Nickle vs Chrome vs Anything else


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FuzzyBunny
December 21, 2012, 11:04 AM
To start off with I'm a real wood and blued steel nut. I think thats the way pistols and most rifles should look.

On the other hand there is utility. I want to take my Para P-12 .45 and try and make it more sweat resistant . I'm going utilitarian with this. I will keep the rubber grips but I just don't know the toughest finish and I do not want it to look like it fell off the back of a pimp wagon.

What are the advantages of the finishes mentioned above?

What other finishes are also good that I don't know about?
Darker is better but not a deal breaker at all!

BTW I really want some real carved ivory grips for my Colt. Real Ivory not the stuff they pawn off as ivory now. Do I need to go on safari for that?


Help inform the ignorant such as myself.

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mdauben
December 21, 2012, 11:18 AM
On the other hand there is utility. I want to take my Para P-12 .45 and try and make it more sweat resistant . I'm going utilitarian with this. I will keep the rubber grips but I just don't know the toughest finish and I do not want it to look like it fell off the back of a pimp wagon.

AFAIK, Nickle finishes are pretty much for looks. They do prevent rust but they are relativly soft and can be damaged fairly easily.

Before the widespread acceptance of stainless steel in handguns, hard chrome plating was farily popular as an aftermarket finish. Note this is different than the sort of chrome plating used for car bumpers, its much more durable and tend to have a matt finish.

There are some modern dark or black aftermarket finishes these days, similar to the Tenifer(R) finish used on Glock slides. I'm afraid I don't know too much about them, though, so perhaps someone else will jump in with more info?

BTW I really want some real carved ivory grips for my Colt. Real Ivory not the stuff they pawn off as ivory now. Do I need to go on safari for that?

Real ivory is hard to come by these days, due to international restrictions on the sale of the stuff driven by concerns about poaching. I think(?) its actually illegal to sell ivory in the US unless you can prove it predates the ivory treaties. This has created a booming market for fossil ivory from mamoths, mastadons, and other prehistoric animals. I've seen quite a bit of it on high end custom knives. There are some people selling grip panels of fossil ivory (check Custom Grip and Knife (http://www.gripsandknives.com/Mammoth_Ivory_1911_Pistol_Grips_s/31.htm)for one exaple) but note that fossil ivory is often not the clean, white color you may want.

CraigC
December 21, 2012, 01:21 PM
Nickel is softer but actually more corrosion resistant. It also applies more evenly. The color is a warm bronze hue. I disagree that it "damages easily". Hard chrome has a harder surface hardness than steel but it does not settle on the surface quite as evenly. Due to its hardness it wears very well and has a whiter, bluish hue. Either finish can be applied over any level of polish, from matte to bright polishes.

Even if you go to Africa on an elephant hunt, you still cannot import the ivory into the US. Which doesn't make much sense to me. If it's a legal hunt, it should be legal to import. Ivory is expensive but not very difficult to get. I'm planning on some one piece ivory for my latest USFA and it will come from Nutmeg Sports. That said, TruIvory is a very good substitute that is nearly indistinguishable from the real thing.

Nickel on the left, hard chrome on the right.

http://photos.imageevent.com/newfrontier45/sixgunsiii/large/IMG_8088b.jpg

AZ_Rebel
December 21, 2012, 05:30 PM
AFAIK, Nickle finishes are pretty much for looks.
That is not correct.:confused:

Nickel is a much superior coating than hard chrome. While not quite as "hard" it has corrosion resistance that hard chrome simply does not have. We see hard chrome all the time with rust blooming right through the chrome. If the OP is concerned about a tough, rust resistant coating hard chrome is NOT the finish for him.
For a really tough finish check out Robar's NP3 - an electroless nickel with teflon that they guarantee for life against chipping, peeling AND CORROSION!

JohnBT
December 21, 2012, 07:13 PM
That surprises me. I carried a factory hard chromed P-32 everyday for 10 years and Richmond's humidity is a bear. I can't even begin to figure how many times it got really wet in my front pocket - washing the car, fishing, walking to work in the rain, etc. It looked like new when I sold it.



"There are some modern dark or black aftermarket finishes these days, similar to the Tenifer(R) finish used on Glock slides."

What you see on the Glock isn't Tenifer, it's a coating. The tenifer finish is applied to the metal first. Look up ferritic nitrocarburizing and Melonite for more about the process.

John

joed
December 21, 2012, 09:08 PM
I used to have the "blue" mentality till I got my first stainless gun. After that it didn't last to long. Hard chrome is a great finish too as well as nickel.

If you've ever owned S&W blue revolvers you know why I prefer anything else.

FuzzyBunny
December 22, 2012, 12:09 PM
I have a few stainless guns but I love a fine blued job.

