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Stainless firearms, alloy?

Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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I'm curious if anyone knows what alloys typically are used to make the variety of "stainless" steel firearms, receivers, barrels, internal parts, etc?

I know a magnet will stick to the typical Savage stainless barrel, so it's some sort of 4XX series. I've not tried sticking one to other things.


Edit, searching so far as 416 is the common one for cheaper barrels, 410 is for better barrels. Other parts seem to be a mixture, the inability to easily harden certain alloys, such as 304, means it is limited to non-wearing parts. Need to do more reading.
 
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Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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I think I found my answer. 17-4 (or 17-4PH) is what is used for all those pesky internal parts that need to last forever. Easy to machine (relatively) and you can bake it for an hour at 900* F (yeah, degrees Freedom, rather than degrees Censible Scale) to get it pretty dang hard since it comes in an "A" state.
 

PAE

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I thought you might want to know its called grade if your talking stainless steel.

303, 304, 316, 347, are a few of my favorite grades of stainless to work with.

When dealing with AN fittings the letters K and S marked on such fittings designate 316 and 347.

It seems to be called both grade or alloy.
https://continentalsteel.com/stainless-steel/grades/
 
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Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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I thought you might want to know its called grade if your talking stainless steel.

303, 304, 316, 347, are a few of my favorite grades of stainless to work with.

When dealing with AN fittings the letters K and S marked on such fittings designate 316 and 347.

Grade is a commercial (marketing) term versus alloy being a technical term. Grade implies that one may be superior to the other, which they may, but all alloys are trade offs between cost, corrosion resistance, machineability, weldability, hardness/hardenability, strength, and availability. Alloy is just acknowledging exactly that, it's a fucking alloy.

You can call it "Grade 304" but it is just SAE 304 or 304 stainless to *most* of the world.
 

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I dont know why you think 416r is for cheap barrels. Noveske, seekins, bartlein and a whole bunch of other top barrel makers use it in their match grade barrels.
 

Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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I dont know why you think 416r is for cheap barrels. Noveske, seekins, bartlein and a whole bunch of other top barrel makers use it in their match grade barrels.

Cheap is relative. 410 would give them a 30% increase in life for twice the cost because of the machining issues. Or so the few articles I found explained it. The 30% increase in life is not worth a 100% increase in price to the vast majority of customers.

It's also the common alloy for even the cheapest of the stainless barrels it seems. Or at least I can't find anything else.
 

300sniper

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I dont know why you think 416r is for cheap barrels. Noveske, seekins, bartlein and a whole bunch of other top barrel makers use it in their match grade barrels.

Correct. The best barrels are made from 416R.
 

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There are several stainless alloys that would make superior barrels. Cost is the main issue.

What would make them superior? Easier to machine, durability, more corrosion resistant?

I shoot .3 moa groups with my 416r barrel all day long. Several thousand rounds so far and I havent noticed any degradation yet. Maybe some throat wear but nothing that has affected accuracy.
 

300sniper

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There are several stainless alloys that would make superior barrels. Cost is the main issue.

Better let the benchrest shooters know. They’d spend any amount to get a superior barrel.

Then again, I guess we need to all agree on how “superior” is defined.
 

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I'm glad you guys can't read.

I'm glad you don't know anything about barrels. The question was asked, what makes them superior? Just the fact that they cost more? Someone mention longevity, but where? Lands? Throat? How will the accuracy be affected by this super long life barrel? Is it easier or harder to machine? 416r is used because it holds tolerances consistantly while machining the bore whether they're drawn or hammered. Air gauging 416r shows it to be very consistent along the length. Other harder longer lasting alloys don't gauge out as well and end up with less accurate because of those inconsistencies. You use whatever you want. I have three precision rifles that will shoot sub .5moa consistently all barreled with 416r. Seems pretty good to me.
 

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I'm glad you guys can't read.

