Barrel: stainless or ???

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by metau, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    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
     
  2. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    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.
     

  3. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    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
     
  4. wapiti13

    wapiti13 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    521
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    No problem. Just buy a quality barrel like Krieger or the like and you will be very satisfied with the stainless.
     
  5. albert

    albert Member

    Messages:
    22
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2004
    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
     
  6. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    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
     
  7. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    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.
     
  8. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Thansk for the tip. As I mentioned in my first post, I do currently have a rifle that is great to carry. But I am just no longer happy with it. I know that it will get the job done out to 300 yards or so with elk, but I want something that will reach out a little further. That is why I am thinking of either buying a new rifle or just rebarreling the one that I have. I just wanted to know about the pros/cons of a stainless steel barrel. I can spend about $400 right now, so I was thinking of just ordering in a new rifle. Then I could sell my current one and then use the money from that to finish paying off the new gun and then buy a stock an dies. I just do not like the idea of being without a rifle, that's all. And I am just trying to figure out my options.

    Jerry
     
  9. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    If you already have a rifle that will get the job done until the full custom is ready, I would suggest spending that $400 on a barrel, but leave it blank. Unthreaded, unchambered, and maybe uncontoured.

    First, leaving it as a blank will save you some cash in the short run. Second, as you aquire the major peices of your new rifle, you may change your mind on things like chamber, contour, etc.

    As time goes on, and more cash frees up, get the next bit, but do'nt try and make a rifle out of all the bits just yet. Save them until you can pay for the last bit, custom gunsmithing service to assemble your new ultimate rifle!
     
  10. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    okay, that is something I had not thought of yet. But how would I go about contouring it once I decided to? I thought that contours couldn't be changed. Am I wrong about this?
     
  11. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    Any good gunsmith that has the machinery to chamber has the machinery to contour. All it takes is a good lathe and some patience. Since it will be fully heat treated before thish it shouldn't move during the operation. However, if you do this, go with Krieger. Their barrels are as good as any, and the cut rifling won't induce stresses that can caue warpage in supsequent machining. I have heard of problems with button rifled barrels warping if they are recontoured later. Not to say you will neccessarily have a problem, but why chance it?

    If you prefer a barrel by a maker who button rifles, have them do the contour, but not the chamber, threads or crown.
     
  12. metau

    metau Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Dzaw, thanks for the info, but this now brings up another question. I beleive that I seen a few threads around arguing over which is better, but what I want to know is what is the DIFFERENCE between cut and button rifling? I am sure that they both have pros and cons vs each other, but I am not wanting to start a fire at this point, so I will steer away from asking that question. Thanks again.

    Jerry
     
  13. James Jones

    James Jones Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,854
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    A buttoned rifled barrel has the hole bored in the barrel then a series of carbide buttones with the reverse groove pattern is either pushed or pulled through the bore actualy "ironing" or pressing the grooves into the barrel.

    A cut rifles barrel has its grooves cut with a broach so that their is actualy metal being removed one small pass at a time.

    Which is better? who knows , the cut rifled fans say that the buttoned barrels have to much stress in them and wear faster , and the buttoned fans say that the steel in the cut barrels is to soft and wears faster.

    Both types when made by a quality barrel maker are usualy threated in some way or anouter for the stress wether is be heat or cryogenic and all the quality barrel makers lap their barrels to make sure that the bore diameter is uniform and most of the tool marks are removed.

    Both cut and buttoned rifled barrel makers have made their mark in the record books for accuracy sake.

    Its more or less a Ford vs Chevy type deal both have their great points and both have their negitives I guess.
    I have never seen any hard data that says one if more accurate or last longer than the other.
     
  14. Dzaw

    Dzaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2007
    No fire to start here, Mr. Jones hit it right on the head. The only reason I suggested cut over button is not due to any superior quality, only that it might be better suited to being recontoured at a later date.