CraigC
December 22, 2012, 02:24 PM
Nickel is a much superior coating than hard chrome. While not quite as "hard" it has corrosion resistance that hard chrome simply does not have. We see hard chrome all the time with rust blooming right through the chrome.
Like I said before, nickel is slightly more corrosion resistant but this does not mean that hard chrome is not corrosion resistant. For it is more corrosion resistant than stainless steel and does a fine job. I've had the hard chrome sixgun above for 12yrs and it shows little sign of wear and absolutely zero rust. If you're encountering hard chrome guns that are rusted, something is wrong with them. Which I find to be particularly odd since you're hailing from Arizona. :scrutiny:

Hard chrome has a higher surface hardness and wears better/longer than nickel. NP3 is nickel and teflon and neither is as long wearing as hard chrome.

AZ_Rebel
December 22, 2012, 05:42 PM
If you're encountering hard chrome guns that are rusted, something is wrong with them.
No, nothing wrong with them... just the fact that hard chrome has little corrosion resistance.

Which I find to be particularly odd since you're hailing from Arizona.
I have seen rusted hard chrome guns from all over the US... from many different platers.

Hard Chrome is very hard, typically 70-74 Rockwell C scale. NP3 is 48-51 Rockwell C scale. However, Hard Chrome plates unevenly and typically builds on radiuses. Hard Chrome also has an adhesion of 12 to 15 thousand psi and little corrosion resistance. NP3 plates very evenly, is extremely corrosion resistant and has an adhesion of 30-60,000 psi!.

CraigC
December 22, 2012, 05:49 PM
...just the fact that hard chrome has little corrosion resistance.
I'm sorry but this is just plain untrue. Period.

AZ_Rebel
December 22, 2012, 06:05 PM
I'm sorry but this is just plain untrue. Period.

Just my experience from seeing hundreds of guns with problem finishes... you may have had good results with your personal guns.

45_auto
December 23, 2012, 05:28 PM
No, nothing wrong with them... just the fact that hard chrome has little corrosion resistance.

You really believe that most military weapon barrels are chrome-lined so they'll corrode easier?

Solo
December 24, 2012, 05:17 AM
No, nothing wrong with them... just the fact that hard chrome has little corrosion resistance.
Chromium is a corrosion resistant metal. I believe that when used in plating, it exists in the third oxidation state. This means that there are no valance electrons that can form bonds with other substances.

rightside
December 24, 2012, 10:34 AM
HC will have corrosion problems long before NP3 ever would.

I have a number of firearms in both finishes and if I do not keep the HC cleaned and oiled they start to have problems.

Certaindeaf
December 24, 2012, 11:05 AM
I'd look into some American Holly for grip material.

StrawHat
December 24, 2012, 11:40 AM
Smooth stag grip panels are very nice also.

bannockburn
December 24, 2012, 01:29 PM
I have never had any issues with rust or corrosion with any of my guns which have been hard chrome plated. These are all working guns, either in the field or for CCW. I can't speak as to the chemistry iinvolved with this finish, but I do know what works extremely well and never shows any wear and tear and that's a hard chrome finish.

ColtPythonElite
December 24, 2012, 01:33 PM
Good chrome is intended to protect steel in a decorative fashion....Think about all the old cars from yesteryear. They were well adorned with chrome, sat out in the weather and got road salt on them. It took years, if not decades for rust to pop thru the chrome...Of course that was then. Now, thanks to the EPA chrome plating won't hardly protect anything....Just ask any late model Harley owner how many orange bolt heads he has after his bike sits out in the rain a time or two.

CraigC
December 24, 2012, 02:12 PM
Decorative chrome plating and industrial hard chrome are not the same thing.

Most the bolts on a new Harley are galvanized, not chrome plated. That said, mine is almost 7yrs old, has been wet plenty of times and has no rust anywhere but the black ceramic coated aftermarket exhaust.

ColtPythonElite
December 24, 2012, 02:17 PM
True, most of the bolts on a stock Harley are not chrome. I believe they are cadmium plated. At least they are on my 1977 Harley. I also have a Twin Cam and think the stock finish is still cadmium. Mine was 13 years old yesterday and has seen plenty of rain also. I have SOS'ed the rust off it's bolt heads for years...Regardless of what the stock bolts are. Harley will gladly sell you piles and piles of chrome bolts in their accessory isle that will rust quickly.

CraigC
December 24, 2012, 02:30 PM
Which has absolutely nothing to do with industrial hard chrome firearms' finishes. :confused:

ColtPythonElite
December 24, 2012, 02:34 PM
Correct....and neither did the second paragraph of the reply to my post you made.:rolleyes:

oldbear
December 24, 2012, 02:42 PM
Hard chrome is an excellent all around finish there several firms that will do good job on a refinish. I like the O/P REALLY LIKE the classic blued finish with wood or stag grips.

Fuzzy Bunny I'm in NC and it can get humid here in the summer, so I really clean my revolvers, lightly lube, then apply two light coats of wax to my revolvers, and I see no reason that this should not work well on an autoloader. With a carry gun you may need to wax once a month or so, but you will still have your classic blue finish.

Merry Christmas all.

CraigC
December 24, 2012, 03:30 PM
Correct....and neither did the second paragraph of the reply to my post you made.
Post misinformation and I will correct it, on topic or not. Most of those aftermarket bolts are made in China, upon which the EPA has no bearing. Cheap plating is cheap plating, no matter where it comes from. Anything else we need to discuss or can we get back to industrial hard chrome firearms finishes???

