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Thread: Stainless Rifle vs Blued?

  1. #1

    Default Stainless Rifle vs Blued?

    OK, no doubt stainless guns look more durable than blued. Supposedly a stainless barrel will shoot cold to POA better than a Moly BBL. But is having a stainless gun with synthetic stock really needed- even in rain? Even in AK? I view my rifles as tools. I use but never abuse them. Beauty marks do not bother me at all, as long as they go bang and shoot straight!

    I guess my question is for hunting AK, would a stainless rifle really increase my success rate? I ask because my Browning A-Bolt has a glossy, but dulled down now with age/use wood stock. Really, when I pull the action I must say the wood looks pretty well sealed. There is no sign that this bedded stock has ever warped. The gloss bluing is still good with some scratches, pitting, slight surface rust. Rain seems to bead off it and this hunting tool looks the part. There are days when I feel like stainless, but at other times I favor traditional wood/blue- depends on the mood I'm in.

    But with hunting being more expensive and limited, is it time to get rid of my wood rifles? How many of you Hunt Alaska with traditional rifles and do you feel handicapped? Or are stainless and hi-tech rifles just a marketing ploy- which then comes down to taste? How many of you who hunt with traditional rifles in AK, have missed you game because your traditional wood gun failed due to hunt conditions?

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    Member alaskabliss's Avatar
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    I feel the stock is more important then the metal when it comes to durable and maintaining accuracy in harsh conditions. Wood will swell with moisture and change the way it shoots where composite won't. Steel is steel, a surface rusted barrel will shoot the same as a clean barrel. That is exterior rust, not interior. I have used blued rifles for years and just made sure to wipe them down with oil everynight. With that said, I do have a stainless rifle in a composite stock. Still oil it but not as concerned cosmetic wise.
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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    I prefer synthetic/blued rifles. Of course I don't have one anymore since I had my Tikka teflon-coated. Even the bolt and all the hardware is coated. I wouldn't have it any other way. Way better than stainless IMO. Stainless can and does rust. Even if I neglect my coated rifle, no way in hell its going to rust or corrode (except inside the barrel obviously).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anythingalaska View Post
    Stainless can and does rust. Even if I neglect my coated rifle, no way in hell its going to rust or corrode (except inside the barrel obviously).
    The inside of the barrel is the only thing that truly matters. Given enough water and time, chrome moly steel will rust irrespective of its coating and regardless how well you care for it. Hunting in proximity to salt water only exacerbates these issues. Stainless is not immune from rust, but it is considerably more forgiving than chrome moly and a significant upgrade for a rifle that will be used in a harsh environment.

    I still hunt with blued metal (chrome moly) often enough, but wood stocks are a thing of the past. Not because wood will not work, but because high quality synthetics are impervious to water, significantly stronger and lighter than wood counterparts. That's too many advantages for me to pass by.
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    Member Anythingalaska's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1Cor15:19 View Post
    The inside of the barrel is the only thing that truly matters. Given enough water and time, chrome moly steel will rust irrespective of its coating and regardless how well you care for it. Hunting in proximity to salt water only exacerbates these issues. Stainless is not immune from rust, but it is considerably more forgiving than chrome moly and a significant upgrade for a rifle that will be used in a harsh environment.

    I still hunt with blued metal (chrome moly) often enough, but wood stocks are a thing of the past. Not because wood will not work, but because high quality synthetics are impervious to water, significantly stronger and lighter than wood counterparts. That's too many advantages for me to pass by.
    You're not referring to coated rifles then? Given my location I am hunting in proximity to salt water 90% of the time and have been for years. The exterior of my coated rifle hasn't; and will not rust. Hell, I don't have to even oil the thing and it stays pristine. Hunted with it 2 weeks ago and haven't oiled it yet. Looks brand new like it always does. I'm impressed and very happy with it; although it wasn't cheap.

