Welcome to Northwest Firearms
Join our community, sign up for free today!
Sign Up


Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, primarily carbon, that is widely used in construction and other applications because of its high tensile strength and low cost. Steel's base metal is iron, which is able to take on two crystalline forms (allotropic forms), body centered cubic (BCC) and face centered cubic (FCC), depending on its temperature. It is the interaction of those allotropes with the alloying elements, primarily carbon, that gives steel and cast iron their range of unique properties. In the body-centred cubic arrangement, there is an iron atom in the centre of each cube, and in the face-centred cubic, there is one at the center of each of the six faces of the cube. Carbon, other elements, and inclusions within iron act as hardening agents that prevent the movement of dislocations that otherwise occur in the crystal lattices of iron atoms.
The carbon in typical steel alloys may contribute up to 2.1% of its weight. Varying the amount of alloying elements, their presence in the steel either as solute elements, or as precipitated phases, retards the movement of those dislocations that make iron comparatively ductile and weak, and thus controls its qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. Steel's strength compared to pure iron is only possible at the expense of iron's ductility, of which iron has an excess.
Steel was produced in bloomery furnaces for thousands of years, but its extensive use began after more efficient production methods were devised in the 17th century, with the production of blister steel and then crucible steel. With the invention of the Bessemer process in the mid-19th century, a new era of mass-produced steel began. This was followed by Siemens-Martin process and then Gilchrist-Thomas process that refined the quality of steel. With their introductions, mild steel replaced wrought iron.
Further refinements in the process, such as basic oxygen steelmaking (BOS), largely replaced earlier methods by further lowering the cost of production and increasing the quality of the product. Today, steel is one of the most common materials in the world, with more than 1.3 billion tons produced annually. It is a major component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons. Modern steel is generally identified by various grades defined by assorted standards organizations.

View More On Wikipedia.org
  1. S

    NEW Timberland Steel Toe Boots

    Brand new... never even tried on... Timberland 'Rigmaster' Steel Toe Boots. SIZE: 10.5 $150 $140 for Supporting Members Located in Vancouver, can meet in Portland some days... no shipping
  2. UnionMillsNW

    AR500 Level IIIA Curved Body Armor Plates

    Hey Folks, I have a set of Level IIIA Curved Steel plates from AR500 Armor. I purchased these plates new in 2014 and they've been sitting in a plate carrier indoors for the past few years. Really great condition. They are ultra thin (0.2"....see the picture next to a Quarter) and very light...
  3. SIG34

    WTS WA  HK416/MR556 Steel mags

    HK 30rd Steel mags 3 x brand new in wrapper 1 x brand new in picture $45 each
  4. Rudedog

    Cold Steel Trail Master

    This knife was never used and only dropped once. At which point it put a gash in my leg ! This is a made in the USA CARBON V. This knife was hand polished and had cutlery protectant applied while stored. It was stropped but not sharpened. Still very sharp and put my Randall model 14 to shame...
  5. shlo812

    WTS WA  CETME Surplus Steel 20 Round Magazines

    Right before July 1st I acquired a CETME and a bunch of mags in a trade. I considered keeping them all, but I'd prefer to have some cash to offset some of the costs of other recent acquisitions. These are Spanish surplus 20 round steel CETME magazines. They appear to be in good working...
  6. X

    Cold Steel Rawles Voyager, OD Green, 5.5"

    Up for sale Cold Steel Rawles Voyager, partially serrated blade. OD Green, 5.5" long blade, tanto point. This was a limited run of Voyagers, so more a collector's item, but it is basically your regular XL voyager. Full disclosure: I have it for like a year and a half. I carried it a lot, but it...
  7. rwadeg311

    A Question About Steel Case Ammo

    I have a question for the community. What is it about steel case ammo that is so bad for your weapons? I'm fairly new to reloading and when I look at the components, it seems to me that if you compare say Wolf .223 Gold (brass casing) to Wolf .223 steel case the only notable difference is the...
  8. M

    Pistols and Rifles (PCC) for Steel Challenge, Falling plates, and Bowling pins (pistol)?

    Recently moved to a new area and I am just now looking into membership at the nearest outdoor/Indoor range which is about 50 miles away. I will attend an orientation and get a membership as soon as I can. In addition to recreational shooting I would like to try one or more of the competitions...
  9. S

    BX 25 Best Speedloader

    Any idea which is the best speedloader for BX 25 Mags? Thanks!
  10. J

    WTS OR  Steel Remington 700 SA 20MOA rail

    As the title states New, but I bought it as an "open box" It doesn't look like it's ever been used. I'm selling it because what showed up is not what they stated in the ad, then they never replied when I tried to return it. Yours for $35