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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to locally refinished the frame of my Colt Commander, and since there are no gunsmiths here in PR I researched an auto-body shop that anodizes aluminum bike parts and the like.

Have any of you guys done this? I know about the oldschool bumper chrome jobs but anodizing seems simpler.
 

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Just try to keep the sharp edges on the frame. Let us know how the project turns out. By that I mean post some pictures.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ill be sure to post pics. What I'm looking for is anyone who has taken their gun to be refinished by non-firearm type places and their exprerience with them or people who have anodized guns themselves.
 

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You likely won't hear from people who've had guns anodized in an auto or bike shop since that's considered to be gunsmithing in the US. That requires a Federal Firearms license for doing gunsmithing. If the shop has no FFL, it's a crime to do that kind of gun work except in limited situations.
Some will be able to do it if they understand the law.
Since guns are "different" most people send them to refinishers who specialize in gun work and have the licenses.

One of the "watch outs" is to insure the frame rails are not reduced or rounded off. Depending on the type of anodizing, a certain amount of metal is removed.
An excellent alternative is to have the gun coated with Cerakote. This is the toughest type of non plated gun finish currently available.
It's a form of epoxy mixed with ceramic.
It out performs parkerizing, bluing, and most all other chemical finishes or coatings.
It comes in many colors.

Probably there is an authorized application company where you are.
It's "possible" to do it yourself but that requires some special equipment like a bead blaster and a spray gun.
The application process is VERY specific and has to be done according to the instructions with no short cuts.

Here's the company site. They have some excellent info on durability and how to apply it, plus how to find a supplier who can do it.
There is a company authorized application company in Jayuya PR.

Cerakote Coatings

This is being used by a lot of custom gun makers and manufacturers due to the high strength and durability.
 

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You likely won't hear from people who've had guns anodized in an auto or bike shop since that's considered to be gunsmithing in the US. That requires a Federal Firearms license for doing gunsmithing. If the shop has no FFL, it's a crime to do that kind of gun work except in limited situations.
Some will be able to do it if they understand the law.
Since guns are "different" most people send them to refinishers who specialize in gun work and have the licenses.
A bike shop owner doing one receiver won't meet the definition of "engaging in the business" of working on firearms, but if he is doing it on a regular basis, the license is needed.

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/lic...customizing-refinishing-or-repairing-firearms

Specifically looking at the definitions under 27 CFR 478.11 which the ATF references in the above link:

(d) Gunsmith. A person who devotes time, attention, and labor to engaging in such activity as a regular course of trade or business with the principal objective of livelihood and profit, but such a term shall not include a person who makes occasional repairs of firearms or who occasionally fits special barrels, stocks, or trigger mechanisms to firearms; [emphasis added]
 

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Thanks for the updated info on the law.

Still, bike shops just don't "understand" GUNS. Guns are "different" and there are things that have to be taken into account that a bike shop likely would have never heard of.
Best to send it to a shop that specializes in firearms anodizing or have it Cerakoted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That's the problem. As I stated there are no gunsmiths around me here in PR. If I lived in the States I would send it off to some refinishing company but if I do I would have to pay 75-100$ just for the transfer back to me. Gun stuff and services are incredibly expensive here. I would just like to know aloft anybody who has experience with non-gunsmith refinishing and such.
 

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That's the problem. As I stated there are no gunsmiths around me here in PR. If I lived in the States I would send it off to some refinishing company but if I do I would have to pay 75-100$ just for the transfer back to me. Gun stuff and services are incredibly expensive here. I would just like to know aloft anybody who has experience with non-gunsmith refinishing and such.
From what I've seen have guns refinished or worked on is an absolute crap shoot.
Ive seen excellent work and I've seen ruined and even unsafe guns.

Many guns get taken to machine shops on the theory that a machinist is automatically a gunsmith.
This is very much not the case. I've seen some of the most horrible work done by machinists, simply because they didn't understand FIREARMS.
Firearms are not engine parts or the sort of work typically done in machine shops.

If you're lucky, whoever you have work done by may well do a good job, but in my experience you're more likely to be bitterly disappointed when it's botched up.
Once botched there's no "fixing" it.

In the case of a frame re-anodize by a bike shop, you pay your money and take your chances.
If you do go this route, I'd spend some time carefully explaining about being careful around the frame rails.
Most other areas are not as critical, and are either cosmetic or other parts fit issues.
Cosmetics may be rounded off sharp edges or non-uniform appearance, fit issues may be that parts like the grip safety, mainspring housing, or magazine catch having gaps around them from metal removal during the process.