I used 17-4 to make the barrel bushing for my...fucking forgot the brand and model, pistol that was already heat treated 1025 because it is easy to machine and wears very well. love the stuff. didn't pay much attention to what the rest of the slide and barrel lug was made out of, but it welded fine with 308 filler and machined as expected.

of course, it did recrack after ~750-1k rounds or whatever it was. haven't got around to rewelding it since.
 

300sniper

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Did I read somewhere that CroMo (don't know what alloy), is actually better than SS, but it's a maintenance issue?

We'd have to decide how "better" is defined. If we are talking accuracy, I think the BR shooters would be willing to put up with a bit of additional maintenance if it meant smaller groups.
 

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We'd have to decide how "better" is defined. If we are talking accuracy, I think the BR shooters would be willing to put up with a bit of additional maintenance if it meant smaller groups.

IIRC it was in one of the books I've read, Litz or Kleckner or Ciriccone or someone. Had something to do with thermal expansion. But yeah, BR guys would store it in whale sperm if they thought it helped.
 

Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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Did I read somewhere that CroMo (don't know what alloy), is actually better than SS, but it's a maintenance issue?

It should be.

Stainless is a massive compromise in absolutely every regard, except it is corrosion resistant and, I suspect more importantly, it looks pretty.

The thermal properties of stainless alloys are trash for a barrel.



Again, I find it amusing that you guys took a general question and only want to talk about barrels... That can't be made by the home machinist.
 

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It should be.

Stainless is a massive compromise in absolutely every regard, except it is corrosion resistant and, I suspect more importantly, it looks pretty.

The thermal properties of stainless alloys are trash for a barrel.



Again, I find it amusing that you guys took a general question and only want to talk about barrels... That can't be made by the home machinist.

i think the tradeoff is that it is easier to to make a full barrel rather than making a lined barrel?

well, your basic question was answered pretty quick about using a 4-series :rasta:

considering most of the stuff can be made from pretty low quality stuff, it doesn't reaaaallly matter. 17-4 treated is awesome stuff for wear parts and nickle alloys are great for high temp areas, but the price is pretty high temp as well/
 

bdkw1

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Some of the nickle based alloy's like Waspalloy or Hasetalloy would be much better for wear, strength and stability under elevated temps. Would you be able to tell any difference unless you wear running ammo through at mini gun rates? Who knows. 400 series is run of the mill grade that they make mufflers out of.
 

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We'd have to decide how "better" is defined. If we are talking accuracy, I think the BR shooters would be willing to put up with a bit of additional maintenance if it meant smaller groups.

I have already asked repeatedly and he can't give an answer. He just keeps spouting it's better but won't say in what aspect.

I was literally just at the range (less than an hour ago) with a couple of the guys that are ranked nationally in BR, so because of this thread I asked them. Every one of their barrels is 416r. These are guys that spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on their gear. They shoot 25-30,000 rounds a year. They aren't worried about a barrel that costs two or three or four times as much if it shoots smaller groups.

So Scott I will ask you again. What exactly is better?
 

300sniper

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It should be.

Stainless is a massive compromise in absolutely every regard, except it is corrosion resistant and, I suspect more importantly, it looks pretty.

The thermal properties of stainless alloys are trash for a barrel.



Again, I find it amusing that you guys took a general question and only want to talk about barrels... That can't be made by the home machinist.

I can’t remember ever shooting a match or just plinking where I said “you know, I sure wish this barrel had better thermal properties”...
 

Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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So Scott I will ask you again. What exactly is better?

We'll look at the dictionary first.

1.
of a more excellent or effective type or quality.

Okay. So, I'm saying there is alloys that are potentially more excellent or more effective than 416R. We'll, actually I said that was according to an article or two I read, but apparently most people reading this put the blinders on because I offended them.

Possible things we could care about in a barrel in this regard:

-Wear resistance
-Strength
-Weight/density
-Thermal stability, either dimensionally or in regards to the first two points
-Appearance?

