You can get induction hardened TGP that's also chrome plated. I didn't mention it because I thought he has to turn reduced diameters on the ends, and the chrome plating should be enough to stop the galling, but I will admit, the harder skin under the chrome will make it more resistant to being dented if hit by something.
Yeah it's generally called cylinder rod or Thompson shafting...TGP is by and large regular old steel with a grind and polish. The induction hardened layer will also resist galling much better than the soft stuff. The chrome plating is usually pretty thin and doesn't stick around long from wear or if any dings or scratches happen. Its not that tough to turn under it to machine down an end for a bearing or something. Just be certain your turned down diameter doesn't fall into the induction hardened zone or you'd better have some ceramic or CBN to cut it well.