So, unless you go with Cerakote you're totally at the mercy of the skills or lack of the person doing the work.
Let us know what you decide and how it works out.
 

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I had the frame of a Lightweight Commander Ceracoated after the electroless nickel it was finished with after I modified it years ago started to flake in places. I am extremely pleased with the Ceracoat! I would have it done again in a heartbeat....
 

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That's the problem. As I stated there are no gunsmiths around me here in PR. If I lived in the States I would send it off to some refinishing company but if I do I would have to pay 75-100$ just for the transfer back to me. Gun stuff and services are incredibly expensive here. I would just like to know aloft anybody who has experience with non-gunsmith refinishing and such.
Sometimes, gun refinishing by a shop specializing in guns can have dissappointing results. Trust me on this. I have been there. I am as likely to have a bike shop anodize my aluminum frame as send an airplane to a bike shop. If your issues are cosmetic, and there are no gun professionals anywhere on the Island; I would live with the cosmetic issues. Someone here may have experience with a bike shop. It probably will not be your bike shop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hmmm how about a simple sandblast? If its an aluminum frame it can be blasted and left alone. Bare aluminum grows a thin layer of oxide for protection. I can have the other parts sand blasted and rust blue them?
 

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Sure, you can do that - but a soda blast would be much better and much gentler besides, and won't have that weird, 'sand-blasted aluminum' look to it that makes the piece look unfinished.

Cerakoting can be and is done by a large number of shops - it's attractive as well as durable, and many machine and tool suppliers can direct you to someone who does that work if you don't want to on your own.
 

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Highly polished, it should hold up quite well.

I'll point out that aluminum-framed sidearms are made for carrying often, and shooting every so often, though - they aren't steel.
 

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I'm looking to locally refinished the frame of my Colt Commander, and since there are no gunsmiths here in PR I researched an auto-body shop that anodizes aluminum bike parts and the like.

Have any of you guys done this? I know about the oldschool bumper chrome jobs but anodizing seems simpler.
Try some of these gunsmiths/gunshops... Good Luck!

http://www.manta.com/mb_45_B63AD05M_53/firearms/puerto_rico
 

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Highly polished, it should hold up quite well.

I'll point out that aluminum-framed sidearms are made for carrying often, and shooting every so often, though - they aren't steel.
I only ask because I personally know someone whose Lightweight Commander frame cracked / peened and was rendered unusable after the anodizing layer was compromised.
 

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Try some of these gunsmiths/gunshops... Good Luck!

http://www.manta.com/mb_45_B63AD05M_53/firearms/puerto_rico
I'm sorry, maybe I'm missing something here, but the link I posted a little earlier would indicate there are quite a few gun shops/stores in Puerto Rico, I believe I count about sixteen of them (which I think is more than there are in the greater Los Angeles area!)

Are you saying that none of them employ a gunsmith, or offer gun repair/custom services such as what you're looking for, etc. ?

Just curious...

nowinca
 

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How would a bare aluminum feed ramp hold up to shooting?
This seems to depend on the type of bullets used.
Wide hollow points may dig into the ramp and damage it.
It seems to be a matter of choosing the right bullet design.
If Cerakote will stand up on a feed ramp, I'd think bare aluminum would be good to go, especially since you often see pistols with bare polished ramps.

I'd guess that all you can do is shoot the gun and if you see any damage, change to a different bullet design.
 

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I guess I should have qualified this by stating that a highly polished feed ramp - mated to a properly-throated barrel - should hold up well.

These were originally built for 230-grain jacketed hardball, just like their big brother - they feed perfectly with that - it's when the different bullet weights and shapes came into production and into favor that there began to be problems.

Like I said - the aluminum-framed Commanders were carry pieces that packed a wallop - not - 'Let's go to the range with a 1000-round can of GI surplus Ball and blast away until our hands hurt' pieces.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm sorry, maybe I'm missing something here, but the link I posted a little earlier would indicate there are quite a few gun shops/stores in Puerto Rico, I believe I count about sixteen of them (which I think is more than there are in the greater Los Angeles area!)

Are you saying that none of them employ a gunsmith, or offer gun repair/custom services such as what you're looking for, etc. ?

Just curious...

nowinca
Sure there are gunshops but most don't have any real gunsmith services other than changing sights, grips and cleaning services. AAA Armory just recently started their cerakote service (90$ for a slide, what a rip off) and I found another non-gunsmith area near me that also uses cerakote. Puerto Rico is really weird. Here you can buy old Colt revolvers in amazing condition for 200-300$ all day long but a Glock is 650 + 12% tax.
 
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