What am I missing from the list?

Things we would NOT factor into saying it is better within this limited scope:

-Cost of material, since I was not making a statement about economics
-Material availability, unless totally unobtainable (would be moot if you can't get the material to make the barrel)
-Machineability, unless it is impossible to work with the alloy (again, if you can't make a barrel from it it's moot)
-"Everyone I know uses it" or other anecdotal evidence.


In my opinion looking at the material properties, I believe 410 would build a "better" barrel for some uses. Obviously benchrest shooters do not overly care about weight, they also do not typically achieve a rate of fire in which they are going to see the barrel thermally expand enough to be inaccurate, they also aren't concerned about potential decreased life at these temperatures because they aren't seeing them anyway.

I said 410 would be in the order of twice the cost to machine to the same tolerances. I could be wrong, it may not be possible to machine it to the same tolerances as 416R, and the machining costs may be based on the assumption that you were not trying to build a benchrest rifle.

I'm fine with being "wrong" about it applying to benchrest shooting, that was not really what the questions were about.
 

Provience

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I think the corrosion resistance is something you are missing in addition to the wear resistance.

hence when a decent 'cromo' high carbon steel isn't worth a shit as a barrel unless it is lined, so solid stainless is an easy enough process to just work blanks and send on the way.
 

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Apparently my last post didn't post. Hmmm.

Anyway you're missing the most important property. Consistant accuracy. Will some of the other alloys provide that maybe. 416r does it very well along with the other attributes you mentioned. Is it the best at any one of them? Maybe not but it does all of them very well. Including the ability to manufactured to be very accurate. Regardless of whatever other alloys you bring into the equation and what they excell at, they need to be able to do all of the above mentioned well and be accurate. If they don't then they really arent better are they?
 

Provience

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Nothing lasts forever anyway. As a note, AISI 410 SS is a better alternative to 416 SS as is does not generally have the sulphur issue, however the temper embrittlement issue is still a concern.

Here is my opinion: Unless you are competition shooter, buy the non-stainless grade barrels. If you are a professional match shooter find a good AISI 17-4PH barrel as it is a much better choice if one wants corrosion resistance, wear resistance, and impact resistance.

For my money and safety, it is a 4000-series material.

from the above link, the guy quoted is a metals guy who apparently doesn't care for 410 or 416 because....they lose out on impact resistance :homer: alright, well that is a lame excuse unless you use your barrel as a hammer or get a round failure that splits the barrel?

regardless, i didn't know anybody made a 17-4 barrel, but yeah if you want to spend money, that would be the thing to buy :laughing:
 

Scott Cee aka 2drx4

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I think the corrosion resistance is something you are missing in addition to the wear resistance.

hence when a decent 'cromo' high carbon steel isn't worth a shit as a barrel unless it is lined, so solid stainless is an easy enough process to just work blanks and send on the way.

Yes, that should have been on the list.

Anyway you're missing the most important property. Consistant accuracy. Will some of the other alloys provide that maybe. 416r does it very well along with the other attributes you mentioned. Is it the best at any one of them? Maybe not but it does all of them very well. Including the ability to manufactured to be very accurate. Regardless of whatever other alloys you bring into the equation and what they excell at, they need to be able to do all of the above mentioned well and be accurate. If they don't then they really arent better are they?

That is not a material property, hence it is not on the list.

The reason it is consistently accurate is a combination of the other points on the list, which scoring better on them COULD potentially lead to you being able to score better at accuracy.
 

bdkw1

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The reason it is consistently accurate is a combination of the other points on the list, which scoring better on them COULD potentially lead to you being able to score better at accuracy.

There comes a point of diminishing returns. While it is better on paper it probably won't make a difference do to the other variables like wind and ammo. But I'm with you, 400 series stainless would not be My first choice, 17-4 would be the first in line from a cost and machineability standpoint.
 
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