Comments on current stainless and blued finishes

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south_ridge

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
276
I am looking to buy a new Ruger revolver (likely a Single Six), and one of the things I am hung up on is stainless vs. blued. I am interested in hearing comments from the forum on the quality of the finish on the new guns Ruger is putting out.

Thanks in advance for your comments.
 

P90

Single-Sixer
Joined
Sep 22, 2005
Messages
359
Its a matter of personal preference. Only you can answer that. Some prefer blued guns, others prefer Stainless ones. Some even like both. I personally prefer Stainless, but that's me and not you, or a lot of other people. :)
 

actionflies

Bearcat
Joined
Jan 25, 2008
Messages
86
This is a personal preference but stainless will cost more and more rust resistance. My only advice is to thoroughly inspect a new Ruger before taking it home. Like Forest Gump said "life is like a box of chocolate, you never know what you're going to get from a new Ruger gun" :lol:
 
Joined
Nov 5, 2007
Messages
7,459
I just bought the 327 Blackhawk (have posted pictures previously) and the quality is great. Stainless. It's clear Ruger did not spend much time on the inside parts of the frame. Remove the grips or cylinder and it's pretty rough. Outside however the finish is very consistent. Overall though I'm glad it's stainless, I know it will "wear" longer.

However, my all time favorite gun finish is blued with walnut.
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Its a matter of personal preference. Only you can answer that. Some prefer blued guns, others prefer Stainless ones. Some even like both.

The OP really isn't asking himself what he thinks.....he is asking us what we think. Sometimes I feel that those kind of answers, while somewhat true, just muddy up the minds of folks looking to hear what others think (and why).

So, with that being said....here are my opinions on the finishes that Ruger produces:

1. Gloss Stainless - I love this bright finish. It cleans up easily and looks sweet. However, be careful not to scratch it or the scratch will stand out like a sore thumb. Great protection against corrosion.

2. Matte Stainless - Great protection against corosion, easy to clean, not as reflective to wild game as high gloss stainless and you can blend in/out scratches with a scotch brite pad. This is probably my favorite finish.

3. Target Grey Stainless - It's kind of a dark grey color, kind of looks painted on, easy clean-up, good corrosion resistance, rare as compared to other popular gun finishes, only ruger knows how to apply the finish, aftermarket stuff doesn't always match up to it well, hard to fill in or blend a scratch. This one is normally a love it or hate it type of finish. It's not my favorite.

4. Blue - This looks good when new but also "ages" nicely, not as easy to clean due to the fact that some brushes can scratch off the bluing, the end of the barrel can get holster wear marks, cylinder rings show up more with a blue gun, they usually cost less than stainless, they hide your position better than stainless at night. They are kind of a classic look to some.

5. Color Case Frames - These are not true color case finishes (on Rugers). Their metals won't accept a true color case process. So, Ruger applies a chemical treatment to give the look of color case hardened frames. Some like it, other say it rusts and fades quickly. They give a gun an old-time look. This finish is found on some of the "cowboy" guns that are out there. Some say that this is a really neat finish. However, I'm not sure if I like it quite yet.

So, that's my take on Ruger gun finishes. Do I think that the finish on a Ruger is as nice as a higher-end Colt? No. However, I really like the finishes that Ruger puts on their guns. I am partial to their matte stainless. These just seem like the type of gun that will outlast all of human civilization, IMHO.
 
A

Anonymous

I prefer SS on the double action guns but on the single action guns---particularly the Vaquero---I prefer the blue, but only because I feel the SS distroys the ambiance of a gun that was designed to appeal to the cowboy that dwells in all of us.

Now if the Vaquero was available in the darker grey SS finnish that the super Redhawks have, I would take a second look at that.
 

south_ridge

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
276
Bearhawk - Thanks, that is the kind of answer I was looking for. Maybe my original question wasn't specific enough.

What I really want to know is - is the current Ruger blue a quality finish? And is the current stainless finish a quality finish? I know what they look like in the store and what my opinions are, but how will they last/hold up?

Thanks again.
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
Again, they will outlast human civilization, especially the stainless. That pretty much says it all....
 

Wyandot Jim

Hawkeye
Joined
Sep 1, 2003
Messages
5,039
Bottom line. If you shoot use the crap out of a blue gun it will ware. So you have to re-blue it if you want it to look new.
Do the same to a stainless one and all you do is polish it out. Then it looks like new.
The Ruger blue guns are as good as anybodys but it will ware off. Blue/brown guns have been doing it for 500 years or so.
Just what you want,
Jim
 

Driftwood Johnson

Blackhawk
Joined
Sep 25, 2007
Messages
699
Howdy

I think you are laboring under a bit of a misconception here.

When Ruger first offered the Vaquero models in Stainless, they were offered in a slight matte finish. However Ruger quickly realized that a highly polished Stainless finish would look very similar to the nickel plated finishes that were somewhat common in the 19th Century. In those days, Blued finishes were not as robust as modern blues, and the blue tended to wear off fairly quickly. It also did not provide a whole lot of protection against rust. In those days, a nickel plated finish was sometimes better protection against rust than a blue finish. However it was also fairly common for a nickel plated finish to flake off, revealing the bare steel beneath, which could then rust.

