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Old 02-02-2002, 02:31 PM   #1
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gentlemen, Is there any truth that carbon steel is tougher than stainless. I was told that a carbon frame and slide could be tightened more than a stainless one.
 
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Old 02-02-2002, 09:36 PM   #2
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For whatever my $.02 is worth: I am not going to start this response by opening a debate on the subject of how great Les Baer guns are. I own a baer and I know their strengths and weaknesses both. However, I know that Les Baer himself and his company all know what makes a gun accurate: they build and sell 1.5 inch 50 yard guns and guarantee them, are the only company that I know of guaranteeing the accuracy, and guess what: They build 1.5 inch 50 yard accuracy guaranteed guns on: guess what again: carbon steel with blued finish only. No stainless steel, no hard chrome finished guns, and no polymer finished guns. Considering that he's in business to make money, and they can't do that without a reasonable degree of customer satisfaction, I'm betting that he knows something we don't, and if I had a gunsmith tell me that he could build a 1.5 inch 50 yard gun out of stainless steel or hard chromed finish, I'd want his guarantee and signature in blood, and then I would still worry. And, oh, by the way, I am refering to automatics only here, not revolvers. Stainless steel can not be fitted as tight as carbon steel without galling, even with dis-similiar type stainless steels. Also, I believe Layne Simpson's book on "THE CUSTOM GOVERNMENT MODEL PISTOL" might shed some light on this suject. Exceptional book of knowledge on custom government models. In a toss-up, considering Baer's in business to make money, I think I'll stick with carbon and blue, even though I like hard chrome. Sorry for the rambling.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 08:14 AM   #3
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I own a factory Hard Chromed Les Baer and I know they make stainless and Baer Coat guns with the guarantee.

shane
 
Old 02-03-2002, 11:55 AM   #4
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Mr. Shane 1: The last catalog I have of Les Baer Custom is several years old, and not in my possession now, (I think that we need some insight from Mike Reilly here), However, I believe that it listed 1.5 inch 50 yard accuracy guaranteed guns to be built and / or supplied in blued carbon steel only, and at an additional cost of $ 300.00, I believe. I talked to Mr. Baer and someone else on his staff about a year and a half ago, and both stated that they could not guarantee the accuracy of stainless steel or any plating or processing other than bluing to meet the 1.5 inch 50 yard accuracy guarantee even though it was built to be an 1.5 inch gun. To my knowledge, all of Les Baer Customs handguns are built to a maximum of 3.0 inch 50 yard accuracy guarantees, excepting a couple that are guaranteed to a max of 2.5 inch 50 yard . At one time, LBC offered this 1.5 inch guarantee for the paltry sum $100.00. Rock River Arms offered this 1.5 inch 50 yard guarantee for free on all of their handguns ordered, and maybe they still do. I am sure that I am going out on a limb here, but Is it possible that you could have mistaken the 3.0 inch 50 yard guarantee Minimumly offered on all of their handguns, for that of the generally special ordered and costed accordingly, 1.5 inch 50 yard guarantee? All LBC 1.5 inch guns come with proof targets, signed and dated. Doers yours have such a target? Just curious.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 12:42 PM   #5
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Wells, Also have a Baer 1.5 P2. When I ordered it the info was about the same as you post. Via a phone conversation stated they would not build it in SS if I wanted the 1.5" guarantee. Have the test tgt. but it's only referenced to the guns serial #, FWIW.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 01:28 PM   #6
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So stainless steel makes guns less accurate? :roll:

1.5' @ 50 yards accuracy is a no brainer, and you don't need insanely tight slide-to-frame fit to get it. Les Baer is kind of selling a gimmick IMHO. My stupid stainless Delta Elite has that kind of accuracy courtesy of a "drop-in" Bar-Sto barrel and stock Colt slide-to-frame fit. :razz:
 
