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That (with apologies to Mr. Shakespeare) is the question.

As mentioned in another thread, I purchased this .38WCF New Service awhile back. The intent at that time was to use it for plinking, woods-walks, and just because it was a neat old revolver. It came just as you see it in the photo, except that it was missing the lanyard ring (a deficiency which was soon corrected). Mechanically sound shape, very accurate, and good honest holster wear.

EXCEPT for the grip-frame. Somewhere along the line, a previous owner had apparently stripped the blueing and attempted to nickel-plate the grip frame. At first, I thought that perhaps it had been buffed shiny, but upon very close examination (doesn't show up well in photos) there is evidence of some flaking nickel and a transition between that and a portion of the backstrap that is "in the white."

I usually don't like to alter or "mess with" older firearms, as I consider myself not so much the owner as merely the current custodian. But I can certainly understand and agree with fixing up a basket-case. This one seems to fall in-between the two extremes though. To my mind, the damage to the grip-frame takes it out of the collector realm, but it remains a good shooter. I am considering having it refinished, although not sure where, as I was advised in a conversation with a Colt rep that they were backlogged for repairs and that in any case, not sure whether they still had someone on staff with expertise on the New Service. I fully understand that the money spent will not likely be recovered in my lifetime, but that is not an issue. I am not on food stamps.

So what says the collective wisdom of the Forum? Re-blue it, perhaps engrave and re-blue, or just leave it as is? I invite your opinions.



Rim Metal
Firearm Gun Revolver Trigger Gun accessory
Revolver
Hardwood
 

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AHHHHH! Leave it alone!! You've got a nice looking NS there, leave it be. Maybe a little cold blue to cover the shine, but other than that don't screw it up.

Best regards,
 

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Here is how you could plate only part of the gun.

When I was a kid, in the back of every comic book, was an advertisement for a "home plating kit," which allowed electro-plating to be applied with what looked like a paint brush. Perhaps that was what was used here. Of course, just the butt frame could have been dipped in a regular plating tank as well. (Is there plating under the stock panels? If not, I suspect a kit of the type I mention was used to plate only the visible part of the butt frame.) I would speculate that the original purpose was to "rust proof" the grip frame so that a sweaty palm would not cause rust on the grip frame.

For some reason, some shooters seem to be given to doing such weird things with their guns.

By the way, don't do anything to the old Colt. Shoot it as is.
 

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Whether with Electroless or Electro, one merely applies a 'Resist' to any areas on or in which the Nickel is not wanted.

Such Resist ( Bees Wax, Asphaltum, or whatever ) is then usually removed with Boiling Water, once the plating specific areas has been done.
 

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Here's one I did some nickel touch-up on using Texas Plater Supply kit. Uses a special brush, their plating paste & 3 to 5 volts DC. They may be out of biz now. I've plated several whole guns with their kits, available in nickel, silver, gold - all worked fine. Maybe not as durable as the tank method but I used it from 1970s-90s and the guns have stood up well with a lot of handling & some shooting.



And a whole gun job ---


For the issue of this thread, I'd remove the tacky looking nickel & give it a blue using Brownell's Oxpho Blue. Some people will disagree, usually those with little or no experience. Someone with experience can do a good job with it.
 

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rhmc24, would you remove the existing plating electronically or mechanically? (The plating looks very thin, so it would not take much to sand it off.)

I agree on the cold blue working very well, but I would use Blue Wonder instead.
 

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I'd use 600 abrasive paper or finer & then graduate finer & finer till I got a finish comparable to the rest of the gun. There are 3M polishing papers in 6 grades from around 600 to maybe 4000, a mirror finish. I would use a flat wood back up for whatever paper I used to avoid rounding sharp edges, carefully avoiding making flats, final by paper around my finger. Worthwhile to wipe with cold blue to make sure all nickel is gone, then final finish. Blue Wonder may be better than Oxpho but I haven't had much experience with it.

I have used Brownell's nickel removal kit, two chemicals you mix, degrease parts & let soak overnite. Works fine but costs about $50, enuf for several pistols. Leaves a gray clean finish ready for buffing or other prep.
 