Ruger began putting a high polish on their Stainless Vaqueros and has ever since, to mimic those old nickel plated guns. However, that's all it is, the bare Stainless is polished to a mirror finish. All Stainless steels are corrosion resistant, because of the presence of chromium in the alloy. When exposed to atmospheric oxygen the chromium forms a passivation layer of chromium oxide. This is a natural process. Scratch the steel and it will 'heal' itself with a new passivation layer. The passivation layer is invisible, but it prevents atmospheric oxygen from reaching the steel, so it prevents corrosion. There are many, many different alloys of Stainless steel. Some are more corrosion resistant than others. The stuff Ruger uses is very corrosion resistant.

Blue finishes on the other hand are a chemically induced form of iron oxide, or rust. The blue is a very thin layer of oxide that forms on the surface of the metal. It's just that it is blue colored, not red like most iron oxide. In fact, another form of rust prevention on guns a couple of hundred years ago was 'browning'. This was another controlled layer of rust. This thin layer of oxide prevents atmospheric oxygen from reaching the body of the steel, and so it also prevents rust in the normal, red, fashion. As I said earlier, old time blues did not always protect the steel real well, they rubbed off easily.

Ruger's modern blue is very robust and protects the steel very well from rusting.

Of course, any blue will eventually rub off. I shoot a lot of Cowboy Action with Rugers and other guns. This means carrying holstered a lot, and drawing and reholstering a lot. Most of my Cowboy guns are blued, and most of them have some of the blue rubbing off on high spots like the muzzle from holster wear. Draw a gun enough times and you will get some wear on the blue. Then you have a little bit of bare steel. The best rust prevention for bare steel is oil, but I will tell they truth, I don't oil my guns very often, and I don't have any rust on the spots where the blue has worn off.

P.S. Before somebody tells you that Stainless is easier to clean than blue, let me tell you it ain't true. How difficult a steel is to clean depends on how highly polished the metal is, not the specific alloy. The shinier the metal, the easier it is to clean. The duller the metal, the more microscopic pits there are to hold dirt and fouling. It takes the exact same amount of elbow grease to clean a stainless revolver as it does to clean a blued revolver, all other things being equal. However a bright Stainless finish may tend to highlight fouling while a blue finish may tend to hide it.

Lastly, a polished Stainless finish may throw glare in your eyes in bright sunlight. I used to blacken the rear surface of the front sight on my Stainless Vaqueros for that reason. Basically, light sights will show up better against dark dark targets, blue sights will show up better against light targets.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.
 

Montelores

Buckeye
Joined
Oct 29, 2009
Messages
1,171
Not to stray off topic, but the stainless steel Single Sixes do weigh a bit more than the blued models. You would be well advised to handle them side-by-side to compare them. Both are wonderful, but they are different.

Monty
 

WARD

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 28, 2008
Messages
146
As Montelores points out - many of the blued SA guns come with alloy grip frames while pretty much all stainless SA guns come with stainless grip frames and that makes for a noticable weight difference in guns like the Single Sixes and Blackhawks.

The new blued FT Blackhawks do come with blued steel grip frames which makes them heavier than a blued regular Blackhawk.

Scratch an alloy grip frame and you'll have bright silver color showing!

Ward
 

south_ridge

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2010
Messages
276
Thanks for the comments on the weight. That is something I noticed right away when I started looking at them. At first I prefered the lightweight nature of the blued ones with the alloy frame, but as I handled more of them the difference seemed to matter less.

I'm pretty well set on the 5 1/2" barrel length in either case. That seemed to be the best handling option for me. I have pretty small hands so smaller handguns seem to fit me better (both in terms of grips and overall size).
 

Yosemite Sam

Hunter
Joined
Mar 18, 2002
Messages
2,113
If you have a problem with leading you can stuff a piece of Lead Away cloth down your stainless gun's bore. If you do this to the blue gun it'll take the blue off.

Blue does wear over time and with use, but that wear can look good.

I have some of each, and am no help whatsoever.

-- Sam
 

Rclark

Hunter
Joined
Jan 1, 2009
Messages
3,248
At first I prefered the lightweight nature of the blued ones with the alloy frame, but as I handled more of them the difference seemed to matter less.
Depends. If you pack a lot in the woods, a few ounces may make a difference after a long day. On the other hand heavier can make you steadier . I prefer blued for my handguns. A lot less sun glare, less bling ... just nice working guns that get the job done. On the other hand if you are lost you can use your shiny SS gun as a mirror for search parties.... Whatever turns your wheel :) .

5 1/2 is a nice compromise. I like it myself. Any new SA I'll get will be 5 1/2" from here on out. Not to short, not to long.... Just right!
 

BearHawk 357

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
249
A bit off-topic but....

+1 on the 5 1/2" barrel being "perfect".....they are hard to beat for all around usefullness.
 

batmann

Single-Sixer
Joined
Dec 6, 2004
Messages
307
I like stainless over blue. The current blued mid-frames are excellent, very smooth and consistant, but that said, I still prefer stainless.
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
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Whatever......... they all have their merits!

JMHO,

flatgate
 

WESHOOT2

Hunter
Joined
Mar 19, 2005
Messages
2,124
Regardless of how they look, stainless steel is different than carbon steel.

I've decided that any more guns I 'collect' will be made from carbon steel.
Then I'll have a 'finish' applied (like Robar's NP3, or Accurate Plating & Weaponry's TiN and hardchrome, or maybe even FailZero's proprietary no-lube finish).
But I still won't care how it looks.....
 

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