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Is it ok to hard chrome a 1911 barrel inside and out?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by valor1, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. valor1

    valor1 Well-Known Member

    I have an STI barrel which has some scratches. I was told by a friend to have it hard chromed to match my pistol. He also recommended to do the inside or bore of the barrel. His theory is that hard chrome makes the steel "harder" so he thinks the barrel will last longer. Any ideas on doing it? Thanks.
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus


    Howdy valor,

    Chrome reduces inside diameters, so the answer is...it depends.
    If your barrel is on the high end of the plus side of tolerance...maybe.

    I remember that there was a run of governemnt contract barrels that
    were rejected due to the bores being out-of-spec oversized...Smith & Wesson made'em...I THINK. The engineers came up with a way to save
    having to eat the barrels and had the bores hard chromed. They miked
    out within spec and were accepted. I don't know how far out of spec the barrels were, so I can't say how much difference the chroming made.

    Jim Keenan or Old Fuff may be able to provide the dimensions that were


  3. mete

    mete Well-Known Member

    To do an existing barrel dimensions must be checked. Chrome plated bores are good ,barrels will last longer, won't rust ,easier to clean. Some of us buy guns already chromed ,my P7 and my shotguns for example !
  4. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

    Yes. it is OK. Hard chrome is very thin.
  5. valor1

    valor1 Well-Known Member

    Thanks again guys for the very helpful info. Happy shooting!
  6. yankytrash

    yankytrash Well-Known Member

    Then, too, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."
  7. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Well-Known Member

    Hard chrome plating thickness can be very well controlled nowadays by the plater. A good one can keep the plating on your barrel thin enough so as to not adversely affect function or accuracy. A second-stringer might not.
  8. fecmech

    fecmech Well-Known Member

    Chrome S&W barrel

    Tuner--about 30 years ago a TSGT in my guard outfit gave me an S&W chrome lined barrel that he claimed was a "match" barrel. I still have it and have never used it but now I "know the rest of the story". Nick
  9. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Well-Known Member

    It takes A LOT of ammo to shoot out a pistol barrel......particularly low pressure chamberings like .45. The only benefit to hard chroming the inside of the barrel is if you live in corrosive environment and you can't clean/lubricate the weapon.

    Hard chroming the inside of the barrel will also degrade accuracy to some degree on the majority of barrels. YMMV.
  10. Walt Sherrill

    Walt Sherrill Well-Known Member

    Really? Why is that? (Not trying to disagree. Trying to understand...)
  11. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Well-Known Member

    Hard chroming the barrel was made very popular with service rifles during the Vietnam era due to the high moisture and the lack of cleaning that was gievn to some weapons. Many AR-15 manufacturers still offer this, but it was found that quality steel and stainless steel barrels had a slight accuracy advantage due to several reasons. First, hard chrome is...well....it's hard....but it is very thin and doesn't polish easily. Chrome generally takes on the characteristic of the metal it is applied to. In other words if you hard chrome a matte gun it will be hard chromed and matte. If the gun is polished, the HC will look polished. Barrels become more accurate after firing break in rounds due to being polished. HC goes against this to some degree. Another fault is that after a bunch of rounds are put through the bore, the HC can chip, particularly in the chamber. Having an irregularity in the bore or chamber is a place where copper fouling WILL occur and degrade accuracy. Having a barrel flake at the crown would hurt a lot as well.

    Some people do still prefer the treatment for a SHTF scenario, but if you are intent on max accuracy, then hard chroming the bore is not the best route.
  12. gyp_c2

    gyp_c2 Well-Known Member

    ...huh...and I thought they were just chrome lined anyway...
    When did ..hard chrome...start becoming popular? I remember the days of chroming everything, but I understood...or thought I understood anyway, that to be a different process some how...?

    live a little, learn a lot...[​IMG]

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