What is sintered steel?
Warne Maxima and Tactical rings were a ground breaking product when they were first introduced. Many of the processes and technologies that are used had never been seen before in the scope mount industry. One of the major contributing technological advances was the use of sintered steel for the ring bodies. Previous models of Warne rings were machined from investment cast steel ring blanks or aluminum, and while they were more than worthy materials, they were time consuming, labor intensive and very expensive to produce. Since the introduction of the Maxima, Tactical and 7.3 ring lines, sintered steel construction has been a pillar in Warne’s legendary precision and durability.
The sintering process starts with powdered metallurgy, which is the process of taking fine powdered metals and pressing them into a form. The powdered material is compressed under several tons of hydraulic pressure. The resulting piece is stable enough to be handled and sintered. The next process is controlled atmosphere sintering, and during this process the compressed ring blank is heated, but not to the point of liquification. The ring blank particles fuse into a solid piece, but because the blank does not reach the melting point, the ring blank maintains its shape. Hydrogen and nitrogen are used to control the atmosphere the ring blanks are sintered in which acts as an oxide reducer.
The end result yields a ring blank that is very repeatable, reducing machining time to reach a final product, and therefor reducing cost to the customer. The specific alloy used in Warne rings makes for an extremely durable, yet ductile part. It is important for vertically split rings to retain ductility as explained in our Why Vertically Split blog post. One of the obstacles with sintered steel is that it cannot be blued due to the alloy that is used. Warne combats this by powder coating matte black rings, and cerakoting gloss and silver. Not only does this create a uniform and consistent finish, it also seals the steel ring. Unlike a blued ring, Warne rings will not rust or corrode when exposed to moisture. Another advantage to the coating Warne maxima, Tactical and 7.3 rings use is scratch protection and resistance. A bare steel surface against your scope leaves the potential for scratching or marring of the scope tube. Not only does the powder coated finish on Warne rings protect the scope tube from damage, the finish itself is far more abrasion resistant compared to a blued surface.
High end car makers such as Porsche and BMW have used sintered steel for critical engine components, and for good reason. The use of sintered steel ring blanks makes it possible for Warne to offer a consistent, rock solid, high performing product at a price that won’t break the bank. The reduced production cost of starting with a perfectly formed ring blank gives the consumer more bang for their buck, and a scope mount they can truly depend on.