Stainless Steel Barrels

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by 94Winchester, Feb 2, 2011.

  1. 94Winchester

    94Winchester Well-Known Member

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    I have read that stainless steel barrels might lead to greater velocity since they have less friction than carbon steel. Is this true? I was also wondering if there are any barrel makers that make barrels which have stainless steel on the inside of the barrel and carbon steel on the outside
     
  2. davewilson

    davewilson Well-Known Member

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    QUOTE94Winchester;I have read that stainless steel barrels might lead to greater velocity since they have less friction than carbon steel.

    where did you read this? sounds like horse hockey.


    I was also wondering if there are any barrel makers that make barrels which have stainless steel on the inside of the barrel and carbon steel on the outside[/QUOTE]

    i don't think you'll find anything like that. carbon wraps on the outside of steel liners is common.
     

  3. Mikecr

    Mikecr Well-Known Member

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    Don't believe anything from THAT source again..
     
  4. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    When one looks at the attributes of stainless steel verses 4000 series carbon steel, you have to wonder which K-Mart the guy got his engineering degree from! Stainless steel is well known for it's increased friction due to a low porosity in the granular structure. In otherwords it dosn't retain lubrecants like regular generic steel or cast iron does. Just the nature of the beast. What it does have going for it is the ability to withstand a higher heat range (now some folks are begining to doubt wether or not 400 series stainless actuall does). It's also a well know fact that you can machine carbon steel more accurately than stainless as well as get a slightly better micro finish. I do know for a fact that stainless will never work as easy as carbon steel, and this may well lead to the accuracey factoid.

    Strengthwise a piece of pretreat 4350 is stronger than a similar sized piece of 416 S.S. Has a much higher tensil & shear strength factor as well. But a steel with a high nickel and chrome content (that's all stainless steel is by the way) will in theory be much more resistent to corrosion (don't believe that statement). A little for sure, but the statement is more often than not overstated. If a piece of steel will harden, it will rust! Nature of the beast. Stainless steel is often proported to be able to withstand enormmass amounts of heat; or will it? Actually it will if it's a mid 300 series steel (330 or 349 comes to mind). A piece of 400 series stainless will take a little more heat than generic carbon steel, but also with a loss of it's granular structure (how much is an ongoing argument). What stainless cannot do is handle extreme cold. It actually can become dangerous in some enviorments. Personally I see little difference between the two
    gary
     
  5. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    Fit, Finnish and twist rates are the key to more velocity potential.

    Stainless is more difficult to machine so more labor is required in order to meet quality
    standards, hence the price difference.

    The problem with some chrome molly barrels is that less care is taken with some of them
    and a poor barrel is more common.

    Quality is often controlled by price. and not the material.

    Either material can be very accurate and have good velocities as long as the quality is there.

    The fact that a stainless barrel is normally always lapped and a lot of carbon barrels are not
    could lead to that conclusion but it is not a good comparison.

    If you were to lap a carbon steel barrel and not lap the stainless barrel the outcome would
    be just the opposite.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  6. MTBULLET

    MTBULLET Well-Known Member

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    +1 with J E Custom.
    Although I prefer to machine carbon or moly steels, I use Stainless Bbls. And only high grade Bbls. at that. Last few years have been using BERGARA because of the attention to detail (fit/finish/lapping)
     
  7. gr8whyt

    gr8whyt Well-Known Member

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    What do you consider "extreme cold"? What do you mean by "dangerous in some environments"?

    From the FAQ section on Dan Lilja's web site:

    "Q. Can stainless steel barrels be safely fired in sub zero temperatures? Yes they certainly can be. There is a myth going around that stainless steel alloys used in rifle barrels loose their strength in sub zero temperatures. There is no truth to that. We have made many thousands of barrels that have been fired safely in below zero temperatures as have all of the other custom barrel makers as well as the major arms manufacturers. This is an urban legend that should be chilled"

    But from Krieger's web site:

    "Stainless Steel.....It is inadvisable to use stainless steel in very cold temperatures, i.e.below 0 Degrees F, as stainless loses fatigue resistance in very cold weather."

    I respect both barrel makers as tops in the products they produce. And I would consider both of them very knowledgeable about the materials they use. So I really struggle to reconcile this point.

    --gr8whyt
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2011
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I totally agree that some grades of stainless steels loses strength at extreme cold temperatures, "BUT" it is so cold before it effects the safety that a person could not live very
    long and certainly would not be hunting in those temperatures.

    I am like you about why two premier barrels makers disagree on this and I think it is a cover
    your ass lawyer talking instead of Krieger. if it is true why wouldn't Lilja protect himself with a simple
    disclaimer.

    If it was true do you think that all of the rifle makers like Remington ,Browning, Weatherby,
    Sako and others would risk lawsuits that could ruin them when all they would have to do is not make Stainless Actions.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. gr8whyt

    gr8whyt Well-Known Member

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    I think maybe you've hit on something there that I hadn't thought of, that being a CYA lawyer talking instead of Krieger. That would make a lot of sense. lightbulb

    -- gr8whyt
     
  10. 94Winchester

    94Winchester Well-Known Member

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    Thank your for the info on stainless steel barrels. Is the main reason for choosing stainless is its corrosion resistance or something else?

    "Don't believe anything from THAT source again."

    I don't blame the source for being wrong in this instance. The commentary was written in the 90s and the author thought stainless might result in increased velocity(because he thought that it had less friction) but he did not know for sure and was putting out the idea so that it might be studied.
     
  11. Boss Hoss

    Boss Hoss Well-Known Member

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    Good post..
     
  12. Trickymissfit

    Trickymissfit Well-Known Member

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    Roy Weatherby was the first to make note of the extreme cold factor and strength of 416 stainless steel. He did electroless nickel the O.D. of some of his barrels (maybe the Alaskan series). Now later Sako went thru a series of blow ups, and many of these blow ups were later found to have occured in extreme cold weather (but not all). Dan Lilja has made more than one statement about stainless steel barrells and extreme cold shooting. Each one contradicts the other. I have heard and read the Krieger statement more than once, and it seems that a couple others have also done the "disclaimer" too. I confired with the folks at Baldwin Steel around 2002 or 2004 with the stack of questions, but for a different application. They also confirmed the same factor (parts were going in a -40 degree high altitude chamber), but said their MAR-10 series should hold up quite well (pretty much an equivalent to 17PH-4 but much more corrosive resistent). I learned that it has everything todo with the retained martensite, and nothing much todo with the alloy content. Now I am not exactly fond of shooting in 20 below zero temps, so I don't see a worry. But if I were hunting polar bears, I'd think about it.
    gary