Old 02-03-2002, 01:30 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, just trying to get an idea on my next purchase.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 02:03 PM   #8
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Pistolero: How are you, thanks for the input. I didn't remember what exactly was on the test targets, Only that they had some type of validation on them including serialization. I think that we need some input from a combination of gunsmith, machinist, and metalurgist. I don't think that the word tough says it all. I believe that stainless steel and cres, (corrosion resistant steel), which some people refer to as stainless, is subject to galling when fitted as tight as carbon steel, everything else being equal. I also have been led to believe that it is harder to machine, and wears down cutting tools faster. I think galling is the problem here, not the degree of toughness. I am thinking that Cliffe no 369 might want to converse with Les Baer Custom, who has a web site and an e-mail address. Where are all of those combination gunsmith, machinist, and / or metalurgists out there. Just a thought. Springfield Armory Customshop might have some valuable input here, but I don't think that they will put their maximum group size in writing. accuracy is pretty final, huh? wells
 
Old 02-03-2002, 04:45 PM   #9
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Wells, I guess I am wrong about the Baers. Mine do not have the targets. My Wilson Stainless Protector will shoot tighter groups than both of my Baers and it shoots to the point of aim.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 06:49 PM   #10
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Shane 1: My response was somewhat overbearing and I do apologize, not only to you but to the other members also. Sometimes the good intentions go down one road, and the train of thought goes down the other. CastleBravo: my apologies to you, too. Looks like we hit a nerve here. I do not believe Baer builds the greatest guns in the world, and I have had several of them. I actually feel that although they are somewhat pricey, they are the best in their catagory, generally speaking. There is not a lot of competion in that price range. I personally believe that their quality has slipped over the last ten year period. I had one of their very early Premier II guns with the coated barrel, and the quality was superior to what I see recently. I don't feel that stainless steel produces either inferior or inaccurate guns, only that is is harder to work with, and harder to fit, and therefore: statistically reducing the probability of obtaining an 1.5" 50 yd. gun. Also, regarding your Delta: I think that yours is the exception rather than the rule: A drop in barrel in a factory toleranced and assembled slide-frame fit doing 1.5" 50yd group ( one or two shot group ?) just kidding, is to be held in high esteem. It is interesting to note, however, that some 'smiths charge more for cosmetically enhancing ( especially checkering ) stainless over carbon. Also, I don't think that Baer has a gimmick going on the no 1.5" 50 yd. stainless or hard chrome, I just think that he knows where his money is at. All the above is only my own opinion, though, and I do enjoy the opportunity to converse with other shooters and / or gun hobbyists.
 
Old 02-03-2002, 10:27 PM   #11
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5 shot group 0.8" at 25 yards, 155gr LRN over 10.2gr AA#7, Winchester cases, Winchester LP primers, one hand unsupported slow-fire... by a much better shooter than I. :grin:

The gimmick is, if he fit all of his match barrels properly all the guns would have that kind of accuracy without charging you $300 on top of a $1,500+ gun that supposedly already has a match barrel.

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: CastleBravo on 2002-02-03 23:28 ]</font>
 
Old 02-08-2002, 12:12 PM   #12
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A few minor details about steel. I deal in the steel business and sell products that go to the Navy, nuclear plants and so on. My product, if fails, will cost more one life. So materials are just as important, if not more so than 1911 parts.

Steel is STRONGER than stainless steel as a general rule. Stainless is more corrosion resistant. We just use a simple plating on our steel too keep it from rusting, so I cannot tell you anything about what coatings are "better".

Do I think a stainless steel (SS) or carbon steel(CS) frame is better? Probably not. If I were shooting a 50 bmg, I might prefer one or the other. But a 45 ACP, 44 magnum or anything on those levels, there is probably little worry. If the frames are cracking, it is probably due to a bad vendor providing garbage material at the mill. I prefer steel, because I like black firearms. I think it probably gives some some strength advantages...but that is probably more me justifying preference.

