Parkerized vs. black stainless...


January 26, 2006, 11:28 AM
Good morning all. As will be no surprise to anyone here, I am wanting another gun. :) (don't we all?) Have rented the Springfield full-size Loaded model and really liked it. In looking at pics on SA's website I realized that I keep going back to those parkerized ones, and to the black stainless. Can someone enlighten me on the differences in these finishes, and could anyone who owns, or has owned these beauties comment on your preferences on finish?

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January 26, 2006, 05:00 PM
Parkerizing is a finish for non-stainless steels. Usually done on military guns because of low cost and high durability. The problem is that parkerizing by itself doesn't protect against rust at all. In fact, if poorly maintained, a parkerized gun will go to rust much more easily than a blued or bare gun, and the rust will be much more tenacious.

This is because the parkerized coating is kind of like a sponge. If you keep the gun wiped down with oil, the "sponge" layer will hold that oil, and won't let any water in. But if you let it sit too long, humidity will soak in there, and cause some really nasty rust.

Black stainless is probably stainless. That's what I'm guessing. Some kind of black finish on it. There are lots of ways of making stainless black. So with stainless steel, corrosion will be less of a problem. Stainless can still rust, but not nearly as easily as regular high-carbon steel.

January 27, 2006, 12:05 PM
Thanks RyanM.

Old Dog
January 27, 2006, 02:42 PM
I've no problem keeping my park'd Mil-Specs rust-free (and I live on Puget Sound; it's been know to be a bit damp around here).

My Black Stainless is a fantastically beautifully pistol, but it's only for range use for me. Seems it picks up scratches which I then have to obsess about. Great shooter. Everyone should own at least one pretty 1911.

That One Guy
January 27, 2006, 04:58 PM
I think it really comes down to personal taste. I like park'd pistols myself. If a pistol is too polished you get a glare and can't see the lines and curves of the piece as clearly. I'm anal about cleaning and oiling my pistols so the rust risk is really a non factor for me. I have an old blued MK II that I'm constantly working on, for some reason that gun picks up surface rust like no other, I've stripped and reblued it dozens of times. I shoot a lot outdoors in the summer with sweaty hands, I'm sure that doesn't help! A good semi oily rag on it in the case does seem to help.

January 27, 2006, 05:31 PM
I have heard that the blackened stainless guns are prone to finish loss in the "black" but a Sig Sauer I own with a blackened stainless slide has not been too bad about that. Not many I can think of, I think the AMT on duty was a gun like this as well as certain S&W revolvers.

Parkerizing does well for me if I keep a light coat of oil on the finish.

Headless Thompson Gunner
January 27, 2006, 05:47 PM
I'd prefer the parkerized gun myself. In practice, I've never had any of my parkerized guns show any signs of rust. Parkerizing is a durable and effective way to keep a gun from rusting.

The black coating they use on stainless guns tends to scratch off too easily. This isn't a functional problem, as the stainless guns won't rust no matter how much finish wears away. But they do start to look pretty ugly with all that silver showing through the worn spots.

January 27, 2006, 07:15 PM
Thanks everybody for your replies. I had read somewhere else that the "coating" on the black stainless sometimes flecked off. Just wondered if this was really the case or not. They are beautiful.

I do like the look of the parkerized though too. And the feel of it.

Thanks again. Just the kind of info I was looking for.

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