This is a discussion on Stainless????? within the DIY forums, part of the Sniping Related category; I heard a rumor that all things being equal, a stainless barrel won't last as long as a chromoly barrel. I'm no expert, but I ...

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Thread: Stainless?????

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013


    I heard a rumor that all things being equal, a stainless barrel won't last as long as a chromoly barrel. I'm no expert, but I have
    cut both stainless steel and chromoly steel, and its hard for me to imagine a stainless barrel not lasting longer than a chromoly one.
    Is there anyone out there who can fill me in........

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    SW Oregon
    When I was in the shooting industry 35+ years ago, stainless was just starting to come of age. I have owned many stainless handguns when they first hit the shelves, still have a stainless 1911 Coonan .357 mag that I bought when it first came out in the early 80's. The first claims were always that stainless was softer and would not last as long. Dealing with stainless knives, I would agree, not 100% sure the same applied with barrels, but the science followed suit.

    The one thing about stainless, based on metalurgy, is that stainless had a higher propensity to movement. As the barrel warmed it tended to move in a circular motion, in the direction of the twist. Although this was just science, it made sense.

    Several reliable sources in the industry supported this theory, all things being equal. The problem with "all things being equal" is they never are. We have too many variables in this sport to support many of the claims out there. Powder type, powder charge, bullet weight, bullet brand and type etc..... I have felt for years that these "variables" were from people who just could not shoot. Just my opinon.


  3. #3
    Senior Member the m700 project's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Holmdel NJ
    Im no expert either but perhaps its how ss absorbs heat that makes the difference. it may be harder but not absorb heat the same way, causing issues

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  5. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    In the olden days they said SS was more resistant to flame erosion in the barrel-burners like 220 Swift. My understanding is that this is still considered to be the case.

    The thermal conductivity is an issue I never considered, but I know from welding that stainless is less thermally conductive than mild steel (and presumably CrMo steels) and also has more of a tendency to warp/distort when it gets hot than mild steel...I don't know whether this also applies to barrels when they get hot.

    ETA: Wow, I just noticed: This is an old thread!

    It's an age hardened thread!

  6. #5
    Senior Member the m700 project's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Holmdel NJ
    wow it is it was only on the second page though

  7. #6
    Senior Member deadshot2's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Upper Left Corner
    Something to consider is that there are many different kinds of "Stainless" steel.

    My barrel is made of 416R and is supposed to be among the toughest of stainless steels used in firearms. Plain 416, not so much.

    A bigger consideration is the bore to case relationship. Overbore's are more prone to burning out barrels than standard rounds like the .308. In the case of the .308 it's whether you get 10,000 rounds through the barrel before accuracy drops or 11.000 rounds (if that many more).

    I know that the barrel maker I use prefers Stainless to the chome-molly barrels, selling far more SS units. To me the only real benefit of a non SS barrel is the ability to put a traditional blued finish on it. For my shooting I just order the barrel with a "blast finish" and then duracoat it.

    When it comes to Steel vs SS Actions, the SS actions need a lot of attention to cleaning and lube or you'll run the risk of galling in the bolt-ways and on the locking lugs. That's easy to deal with though.


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