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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Went to the Oregon Arms antique gun show yesterday and found a not-so-antique. It was a 4th model (shrouded ej.rod) Cobra that was nickled. At least, I think it was nickled. It is possible that it is stainless steel and polished aluminum, but I have never heard of that. Yet, I have never heard of nickle plating going on aluminum. Is it done in the same manner as on steel, with a copper layer underneath?

He wanted $550 and I didn't buy it.

Bart Noir
 

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Almost certainly Nickel. Never heard of a stainless Cobra. Don't know the exact process for plating Aluminum, so can't comment there.
For $550 I would have left it there too!
If I remember correctly the last one I bought was $325 and that was only a year ago.
 

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If you're talking Blue Book "issues", there is no 4th issue Cobra. Last "issue" was 2nd. Some people recognize different "issues" because there are more significant variations in some models than the BB accounts for. Yes, the alloy frame was nickel plated. There were no stainless Cobras. There was a post that addressed plating alloy, I believe. I'll look around. /forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif

Edited to say well, except for the KING Cobra. /forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
 

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Electroless nickel is used to plate alloy metals. It can also be used on steel. The process using copper can't be used on aluminum. I'm not a metalurgist, so I can't tell you why, but that's what was explained to me by a guy who does that kind of work.

Since the barrel and cylinder of the Cobra are steel, and the frame aluminum, the gun has gone through the electroless process.
 

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I also own a couple of Nickel cobras. Very nice color. Love to get my hands on a courrier
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Interesting responses, thanks all. Can that electroless nickle finish be polished? The Cobra I saw was polished, not matte, so I guess the answer is yes. I just didn't know that it could be done.

Bart Noir
 

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Tom M, I disagree that alloy cannot be electroplated. It is done all the time. Many "pot metal" car trim parts are nickel plated, followed by chrome.

I have factory nickel alloy-frame guns that were nickeled long before electroless nickel was ever used. Of course, electroless nickel can also be applied to alloy-frame guns too, but it generally is not polished like electroplated nickel

I am very skeptical that any Courier was ever nickel-plated from the factory. While it is possible, nickel was not a cataloged finish on the Courier. I would have to see a factory letter to be convinced. Of course, there are lettered factory-nickeled guns that were never cataloged in nickel (I have one, an early "357"), so it is possible, just not probable.

If I had a nickel Courier, I would already have the letter. Please get one so we can know if it is legit.
 

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Thanks for the correction, Judge. Looks like I may have gotten some bad info.
 

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JudgeColt said:

[ QUOTE ]
I am very skeptical that any Courier was ever nickel-plated from the factory. While it is possible, nickel was not a cataloged finish on the Courier. I would have to see a factory letter to be convinced. Of course, there are lettered factory-nickeled guns that were never cataloged in nickel (I have one, an early "357"), so it is possible, just not probable.

If I had a nickel Courier, I would already have the letter. Please get one so we can know if it is legit.

[/ QUOTE ]

Right you are. I was skeptical also. I still find it hard to believe. I DID have it lettered and according to Colt it was shipped as a blue gun. I just don't believe it as I really looked closely at the nickel plating more than once. I took the dang thing almost apart before I bought it. So, I can not say absolutely that it is or is not a factory job. It will remain one of those Colt mysteries.

I was later told by Colt that sometimes they make mistakes and it may have been returned to Colt for nickel plating. Hence the records would not be in the same place. It remains one of my odd pieces that I enjoy looking at from time to time.

If I saw it for sale now and it was priced like it would be for an original factory nickel gun, I would be very skeptical without a letter. I bought this thing about 15 years ago before the meteoric rise in prices.
 

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If the "nickel" Courier letters as blue, then it is a blue gun in my opinion, even if the nickel "looks factory." It does not seem unusual to me that a nickel refinish could "look factory." It could be a factory refinish, or it could have been done by a quality workshop. I have never been aware of any Colt factory work being able to be documented later, unlike Smith & Wesson where some work can be documented, since most Smiths have their own record.

In high school, I did a science fair project on electroplating, and I would nickel-plate penneys for attendees. The detail was perfect as I recall. Therefore, I think any plating shop with any knowledge at all could plate a gun just as well as (and just the same as) Colt could. Such a quality job could well "look factory."

Is the Courier an early "Dual-Tone" version? If so, how does the nickel look on the matte surfaces?
 

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Judge, I don't dispute what you say. The nickel plating is consistant over the entire revolver. Even if it is not factory nickel, I am still glad that I picked it up years ago.
 
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