HDCamel
December 25, 2012, 01:54 AM
You could try Cerakote.

Dlowe167
December 25, 2012, 02:05 AM
I seen a car show from sema las vegas. One of the venders had a anodize station. Any color,if u mixed it. Wonder how tough? And there is a car paint that it basicly be a thinner truck bed spray. Hardens in 8 seconds. Id like to spray a shotgun like that in blue & black trim

C0untZer0
December 25, 2012, 02:38 AM
According to Bob Cogan "Hard Chrome offers the best all-around properties of any finish available for firearms that exists today. Hard Chrome, when applied to a steel, or stainless steel surface that has been properly prepared, will not chip or peel."

I like NP3+ I mean if Robar is giving a lifetime garuantee with it, it seems to me that if you do have a problem with it not protecting under normal use, Robar will refinish it for you, so I don't see how you can beat that.

One of the things I like about NP3+ over Chrome is the increased lubricity of NP3+

VAPOPO
December 25, 2012, 06:57 AM
I had a Kimber Custom Hard chromed by Tripp before they quit. I really wish I had kept that pistol. After 3,000 rounds it looked brand new.

Hokkmike
December 25, 2012, 08:07 AM
Very informative thread. Thank you.

Sav .250
December 25, 2012, 10:41 AM
Different strokes for different folks. Just have a look around. You see all kinds of finishes,grips, what ever. More of a of a personal choice. Like you wanting real,ivory grips.

silversport
December 25, 2012, 11:46 AM
I had a Kimber Custom Hard chromed by Tripp before they quit. I really wish I had kept that pistol. After 3,000 rounds it looked brand new.
This could have been written by me...hard chrome, properly applied to a steel pistol...my favorite finish...

Bill

Rail Driver
December 25, 2012, 01:28 PM
I carry a either a parkerized 1911 or a nickel plated S&W snub - I generally prefer non-shiny finishes, but there's nothing sexier than a high polished, hot blued 1911 or a nickel revolver with the right grips on it. I'm thinking about branching into stainless with my next gun.

Route666
December 27, 2012, 08:43 PM
Most the bolts on a new Harley are galvanized, not chrome plated. That said, mine is almost 7yrs old, has been wet plenty of times and has no rust anywhere but the black ceramic coated aftermarket exhaust.

Had I NOT replaced my galvanised bolts with chrome plated ones on my 6-yo Harley, I wouldn't be seeing the rust on them that I am... The gal ones stood up for five years or so, the chrome ones started showing rust six months after getting them. I believe this is the point he was making about the orange HD bolts.

JohnBT
December 27, 2012, 08:59 PM
Sounds like shoddy parts. I wonder if a marine supply house has what you need in chrome plated stainless.

browningguy
December 28, 2012, 12:25 AM
...just the fact that hard chrome has little corrosion resistance.

That's actually not a fact, and it doesn't matter what someones individual experience is, it's just simple metallurgy. Hard chrome is very corrosion resistant.

Nickel on the other hand, is also very corrosion resistant, comparatively soft, lovely to look at, and makes an excellent base for a hard chrome finish. Ihave one nickel finished pistol and it's extremely pretty, but I don't use it often. My hard chrome BHP Practical gets carried a lot and still shows no wear after many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of trips in and out of the holster.

CraigC
December 28, 2012, 01:48 AM
I believe this is the point he was making about the orange HD bolts.
Which, again, has NOTHING to do with industrial hard chrome, firearms or this thread. :confused:

Also like I said, a lot of that crap is made in China.

Route666
December 28, 2012, 03:53 AM
Which, again, has NOTHING to do with industrial hard chrome, firearms or this thread.

Fair enough, just making sure you understood what was meant as you seemed to think he was mistaking gal for chrome. I don't see how discussion on experience with chrome as a plating is NOT relevant to a discussion relating to chrome plating. It does seem that Nickel seems to go on (and stay on) more reliably than chrome in any of its forms (decorative or functional).

Thanks for the suggestion JohnBT - that's exactly what I will be doing, when it bothers me enough.

Apologies for derailing this topic on functional chrome plating with talk on decorative chrome plating.

Luv 2 Shoot
December 28, 2012, 12:25 PM
I've had good luck with Roguard on a duty gun (frequent exposure) in a rainy, seaside environment. My only experience with NP3 is on internals, where it help up perfectly.

I would at least look into NP3+. It's 20% off right now at Robar. Be advised though, your gun won't double as a signal mirror as it would with nickel or chrome.

CraigC
December 28, 2012, 12:40 PM
I don't see how discussion on experience with chrome as a plating is NOT relevant to a discussion relating to chrome plating.
Because, for the fourth or fifth time now, decorative chrome plating is NOT industrial hard chrome. Anything about decorate chrome plating, be it plating on the bumper of a `55 Chevy or bolts on a Harley, is completely irrelevant to a discussion about industrial hard chrome as applied to firearms. You might as well be comparing hard chrome to spray paint.

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