chrome moly), the bore is blued to give it a little extra corrosion resistance. Would most smiths have the inside of a stainless barrel blued too?
Also, would stainless be harder to clean? I only ask because my experience with stainless guns is limited to my S&W 686 revolver. Carbon buildup on that gun is much harder to remove (either that, or carbon buildup blends in on my black guns, and I can't see it).
 

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I know that on my Kart barrel (which is chrome moly), the bore is blued to give it a little extra corrosion resistance.
Blue is CONTROLED RUST. Imagine how much that helps your barrel life? Imagine how a majority of the surface blue was wiped off with the first bullet that went down range. Good metal prep would plug the barrel and not blue the bore. Dumb thing to have done IMO.

Stainless. No you don't blue stainless. Never seen a BarSto black oxided either which is the only way to "blue" stainless.

The reason a stainless gun is harder to clean is you actually see the dirt. On a blued gun you don't.

HC is in the high 60s or low 70s on RC. It is very hard, slick and easy to clean.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-06-26 11:42 ]</font>
 

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Ok good...as long as I don't have to sit there and scrub away for a while on the silver surfaces.
I actually wondered a while back if bluing would actually be worn off just from firing bullets through them. Oh well. Anyhow, I'm very careful with my maintenance, so rust shouldn't be happening anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Back to the original question. Looks like I left Chrome Moly off the alloy list. So let me rephrase the question: "What do people who build custom 1911's for a living choose, in the way of barrel steels, and why?"
 

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Stainless. They are less of a problem cleaning and for rust. Some of the most accurate barrels are also just happen to be stainless.

I build, hard use, accurate guns. Not many options for the end use but a stainless barrel.
 

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Most platers don't do barrels because of the difficulty in getting an even coating on a long, small diameter hole.

I choose stainless barrels because that is what the best barrel makers are using and stainless does offer improved corrosion resistance vs carbon steel barrels.

The 400 series stainless, specifically 416R, currently in vogue for most stainless barrels is being used mostly because it's name is "stainless" and it is easy to machine. 416R does not have a particularly high chrome content and is loaded up with sulphur to make it easier to machine. People want "stainless" and if the material gets too difficult to machine (read expensive), the average consumer won't be spending money on them.

The 416R barrels are in some ways weaker than carbon steel barrels. When the sulphur is added ( for ease of machining, remember) it actually causes longitudinal veins or lines in the steel which are weak. These veins are what makes the material economical to machine. In a catastrophic overpressure situation the barrel may split along the lines instead of fragmenting like a carbon barrel might.

There are far tougher and more corrosion resistant alloys available. Unfortunately they are much more difficult to machine (read MUCH more expensive).

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Steve Morrison on 2001-06-28 11:25 ]</font>
 
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