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Discussion Starter #1
I'm interested in another Detective Special that is an SXXXX
serial # (around 1980). It is nickel. My question is this: I know that with stainless steel guns you have to guard against rust. Is that true with nickel as well?
Thanks.
 

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The Searcher
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Nickel is a plating, usually over a copper plating base on the underlying steel. Nickel is porous and subject to physical damage and problems with impurities from underneath. Once the plating is violated, the underlying steel is subject to rust. As has been pointed out in a previous post, rust can even propagate under the nickel without being obvious. Stainless steel guns, while somewhat subject to rust because they are not 100% stainless, are nevertheless quite corrosion resistant. Surface "blemishes" can often be "buffed" out depending on the finish (bright, brushed, matte) because it is the same material through and through and you are not removing plating or a surface treatment as in bluing. Nickel can be cleaned and polished with products such as Flitz and can be waxed for additional protection. Nickel guns are very pretty. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif
 

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AIA,,I couldn't have said it better.I must add keep nickel guns away from wet corragaded paper such as brown paper sacks or cardboard boxes,,they get wet and release a chemical that will ruin a nickel gun in a week or so.Ammonia based cleaners you need to be extra carefull with also,or learn to not use them,if you do,rinse off with something like Break Cleaner,picked up at the auto parts store.
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the answer. Now that I understand that nickel can actually be more prone to rust, AIA brings up another question: is a gun that is "blue" less prone to rust?
 

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i will add just a little,nickle is pretty durable and in my opinion stands up well with correct care. as a1 stated it is applied over copper and any copper solvent{most bore cleaners} should be kept off the finish and removed promptly if you should get it on the exterior.extra care should be used when removing a nickle screw as it`s easy to flake the finish off them with an incorrect fitting driver.
 

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The Searcher
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The ranking for surface finish corrosion resistance from least to most would be blued, parkerized, nickel plated and hard chromed with the HC being far superior. Parkerizing is marginally better than typical bluing (it is similar) primarily because it retains more oil. Didn't mean to trash nickel plating, just point out that it does have it's weaknesses. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
 

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To split a hair, nickel itself does not rust, but the underlying steel will, which will then cause the nickel plating to lift. Nickel plating is actually used to prevent rust on car bumpers and the like, with chrome used over nickel to give greater luster and prevent tarnishing. It is the nickel that resists the rust, not the chrome.
 

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But don't confuse "bumper" (soft / industrial) chrome with hard chrome. HC is plated directly to the underlying metal and essentially bonds with it providing the bar-none hardest most corrosion resistant finish. Even stainless steel guns are often hard chromed because the finish is then more corrosion resistant than the stainless variety used in firearms. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

BTW - some sellers are identifying guns on auction as chrome when they are in fact bright nickel and even hard or "satin" chrome when they are electroless nickel (Coltguard). You have probably noticed that. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif
 

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based upon that last statement, what makes the e-nickle, e-nickle?

I guess what I'm asking is, what did they do or didn't do and why?

Pros? Cons?

Lee
 

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I read it......not sure I understand it.

Bottomline is, they say its good, and thats good enuff for me! /forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If I'm looking at buying a nickel DS, would I need to treat it (ex. clean it) differently then a blued DS?
 

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Internally, no. The bore and chambers can even be cleaned with Hoppe's, but they warn to not soak nickel in it and to wipe it from the external surfaces. Cleaners like GunScrubber are generally OK, but whereas you would oil wipe blue, you would clean, polish and protect nickel with a product like Flitz or others you will see mentioned. There are a couple of older posts on cleaning nickel where you might get additional product recommendations and/or opinions. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

 

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To answer your first question, the 'stainless' is LESS susceptible to rust/corrosion'staining and tarnish,BUT it is the 'same' all the way through. It is NOT 'surgical stainless', that is made to be around blood, etc.

The others are ALL surface coverages, plating, bonding, coated, electrically attached, etc. the steel below is what is going to "rust".Blueing afterall is ONLY "controlled oxidation", You care for the surface, the gun will last. Yes, nickel will show 'handling marks,rubbing, mars, scratches' mainly because you can "see" them soon as they appear. Same goes for "high gloss" stainless steel. A rough cloth or towel will show marks..........

You have to learn "how" to take care of each of these, I have seen them ALL rusted at one time or another ,yes, even the Armalloys, Hard chromes too. A "new" holster ,with 'tannic acid' still in it or leave it in a 'plastic bag or zipper case , put it away wet and they will ALL go bad on you, and "fast" too..... /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif

You look at old Colt revolvers and their finishes and compare them , it is ALL in the care. I have seen many from turn of the century, nickel plated and they are still "beautiful". Blued guns , if left alone will turn "patina" ( a polite word for rust) Nickel will fade / turn dull (yes oxidize/tarnish) polish it up and the "shine" comes back, less the nicks and scrathes. The blue, it is still "rusted", faded or worn.

Now the 'stainless', short of leaving "rubber/plastic" grips on them to allow moisture to remain underneath, you can buff and polish and make it "look like new" again and with very little effort.
This is my opinion and what we have found to be true over the past almost 40 years of refinishing firearms, at 4 different shops ( 3 we owned) and doing work for some of the gun companies. Everyone has their own tales and experiaeces and you must find out what works for you , but more importantly, just "what YOU like" in how a gun 'looks'.
 

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Dant summed it up beautifully and hit the nail on the head about stainless steel only being "less" susceptable to rust. I've had SS police trade in revolvers badly pitted on the side of the gun that spent time riding against some chubby cops sweaty waistline "roll". They use Chromium and/or nickel to obtain the various stainless alloys, and they come in many different grades. The lower grades of higher carbon stainless is used in guns primarily because of it's happy medium of machinability, heat treat capability, and rust resistance. The really good stuff that's used in the aircraft industry, and medical field, eats up tool cutters quickly and isn't really practical for high volume gun production. A magnet will stick to the gun grade SS, but not to the really high grade aircraft and medical stainless. It's still much more corrosion resistant than the plated guns, but it will rust and pit if not given some care..
 
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