In this country there are three or fore main alloys used.Brings up a question though.
What steel is used for rifle barrels?
In this country I believe we use chrome-moly ?
In Europe don’t they use chrome-vanadium ?
Which one would have the longest life in the throat/rifling juncture ? Or is there another maybe newer steel that would work better ?
Chrome Molly, 416 R stainless (Free machining) , 416 stainless and 17-4 PH
Most are buttoned rifling or cut rifling and done in a stress relieved state. good buttoned rifle barrels are normally double stress relieved (After rifling) to remove any additional stress caused by the button process.
In Europe, hammer forging is more common so normally the nickle content is slighter higher for the process.
Quality and barrel life are so objective based on use and care that there are many opinions. In my experience the 416 R seems to have an advantage on Accuracy life depending on rifling twist and groove count, chrome molly seams to have a longer total life, accuracy not as long. And 17-4 ph is somewhere in the middle. Care and maintenance has a huge bearing on accuracy life also. Some barrels are rendered useless by poor maintenance and being allowed to rust/corrode.
The alloy also determines the effective accuracy life and the harder the material is doesn't necessarily assure longer life so what is desirable is an alloy that is tough but can be machined well and with care and maintenance will last a life time, So far, 416 R has been the best material I have found with all of the necessary attributes. I have seen barrel lose accuracy with as few as 2 or 300 rounds, to beyond 20,000 depending on the alloy, care, cartridge and loading's.
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