Opinions on Stainless Replicas - Similar to any authentic finish?


August 22, 2006, 05:56 AM
I'm planning to buy a couple of cap and ball revolvers. I'm seriously considering making one of them stainless (probably an 1858 Remington clone). I like everything about stainless except the fact that it isn't an authentic finish for these guns. Were the originals ever sold with any finish that looks close to stainless (maybe brushed nickel), or were they ever sold "in the white" (i.e. with no finish - just plain steel)?

I'm not much interested in "modern" black powder firearms (in-line rifles, Ruger Old Army revolvers, etc.). I want a revolver that is both historically interesting AND a practical, accurate, relatively easy-to-maintain shooter.

So, what do you think of stainless?



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August 22, 2006, 07:50 AM

Yer right on tha NICKEL, an you'll be so much better off fer cleanin! Ifin ya wants em bright an shiney like new nickel, jus give em a good FLITZ polish.

Cincinnati Slim
August 22, 2006, 10:06 AM

I love the look of blue finishes but they really are prone to rust around black powder. Nickel finished handguns really were pretty popular back in the 19 century for the same reason stainless steel is popular today. The black pwder fouling is easy to see and easier to clean than on blued steel. Moisture and sweat are other problems for revolvers which saw a lot of personal carry. A lot of these pistols never saw a holster, they were just shoved into a pocket or inside a belt or sash. Over the years many of these guns have lost most of their nickel plating.

My main corrosion problems with blue steel black powder revolvers has been with the cylinders, especially the nipple areas. Unless I just leave the whole cylinder slimy with oil I get some rust in humid weather. Some folks actually leave their cylinders submerged in a oil/solvent like "Ed's Red" to prevent this.

Of course, when you want to do some shooting you have to thoroughly de-grease the durn cylinder to keep from contaminating the powder. A stainless cylinder can be left dry, clean and ready-to-shoot !:)

I actually have a couple of two-tone revolvers now, a Pietta 1860 Army with a stainless cylinder for the "Marshall's" model 1851 .44 from Cabela's and a 1858 Remmie with a stainless cylinder.

I had the brass trigger guards nickel plated at a shop here in Cincy which does auto bumpers and trim. Really cheap ($ 10.00 each !) and it looks good with the stainless cylinder. The yellow brass trigger guard and silver stainless cylinder combo looked really tacky !:barf:

I keep the blue/color case frame and barrels well-oiled and the stainless cylinders dry and ready to load. That way I'm ready to shoot whenever I want!:D Just add caps, powder and balls...

I personally like the two-tone look and have the blue steel cylinders as back-ups for extra shooting if I clean and pre-load them.

Now, they do make black coating for stainless if you dislike the two-tone effect. That way every thing is blue-black and still rust resistant.

Happy Trails,

Cincinnati Slim

August 22, 2006, 11:30 AM
Thanks for the information. I hadn't thought of polishing it with Fitz to make it look more like nickel - that might be a good way to go. I'd like to have revolvers that a guy from the 1860s who was familiar with handguns wouldn't immediately recognize as being unusual. Anyway, the stainless sounds like the way to go for at least one of my black powder revolvers.


August 22, 2006, 12:40 PM
Hi Manyirons-
When you use Flitz, do you need a buffing tool, or can it be done by hand in a reasonable length of time. Planning on an Old Army soon. I would like the polished stainless, but I may want the longer barrel.
Does it really get the stainless that shiny?

August 22, 2006, 12:55 PM
Well now, good question! WHICH OA we talkin about? Ifin its tha brush finish flitz aint enough, ya need somethin more gritty.

Now ifin its a polished finish like tha cowboy fixed sight model, then flitz jus great!

August 22, 2006, 02:46 PM
Nickle plated guns would be period correct as they were available. I would go with the stainless in the fact that they can be polished to look like nickle and you have added corrosion protection.

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