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Chrome-moly vs. Stainless

 
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  #1  
Old 01-14-2008, 05:06 PM
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Chrome-moly vs. Stainless

I'm trying to make a price list for a custom gun and what I would need and was wondering what are the differences between Chrome-moly and stainless. Weight? Finish? Quality? The only time I've ever heard of Chrome-moly is someone was building a race car and opted to go with it instead of steel and the only reason he told me was is was a little lighter.
How much lighter? Would I be able to tell the difference and does it make any difference in accuracy? Looking into barrels and actions. Any input is appreciated.
Thanks
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:30 PM
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stainless steel is stronger, has a longer barrel life, corrosive resistant. It may have a better harmonics too.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7mmstwuser View Post
I'm trying to make a price list for a custom gun and what I would need and was wondering what are the differences between Chrome-moly and stainless. Weight? Finish? Quality? The only time I've ever heard of Chrome-moly is someone was building a race car and opted to go with it instead of steel and the only reason he told me was is was a little lighter.
How much lighter? Would I be able to tell the difference and does it make any difference in accuracy? Looking into barrels and actions. Any input is appreciated.
Thanks
There is not significant difference in the cost between a CM barrel and the same barrel made of stainless, the CM will be slightly less costly, but not enough to make it important in my opinion.
Stainless has less concern as far as corrosion goes if left unfinished. Most of the rifles I build have stainless barrels as then I do not need to blue, parkerize or coat them to prevent rusting. Stainless is not impervious to corrosion as some would think, just less suseptable.
The difference in cost can be offset by the need to have a CM barrel finished in some form of rust preventative, like blueing or coating.
Stainless is very slightly heavier than CM, but not noticeably, so no real difference there.
There are 2 distinct camps on whether 1 is better than the other for life expectancy and accuracy. I really don't think there is any documentable proof either way. Alot more boils down to the manner of rifling and overall quality of the barrel itself.
I use stainless mostly because I like the way it tools, it seems to give me better results in the rifles I build. And the fact that I don't have to blue it, which is a process I detest. Other gunmakers may find CM works better for them.
CM tends to be easier to heat treat reliably, which is why so many manufacturers took so long to jump onto the stainless action wagon.
I have had less failures with CM actions than stainless due to galling.
Possibly it has to do with experience of the heat treater, CM is old school for most, SS is a bit newer in the gun market and the stresses of firearms are different than most industrial uses.
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Old 01-14-2008, 07:48 PM
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well said.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:04 PM
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i'm not going to claim to be an expert here, but i'm gonna disagree about strength and say that stainless steel is not as strong as CM.the other quality would be it's a little easier to machine. the lands and grooves are just a bit smoother or they can be made a bit faster. stainless may also be more prone to fail in extremely cold temperatures.
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Old 01-14-2008, 08:28 PM
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Chrome-moly is stronger in both yield strength and hardness which is why its a better material to build high pressure action on like the 338 Lapua case on a Rem 700 action. The 400 (416) series SS commonly known as ordnance grade , is what barrels are made from , while its softer and has a little lower yield strength it allows for a better internal finish and is less affected by the high pressure corrosive/errosive effects that take place in the first few inches after the chamber so they are said to last longer before needing to be set back or replaced.
Now , if you are going to find yourself hunting is say the extreme artic climate where the high temps are well below zero you DON NOT want a stainless steel barrel as the SS will shrink more than the CM will and that will make for a tight bore situation , remember that .001" is a equlivlent to a mile in highend machining such as barrel bores.

all the 400 series Stainless Steels can be heat treaded to increase its strength and hardness but you have to keep it soft enough to be tough so that it doesen't fracture. Stainless machines very nice because its soft and it doesen't work harden nearly as fast so it you get a tool that rubs a bit you won't end up with a hard spot.

Idealy if you could make a barrel out of 718 Inconel you would be set as its the best material for high heat high corosion application but the cost is off the chart just a baller blank before amching would cost you $500+ and having sombody machine it for you would likely cost 5x's that due to its poor machinability. a few barrel makers have tinkered with differant materials , Blackstar had their barrel made from 17-4 Stainless which is very strong tough and corosion resistant but its also alot harder to machine and material cost is more , Lothar Walther uses a steel that they have a patten on that is very similer to 17-4. barrel makers have tried to find differant materials differant grades and so on and they keep comming back to 416

So aside for all the technical BS above look at what the guys that shoot for a living are using , the vast majority are using SS as it last longer. Accuracy wise I'd be willing to bet alot that you can't find a CM barrels that shoot as well as SS barrels , they just won't do it for as long.
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  #7  
Old 01-14-2008, 09:14 PM
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Thanks

Thanks everyone for all the helpful feed back. I have always loved my stainless. But I am looking to build a 338 Lupua or 338 Edge. So if I get this right James Jones I would possibly be better off with a chrome moly action and a stainless barrel. Correct me if I read that wrong. I would probably get mine painted as well and use a tactical stock in a McMillian A5 or something comparable.
Can stainless be painted fairly easy and how will the paint hold up? I usually baby all my guns in the field, but there is times that it still gets bumped and dinged.
The rifle below is like the one that I have in mind. I can't remember where I got this picture so if someone recognizes it Sorry!! I think it may even be one that Shawn Carlock has made. I just know that I saved with what the name that it had on it and it said Adamsrifle.jpg. Sorry Again!!! But all in all this is what I think I'm looking for. Any suggestions on where to start? How easy it to get a 700 action in stainless and how expensive are they?
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