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Carbon vs. Stainless

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by 20South, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. 20South

    20South

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    Nov 18, 2002
    East of CBUS
    I do not think this is a repost, but I found it on one of those "other" sites and thought it was very interesting. I have always heard different things about the pitfalls of stainless in a 1911, much of it to do with galling, hardness, tight fits, accuracy, etc... I still am not sure there is a definitive answer about "best", but this sheds some light on at least one manufacturers steel standards:

    posted by Wilson Combat Rep:

    Here are the current specs. These are subject to materials availability, but this is current. Maybe a moderator can make it a sticky?


    Carbon Frame 4140 Carbon forging 26-30 RC
    Carbon Slides 4340 Carbon forging 38-42 RC

    Stainless Frame 400 Series forging 26-30 RC
    Stainless Slide 400 Series forging 38-42 RC

    Stainless Barrels 416R (rifle barrel grade) forging, 40-42 RC

    Aluminum frames-7075 T6 forgings, mil-spec hard anodized.

    So, as you can see-the hardnesses for stainless and chromemoly (carbon) are the same. Stainless doesn't machine as cleanly, so there is more fitting required. If you fit it too tightly or improperly, it can gall.

    http://forums.1911forum.com/showthread.php?t=300386

    I guess I will just have to pick up one of those stainless models and put it through its paces to be sure :dunno:
     
  2. bac1023

    bac1023

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    I'm not huge fan of stainless for the 1911.

    Virtually all my high end models are carbon.
     

  3. AZ Husker

    AZ Husker

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    For my shooing/carry guns I am a fan. Since they've worked out the metallurgy to prevent galling, I've had not one problem with any of my stainless pistols in the last ten years. The extra rust prevention is a great help here in AZ where I sweat like crazy in the summers. It's a nice extra to be able to strip your gun and spend 15 minutes in a bead blasting cabinet and have it come out looking brand new.
     
  4. 20South

    20South

    2,256
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    Nov 18, 2002
    East of CBUS
    That was kind of what I read into the WCR post. I can understand the comment that they are harder to fit and that could be why there are some negative perceptions about SS - ie manufacturers putting ill fit 1911s into the marketplace. Good to hear you have had so much success with them!
     
  5. The quality of stainless steel for use in guns has improved tremendously since the days of galling and hardness issues.
    I think they are perfectly reliable and durable these days.
    I would not worry about getting a stainless gun as long as it is fairly new.
     
  6. bac1023

    bac1023

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    Stainless is much improved, but I still prefer carbon.
     
  7. PlasticGuy

    PlasticGuy

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    I have never had a problem with either. Carbon can be fitted a bit tighter and might be slightly more durable, but the difference is minor and stainless is obviously more corrosion resistant. I'm far more concerned about the quality of the 1911 than whether it's carbon or stainless.
     
  8. Rinspeed

    Rinspeed JAFO

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    NY
    The very only thing SS has going for it is the resistance to corrosion. For most high stress parts it's a poor choice compared to carbon steel. The problem with SS is not the material itself it's what's added to it to make it machinable which is sulfur. The better quality barrels use 416R SS which is lower in sulfur content but more expensive and harder on tooling.
     
  9. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Happy Member

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    Carbon Steel & Wood make for the best 1911s
     
  10. bac1023

    bac1023

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    For once, we agree, FLIPPER. :supergrin:
     
  11. AZ Husker

    AZ Husker

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    I know you have an impressive collection Bac, but what do you carry daily?
     
  12. Quack

    Quack Rent this space

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    A Kimber CDP II
     
  13. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

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    I love carbon, but I can see stainless only in my future.
    I'm going to stay in Alberta for good (just bought a house) and the weather here can be brutal and I mean it.
    For practical reason and against my preferences I'm going to stick with stainless.
     
  14. bac1023

    bac1023

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    It is more corrosion resistant.
     
  15. FLIPPER 348

    FLIPPER 348 Happy Member

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    Well I did put some new vintage GI black plastic grips on my aluminum Fusion .22 build because the wood grips just did not 'feel' right on it. Wood was made for steel I guess.
     
  16. Hokie1911

    Hokie1911 >

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    Carried the EGW at all?
     
  17. While I like the aesthetic appeal of carbon and wood, my duty 1911s are stainless. My off duty ones are blued. When I am on duty, the open belt gun gets exposed to all the elements and scratches from hits/fights. Easily polished out and as said before, stainless is more corrosion resistant.
     
  18. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

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    Agree.
    For this reason I bought S&W model 64 (instead of model 10) lately.
    If You want to do shooting all year long here, having stainless won't hurt (maybe except my feelings).
    However I may buy BHP soon and this won't be stainless gun, but hell...I want one anyway :cool:
     
  19. FM12

    FM12 I need AMMO!

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    Either. My favorite 1911, the smith & wesson, is stainless. Love it!!!!
     
  20. bac1023

    bac1023

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    No Paul.

    I need to get it to the range and put some more rounds through it. It is an awesome shooting gun though. I'm just so used to my Kimber.


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    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011