Hard Chroming: Yes barrel or no barrel?


June 22, 2003, 05:24 PM
Why would you or wouldn't you hard-chrome a stainless barrel in a 1911? Most places offer it for extra $$$.

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June 22, 2003, 09:22 PM
If it is for a gun that will be used hard and even abused some I would pay for it, I did with my carry 1911 and it is worth it. For a range queen it is a waste of money.

June 23, 2003, 03:33 PM
Chrome lining the barrel makes it MUCH easier to clean---and as hsmith indicates, for 'hard use' applications, significantly prolongs barrel life.

June 24, 2003, 12:08 PM
I didn't think they did the inside.

June 24, 2003, 02:31 PM
Noone chromes the inside of the barrel after manufacture AFAIK as the bore needs to be made slightly oversize to accomodate the thickness of the chrome. I don't think barrel life is a major concern on a .45 anyway.

It might offer additional corrosion resistance even on SS and there is the added "lubricity" that some people claim.

June 24, 2003, 05:42 PM
Thanks for confirming that, curt. Come to think of it, maybe people do it just so it matches the grey of the chrome. Stainless next to chrome might look odd.

Bob Brown
July 5, 2003, 07:29 PM
Curt, I've handled thousands of military 1911 45ACP barrels that were plated inside the bore. I don't know when it started (I started 'smithing in 1950) but I still see some once in a while...and they're usually pretty ugly! Most military bases that have an armory will still have some of these chrome-lined barels in the parts bins.
I suspect the lining was some Ordnance Officers idea and he was trying to keep from replacing shot-out hardball barrels throughout the services. IMHO, it didn't work very well.


4 eyed six shooter
July 5, 2003, 11:19 PM
Hi Bob,
Glad to see you here. I escaped from Lakeside, Ca to Idaho about 4 years ago. Like you I am a retired LEO and a gunsmith. I was with La Mesa PD for 14 years. I think you will enjoy this site. Lots of good people and good info here.
Good Shooting, John K

July 6, 2003, 02:43 AM
"...Why would you...hard-chrome a stainless barrel..." Exactly. That'd be daft.

July 6, 2003, 09:12 AM
Chrome plating an alloy steel barrel was done to reduce wear ,and corrosion from corrosive ammo and jungle conditions. But to do it on stainless steel makes no sense.

July 6, 2003, 09:02 PM
so bob you're saying that someone took shot out 1911 barrels and hardchrome the bore in an attempt to bring it back into spec? Interesting. From your description it sounds like it didn't work out?

Bob Brown
July 6, 2003, 09:11 PM
No Curt, that's not what I meant. Out military ordered a ton of new barrels hard-chroned in the bore to prevent...or forestall...wear from shooting lots of FMJ hardball rounds. Most of the ones I then saw after shooting lots of rounds showed evidence of mucho peeling and rusting. Apparently steel and chrome swell at diferent rates when heated and the chrome would then chip and peel. The steel surface, being squeaky clean and usually unprotected by oil, rusted very quickly.
I never heard of of any armory hard chroming bores after they were badly worn...only when they were new.


July 7, 2003, 02:09 PM
Sounds more like a bad job of chroming to me bob as chrome lined bores have been fairly standard in military rifle bores for 50-60 years and they run at much higher presures than .45 ACP. Interesting tho as i never new the military had ever had chrome 1911 barrels.

Bob Brown
July 7, 2003, 03:46 PM
You may be right, Curt. This certainly wouldn't be the first military contract job I've seen that turned out to be garbage. I still have one of those barrels in my parts bin and I just took a look at it...really ugly!

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