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Barrel: stainless or ???

 
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  #1  
Old 03-03-2007, 06:50 PM
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Barrel: stainless or ???

I have a question about barrel compostion. What are the pros and cons of a stainless steel barrel? What other choices are out there? Which ones are better for which situations?

I am thinking of either rebarreling my current rifle or purchasing a new one and would like to know what barrel I need. I live/hunt in Colorado, and like to hunt the late seasons here for cow elk. Highs about 10-20*f, and lots of snow on the ground. I have heard that stainless steel barels are good for protection against the elements, but are not so good in extreme cold. Since I hunted three days last year in sub zero weather, this would be a concern of mine. However, I would also use this gun(if I buy a new one) for future hunts in either Montana or Alaska(will be moving in 1-2 years hopefully). So I am just trying to figure out what my options are, both for factory rifle barrels or custom ones, and what would meet my needs. Thanks.

Jerry
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Old 03-03-2007, 06:56 PM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

Go stainless, you won't regret it

Just make sure you get a barrel made by a reputable maker. as even the industrial heat treat they will get is going to be superior to what factory stainless barrels get.

Extreme cold (below 0 F) can cause an increase in brittleness. If you shoot a lot in that sort of cold, you may want to consider a non stainless barrel, but bear in mind that when I say shoot a lot, I mean shoot like a competitor, not a hunter. I can count on one hand the number of hunters I've ever met that have taken more than a half dozen shots in sub zero in their lifetimes.

Yes, the occaisional anecdote pops up about so and so who had a barrel break when shot in the cold, and it's blamed on the stainless alloy. However, I would be much more ready to blame that failure on the uneven residual stresses caused by the mass production of factory barrels on a large scale.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:47 PM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

Thanks for the input, that's basically what I was looking for. I have no way of telling if I may ever take more than 10 shots in sub-zero temps, but I am certain that I will take many, if not hundreds in near freezing or sub freezing conditions. Most of my load development and reloading time is done in the winter here. I try to wait for warmer days with no wind, but usually luck out with 20-25*f weather if I want sub 5mph winds. In these type of temperature's, should I be concerned about brittleness? Thanks again.

Jerry
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Old 03-04-2007, 12:16 AM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

No problem. Just buy a quality barrel like Krieger or the like and you will be very satisfied with the stainless.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:33 AM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

I do lot's of shooting in sub zero weather as low -40 and sometimes colder. This is really a non-issue. Never heard of it until now. All my barrels are stainless
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:47 AM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

Thanks everyone for the info so far. I think that I have figured out what I am going to do, but I still need some advice/help. The way I am thinking of it now is like this: I will purchase a rem 700 sps in the caliber that I want(either 300winmag or 300rum) and start off with a new trigger. When I can afford a stock, that will be my next purchase, followd by a new barrel once finances become availabe for that, which will also be a point at where I can go to a differant chambering if I so desire. Eventually I will upgrade to a custom action. You all have pretty much convinced me to go with a stainless barrel, but now another question. Should I spend the extra $100 or so and start out with the sps stainless so that I can get the stainless action? I am just throwing out my ideas here, but if anyone has better/other ones I would appreciate to hear them. Thanks again.

Jerry
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Old 03-04-2007, 11:29 AM
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Re: Barrel: stainless or ???

Honestly, if you want to go that route, I would suggest something completely different...

If part of your goal is to get hunting immediatly, I would suggest starting at shorter ranges. Get yourself a NEF Handi Rifle. Yes, I know, they are nit accurate enough to be useful beyond 200 yds or so, but they are a decent walking rifle and the quality is much higer than the price would suggest.

In the meantime, spend your money on components for your custom rifle. As you can afford to do a stock or barrel, buy it, and put it away somewhere safe. When you have a stock, a barrel, and a good custom action, save for gunsmithing, hire a good gunsmith to put the components together, and you have your custom rifle!

This seems to me a much more sensible method, as you won't be spending extra money on a donor rifle, then extra money to have the action tuned and trued, just to eventually replace that action with a custom when you can afford to do so. The resale value on the tuned donor action will be very dissapointing indeed, wheras you end up with two functioning rifles if you got the NEF first route.

I'm sure a lot of people here would vehemently disagree. The NEF is not a weapon even close to on the same scale as the wepons some of these people are used to dealing with, but as I said, it is much better than the pricetag would lead you to believe, and it will get you out shooting immediatly while you save for the eventual custom.
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