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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Guys, what are the differences between stainless steel and alloy steel slides, in terms of preventative care and long-term durability?

Also, what do I need to know about brushed stainless and black nitride finishes?

I prefer the "all black" look, but would defer to the material/finish which is most enduring.

Thanks for your help, guys.
 

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I've got guns with stainless and guns with blued steel. The blue stuff will rust quicker then the stainless will but in the end both require care.
It's just stainless holds up better in the long run, so if your lazy (like me) then go with the stainless stuff.:D

*Personally, I don't worry much either way...........if I like the gun over-all, I buy regardless if it's blue or stainless steel! Either way they get a wipe down after use with Silicone gun cloth or a oily rag. In sixty years of owning firearms I don't recall any having major rust problems?:cool:
 

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Stainless slides will get dull "corners" where a blued gun would wear through the bluing. But for a stainless gun, you can touch up the finish with ease by simply rebrushing, repolishing, or retexturizing. For blued or black nitride, you can only touch up with cold blue.

Stainless is definitely more durable to holster wear, and more easily "prettied back up," but that shouldn't be your only driving determinant factor for which you purchase. Blued will hold up well enough with the right holster choices and the right care that you shouldn't base your decision only on that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've got guns with stainless and guns with blued steel. The blue stuff will rust quicker then the stainless will but in the end both require care.
It's just stainless holds up better in the long run, so if your lazy (like me) then go with the stainless stuff.:D

*Personally, I don't worry much either way...........if I like the gun over-all, I buy regardless if it's blue or stainless steel! Either way they get a wipe down after use with Silicone gun cloth or a oily rag. In sixty years of owning firearms I don't recall any having major rust problems?:cool:
I agree with your assessment of the durability of "stainless"; however, I just learned that Ruger's "Black Nitride" finish (over alloy steel) is actually superior to the "bluing" process.

I would prefer a black slide on the SR9, but...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Stainless slides will get dull "corners" where a blued gun would wear through the bluing. But for a stainless gun, you can touch up the finish with ease by simply rebrushing, repolishing, or retexturizing. For blued or black nitride, you can only touch up with cold blue.

Stainless is definitely more durable to holster wear, and more easily "prettied back up," but that shouldn't be your only driving determinant factor for which you purchase. Blued will hold up well enough with the right holster choices and the right care that you shouldn't base your decision only on that.
If I have a choice, then I'll likely opt for "least maintenance".
 

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As much as I like blue/black over stainless, I wish I'd opted for stainless on my new SR45.
This pistol is already showing several large dull spots on the Nitride finish. :( I will be calling Ruger CS this morning to see what they have to say about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
As much as I like blue/black over stainless, I wish I'd opted for stainless on my new SR45.
This pistol is already showing several large dull spots on the Nitride finish. :( I will be calling Ruger CS this morning to see what they have to say about it.
Really? So much for Black Nitride being better than bluing! :(
 

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Well, not so fast.

There are many different grades or alloys of stainless steels just like there are many different 'mild' steels used for slides that ultimately get bluing or some other finish applied.

Some stainless steels rust, some don't. I carried a Cougar for a year and no where did the black finish wear through - no where.

SO I don't know if there's one true answer to the OP's question.

As far as durability goes I think there are some mild steels (non-stainless) that are harder than your typical stainless. But again it's all trade offs.

But if the OP is worrying about wearing out his/her slide - I think your trigger finger will fall off before that happens given proper lube.
 

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Well, not so fast.

There are many different grades or alloys of stainless steels just like there are many different 'mild' steels used for slides that ultimately get bluing or some other finish applied.

Some stainless steels rust, some don't. I carried a Cougar for a year and no where did the black finish wear through - no where.

SO I don't know if there's one true answer to the OP's question.

As far as durability goes I think there are some mild steels (non-stainless) that are harder than your typical stainless. But again it's all trade offs.

But if the OP is worrying about wearing out his/her slide - I think your trigger finger will fall off before that happens given proper lube.
+1 about there being different grades of stainless steel. One test I use is with a magnet. The lesser grade stainless, the magnet will stick. Not so with the better grades. My M&P 9 has a stainless slide with S&W's version of the Tennifer finish (whatever they call it?). The gun has very little wear but I do clean it and oil it after every range trip. Actually, other than the normal barrel wear, the slide is like the day I bought it. In contrast, you'll find some owners of stainless Springfield XD's and XDm's who have minor rust issues. My SR9c is the Nitride black, and so far, it's looking great. However, it doesn't go into a holster.

Given the choice, I try to go for stainless slides. I prefer bi-tone (non-black slides) but some models that I like are not offered in that configuration like the M&P's (stainless, but are treated with that special black finish), PPQ, P320, and CZ P-07.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Given the choice, I try to go for stainless slides. I prefer bi-tone (non-black slides) but some models that I like are not offered in that configuration
Hmmm... Decisions, decisions... If only the SR9 wasn't made in both versions... :confused:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
After describing the blotchy condition of my Black Nitride slide, Ruger CS recommended I return the pistol to Arizona. It is now in transit.
Oh, so maybe the discoloration is NOT a necessary evil.

Please keep us posted. Thanks!
 

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+1 about there being different grades of stainless steel. One test I use is with a magnet. The lesser grade stainless, the magnet will stick. Not so with the better grades.......
Yes. In a previous life I was a dedicated sailor. Obviously I was involved with a lot of stainless steel. Here in the NE with water being cold (not colder, just friggin COLD) it doesn't carry as much salt as say down in Florida. The SS used on sailboats is generally taken for granted to non-magnetic.

Skip forward a bunch of years...

I bought a Browning X-Bolt with SS barrel, satin wood, etc. A true lust purchase, one of my very few. So I'm messing around and for yucks I put a magnet on the barrel; IT STICKS! W T F!! Lesson Learned!
 

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Yes. In a previous life I was a dedicated sailor. Obviously I was involved with a lot of stainless steel. Here in the NE with water being cold (not colder, just friggin COLD) it doesn't carry as much salt as say down in Florida. The SS used on sailboats is generally taken for granted to non-magnetic.

Skip forward a bunch of years...

I bought a Browning X-Bolt with SS barrel, satin wood, etc. A true lust purchase, one of my very few. So I'm messing around and for yucks I put a magnet on the barrel; IT STICKS! W T F!! Lesson Learned!
Many of the non-magnetic stainless steels have better corrosion resistance.
 

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After describing the blotchy condition of my Black Nitride slide, Ruger CS recommended I return the pistol to Arizona. It is now in transit.
Ruger replaced the slide and it now looks much nicer. It took one week from me shipping to return to my doorstep. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ruger replaced the slide and it now looks much nicer. It took one week from me shipping to return to my doorstep. :)
Just ordered my SR9 (Black Nitride finish) yesterday; it will be here on Monday! :)
 
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