Stainless or parkerized?

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by springerbuster, May 26, 2010.

  1. springerbuster

    springerbuster New Member

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    I have a stainless loaded model Springfield 1911 on hold at my local gun store and will be picking it up on Friday. I have been researching on line this model and also the parkerized version. I am concerned with some of the negative comments I have read about stainless steel not being as hard as the carbon steel used in the parkerized model. I called Springfield and talked to them about it and they told me that they have no problems with the stainless models and that they are very durable. They also told me that the hardness of the parkerized model is 4140 and the stainless model is 416. Just thought I would ask if anyone else has heard this about stainless handguns. Also does anyone know what the hardness numbers mean? Thanks for any help.
  2. hogger129

    hogger129 Active Member

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    Not sure about the strength of the materal...

    I always thought stainless steel was a bit better because it doesn't rust.

    I have that same gun (A1 Loaded) in parkerized. So far I am very satisfied with it.

    Sometimes they look better in black I think.
  3. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR New Member

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    I've had both in my shop at one time or another. There seems to be more of a machining issue with the stainless versions, They don't seem to be a refined as the parkerized version. My favorite one that I've had in was parkerized. It just looked cool.
    Stainless is a technically better b/c it is harder but that is not always a good thing.
  4. springerbuster

    springerbuster New Member

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    Helix, are you sure about the stainless being harder? From what I understand the stainless is softer causing more wear on the moving parts and making the gun less accurate over time. I am just curious what others take on this is. I first read it in a book on 1911's that I am reading, so I looked on the internet and found more people with the same opinion. Not that I stake a lot of faith in everything I find on the internet but the book has got me wondering.
  5. Helix_FR

    Helix_FR New Member

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    There are many grades of stainless and all very in hardness. Which one Springfield uses,I'm not sure but I can tell you that lapping the slides on the stainless ones takes a little more effort. The problem with stainless guns is that people don't maintain them as well b/c they figure they don't have to. When you look a wear and tear you also have to take into consideration how well it was maintained. Thats were you start getting biased review. Maybe one of the guys with more experience in rockwell hardness scales will chime in but that has been my observations.
  6. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    I'm by no means a metalurgical expert...just a hobbyist with an interest in machine tooling and blacksmith work.

    416SS and 4140 are the alloys used, not their respective hardness numbers.

    416SS and 4140 carbon will both be in the same approximate hardness range. 416SS will have a slightly lower tensile strength than 4140 carbon. It all depends on what heat treatment and annealing they get during processing, but both will run in the mid-80s to high-90s on the Rockwell B scale for hardness.
    If you dig around on www.matweb.com you can find specs on pretty much any alloy that you can get your hands on.

    That being said, it's pretty much a personal preference on what you prefer. Modern stainless alloys are just as tough as the carbon alloys used for firearms.
    Back when they first started making stainless there were some issues with galling when stainless cycled against stainless. Usually it was because of a poor choice in the alloy used, but this can still happen these days too if they're run dry...which as Helix posted...is more common with a stainless gun than a carbon one. I think some people think "well it's stainless, I don't need to keep it oiled".
    Stainless is still steel, so it still needs lubrication.
    Oddly enough, the galling isn't nearly as bad if it's stainless on carbon wear instead of stainless on stainless. I have no idea why this seems to be...

    It all pretty much boils down to what you prefer. As hard on blued finishes that my sweaty palms are, I tend to prefer stainless.
    Last edited: May 27, 2010
  7. tex45acp

    tex45acp New Member

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    I have had both, but only have the stainless left. Less maintenance required. Stainless is not a surface treatment, like parkerizing so, it is uber durable. My stainless Wilson Combat Professional looks like it did the day it was delivered 5 years ago and I have carried it daily, IWB in a Milt Sparks VM2 holster. When I was carrying the parkerized, It only took a few hundred draws to start wearing off the treatment. Just my personal preference!!!
  8. Teejay9

    Teejay9 New Member

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    I like the parkerized Springfield because it's so GI. I'm a purist and, though I admit the stainless looks good, I'd prefer my 1911 military style. TJ
  9. tEN wOLVES

    tEN wOLVES New Member

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    Don't worry about the stainless your gun is made from, they use stainless these days because of its strength as well as resistance to rust, same goes for knives, it much harder to get an edge on a stainless blade than on a carbon blade, but once you get an edge on stainless steel, it will last much longer than on a carbon blade, and yes there are different grades of stainless and carbon, but what they are using on guns is of high strength and quality, if it wasn't strong it couldn't handle the big .454 Casulle, or 500 caliber handguns on the market today, it's because of this strength that some of these large high power calibers are able to be made in hand gun form. So rest at ease, your gun is of the finest quality, and so are the parkerised. Aluminum on the other hand, I won't own, I've seen too many cracked frames and slides, it's not worth it to me just for the sake of carrying a lighter gun. IMHO
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  10. yrralguthrie

    yrralguthrie New Member

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    First stainless and steel in the alloys used in guns are about the same hardness. In addition the 4140 steel can be case hardened, which is a surface hardening process. And much harder than stainless. 4140 is chrome moly. Both start at about 187 brinell.

    So far as steel durability in guns it doesn't make too much difference. Both are hard enough to outlast several of our lifetimes. Steel made too hard would crack. However, the stainless is far harder than any 4140 finish. A steel(4140) gun that is used, especially carried in a holster is going to have wear marks. There is just no way to get around it. Stainless doesn't get these wear marks nearly as easy and most can be polished away.

    ljg
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2010
  11. honus

    honus New Member

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    Stainless or carbon steel; it's really about the heat treating. I like a good park, but I have both. I don't worry about the parkerizing wearing off because it is an easy process.
  12. Goneracin

    Goneracin New Member

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    yep, easy process is right. I am a metal finisher by trade, and we do tons of pasts for major arms manufacturers daily. (we are located right next to colt in west hartford) parkerizing is basicly just manganese phosphate, and really all that there is to it is a freshly grit blasted steel surface, 5 to 20 min submersion in a 200 deg f tank of the phosphate, rinse, chromic acid rinse, then blow dry. DONE. thats another reason i bought my springfield in black (and i just didnt want flashy for a carry gun) when it gets badly scratched, then its into the tank we go.
  13. honus

    honus New Member

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    When I had my gunshop years ago, I did bluing, parkerizing and EN. I prefer the look of a good blue job, but the park was the best finish for a work gun and less labor. I just never cared for SS.
  14. Goneracin

    Goneracin New Member

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    yea, blue looks awesome, but i havent figured that one out yet. anyone know how to do that? :)
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