Stainless vs Blued Steel - Pistolsmith

Go Back   Pistolsmith > Pistol Forum > M1911 Pistols

LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-29-2001, 06:29 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6
Is there any advantage of one over the other as far as durability/workability of the metal? I've read that some smiths prefer to work with blued steel over stainless. Is this true and, if true, why is that? I'm about to spring for a new 1911 and, although I prefer the looks of a stainless over blue, but if there is some advantage of the blued steel over the stainless, then I think I'll go with the blue. Coments appreciated and thanks.
Remove Ads
Old 11-29-2001, 09:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: RTP, NC
Posts: 72
I prefer Stainless. I have a fear of rust living here in the land of high humidity.
Scratches can be buffed out much more easily.
Old 11-29-2001, 09:56 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 169
I perfer Stainless just because it is much easier to take care of. I do have two tone pistols ( Stainless Frame and Satin blue slide, Armor Tuff or like finish ETC.) this makes a nice combo due to the fact that my preference is a dark sight plane.
Old 11-29-2001, 10:03 PM   #4
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 720
I love the look of a nicely finished, blued gun with polished flats on the frame and slide.

If someone could make a "Boron Carbide Duramonium Glossadurium Slickadabestimatic" scratchproof, wearproof coating that looked just like bluing, I'd want that.

I'm still looking.
Old 11-30-2001, 07:58 AM   #5
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 7
Carbon steel is far preferred as far as I am concerned.... Much more suitable as far as metallurgy goes (trigger jobs last longer, holds all critical tolerances better, less prone to crack ), then hard chrome it if you want the ultimate in durability and cosmetics (if you like a sliver gun). Stainless is cheaper, and ok for a gun that you don’t plan on shooting much I suppose
Old 11-30-2001, 09:53 AM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Canada
Posts: 1,610
On 2001-11-30 08:58, Roverman wrote:
Stainless is cheaper, and ok for a gun that you don’t plan on shooting much I suppose
Old 11-30-2001, 10:15 PM   #7
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Jefferson County, Colorado
Posts: 403
Stainless Steels run from 2 to 4 times the cost of most carbon steels. The 400 series Heat Treatable Stainless Steels used to manufacture firearms are more than suitable to handle the job. As far as trigger jobs go, pick the right stainless and heat treat it propperly, and they last just fine, but most dont use stainless, they use tool steels.

The term Carbon Steels usually refers to 1020, 1040/1045, 1050,1060,1090 steels. I dont know about the rest of you but thats the last stuff I'd want a gun made from.

Now get to the 4100 series of Alloy Steels and were talking gun steel. Additives like molybdenum, vanadium , chromium, lead, and some other elements take it way out of the realm of simple Carbon Steel.

Carpenter Steel has made a Stainless Steel alloy that is used in one famous gun makers 454 Casull chambered guns.And guess what? You can shoot the hell out of this gun for years and years. Ever take a look at what pressures full house 454 casull loads produce? Think rifle pressures in the range of 54,000.

If you prefer blued alloy steel guns, thats fine. The problem I have is that your knowledge of Stainless Steel is so limited you really shouldnt offer an opinion on it to someone who is asking for knowledgable advice.


Forget everything bad you ever heard about stainless steel in guns. If you like a stainless gun by all means go and get one. It will shoot as long as any alloy steel gun, maybe longer in Georgia.

As far as advantages or disadvantages goes your probably like many of the people here on the forum. Your biggest bitch is going to be the bluing wear and rusting possibility in Georgia. Hell, if I lived in Georgia I'd do everything i could to mitigate the rusting potential, and that puts Stainless Steel at the top of the heap. But remember, its "stain LESS" steel, not "stain IMPOSSIBLE" steel.
Old 12-01-2001, 07:11 AM   #8
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: The Republic of New Jersey
Posts: 500
Aren't most Carbon steel guns actually Chrome Moly. When I read through the Frame and slide makers lit, they seem to all use Chrome Moly of some sort,whether it be forged or cast.
Old 12-01-2001, 12:08 PM   #9
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Jefferson County, Colorado
Posts: 403
Chrome-moly is a common reference to chromium-molybdenum alloy steels, i.e. 4100 series alloys. 4130,4140/4142/4140/4150. To say this is a carbon steel gun is a misuse of the term "carbon steel". It's an alloy steel gun.

Then you get to the nickel/chrome/molybdenum
4340. The richer alloy content gives this steel much deeper hardenability than the 4100 series.

Next comes 5160 Spring Steel, carbon/chrome

Then 6150 chromium/vanadium

The common names refer mostly to the predominant alloying elements used in the steels makeup. It's these alloying elements that make steels suitable for varying applications and heat treatments.

Chromium is present in much greater proportions than carbon in these steels. As an example, 4140 has .38% to .43% carbon, .80% to 1.1% chromium, and .15% to .25% molybdenum. The chromium content provides for good hardness penetration, and the molybdenum imparts uniformity of the hardness and high strength. Note that when the carbon content of these steels goes beyond .28 to .33(4130), the alloy steels become increasingly difficult to weld.

Typical carbon steels have no alloying elements, containing mainly carbon at .18% to .44%, manganese at .60% to 1.3%, phosphorous at .04% max., and sulphur at .05% max. Nothing in here to help with extra ordinary strength or heat treatability.

About as good as it gets strengthwise with carbon steel is 1045. The last two digits refers to the carbon content in the steel. Tensile in the normalized condition is about 87,000psi and yield is about 58,000psi for a 1" round. Hardness is restricted to about 190 Brinell, pretty soft.

Alloys however have some real range you can play with. 4142 can give you tensile and yields as low as 100,000 psi and go as high as 250,000psi yield and 290,000 tensile, depending on the tempering temperature, with hardnesses ranging from 57 Rc down to 22 Rc.

I know it might seem that Im picking nits here, but im not. If you say carbon steel, that means the predominant element is carbon. Alloy gun steels dont have carbon as the predominant element. You have to make this distinction because the 400 series stainless steels also have carbon in them. Why not call them carbon steel then as well?

OK so im an anal enginner, bigger assholes than me agree with me on this one. LMAO

if it flies it dies, if it runs it's done

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Peter Zahn on 2001-12-01 13:27 ]</font>
Old 12-01-2001, 04:05 PM   #10
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Colorado or Louisiana or...
Posts: 1,420
...Uhhh...what hoppen....somebody bring a broken machine in for ya' to play with over the weekend??? :wink: LOL...remind me to never talk about steel with you...How 'bout that snow?


  Pistolsmith > Pistol Forum > M1911 Pistols

Search tags for this page
1911 steel verses stainless steel

blued vs stainless pistols

colt 1911 range gun stainless vs blued
colt 1911 steel vs stainless
durability blued pistol
durability of stainless vs blued
stainless pistol barrel vs blued
stainless steel or blued 1911
stainless steel vs blued steel firearms for strength
Click on a term to search for related topics.

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Stainless VS Blued carbon steel KainThornn Springfield Armory Pistols 30 01-25-2014 06:53 PM
Magazines. stainless or blued steel? Any preference? sceva Colt Pistols 4 12-07-2004 02:32 PM
[b]Barrel: Stainless Steel or Carbon Steel[/b] Redfish Precision Rifles 3 08-23-2004 08:06 AM
How best to polish blued steel? JMT Firearm Finishes 1 01-22-2003 06:39 PM
Stainless Steel Frame - SS or Carbon Steel Slide??? Frank Sottile Pistolsmiths 1 06-23-2001 08:22 PM

Top Gun Sites Top Sites List

Powered by vBulletin 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright © 1999-2012 Pistolsmith. All rights reserved.