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Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel

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Unread 09-20-2006, 11:23 PM
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Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel

Why would some one want a Stainless steel Barrel over Chrom Moly? I'm reading on Benchrest.com that 416R stainless is no good at extreme cold temps. Plus some times the Sulpher added to it for ease in machineing . If it doesn't mix right can blow up. Like Sako did a while back. They say use 410 grade stainless. But it machines poorly. So why use the stuff? I have a Hart Varmint BBL made with 416R in 6x284. I've loaded some HOT loads it hasn't blown up? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
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Unread 09-21-2006, 05:27 AM
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Re: Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel

Iron Worker,
The simplest answer to your question is that both 410 & 416 stainless are more resistant to corrosion and erosion than chrome-moly steel. All three materials have specific applications for which they are clearly the best choice for a barrel. The negative attributes you listed for the stainless alloys are factual, but are rarely applicable in the normal usage of a hunting rifle.
Good shooting,
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Unread 09-21-2006, 10:20 AM
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Re: Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel


The reason for using stainless over chrome moly is that it
is tougher and improves throat life.

When high velocity cartriges started being produced (7 rem mag,264 win 220 swift,ect throat erosion was a problem so
stainless was tried and found to be better than chrome for
this problem.

But it is harder to machine, thats why most ss barrels are laped.

Stainless with sulphur is called free machining steel and
SHOULD NOT BE USED: in rifle barrels.

Other than the corrosion and erosion advantage of ss over
cm there are few differences.

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Unread 09-22-2006, 03:57 AM
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Re: Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel

I have to disagree with the statement that SS is harder to machine than Chrome-Moly. I find that, when turning, facing, threading and chambering a barrel, SS is much easier to work with.
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Unread 09-22-2006, 10:06 AM
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Re: Chrom Moly vs Stainless steel

Most top end barrel makers use stainless steels in either 416 or 410. They get steel that they know the quality of, not the cheapest stock they can find. That is why you pay $300 for a match grade blank.

I would also add that stainless is actually dramatically softer then chrome moly steel. This generally adds to the finer finish of stainless using quality carbide cutters when you use ample amounts of cutting fluid.

I have found Chrome moly steel machines to a finer finish when using High Speed steel cutters compared to carbide cutters.

As such, when chambering I have never seen much of a difference as I use high speed steel reamers.

I would not say stainless is stronger then chrome moly in any way. That is a tricky statement to follow up on because what exactly does "stronger" mean. Chrome moly will resist compression better then stainless in most cases but stainless has more elastic properties then chrome moly in most cases as well.

Simply put, if you get a quality barrel made in either chrome moly or stainless they will both be great shooters. Many feel stainless barrels are alot more expensive then chrome moly barrels but once you figure in the finishing and bluing costs for a chrome moly barrel they are about equal in price and at times the stainless is even less expensive on the finished rifle.

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