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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:11 pm 
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Bearcat

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2010 6:31 am
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Sorry I know its a really general kind of question but im just wondering if Freedom Arms only builds in stainless steel and the fire lapping boys say stainless guns take way more rounds to lap a barrel...then are stainless guns maybe more mechanically durable in the long term, and better able to handle heavy loads etc??


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 1:22 pm 
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Single-Sixer
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Someone more knowledgeable than I will probably answer your question but I will say this:
My first Ruger SA is a Blackhawk .357 in SS and it is so massive and strong-looking one would almost think it part of an Abrams tank.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:01 pm 
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Blackhawk
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The data will never be in on this subject as blued steel guns have about 300 years on the stainless models. Most of us worry too much about a guns durability for our own lifetime.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:02 pm 
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Single-Sixer

Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:36 pm
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Location: Indiana
The FA guns are 17-4ph Stainless, which is extremely tough as far as stainless goes. Not sure what Ruger uses off hand, but I am sure someone here will know.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 2:50 pm 
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Bearcat
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The Brinell hardness of normal steel is around 120HB while stainless steels [annealed] measure in the 200HB range. The chromium in stainless makes it very tough and long wearing. Just try to drill or machine the stuff, it eats tooling.


Last edited by slofyr on Tue May 03, 2011 8:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:05 pm 
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Buckeye

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I asked this same question years ago when I first got into handgun shooting, asked every gun shop owner "will the stainless model last longer than the blued one?" and most of the time they're like "If you shoot enough to worry about it, you might as well buy two of them"

It also all depends on the kind of stainless being used and the manufacturer. I HIGHLY doubt a company like Taurus is using the same grade of SS as Freeedom Arms. For $350 for a SS Taurus 85 or 82, the raw SS in that gun, if the same as an FA, would cost more than that before the gun was even forged.

People very knowledgeable on the subject say the stainless used in the .454 and .480 is heat treated differently and is a more expensive (better) stainless than the SS used in the .44 Magnum Redhawks and SRH's, and GP100's. The .44's and .357's don't need to be as "strong" for lack of a better word, than the .454's which have a lot more pressure and heat and thus the .44's can be offered at a slightly lower price. Bill Ruger was known for being frugal and there's no arguing that a SS Redhawk will last a lifetime or more......if more expensive SS isn't needed, then I guess pass the savings along to the customer.

There is also a lot of personal "preference" involved, there are S&W guys who will swear the carbon steel used in the blued and nickel guns is harder and stronger than the stainless. They claim the SS, especially in the early SS Smiths, is "softer" and the cylinder stop notches will peen faster and endshake will develop sooner. I'm sure modern SS alloys are better than those used in the 60's, for the first stainless S&W's. The .500 S&W is only offered in SS and there's no doubt that gun has got to be strong.

The FA revolvers had better be top grade stainless, to be chambered in stuff like 30-30 and 45-70 :D

Like was said below, most of us will never see any real difference in durability in a carbon steel vs. stainless handgun. 99% of us won't be able to put enough rounds through it to see if a stainless gun will take more .357 over a blued one, maybe someone with deep pockets and a lot of free time will take a blue and SS GP100 and run 10's of thousands of rounds through them and report which one lasted longer 8)

Rifles may be a different matter, since a barrel will wear out in 8-10,000 rounds in some cases...........but for guns like a GP100 or Redhawk......whether it's blue or stainless, good luck trying to wear one out.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 3:46 pm 
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Site Admin
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stantheman86 wrote:

The FA revolvers had better be top grade stainless, to be chambered in stuff like 30-30 and 45-70......


Uh, the revolvers are mostly chambered in "straight wall handgun cartridges, not the two rifle cartridges you've mentioned.

.22, .32 mag., .32-20, .327, .357, .41, .44, .45 Colt, .45 ACP, .454 Casull, .475 Magnum (Linebaugh), .500 Wyoming Express. A few others, as well....

