Distinguish chrome steel from non-chrome steel

A friend who is a collector of military equipment has some canteens from the early 20th century. He is trying to determine if the
composition is an ordinary steel with little or no chrome or if it is a type of magnetic stainless steel which has a higher amount of chrome.
It is pretty amazing what some people find interesting as a hobby, but this the stuff he does and he is really good at it. He has written articles about things like post-civil war cartridge belts.
Can anyone explain how to distinguish steel with chrome from steel without chrome (both magnetic) without expensive lab equipment? It is best if it is not destructive, but he is willing to remove a small amount of metal.
Rick
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On Thu, 17 Jul 2008 12:04:30 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

find yourself a large reputable scrap yard. they should have on-site a handheld XRD scanner. they look like a big version of Captain Kirk's phaser. it'll read out the alloy.
non destructive. amazingly accurate.
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Well sometimes. I have some AR400 that it claims to be Fe and phos. Hardly. I have the guy grind a spot and it states the same.
I know by the qa docs it isn't and know how hard and strong it is. He read my 304 SS ok. Just not the sub percent metals. Even some are above 1% are not found.
He claimed it had just gotten back from the cal lab - but it was filthy. When I got instruments back from a cal lab, they were clean, and accurate. I think someone got some quick money.
So if you have metal with documents -- take the docs with you. If not - good luck.
Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Endowed; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
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