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I'm have an inherited 1911 that was chromed after WW2. It is a WWI pistol (SN 328,XXX) with WW2 plastic grips. The barrel and the mag release is still in brushed blue. The rest is chromed including the mag. The chrome on inside of the slide and frame is very rough - so much so that it does not operate very well. If you push down the recoil spring plug it stays put even under spring pressure - you have to force it out with a nylon drift pin.


Should it be de-chromed and blued or just left alone?
 

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It can be de chromed rather cheaply. Simply take to a plating shop and have the process reversed. I believe they simply reverse the polarity of the anodes. After that evaluate the condition of the bare metal and go from there.
 

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If you do take it to a chrome/refinish shop, be very clear you want
it removed ELECTRICALLY (as noted above), and not polished off.

Otherwise they'll hand it to the kid just learning how to grind metal and polish,
to remove the chrome. By the way, chrome is actually
a clear finish. Under that clear chrome coating is polished nickel. FYI...

Good Luck!
 

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Don't take it to a local plating shop.

First, they don't "know" guns. Guns are not motorcycle or auto parts, they're "different".
Second, this is considered to be gunsmithing and doing gunsmithing without a Federal license is a crime.

I suggest having the work done by a professional gun refinishing company.
They can properly strip the plating off, including the probable copper under-plating and refinish the gun in your choice of bluing or parkerizing.
I'd suggest going with a standard level polish bluing which will be at least close to the original bluing.

Unfortunately, these days due to the extensive hand labor and EPA regulations on the chemicals, bluing is expensive.
A good refinisher will properly identify WHAT the plating is, nickel or bumper type chrome, and will remove it, then properly polish the gun for bluing without rounding off edges, dishing out holes, or leaving ripples in the flats.
You can have good bluing or you can have cheap bluing.....pick ONE.
Cheap work ruins the gun, good work saves what's there without doing further damage.

Here's some real experts who can do the job right, and do it without doing further damage by polishing the metal too much.
A refinisher has to be one who does both plating and refinishing. These all do both.

ACCURATE PLATING AND WEAPONRY | APWCOGAN

Ford's Custom Gun Refinishing - Ford's Desert Eagle Sights

Elite Custom Plating --  Re-Finishing, Custom Work, Competition Guns
 

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Alternatively, you can leave it alone...

Whatever relative you inherited it from had it done, because 'he' liked it - and without a care that someone down the line wouldn't love it as 'he' did when it was finished.

You inherited 'his' pistol - making it 'collectable' takes away from his gift.
 

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Let me suggest...after 26 years of doing this. I can be stripped at a plate shop that knows how. My best suggestion is send it some one who does restoration , such as the Lanaras or me or Bob James. It is not a matter of just stripping.. careful polish works will need to be done. Then it can be refinished. BUT pick someone who does this for a living... Q
 

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Alternatively, you can leave it alone...

Whatever relative you inherited it from had it done, because 'he' liked it - and without a care that someone down the line wouldn't love it as 'he' did when it was finished.

You inherited 'his' pistol - making it 'collectable' takes away from his gift.
Another example of the consequences, sometimes generations later, of refinishing or altering an original gun. The next generation is stuck with the mistake, everyone that sees it realizes the relative made the mistake. I wouldn't want that to be my legacy, "Uncle Bob nickle plated it during the period any gun shop would do it for you for $19.99....wish he hadn't..." I never advocate altering an original, but it's no longer original, and is probably a sorry example now. If you re-refinshed it right, Uncle Bob would be proud.
 

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That IS part of the guns history, like it or not. Sometimes the alterations that are made may make it less valuable to you, but not to the family member who inherits it. Everything does not come down to a monetary value or YOUR interpretation of what a guns history should be, believe it or not.
Another example of the consequences, sometimes generations later, of refinishing or altering an original gun. The next generation is stuck with the mistake, everyone that sees it realizes the relative made the mistake. I wouldn't want that to be my legacy, "Uncle Bob nickle plated it during the period any gun shop would do it for you for $19.99....wish he hadn't..." I never advocate altering an original, but it's no longer original, and is probably a sorry example now. If you re-refinshed it right, Uncle Bob would be proud.
 

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The OP has a poor, inoperative gun that someone in the past butchered:
... The chrome on inside of the slide and frame is very rough - so much so that it does not operate very well. If you push down the recoil spring plug it stays put even under spring pressure - you have to force it out with a nylon drift pin...
I recommended he go ahead and refinish it, no more damage can be done, and he'll end up with a working firearm legacy. But then you said:
That IS part of the guns history, like it or not. Sometimes the alterations that are made may make it less valuable to you, but not to the family member who inherits it. Everything does not come down to a monetary value or YOUR interpretation of what a guns history should be, believe it or not.
As I've said before, it's not about the money. If it's handed down each generation, never to be sold, why do you keep bringing up monetary value? It's about destroying history. And it's not just my interpretation, most people that know enough about guns to recognize an altered antique colt say "aw....too bad." On the OPs, it won't hurt anything to leave it modified with it's "history", and it won't hurt anything to modify it back towards original again. The only guns that are hurt are original ones that a current owner thinks he can make "better" by hacking up or rebluing it. And to me that is selfish because after he's gone, someone else will get the altered gun, and just like the OP, wonder what to do to make it right again.
 

