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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to confirm some info on an Agent I saw this weekend. It was marked on the tag as stainless steel, though this would seem contradictory if all Agents are based on the Aluminum frame. If steel, incl stainless, it should be a DS and not an Agent.

The strange thing is the gun did look exactly like it was stainless. It was not shiny as with nickel, not the dull white of Colts satin nickel and not the satin sheen of the electroless nickel. There didn't seem to be any marks to indicate it had been refinished, and if it was hardchrome, it was the most 'stainless' looking hardchrome I've ever seen. There was no visual color/texture difference between the frame and other steel parts (barrel, cylinder).

The barrel was marked Agent, it had the slim checkered wooden grips with medallion and only as long as the frame (i.e. the underside of the grip frame was exposed and flush with the grips). The serial was 785XXX with no other letters. I called Colt and they couldn't find any basic info thinking there should be a LW after the numbers.

A previous owner had painted the tip of the front site with some orange paint, though a round depression showed through as though there had been a hole for an original painted dot or maybe a nightsite. The front site ramp itself was smooth, though some discoloration gave me the impression that the entire ramp surface had been lightly filed (were the ramps normally striated or smooth??). The entire upper strap on either side surrounding the sighting groove was finely grooved.

Any ideas on this one?

The Searcher
11,095 Posts
Suspect hard chrome like this

also advertised as stainless, which we know it isn't. So far, I have only requested background through the seller, which I may or may not get. Further step would be a letter just to determine if it went back through the factory for refinish or was done "aftermarket". In any case, it is a good job, markings are very crisp, but then HC is very thin and "tightly" bonded to the surface. I like it. /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

P.S. Apparently, Colt did do a 4th issue DS with HC optional finish, bobbed hammer, some action tuning and a front night sight. Perhaps someone tried to duplicate that with their earlier piece.

*** ColtForum MVP ***
16,784 Posts
You see a lot of this mistaking various plated finishes for stainless steel these days.

Fact is, many people selling guns have NO idea what the finish is, and just state "Stainless".

Aluminum can be plated with bright nickel and satin Electroless Nickel, which Colt later called "Coltguard".

Aluminum can also be hard chromed, but most platers won't do it for various reasons.

On is, hard chrome doesn't do well on softer metal. A lot of hard chromes durability depends on the underlying metal, and aluminum can dent and give way under the chrome, compromising it.

Some platers who do aluminum apparently pre-plate the aluminum with nickel as a base coat.

This allows plating, but sort of defeats the advantage of hard chrome.
In these cases, hard chrome on aluminum seems to be more an attempt to get the parts to match appearance-wise, not for the advantages offered by hard chrome.

In any event, this Agent isn't stainless steel, and I rather doubt it's a Colt factory job.

Colt never serrated the front sights on the heavy, shrouded barrel "D" frame revolvers.
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