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    Member 1Cor15:19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anythingalaska View Post
    You're not referring to coated rifles then? Given my location I am hunting in proximity to salt water 90% of the time and have been for years. The exterior of my coated rifle hasn't; and will not rust. Hell, I don't have to even oil the thing and it stays pristine. Hunted with it 2 weeks ago and haven't oiled it yet. Looks brand new like it always does. I'm impressed and very happy with it; although it wasn't cheap.
    I've used several different coatings and not seen any of them that are perfect, but then I can be hard on stuff and I'm hard to impress. No doubt that some coatings are better than bluing, but coatings (all coatings) can and do fail. Of course coating the outside of the rifle doesn't protect the inside of the barrel and that is where the damage matters most. The upside to SS is that it doesn't scratch, peel, flake, rub or wear off. When buying a rifle that will be used, SS makes sense. For a week or two in the field each year it doesn't make much difference, but for an outdoors rifle SS (the barrel in particular) is money well spent.
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    Well, I'm not THAT successful of a hunter to begin with LOL, but I know from my match shooting days that a stainless barrel will be slower to heat and slower to cool once the barrel gets hot. If you're shooting that many rounds in succession while hunting... I agree with you guys that plastic stocks have a lot of advantages, but wood and steel have served my family (and probably yours, too) for generations. They were good enough for my dad, his dad, and his dad...they're good enough for me.

    I like the OP's take on guns as tools, though most of mine are more than that for me, but if that's your take, I'll give you some advice from a guy who used tools (mechanic tools) to feed and clothe me through my childhood...don't buy the most expensive tools (Snap-On) unless there is no other choice. There is usually a cheaper tool that is almost as good, will last just about as long, and get the job done the same way. If you already hunt with a wood and steel gun, and it hasn't yet failed you, and you're happy and proficient with it, keep it. Spend your hunting money elsewhere. A few extra minutes of care at the end of each day in the field (I carry Barricade wipes), will make up for the purchase price of that fancy new space-age gun.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I have not had any problem with wood&blue nor stainless&plastic proper care is all that needed. Been in the salt air most my life and good gun care is number one.
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    I switched over several years ago to stainless/synthetic on all my guns but my 870 which is still parkerized, but now wares a synthetic stock. I have seen why to many guns have issues thanks to the cold wet winters here. I was glad never to have them happen to mine.
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    I built this rifle in 1971-72 from a 1935 DWM Mauser action, a Douglas barrel and a English walnut Fajen stock blank from the Herters catalog. ( took me all winter to carve that darn thing.) She was Hot blued on the metal and I used DEFT bar-top finish on the stock.

    This rifle has been on at least 30 long term hunts and was in a boat that swamped and sank in salt water overnight.

    Proper cleaning and TLC are all that is needed.....

    I have a couple old lever guns that are well over 100 years old and they still function due to proper maintenance.
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  11. #11

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    I have seen wood stocks warp. But usually on cheaper guns with careless sealing. Will a well sealed wood stock both inside and out still warp after 10 days in damp field conditions? OK, an example... think of all those MKV shiny wood Weatherby rifles from the 60s up. I knew a man who hunted the world with his 300 and he never mentioned a problem because of the wood stock and blued steel.

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    I've got a couple of each, only difference to me is that I do more gun care to the blued ones, the stainless i am often very bad about cleaning, so perhaps I should stick with the blued barrels as i have to admit, one year I went moose hunting and my stainless gun had an extremely rough working bolt due to just being tossed in the cabinet without even a wipedown after a ten days in the rain..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    But is having a stainless gun with synthetic stock really needed- even in rain?

    I guess my question is for hunting AK, would a stainless rifle really increase my success rate?

    But with hunting being more expensive and limited, is it time to get rid of my wood rifles?
    No;

    No; and

    No.

    All that said, I love my stainless/plastic rifle and won't hunt with anything else. EVERY time I go hunting it rains. I mean every single time. You can certainly do this with a blued/wood gun but you have to stay on top of keeping it cleaned and oiled. When I'm hunting, I'm focused on finding what I'm hunting for from first daylight until dark and I don't want to worry about my gun. My rifle lives in the rain and I do nothing for it. Come time to shoot, it kills.

