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Old 10-16-2010, 10:19 AM
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Default How well does a Nickel finish hold up?

Sorry to ask here, did not know where else would be appropriate.

I spied a S&W 36 in a local gun shop, and it has a nickel finish.
Looks really nice, but does nickel finish hold up over time? I'm concerned if
it chips, cracks, or flakes over time and shooting, all things being equal and the gun is not otherwise abused.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:06 PM
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INMHO nickel holds up appearance wise better than a blue finish.and is better at rust and corrosion resistance. If properly cared for it will outlive it's owner. However if you like a nice looking revolver thay are a royal pain to clean up after shooting if carbon on the cylinder face and around the forceing cone area bothers you.
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Old 10-16-2010, 12:11 PM
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As long as the finish on the gun is not scratched, chipped or "fogged" (hazy) you should be fine.

Do not use any ammonia cleaners on it, do not let Hoppes #9 sit on it. Use something like CLP. You can use Flitz on it or wax after cleaning.
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Old 10-16-2010, 07:28 PM
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Generally speaking, nickel is much more durable than blue but less durable than stainless. Nickel was the heavy duty finish for those who carried handguns daily and under adverse conditions until stainless came on the scene in the 60's.
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Old 10-17-2010, 08:49 PM
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I have well used thrown around 37 that looks like a million to me. Nickel has held up great. Has had it's share of Hoppes........
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Old 10-17-2010, 11:01 PM
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I've got several nickeled firearms, 3 M39's, M59, M34, Colt DS... The only one I have ever had a problem with, nickel wise is the Colt DS. I loaned it to a buddy to use in a high humidity/salt water environment. When I got it back the cylinder was fogged on four of the six chambers from sitting in a leather holster while on a sailboat in the Pacific Ocean. A little Flitz took care of the fogging and all is well. Now I use Renaissance wax to protect ALL of my firearms. As a general rule Nickel is more durable than blued and as long as the nickel finish has no penetrations through the finish it should look as good as it does now when handed down to your grand kids.

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Last edited by Class III; 10-17-2010 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 10-18-2010, 05:51 PM
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My Model 19 2.5 incher has a nickel finish that has held up great since purchased new in the early '70's. IMO, better than blue if cared for properly.
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Old 10-18-2010, 07:22 PM
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They are good. However I have noticed many that are scratched all over and even a couple with chips out of the finish.
Kind of flashy for me.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:46 AM
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I've had at least 3 Colt Cobras with a nickel finish. None of them held up as well as say, a S&W 37 with nickel. I bought a Nickel 3rd issue (lugged barrel) a couple years ago. When I had it about 3 months I noticed 4-5 pin hole sized rust marks had developed on the gun. It still looked good but I traded it. I currently have a second issue (no lug, short butt) nickel Det spec.. I'm pretty happy with it. No summer carry though. I am certainly not a Colt Xpert. It does seem their post '66 DS and Cobras have a problem with nickel finish. I have 2 blue Cobras now I prefer for carry.
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Old 10-19-2010, 08:28 AM
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My only problem with nickel is the tendency to collect a lot of what I call "micro-scratches." The beautiful thing about an as-new nickel gun is the truly mirror-like finish, at least on the Smiths that I favor. But, without careful handling, over time, they seem to develop a less-than-mirror-smooth aspect. Not big scratches, which can happen to any gun, but a lot of little tiny micro-scratches so that over time, the finish becomes less than mirror-bright and smooth. This occurs with blued guns too, but the effect isn't so noticeable as it is with nickel.

I guess the cure is careful handling, a good nickel polish, and Renwax. All of that said, the prettiest nickel gun I have ever seen was a 4-inch post-war Heavy Duty, which Philippines mother of pearl grips, that I am sorry I let go of to another Forum member:



When nickel is perfect, it's tough to beat for sheer beauty on a revolver.



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Old 10-19-2010, 10:05 AM
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I have had a bunch of Nickeled guns over the years, and I have never had one with a flawless finish. There was always a dot, chip, stain, or similar. As Bullseye2620 states above, they do scratch rather easily. My only current Nickeled guns are a matched pair of Colt Single Action Army Revolvers. Other than that, it's blued guns for me, except for a few dedicated carry guns which are stainless.

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Last edited by chief38; 10-19-2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:14 AM
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Nice to see that gorgeous Heavy Duty shining its brightest.

Any opinions on use of Hoppe's No. 9 to clean nickel revolvers after they've been shot?

I've used it for nickel guns, taking care to swab and wipe the gun dry afterward. No discernible problems arose but I've never owned and used a nickel gun over many years.

I once had a .32-20 Hand Ejector that had been re-nickeled and was rough and flaky. I was intending to return it to a blue finish as it had when it left the factory so left the side plate in a shallow pan covered with Hoppe's No. 9 on my gun bench for many months to see if the nickel would further loosen. The side plate already had some flaking and peeling nickel. I couldn't gain the satisfaction of loosening any more nickel from the side plate.

Perhaps it takes years rather than months for Hoppe's to work its evil on nickel plating.

I'm inquiring because I have a nickel S&W coming in. I figure on cleaning it the same way as the nickel guns I've previously owned, using Hoppe's No. 9.
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Old 10-19-2010, 01:57 PM
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I have several nickel guns and I love them.one of my carry guns is a nickel moedl 10 that i tote alot.
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Old 10-21-2010, 01:10 AM
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Here's my "newest" nickel plated S&W . . . made in 1916. It still looks quite good, and I haven't polished it up yet!



And my next "newest one" from 1950 I got a couple of months ago . . .



And one from 1970 I purchased last year . . . perfection, IMHO!!! . . .

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Old 10-21-2010, 06:12 AM
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If you Google "Hoppes 9 MSDS" you will find it to be:

30 - 40% kerosene,
30 - 40% ethyl alcohol,
and less than 10% each
xylene,
amyl acetate,
ammonium hydroxide,
and citronella.

Research each of the above chemicals and decide for yourself.

I was advised by the gun shop where I bought them not to use Hoppes on my nickel guns so I don't tempt fate by poo-pooing the advice. I clean all my guns with Ballistol and polish the plated ones with Mothers Chrome polish. Works for me.
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colt, ejector, hand ejector, leather, m39, model 19, model 39, renaissance

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