:D

flatgate


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:21 pm 
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Hawkeye

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I prefer carbon for its better heat transfer resistance.

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 4:25 pm 
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Blackhawk

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Most blued firearms are made from chrome-moly steels not plain carbon steels. There are many variates of chrome moly and stainless steels all of which are very "strong" Custom alloys can be had and special heat treatments can be used to get the desired characteristics. You have to consider some frames are castings and some are forgings. Some alloys are better for casting and some better forged. You have to have faith that the engineers took all these factors into consideration when they designed and tested them and both will be up to the task. All steels have carbon in them, it's what makes steel instead of iron.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:10 pm 
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Buckeye

Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 8:40 pm
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I must have gotten the Freedom Arms confused with the Magnum Research BFR....both are huge stainless SA revolvers, I get them mixed up.....BFR's are also stainless, and chambered for 30-30 and 45-70. :D


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:43 pm 
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Blackhawk

Joined: Sun Dec 17, 2000 2:01 am
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FA and BFR revolvers are made from 17-4 PH predominantly.

SRH in 454 and 480 frame is made from 416, cylinder from Carpenter 465 and barrel for 454 from Carpenter Project 7000 15Cr-5Ni http://www.cartech.com/techarticles.aspx?id=1608 . Not sure about barrel for 480. All other stainless guns are made from 416 or similar steel, while some manufacturers use 416R for barrel.

Some years ago I found article about benchrest rifles. Their experience WAS that stainless barrels are about 30% more durable than ˝blue˝ ones, usually 4140. As a matter of fact, I can't even recall seen any benchrest rifle with standard alloy barrel.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 7:55 pm 
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Single-Sixer
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Bottom line....does it matter?

Both carbon steel and SS are STRONG ENOUGH. Unless you are planning on trying to do something that goes beyond what the manufacturer recommends (like using it in place of a hammer) both types of steel are good enough for government work. I think the difference between blued steel and SS comes down to aesthetics and maintenance.


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:07 pm 
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Buckeye

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I think it does matter, this has been an informative thread, not everyone knows that their are different types of stainless. The opinions and facts presented about stainless being more durable are interesting.

If it helps a few buyers make a more informed decision, or at least learn something about their guns, I think it's a win in my book.

I'm sure a lot of people want to know what the differences are. Blued guns are generally lower cost, but maybe the SS guns last longer.....


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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Hunter

Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 4:54 pm
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Location: Butte, MT
Quote:
but maybe the SS guns last longer.....
... The point is ... so? The blued guns last generations... If SS guns last longer ... You and I, and our kids kids won't be around to care :) .

To me, the 'only' thing going for SS is the moisture resistance. If you live/hunt in a humid area then SS may be a better fit.... although I am sure with proper care the blued guns will work as well. Also SS wear better. In fact I got a SS Sheriffs Vaquero for CC just for that reason. I do prefer blued/ case colored though for my working guns. Just seems right somehow!

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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2011 9:31 pm 
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Blackhawk

Joined: Wed Dec 23, 2009 10:40 pm
Posts: 517
Onty wrote:
FA and BFR revolvers are made from 17-4 PH predominantly.

SRH in 454 and 480 frame is made from 416, cylinder from Carpenter 465 and barrel for 454 from Carpenter Project 7000 15Cr-5Ni http://www.cartech.com/techarticles.aspx?id=1608 . Not sure about barrel for 480. All other stainless guns are made from 416 or similar steel, while some manufacturers use 416R for barrel.

Some years ago I found article about benchrest rifles. Their experience WAS that stainless barrels are about 30% more durable than ˝blue˝ ones, usually 4140. As a matter of fact, I can't even recall seen any benchrest rifle with standard alloy barrel.


Good info there, hard to find much on firearms metallurgy. Plays such an important role but is rarely discussed. Interesting to see the 465 has some moly in it also.


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