S&W Model 36 Finishes?


October 19, 2010, 08:16 PM
I’m considering picking up a new 3” Model 36 and am looking at different finishes. I’ve done some searching and reading, but don’t quite get the cost differences or relative advantages of the finishes.

Looking at Buds, the prices by finish are about:

$770, [correction: case hardened blue], here: http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/49617
$660, nickel, here: http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/49616
$570, blue, here: http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/49615

So there’s around a $100 swing between finishes. I know personal preference is big part of it, but any recommendations on the relative value of the finishes?? I’ll be shooting the gun mainly at an indoor range and perhaps carrying it a little. It won’t be a safe queen, but it'll get taken care of. Besides what I think looks good, what should I consider across those three options? Thanks!

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October 19, 2010, 10:17 PM
Just for clarification it isn't hardened blue, you left off the first adjective case. The blue isn't hardened, the case is...it is actually a shortened form of color case hardened. The original colors come from a heat treatment applied to the metal.

It all has to do with preference...each successively more expensive model requires more work

October 20, 2010, 11:49 AM
Thanks. I've corrected the original post.

So more work goes into them as price increases (makes sense), but does the end-user get any benefits? I am leaning toward the blued version(s), but is there any benefit to color case hardened over regular old blued?

October 20, 2010, 12:43 PM
Blue - Cheaper & traditional S&W finish, but will rust if not taken care of.

Nickle = Shiny & rust resistant. Another traditional S&W finish used for over a century.

Color Case = A finish S&W never used before on any revolver frame. It's main attraction is it's pretty, but non-traditional on a S&W revolver. It too will rust, and it will wear off & fade out faster then either blue or nickle when subjected to normal use.

If you want the most durable finish, get a stainless-steel Model 60.
Same gun as the 36, except totally stainless-steel construction with no finish atall.


Jim K
October 20, 2010, 01:37 PM
I would prefer the blue. The nickel finish is soft and tends to show wear more than the blue. The color case hadening is (IMHO), yuck! OK for guns that had it originally like the Colt SAA, but looks horrible on an S&W.


October 20, 2010, 10:05 PM
Thanks for the information/recommendations!

October 21, 2010, 05:57 AM
I, well my wife, so WE:D... have a 3 inch model 36 made in the late 70's with the nickel finish, looks good on that sized gun. Its nice that I don't have to be too worried about rust also.

I love the case finish...on double barrel shotguns and lever action rifles. :) Looks kind of funny on the revolver frame like that.

The blue looks really nice, very dark.

Nickel or blue is my vote.

October 21, 2010, 04:17 PM
I don't know if "Check Mate " is still around but they have a industrial hard chrome finish that when they are done it looks like stainless.


October 21, 2010, 06:44 PM
I think those prices are wrong.

60 is 357, heavier. Compromise for carry.

36 is 38spl, lighter. I believe smaller too.

October 21, 2010, 07:47 PM
Color case hardened just looks so wrong on a double action S&W.

October 21, 2010, 09:04 PM
You won't buy a new model 36 3" that's a better made gun and for sure a prettier finish than this older one, and also at a lot lower cost.

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