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What to do with old 'altered' or old previously re-finished Guns, is one of those things one sort of has to regard on a Case-by-Case basis.


I have yet to see an old 'Chrome Job' which I felt would not be improved by being de-Chromed and even left 'In the White'.

Old post Factory Nickel Jobs, some are alright, most are "Bad" and, to me, the Gun would usually be better being de-Nickeled.

Old, typically badly done re-Blues, what can one do? Send it off where for five, seven or nine hundred bucks or something, an Expert can sort of correct some of it's cosmetic over-Buffed woes?

Eeeesh...

Many old 'Cut Downs' are charming and I feel are best left as they are...there will always be people like me, twaits, others, who like and enjoy old 'Chop Jobs'...and, many were quite well done, too.

Those old 'Chop Jobs' which might not have been well done, I see no reason not to apply a little finesse, and bring them up to the Mark for them to be well done...unless they have a Provenance which would recommend one leave them be, just as they are, honestly being poorly done, since it was part of some Romance of it's context at the time back when, and or the Personage, who had it that way, back when.


Lots of factors...
 

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An altered gun is no less historical, in fact I would say it is more so than a pristine example that sat in a box, or safe for it's entire life. How can something be history if it has never seen/done anything. I guess all those garands and 30 carbines that saw action in WW2 are not historical since they mix mastered the parts at the armory and added updated safeties, bayonet lugs and adjustable rear sights? That IBM has no historical value since it has a saginaw trigger group? The early colt revolvers that were altered with Kings sights, what a shame on those as well. those Colt's that had S&W sights added are a travesty as well. Elmer Keith sure didn't know a darn thing either ruining all those poor historical guns with the mods to his taste either, those are worthless too. Does field art by soldiers on their firearms ruin history as well, or the engravings and markings added by cowboys on their shooters? How about art added by native americans on their rifles? Captured 45's that had their barrels cut down by native americans? This all adds history, does not detract, at least in my opinion.

In this case maybe the gun was taken to the wrong place to have the modifications done that lead to something that could not be utilized in it's role, but modifications to the taste of the owner that make them more useful to the owner only add history, they do not detract. You have no idea what condition this thing was in before he had it plated. Maybe they lived in a very humid place where the plating would protect it better in the field where it was planned to be used.

One mans "hack" is another mans history. History is not for you to define, sorry.
 

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When this piece was chromed, GI .45s could be bought through the NRA for about $17.

They were about $30 - retail through the mail.

No one ever thought they'd dry up, or that legislation would rear its ugly head, so no one was wondering what someone down the line might think.

'Collectable' guns were Revolutionary War, Civil War and Old West guns - nothing newer.

'Provenance' wasn't a term most regular collectors knew of, much less cared about - unless they were 'serious' collectors, forming collections of note, like Gaines DeGraffenreid, Herb Glass, Norm Flayderman and Mel Torme' and such other luminaries of those 'Golden Days'.

As-is, the piece represents what the original owner thought was beautiful.

'Fixed-up' - it'll look like all the over-polished, reblued/parkerized stuff that fools no one - save young collectors.

'Restored' by someone like Turnbull still leaves a used, reblued piece - albeit a pretty one.
 

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Well, how does it shoot? A picture of the target might be more interesting that a picture of the pistol.......
Just wondering...

rayb
 

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Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Gun Firearm Revolver Trigger Gun accessory Last year I was considering a restoration on my dads 1900 SAA in 41 Long Colt. He had it reblued (badly) 40 years ago and had changed out the trigger guard for brass.
After thinking about it if I had the gun redone then it would not be my dads revolver any longer.
Dave Lanara replaced the hammer and tuned the action at a very reasonable cost and I`m able to enjoy shooting it occasionally.
I`m very pleased with my decision.
 

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Many and all good points above, but bottom line is, "it is what it is" a family heirloom, a war trophy, bring back, whatever term you want to use, and how many have we all seen ( as well as have worked on, restored ourselves).
Much like the picture of the gun Dave Lanara 'redid', you could or should at least do what it takes to make the gun "work" properly and safely, remove the defective "plating" from the areas it is interfering ( the recoil plug) as well as the slide,or frame grooves,yes, these are signs the plating is coming off, and it will get worse over time, and USE..........put another recoil plug, heck you'll wind up with a gun very much like the Colt factory did when they put all them "blued" parts on their nickel plated Government Models in the late 70's ,early 80's................OR "retire" it and appreciate it for as we said "what it is",,,,,,,,,,,,,;)
Gosh, I wish I had a nickel for every nickel (chrome) plated 'war trophy' we seen, had , over all these years...........
 

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Removing part of the plating is just not the answer. When the pistol was plated it had very little monetary value, and the plating was probably done on a whim rather than thinking it would improve the pistol. In a nearby town we had a plant that manufactured lighting fixtures, and naturally it had a plating shop. It appears that at night the plating shop was kept busy plating guns, as the local gunsmith always had a few brought in to be reassembled. The plating changed all the clearances, and some could not be reassembled without grinding down the built up areas of plating. This never worked as grinding down the plating with a Dremel tool just didn't lead to a good fit.

Have the plating removed and consider it your good deed for the day.
 
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