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I can only answer your question for myself. Every gun that I own makes me smile when I take it out of my safe. If I felt that refinishing a gun that I own would make me feel better about owning it. Well it would get refinished, I do not buy guns for any other reason then it makes me happy. If you are completely happy with your Colt as it is, then leave it alone. If something inside just tells you "hey I would feel better if we got this gun refinished" then do that. as long as when you are done "you" are satisfied with "your" gun. JMHO, best of luck which ever way you decide to go.Blade
 

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I can only answer your question for myself. Every gun that I own makes me smile when I take it out of my safe. If I felt that refinishing a gun that I own would make me feel better about owning it. Well it would get refinished, I do not buy guns for any other reason then it makes me happy. If you are completely happy with your Colt as it is, then leave it alone. If something inside just tells you "hey I would feel better if we got this gun refinished" then do that. as long as when you are done "you" are satisfied with "your" gun. JMHO, best of luck which ever way you decide to go.Blade
I have a little different take on this. I agree that the it's the OP's gun and he can do what ever he wants to with it, but should he? Once a gun is refinished, that's it, it can never be undone. If I had a gun that had finish issues that made me unhappy every time that I looked at it, I'd trade it or sell it to someone who would enjoy it for what it was, and buy something else in a condition that I could enjoy. I would never refinish a gun like this; I feel I have some responsibility to the general gun collecting community, a gun like this will continue to exist and be enjoyed long after I'm gone. In some respects we should all be trustees of the historic guns we own for future generations to enjoy.

Best regards,
 

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If this is Nickel on the Grip Frame, it should likely appear on the sides of the Grip Frame also, once the Stocks are removed to ermit one to see.


If this is Nickel then, someone long ago apparently felt that Nickeling the Grip would protect it from the ravages of perspiration, and, they were correct too in my opinion, it would so serve.

I really like it!


I think it would be a real shame to destroy this unique detail, which someone had done back when, in making the Revolver their own.

Period modifications, when done well, to me, are precious and interesting.

I hate to see them un-done, ( especially when they can not be un-done without damaging the integrity of the whole ) to merely favor making an arm into a generic and unremarkable example of it's genre, which anyone, any day of the week could replace or obtain an additional example easily, by merely buying another 'stock configuration' one.

If it were mine, I would cherish it "as is" and change nothing.

I like the Nickel Grip Frame, and I appreciate it's genius!
 

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Old half wore out guns with no finish & just showing honest use and abuse, I would never consider refinishing. They got that way doing the thing they were intended for. OTOH if some re-work or area refinishing is needed to bring it back from 'bubbaville', I will do what it takes.

Can be a lot worse than this & I leave it as-is ---


OTOH this SAA had been metalized with aluminum, some still visible in the white areas - had tacky plastic grips & a 1950s bbl & cyl --- I gave it the full treatment upgrade.


After rework ---
 

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I have a little different take on this. I agree that the it's the OP's gun and he can do what ever he wants to with it, but should he? Once a gun is refinished, that's it, it can never be undone. If I had a gun that had finish issues that made me unhappy every time that I looked at it, I'd trade it or sell it to someone who would enjoy it for what it was, and buy something else in a condition that I could enjoy. I would never refinish a gun like this; I feel I have some responsibility to the general gun collecting community, a gun like this will continue to exist and be enjoyed long after I'm gone. In some respects we should all be trustees of the historic guns we own for future generations to enjoy.
Best regards,
The gun has already been "futzed" with so it's not original to begin with. I'd still keep it like it is, it's unique. It's certainly not going to get worse and refinishing it will only empty your wallet but like my dear friend Lou said, it's yours, do what makes you happy.
 

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The gun has already been "futzed" with so it's not original to begin with. I'd still keep it like it is, it's unique. It's certainly not going to get worse and refinishing it will only empty your wallet but like my dear friend Lou said, it's yours, do what makes you happy.
There's a difference between being "futzed" with and one that's undergone the polishing wheel. If this gun had already been buffed and re-blued then no harm no foul, the damage would have already been done, but in this case the majority of the original finish is still intact and should be left alone.

There are enough buffed and re-blued old Colts and Smiths languishing unwanted year after year on the bottom shelves of the LGSs' used gun cabinets. We don't need to add to the number.

Best regards,
 

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Gun ownership is wonderful. Key word "ownership" I do not buy guns for anybody else but me. So my advice to the OP was along those lines. My gun buying is something I enjoy. I do not make a living off of it, I do not invest in it, so as stated in my first response "if it makes the guy who actually owns the gun happy, that is the only vote that counts". Again this is just my opinion on the subject. God bless.Blade
 
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