Why Stainless Steel rifles rust

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

If you were not aware that the stainless steel used in firearms can rust or if you have wondered why they rust have a read of this article.

Once, after making an offhand comment about finding a speck of what looked like rust on a brand new stainless rifle, I ended up in a lengthly debate with a non-shooter who was convinced that stainless steel does not rust.

Some folks feel that they don’t have to worry about rust and corrosion on stainless steel barrels, actions, and other components. That’s not really true. “Stainless” is a bit of a misnomer. First, there are different types of stainless steel alloys, with different degrees of rust resistance. 300 series stainless is more corrosion resistant than the 416 stainless commonly used in barrels. The composition (by percentage weight) of 416 stainless is 0.15% carbon, 12-14% chromium and the rest iron. 416 stainless steel lacks the roughly 10% nickel content that makes the 300 series more corrosion resistant in atmospheric conditions

Read more here.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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 1 comment
  • Bb Bb on Nov 07, 2014

    Stainless corrodes, and is properly named. It does stain (corrode), but does it less. If it did not corrode at all it would be called stainfree, or maybe staintight. If it corroded, but the corrosion had no effect, it would be called stainproof. See ANSI watertight or dusttight, and waterproof or dustproof.