Along these lines, let me also state that there appears to be a thread of overt preference that says "bar stock is better" and "castings are bad". Don't be confused by name alone, bar stock is still a cast product. Just cast differently. In fact some castings can be stronger than bar stock. Now I manufacture my product 99% out of "bar stock". It offers certain advantages in our business. Our alternative to the bar stock we use are sand castings, which are pretty much garbage. I saw Vickers post that bar stock allows for better finishing, this is true because it can be CNC machined to its specification. However you can still machine castings the same way.

I think gun manufacturers should experiment with different materials for different parts. I think that coating and plating technology is a wave of the future that will yeild great benefits to us shooters. I bet there are better materials out there for internals and so on of the 1911 than CS or SS.

I have add my opinion and add that the 1.5" guarantee is probably no more a gimmick than half the stuff out there we read and hear. Between the bias in reviews, personal preferences, and money/business we really cannot know the absolute truths. The bottom line is we all look for value...I am not in the firearms industry and think that most of the posters are not...but again, who knows that for a fact :smile:

As an almost final digression, I also believe Caspian, Baer, Wilson, Kimber, Brown and so on, do what they do because of money. They are jobs. The ones that are better at their jobs (marketing, pricing, quality and on and on) make more money or sell more guns. There are crooks who look for the fast buck and provide garbage, but they fall out quick with the 1911 crowd. It just happens Brown loves to go his job. Nothing wrong with that. What we do all day, gives us the time and freedom to do the things we love (means to the end). Vickers, Burns and so on, get paid good money for their work. They SHOULD. These guys have bills, it just so happens they do something more "enjoyable" for their living. Visiting the Shot Show though as part of your job, is definately "cool". Be careful in the foggy part of opinion that turns personal. Ask yourself will this guy loose business? That could mean his kid goes to a state college instead of an Ivy League School...who knows. Most guys seem pretty honest, but opinions based on what you believe are right can still be wrong (you may say that about this post).

If you are going to kick me for this post, take off the steel toed boots first :smile: I am not trying to thrash anyone, spam anything, or make any one upset. I have found valuable information from guys just like me on these boards. Quite frankly I listen to a "plain shooter" as much as the experts. I also remember that the experts are shooters too...looking for the same things all shooters look for...

Perhaps a PHILISOPHICAL board is the best place to pose these....
 
Old 02-08-2002, 09:53 PM   #13
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Cliff 369: I am interested in knowing if you made any decision regarding stainless versus carbon blue, and if you had any input from external sources other than this site in arriving at that conclusion. give it up. Shane 1 & Pistolero: you guys have been pretty quiet recently, how are you? Boshbasa: I am glad to see someone else in the discussion and / or debate. I thought that all, or most bar stock, was forged, not cast. Did I miss something here? When Springfield Armory first came out with the stainless steel Trophy Match's they were fitted real tight, as tight as the blue ones, I think, and I remember hearing of a lot of them locking up due to galling. They later relaxed the slide to frame fit. Then they made two-toned ones, and then they quit making two-tones, I think. I had a very early blue on blue carbon steel ( still have ), and it came from the factory very tight. It also shot very well, and it still does. It is just me that can't shoot. I am interested in hearing other opinions regarding carbon versus stainless steel. I still stand by my original statement, that if I was getting an accurate 1911, or having one made, everything else being equal, I would get carbon steel frame and slide, both blue, not because carbon is superior, or stronger, or anything else. Only because it doesn't gall when fitted tight. No steel-toed boots, please. No hitting below the belt, either. wells
 
Old 02-08-2002, 10:12 PM   #14
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I think it was some time in the early 90's I bought a Les Baer with the full accuracy guarantee that was hardchromed. A friend is still shooting the gun today, after I put a minimum of 25,000 rounds through it. I would bet it will still out shoot most custom 1911 pistols.

Jim Davidson
 
Old 02-09-2002, 10:47 AM   #15
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I was just tryin to get a feel for what product was more durable-- by durability i mean strength wise, but like someone else said when dealing with the 45acp round there is no need to worry with either. I will probably compromise and get a combination.
 
