S&W 642 finish


May 9, 2007, 03:27 PM
I am starting a new thread because I saw a thread on the S&W forum and am not registered there. It raised some questions about the durability of the finish and duribility of the gun without it (the clearcoat finish)

I called S&W today and they said if the finish wears off it would not affect the durability of the frame. Someone on the S&W forum thought the aluminum would oxidize, and I imagine it would.

They also said,much to my surprize, not to use hoppes #9 to clean the gun with, to use hoppes elite. I do not remember seeing anything like this in the manual.

I would like to know if anyone has a well worn 642 and if it has suffered durability or oxidation issues. I don't care what you clean the gun with, if you carry it daily in a holster, or even in a pocket, there is going to be wear. I don't care if "it will take a long time" I expect my firearms to last a long time, I do not get them with having to send them back for regular maintainence in mind.

I was thinking about getting another 642 because I like it so much but I may get a taurus instead just because they offer an anodized finish. Maybe the 442 would be nice. I don't care if it gets ugly, as long as it works.

My web is out at home, I am posting this at work so I am rushed, hopefuly I will get to check it later for replys. Any pics of some well worn workin' guns would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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May 9, 2007, 03:56 PM
This doesn't really answer your question, but doesn't aluminum oxidize into aluminum oxide, which is very durable in and of itself?

I think that what most people lament about the 637/642 is that the clearcoat finish wears off, which looks bad. But, the anodized surface underneath is not affected and should not leave the frame susceptible to corrosion. By my reckoning it is really an issue of cosmetics, and not one of function or durability. If looks don't matter to you as you've said, then you should not hold back. The 642 is a great revolver.


May 9, 2007, 04:24 PM
Every time you ride in an airplane, you're likely in one built with the same type alloy as the Airweight frames. Seems there's a lot of stuff still flying that's 50+ years old. The clearoat should last longer than you if cared for right - even if it comes off, I seriously doubt the underlying alloy would be weakened.

May 9, 2007, 05:08 PM
Yeah!!! I got on the web, don't know how long it will last!

I didn't know there was anodizing under the clear coat, I wonder why the clear coat was there. I will try to find the other thread and post a link.

I'm not worried about looks on a carry gun and I plan on carrying this one often, I just became hysterical over that other thread! A lot of motorcycle parts are made of billet aluminum as well and look fine.

I don't think it's a matter of the gun "breaking" but a matter of the oxidation building up and causing a malfunction. I know may aluminum window frames look like heck and I cannot clean them no matter what.

Linkie to other thread:

May 9, 2007, 05:18 PM
they say over there that the -2 model is not anodized, only clearcoated. I wish I could get the straight story.

May 9, 2007, 05:43 PM
I'd imagine that any aluminum firearm frame made these days would undergo at least type II anodizing. I really can't envision S&W not anodizing the frames of their airweight guns. How 'bout a quick call to S&W to find out???

BTW, a friend of mine has a '70's Colt lightweight commander (aluminum frame). In a fit of what I can only assume was abject lunacy, he stripped the finish and the anodizing off the aluminum frame with oven cleaner. That gun has probably 20,000 rounds on it now and the frame has suffered no apparent damage. Aluminum is corroded swiftly by strong bases, but it tends to hold up fairly well to acids. Methinks acidic sweat is not such a harsh thing for aluminum, even without the hard anodized surface to protect it. Ergo, I wouldn't be concerned that a 642 won't hold up mechanically over an expected service life of 7,000-10,000 rounds and standard ammo. It may go ugly, but it won't go bad:) .


May 9, 2007, 09:42 PM
Ok, I'm over it now.

I did call S&W but did not ask them about the anodizing, just the coating. I was surprized when they said not to use hoppes 9 to clean it with, I would have thought they would have said not to use gun scubber.

When I find something I like I get two of them, if something happens to one I still have the other, or parts for it, whatever. A lightweight revolver is too useful to only have one. I am still considering the taurus 85ul, the blue one with the pearl handles. I have an old winchester 94 I'm going to liquidfy I think, I never shoot it.

May 9, 2007, 10:48 PM
I know for sure that Gun Scrubber will take the clear coat off. All I have to do is look at mine. The clear coat is almost gone, but there's no problem with the functioning of the weapon. If I had it to do over again, I never would have begun using Gun Scrubber, but it does a really good job with the cylinder and barrel.

May 9, 2007, 10:59 PM
yup, clearcoat only lasted a few months on mine...daily carry...front pocket...was in a pretty humid climate until I moved to NM...only use CLP...

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