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Discussion Starter #1
I've bought a couple of extra blue Detective Specials so I could create a couple of different variations on the gun... for one of them, I'm trying to decide between high polish hard chrome or nickel. I know the chrome would be much harder and more wear resistant, but I think the nickel would have a gorgeous color to it.

Is it likely that with carry the nickel would develop a lot of fine scratches all over it, making it less attractive looking, or does nickel hold up well with carry (never owned a nickeled gun)?

Would you vote to high polish hard chrome or nickel? (I may just have to do one of each!) ;-)=
 

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I ain't sure about the polished finishes.

I do like matte stainless/nickel though. Doesnt show the problems as readily, and easier to clean up if it does.

Could use Windex on the chrome, though.


I would go with nickel.

1. Doesn't sound as bad as chrome.
2. Not quite as flashy. Barely.
3. Nickel would be a correct finish, even if it's aftermarket.

How about find one that's already nickel?

Always wanted one rust blued, myself.


Brian
 

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As far as gun finishes go, nickel is only marginally better than bluing for durability.

Nickel is plated over a base plate of copper.
The problem is, moisture can infiltrate UNDER the layers and corrode the metal sight unseen.

The first indication somethings wrong, is when rust blooms start to appear on the surface, and by then it's too late. The metal is corroded and pitted, and rust has usually spread under the plating.

Also, nickel is fairly soft and scratches and marrs easily.

If you dent it or give it a deep scratch, the plating can start to crack, chip, and peel off.

Last, the front of the cylinder and the rear of the barrel and frame area are damaged by the hot gases from firing the gun, and nickel guns quickly develop flaking on these areas.

Hard chrome, on the other hand is about the best gun finish available.

It isn't affected by most acids or moisture.
The plating is applied directly to the steel, and actually bonds with the surface.
For this reason there ARE no layers, and moisture can't get "between" the steel and the plating since there IS no "between".

Hard chrome is harder than a Swiss file, so it doesn't scratch or show much wear like other finishes.
Heavy wear areas show as shiny streaks, and this is nothing but the chrome being polished.

Hard chrome is applied to the trigger and hammer and it's so hard and slick, that it actualy improves trigger pull.

Unlike bright nickel which can be damaged by many bore cleaning solvents, most chemicals and even acids won't touch hard chrome.

Nickel is bright and shiny with a slight yellowish cast to the plating.

Hard chrome ranges in color from a flat pearl-gray to a satin stainless steel look depending on the process and who's doing it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
PZ... for less than the price of an already nickeled one (they're rare and spendy as a result), I can find a nice used on and have a perfect "brand new" nickel job done.

I'm leaning toward nickel, but may wind up having one hard chromed as well...
 

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Discussion Starter #5
dfariswheel.... I really love the look of a fresh nickel job, but I've sure seen a lot of photos of used nickeled guns which look all scratched up and funky. If I were going to just keep the gun as a show piece, I would go with the nickel, but as you mention, for a shooter and a carry gun, the nickel would undoubtedly take a beating which would compromise the entire gun, not just the nickel plating. Considering your comments, I now think that I really should go with hard chrome on the plated gun I'm going to carry and shoot a lot.
 

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can you refinish a Colt Agent with an aluminum frame? If so, can you reblue or would it have to be something like an NP3 or something like that?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ah yes, NP-3, I'd forgotten about that as a finish option. Nice stuff, even if not all that pretty. Excellent for internals as it's slick as a lick.
 

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I've seen a few revolvers with NP3. They looked good. I had Robar do my Sig 220 in `90. I carried it for four years as a duty gun, when I worked for the courts. After 75,000 rounds, the finish is still as good as new.

I was going to have my Smith 340SC done with NP 3 but Smith recommended against it,

John
 

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Hard chrome is an amazing finish, and Tripp Research seems to be one of the best to do it. A shooting buddy just got back a Les Baer that he had hard chromed and it looks like platinum. Tripp even found a little problem with a trigger piece and fixed it at no charge. My nickel Colts are all nice looking and in good shape, even with use, I don't carry or holster them, however. If I had to redo one of them I'd send it to Tripp, even the prices aren't bad.
 

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Question for Dfariswheel on hard chrome:

Due to a change in tolerances some gunsmiths recommend having the gun hard chromed before an action job. If the chrome is really hard how then are the contact surfaces polished or honed by the gunsmith when doing an action job?

Thank you.

BB
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Robin... I think that's one of the spray and bake, paint-like coatings and I've definitely ruled all of those out. I think they can be good on semi-autos, but I don't like them on revos. I've pretty much decided on brush-polished hard chrome or bright-polish hard chrome, with black chrome still a possibility.

[This message has been edited by DHart (edited 04-21-2005).]
 

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One maybe you haven't thought of, but have you considered part blue and part nickel? I still remember a Robert Blake movie, "Electra Glide in Blue," where he has a 4" Python with a nickel barrel and cylinder on a blue frame ... Gaudy as heck but I loved it! Somewhere, I've seen a DS with a nickel cylinder on blue frame and it was gorgeous. (But I think the 59 Ford was the most beautiful car ever made, too!)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I've seen a number of S&W "pintos" with blue frames and stainless or nickel barrels & cylinders... kinda cool, kinda unique, but just not quite my taste...
 

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DHart, I'm not too crazy about two tone finishes, either (although I like the look of my Springfield Micro w/blue(black) frame and stainless slide.)
Since you're going to have it re-done anyway, a two-tone option you might like is a brushed or matte finish on your frame with a polished finish on the cylinder, barrel, cyl-release, trigger and hammer. I saw a couple of colts done this way a few years ago and remember liking it. I'm trying to find pix. A little style and flash but more subtle. (My 2 cents is worth the same 2 cents as everybody else's 2 cents)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Jim... yes, I think two toned can be really nice on a semi-auto, but loses me on a revo. The brushed and polished combo sounds cool... that might appeal to me. If you find the pics, please post them. Thanks.
 
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