Interesting S/N 3rd Generation Colt blackpowder pistol (Signature Series)
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Thread: Interesting S/N 3rd Generation Colt blackpowder pistol (Signature Series)

  1. #11
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    Agree. My 1851 was always stored in a humidity controlled safe and rarely handled (never fired, never turned). Always wiped down after handling. Not sure why it would flake, but it sounds like others have had the same issue.

  2. #12
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    The first of the 1970's Second Generations - the ones that will letter to Colt - had 'treble-plated' trigger guards and back straps (from an old article I remembered) - they'd turn black or purple if left to their own devices, which is how I got mine - everybody who'd seen it must've thought it was a Navy Arms replica with blued straps.

    I was quite surprised and pleased when 'Simichrome' showed me a different story, which I related some time back.

  3. #13
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    That's how I've seen a couple sellers on Gunbroker describe a 2nd gen 51 Navy. It was so tarnished they simply though the bluing was coming off since the tarnish tends to be a bit irregular.

    However, I got curious and just retrieved my 3rd gen 49 pocket out of the safe---still no tarnish other than an over all yellow to purple tint around the edges. I got curious, so I removed the trigger guard and it was even more yellowish purple underneath.

    I have 4 products that I use on silver. One is plain old Wrights silver creme that is sold in most grocery stores. I use that for the sterling pieces and silver plate table service that I have. I also have Semi-chrome paste and MAAS paste which I have used to polish the 2nd gen Colts when they started to tarnish badly. The last is a pure liquid chemical called Tarn-X. I use it for silver coins because it works by just dipping the coin in the liquid and then rinsing it off with water. This removes the tarnish while leaving the mint like luster on the coin. The other products are not good for coins since they remove the luster and replace it with a shine--if that makes sense.

    However, not a single one of these products had any effect on the silver colored metal of the pocket 49. With the pastes there is always black residue left on the cloth from real silver, brass, or even steel. With the silver colored plating on the 3rd gen pocket 49, there was no residue on the cloth other than the paste smushed into the fabric. It simply did not react like real silver or silver plate, nor does it look quite like real silver plate. It's more artificial looking. However, it also does not look like nickel plate. The only other alternative I can think of is that it could be silver plate that has had an over-coat of some sort of protective clear polyurethane or spar varnish like manufacturers use to prevent polished brass items from tarnishing.

    That might account for the weird yellow to purple tint I see in areas, which means that the plating may have turned a bit under the coating. In fact the more I think about it the more it seems likely.

    Anyway, at least mine isn't flecking at the moment.

    Cheers
    Last edited by forward_observer; 01-06-2016 at 06:01 PM.
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  5. #14
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    @Johnmwmd,

    A thought just occurred to me while looking at your photo of the flaking area. The trigger guard is supposed to be silver plated brass, but where it appears that the silver has flaked off--instead of a brass color, it looks to be grayish black much like blued steel or very tarnished silver.

    I'm wondering if the spots are not from the silver flaking off, but actually from very tarnished silver where the protective coating (that I think they used) has flaked off. Then the silver underneath, being exposed to the air, might have had the chance to turn totally black. Trying a little silver polish on one of the spots might be worth the effort. If it turns silver instead of brass, then you have a much easier issue to deal with than the plating flaking off. Just polish up the exposed spots in the short term.

    As I said it's just a thought based on my guess that the silver on the 3rd gens have a polyurethane or other type of protective coating, and I am certainly not well versed in the plating processes they used.

    That said, proceed at your own risk.

    Cheers
    Last edited by forward_observer; 01-07-2016 at 01:01 PM. Reason: clarity, spelling, and other nit pick stuff.
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  6. #15
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    I have a 3rd 1849 Pocket that has the clear coat on the Silver plating. i was able to scratch away most of it with a fingernail. The silver underneath is fine once polished. You might want to be careful with finishes like MAAS. Great for some things (i got for old Jaguar camshaft covers) as it might be harsh on the case colors near the guard. The few times I've used it on the 2nds and the one 3rd I put tape on the frame and grips to avoid any chance of damaging the case colors. Just a precaution.

    Tuco
    Last edited by Tuco; 01-07-2016 at 06:35 AM.
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  7. #16
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    @forward_observer and @Tuco--I think you are right! When I look closer with a magnifier, I don't see actual flakes, so likely tarnish under a protective polyurethane (or something) coat like you pointed out. I remember many years ago (in the 70's) stripping a clear type of coating off of uniform brass (with nail polish remover?) so it could be polished with Brasso.

    Really appreciate the advice and your time to respond on this question!

