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Nickel finish turning black

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Solo, Dec 6, 2012.

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  1. Solo

    Solo Member

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    I bought a nickel plated RIA GI 1911, and I've noticed that the parts of the gun which come into constant contact with my hands have a tendency to turn black. A bit of polishing can usually remove the discoloration, but I'm starting to wonder if there's something wrong with the finish. I'd hate to have my sweat be eating away at the nickel plating, for example.

    Should I worry about it, or is it not a serious issue?
     
  2. TennJed

    TennJed Member

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    I had an slide nickel plated (after market) that would do the same thing. It would polish out but it was annoying. I am curious to see what answers you get
     
  3. just for fun

    just for fun Member

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    It's with a heavy heart I relay the story about a Smith 29-2 that had a 83/8th barrel and a nickel finish, compleat with a presentation case. In all the yrs. I owned it never once was there any signs of discoloration on the finish. No disrespect intended, but it would seem as thought the plating of yesteryear may have had a higher % of nickel.
     
  4. Solo

    Solo Member

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    How long have you had that slide for, TennJed?
     
  5. JohnBT

    JohnBT Member

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    " it would seem as thought the plating of yesteryear may have had a higher % of nickel."

    It may have had a higher pecentage of phosphorus compared to the guns showing stains. Low and low-medium phosphorus nickel will stain when exposed to acids like tomato juice and some folks' sweat. I only know what little I've heard about it.

    John
     
  6. BigJimP

    BigJimP Member

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    I have at least seven ....older S&W revolvers in Nickel....model 19's, 27's and 29's ...most of them were mfg'd in the 1970's ....and never once have I noticed any discoloration in the finish from the oils in my hands.../ carrying them in a leather holster...etc.

    All of my revolvers - have many thousands of rounds thru them..../ I put 250 rounds thru 2 of them yesterday in some range drills...and the 4" model 27-2, I was shooting had some carbon on the top side edges of the cyclinder...and after cleaning, a little non-abrasive mag polish is all I used to take it off...

    The Nickel finish on all of my revolvers ...looks great ! So I don't think there is any doubt ...you have an issue on the finish on your guns / but I'd try something simple, like paste waxing it - to see if it helps ( good old Johnson paste floor wax - in the yellow cans ) is still a good product.

    You might also try a new product like Boe-Shield ...maybe it'll help seal your finish ...and help out..../ it works to prevent corrosion on cast iron tops - like table saws..../ sure can't hurt to try it..

    http://boeshield.com/
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  7. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    If you came into my shop, I'd ask you politely and discreetly if you are on any meds or supplements.

    Don't even ask me which ones and effects as that is a conversation I'd have only in person with a customer or friend but it would be a consideration on my part excluding substandard plating application or materials.

    I've seen it in the past with stainless and chrome finishes though it seems only satin chrome IIRC.
     
  8. Hacker15E

    Hacker15E Member

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    Different peoples' sweat reacts with nickel finishes differently. My bet is that it is you and not the gun.

    Do you own any other nickel guns?
     
  9. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    I had this exact experience with my Rock Island nickel-plated 1911. Most nickel plating nowadays uses a copper base to bond to. What is happening is your sweat is reacting to the copper under the nickel, causing it to degrade and turn black. Some people just have this problem with copper-based nickel plating, and it's neither your fault nor the manufacturer's fault.

    I sent my 1911 back to RIA because it had accuracy issues, though it was also suffering finish blackening. They took one look at the finish and called and told me they were giving me a brand new gun, in my choice of finishes, but to not get nickel again because my sweat was making it degrade. I chose Parkerized, and they hand-selected it, tuned it up, and sent it to me. Needless to say, I am VERY happy with Rock Island Armory's customer service.
     
  10. Solo

    Solo Member

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    I've been using Johnson's, but I'm not terribly good at waxing and buffing. Do you have any specific steps you use to wax a gun?

    Unfortunately not at this moment, though I hope to remedy that some day.

    I have observed that the black stuff can form immediately upon contact, but wipes off very easily. When I take it off with something white, like tissue paper, I notice there's never any black residue. I suspect it may be a combination of sweat and skin oil, which would be quite a relief.

    I'm glad to hear you had such a good experience. I talked to RIA on their Facebook, page, and was told that this should be just an aesthetic issue, and they gave me a phone number to call if I wanted to ask more questions about it, which I probably will do over the weekend.

    If it's just a cosmetic issue and not my sweat eating away the finish... well, I guess I can live with that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  11. 481

    481 Member

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    That speaks highly of RIA since it is not really their problem. Nice to hear that there are still companies out there that take care of their customers- that kind of care has special Karmic value that'll pay itself off in terms of customer loyalty and new business (when people hear of such service).

    I take it that the parked finish is doing well?
     
  12. EBK

    EBK Member

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    Same gun same issue here. I use nev r dul Polish only takes a few seconds.

    If I can offer any advice it would be to get a set of wraparound grips that cover the front strap to minimize the amount of tarnish.
     
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