    If you have nice blued/wood rifles you like, you they will serve you just fine up here. You just need to look after them with more care. As for me, I'm a little bit lazy and love my stainless steel.

  14. #14

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    I'm looking at a Stainless X-Bolt... $1,000! Also a Stainless Kimber Montana... $1,000! Both in 325 WSM. On the other hand I have a lead on an older wood stocked Browning A-Bolt with Monte Carlo style stock, that fits me like a glove... $400! It's in 338 Win Mag.

  15. #15

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    I have been pulling triggers for well over 50 years and except for a few hand guns and a Mod. 70 .338 Win. Mag. "Stainless Classic" customized by Bansner's Rifles, I almost always use blue steel and walnut for all my shooting/hunting. I used to leave a 30-06 Ruger on my boat, the stainless one with the canoe paddle stock, it would get rust on it, but the Tenifer coated Glock pistol never did. The best bluing I know of is the old rust bluing used on many old Winchester rifles and found today on the "best grade" custom rifles. Not all stainless is created equal and not all silver colored rifle parts are stainless. All of our wood rifle stocks get treated with a deep penetrating mixture of linseed oil and turpentine or tung oil. Even light thin coats take awhile to dry and don't forget the actin holes. After that they are given a couple of coats of wax as are the bottom of the barrel and action. I have no experience with the endless varieties of coatings available for guns these days except for the Glock tenifer and short barreled parkarized Rem. 870 shot guns. It is a cheap finish and seems serviceable enough. With reasonable care either wood, synthetic, blue or stainless work well enough and have for years. Don't forget that wood and blued steel were in use by many of the worlds fighting forces in the worst of conditions for hundreds of years and did the job with out the advanced metal and wood products we now have. I will probably finish up my hunting career with my old Pre-64 Mod. 70 "Featherweight" 30-06, made in 1958, it looks and works great. I just love walnut and rust blue. This is off topic, but I think we should all be more concerned with how tough, durable and reliable our trigger systems are then any thing else.

  16. #16

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    So it looks like traditional wood stock guns still get the game in AK. I may spring for the $400 Browning 338 and then hopefully shoot my moose. I've owned "Technical Rifles" with mixed feelings. Many custom rifles I've owned seemed to have problems. Lately I've been turned off by multi-thousand Dollar custom jobs- which are usually stainless & plastic. Mostly because of the price. I'm now attracted to bargain rifles- like this $400 338. Why, because I can buy more rifles. But not if traditional rifles are a handicap in the hunting fields.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    I've had stainless, blued, synthetic, walnut, and a ceramic coated rifle.

    With a little maintenance there's no need to avoid a blued and walnut rifle up here although it will require more maintenance than one of the synthetic/cerakote versions.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    I was close friends with the late John Noveske, a very astute "student" of all things firearms - He said to me once, "if people knew the upside of stainless there would be no more CM guns made OR sold" .... maybe it was opinion or maybe it was insight, don't know but I've not looked at anything but SS since and I am happy ..... (actually, Chris Dieschter of PacNor said a similar thing to me once too)

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    and ... I'm a "carpenter" so wood turns me on BUT read July's Field & Stream rifle tests and decide for yourself (I'll take synthetic for a HUNTING rifle)

  20. #20

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    I have both and use both but IMHO stainless is the Only way to go on long duration tent hunts. If your just going out for a couple of days or you have a nice warm place to come back to every night , blued is fine. Here is why my main guns are stainless , On a 10 day sheep hunt my gun is usually soaking wet and every night I leave it laying on the ground in the vestibule or even outside never a problem. The last thing I want to do is clean and dry it in side a tent i can hardly fit in. On a three week brown bear hunt guess what, yup out in the vestibule and wet. I have found there is a difference in stainless guns. I bought my Win model 70 SS 18 years ago and they advertised that it was the only rifle at that time 100% SS and I have found not one part to ever rust. I bought a Rem model 700 SS and have found that the bolt face and inside the chamber will rust some how so I do have to maintaine and clean that regularly so even though some guns are SS, the bolt might not be. If you are going to get a SS I would highly recommend the Win model 70.

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