  8. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tuco View Post
    I have a 3rd 1849 Pocket that has the clear coat on the Silver plating. i was able to scratch away most of it with a fingernail. The silver underneath is fine once polished. You might want to be careful with finishes like MAAS. Great for some things (i got for old Jaguar camshaft covers) as it might be harsh on the case colors near the guard. The few times I've used it on the 2nds and the one 3rd I put tape on the frame and grips to avoid any chance of damaging the case colors. Just a precaution.

    Tuco
    You are quite correct about any type of polish taking off a color case hardened finish. In the case of most Italian made guns, it is done with a cynanide process rather than the old bone charcoal kiln fired method and very easy to polish off. I haven't tried in on the latter process, but I would still be wary.

    I recently acquired a Pedersol model 1805 Harpers Ferry flintlock reproduction. The repro is a reasonable facimile of an original except that it is a rifled .58 caliber instead of the original smoothbore .54 cal. They have recently released a pecussion model in the correct smoothbore caliber.

    The only issue I had with mine is that that all of the steel parts were in the white except the lock which comes color case hardened. From my brief research, it appears that these pistols were issued with all steel parts in the white. I had read somewhere that the case colors were fairly easy to remove with any good metal polish, so I disassembled the lock and started polishing. To my surprise the case colors came off just as easy as heavy tarnish on brass would. I sped the process a little with some 4 ought steel wool, but still the whole job took me about an hour. The hardest part was disassembling and re-assembling the lock. Luckily, i have a spring vise which helped immensely.

    Here's the before and after.



    This taught me to be extra careful when polishing trigger guards or back straps that are right next to a color case frame regardless of the method used to apply the case colors.

    Cheers
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  9. #18
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    Its definitely the lacquer flaking off and the silver underneath tarnishing. I shoot the stuffing out of my 3rd gen Navy and had the same issue. Once I stripped the parts and dunked the TG and BS in lacquer thinner, then polished away the tarnish with super duper fine steel wool, then resprayed with clear lacquer. The thing looked brand new again. However, with continual use it started flaking the lacquer off again and I just decided to let the thing age naturally from use. I'm certainly NOT recommending this to anyone, just giving you my 2 cents on what I had on my sig series gun. And as for the case colors, I am almost 100% certain on the sig series (as well as the 2nd gens) the colors are done the old way, with heating in carbon/charcoal compounds and not by cyanide process. This is one place where the 2nd and 3rd gen colts differ from other repros.

  10. #19
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    Hi guys. Still would be really careful with polish on F series 2nd and 3rds. I have shot and handled my old C series navy for over forty years and polished the silver when it needed it - wasn't a collector gun then and I didn't know better - and the bone coloring was never harmed by the polishing. It's all sort of muted now from use but not Bubba'd from cleaning. That gun #15061 was more grey on the frame than vibrant anyway. It was the least colorful of the twenty or so C navies I've had. Back then i liked it - didn't look so much like a repro.

    I've seen a few F series guns that have been polished from time to time and the frames have muted areas that have a sheen on the frame near the brass that had to come from polish. Hey if the guns are otherwise crisp or old friends, it's no biggie to send the case bits to be recolored in bone. Just expensive.

    I'd never recommend stripping the lacquer off the TG or BS of 3rd unless they were flaking then otherwise i say "off like a prom dress." My little 49er looks better without and since it isn't handled at all, still looks great. ifi who i, a little black here and there wouldn't be an issue.

    Dang this hobby is fun!
    Last edited by Tuco; 01-27-2016 at 07:08 AM.

  11. #20
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    Silver plating is VERY thin and easily removed if the wrong polish is used, polished too hard, or too often.
    The common factory practice with silver plating and polished brass is to spray on a coat of gloss lacquer to prevent tarnish and limit wearing plated items.

    If you look at old brass items you'll often see the lacquer coming off and tarnished brass showing in a ratty, spotty look.
    Same thing happens with silver plate.

    The usual method of dealing with it is to use lacquer thinner to remove the lacquer coating then use a very mild silver polish to gently restore the shine.
    I recommend using a silver polish rated for use with plated silver. Use GENTLY.
    I don't recommend most metal polishes like Brass-O, MASS, or even Flitz. All these are abrasive and will remove a layer of the already thin plating.

    After gently polishing, wipe the surface with clean lacquer thinner to clean it of all polish or oily contamination, wipe gently with a microfiber cloth to remove any residue, then spray on a fresh lacquer coating.
    Most hardware stores sell spray cans of lacquer specifically for coating brass and plated finishes.


 
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