Old 02-09-2002, 11:17 AM   #16
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Quote:
Only because it doesn't gall when fitted tight.
Neither will stainless unless the metallurgy is a joke. Worth worrying about 20 years ago, but not now.
 
Old 02-09-2002, 02:49 PM   #17
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jimmyd: What do you mean by full accuracy guarantee. All of les Baer Custom 1911's come with a guarantee of a maximum of 3.0" group size at 50 yards, excluding a couple that I believe come with a 2.5" 50 yard group guarantee. I think that the bullseye wadcutter comes with such a guarantee, and I believe that the DCM or DMC comes with such a guarantee. For an additional $300.00, they will build an 1.5", 50 yard gun,(selected models only) shipped with a test target and serialized to the gun. At one time, this service was only $100.00. They might have done this on any model with any finish or process coat at one time, but since about '95 or so have limited this service to select models only, carbon steel only, and blue on blue finish. I called them about '95 or so to find out how firm this policy was, and they weren't interested in back-tracking any. I think that they might have mentioned the phrase "finicially inadviseable" for both them and the customer. So, if the 1.5", 50 yard gun came with what was then called a "full accuracy guarantee", what was the 3.0", 50 yard gun refered to as, a "half accuracy guarantee" gun? I believe your statement about the accuracy, though, because I have shot a lot of early LBC's, and I personally think that they might be a tad more accurate than the 3.0" LBC guns of recent. By any chance did the barrel of that particular gun have a black finish on the outside of the barrel. His early guns had such a coating on the outside of the barrel up until about serial no. 15xx, or so, and they were exceptionally accurate for 3.0" 50 yard guns. I had a gun along in serial no. 18xx or early 2xxx, without any coating on the outside of the barrel, and it was not quite as accurate as the the earlier models. Might be just a coincidence, but both of the guns were fitted very tight.Bottom line of this conversation though, is: Call him now and see if they will build a 1.5", 50 yard accuracy guaranteed gun on either stainless steel, Hard Chrome (or any other process coat other than blue), or any combination thereof, and let us know their response. I think that I might know what it is. wells
 
Old 02-09-2002, 08:25 PM   #18
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Wells: The gun was one of the 1.5" guns, full hardchrome, less sights and barrel, which was not SS. It had a full melt job, including cut-down thumb safeties and an S&A magwell, which he does not do anymore. It still is a very nice pistol, used hard and still looks great. I think it still has the original extractor in it.

Talking about makes me wonder why I sold it!

Jim
 
Old 02-10-2002, 05:11 AM   #19
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Quote:
On 2002-02-09 12:17, CastleBravo wrote:
[quote:2m3g9b5a]
Only because it doesn't gall when fitted tight.
Neither will stainless unless the metallurgy is a joke. Worth worrying about 20 years ago, but not now.

[/quote:2m3g9b5a]

This is not necessarily true CastleBravo...LIKE materials can gall, period. It is rare, but one enhancement to prevent galling is hard chrome plating.

But you are right SS or CS can and will gall pretty easy.

Len Bosh Jr.
 
Old 02-10-2002, 11:18 AM   #20
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Len Bosh, Jr., More commonly aliased as "Boshbasa": In my post on 2002-02-08 at 2253 I made a statement something to the effect that "I thought that all, or most bar stock was forged, not cast". I was sort of hoping for a response from you or someone else regarding the validity of that statement. The extent of my metalurgical knowledge is that for purposes of making firearms, it works much better that candy or ice cream, and it doesn't taste as good. Detonics was one of the earlier manufacturers of an all stainless steel or primarily all stainless steel semi-automatic, (both the frame and slide were stainless steel), and I believe that their main claim to fame in that area was that they used dissimilar types of stainless steels for the upper and lower. They brought out the marks V, VI, & VII combatmaster series in about 1981, or so. They might have been the 1st stainless steel automatic out, I don't remember. Maybe they had something there on dissimiliar types and maybe it was just advertising hype. So, give it up, (the knowledge, I mean), Isn't all or most bar stock forged and not cast. Thanks in advance. Wells
 
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