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Old 04-15-2018, 11:07 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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Default Model 48-0, refinish or no?

Many months ago a friend told me about an acquaintance of his who lived in the deep south and who is/was a hoarder. He had a nice collection of guns (Several Smiths, Pythons, Diamondback, a bunch of old Marlin 39's and 336's, Remington XP-100's and a lot more...). They HAD been nice, that is, since he had stored them each wrapped in cloth. Some had badly rusted, some very little. Due to health reasons he decided to sell them off, so long story short my friend got a few of them.
So recently I was at my friend's house and he showed me a few of those pieces, including this 6-inch model 48 no-dash. The bore seems to be ok, but as you can see the exterior took a beating rust-wise so someone stripped and cera-coated it (or some similar finish). It's missing about $35 worth of sight elevation parts as well. Ugly as it is, I couldn't leave it alone at $100 and decided to rescue it. Lockup is nice and tight, so after disassembling, cleaning, polishing and lubing it (it was bone-dry inside) I put it back together and it has a sweet trigger at 1lb 13oz (SA, of course) with no creep.
So here's my dilemma. In its present state it probably doesn't have much value other than to just plink with and it's just plain ugly, so with no more money than I have invested in it would it be worth sending off to be refinished? Is the pitting too hideous to make it worth-while? My reasoning is that it would be a good $100 beater, but with the smoothness of the action I'm having second thoughts about leaving it that way, and being a 22 Mag it probably wouldn't get used a whole lot anyway. Also, how much would all this likely cost, considering it's present condition?
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Old 04-16-2018, 09:27 AM
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I am not normally a fan of refinishing a S&W but since this one has already been messed with, I would say go for it. I've heard numbers like $400 - $500 but not sure.

I would call Ford's in Florida and ask. Like anything involving labor, the more work it needs, the higher the cost. If the roll marks need to be re-cut then this will also add to the cost.

You are lucky that your initial investment is low so the added costs may not take it out of market value. The satisfaction in bringing this one back from the brink however, is priceless.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:35 AM
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That is a suitable gun to refinish, as all collector value has long left that revolver.

If you do much of the metal polishing, you will save money on the refinishing.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:37 AM
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I'd just clean it, fix the sight, and enjoy it as is.

When you refinish it your 135 dollar gun suddenly becomes nearly as expensive as the thing would be without the current finish, and you might as well just buy another one because this one will never be right, no matter how much more money you put into it.

It's just a good shooter now, enjoy it as is.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:40 AM
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I think I would refinish in hard chrome.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:56 AM
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Yep, blast then hard chrome or NP3.
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:24 AM
larryofcc larryofcc is offline
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Depending on the serial number, the early no dash M48's have a collector following. A reblue job, unless done correctly will never look like an original. I vote for factory nickel plate.
BTW, what is the serial number of your revolver? I keep track of M48-0's. I have 3 of my own. Big Larry
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Old 04-16-2018, 12:30 PM
merl67 merl67 is offline
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My suspicions are the pitting underneath that butt ugly finish are not as bad as they appear. I am thinking the finish it now has magnifies the pitting . If it were mine I would see about stripping whatever is on it now and get a better look at the metal. Then you can better decide what to do with it.

Last edited by merl67; 04-16-2018 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:03 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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Thanks for the replies, guys. I called S&W this morning and spoke with a "David" about the gun. Of course he hasn't seen it and can't give an educated recommendation without me sending it in. He said there is an approximate 3-4 months turnaround time, half of that time necessary for the guys to inspect it and give a recommendation. I asked if it would be feasible to nickel-plate it if the pits were too deep to blue, but he said their nickel-plating system is down until possibly next year because they're replacing the vats, so that's not an option with them right now. He did say it would cost about $250 to refinish it, including shipping both ways, which sounds pretty reasonable. If I remember correctly, there would be a $45 inspection fee and $25 return shipping if it ends up not being refinish-able.
On the bright side, I then asked for a price quote for the rear sight elevation parts. After typing on his computer he told me all parts were available except for one, but that he would "look around to see if he could find one somewhere". When he asked for my shipping address I asked for a total price and he said they were sending them at no cost! I never expected that, for sure!
I have a neighbor who is a gunsmith and I plan to go to his place in the next day or two to see what he thinks should be done finish-wise. I will also contact Ford's to see what they would charge. If I have to go the Nickel/Chrome route, which one is more durable and/or capable of covering up the pitting? As for NP3, how well does it hold up to wear and tear as well as gun cleaning chemicals?
Because of it's rough life and my low investment I'm not necessarily looking for complete originality, just something that's pleasant to the eyes if I do indeed decide to invest in it.
Larryofcc, I don't have the serial with me, but if memory serves correctly it seems like it started with K84.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:06 PM
lscocoa lscocoa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH4 View Post
Yep, blast then hard chrome or NP3.
What kind of blasting (bead), would it help with any of the pitting or do you still have pits ? I have little blasting knowledge.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:24 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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Can one of you more knowledgeable guys tell me whether these guns originally had a deep, high gloss blue or was it more like the finish on a Model 28?
Another option that might be feasible for a situation like this (if the pitting is too bad) would be Parkerizing it. Ford's offers a parkerized finish for only $175. What are your thoughts on that?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:43 PM
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Soak it a few days in a mix of ATF and Acetone and then use brass wool to remove the surface rust.

After that repair the sight and shoot it as is.

After owning it and shooting it a few months then decide if you still want to pour more money into a shooter.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lscocoa View Post
What kind of blasting (bead), would it help with any of the pitting or do you still have pits ? I have little blasting knowledge.
If its badly pitted, the blasting wont do much. After further thought, I tend to agree with others that recommend soaking it, cleaning it and then shoot the heck out if it.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:27 PM
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I don't know of any normal finish that will "fill in the pitting". It will still be there, and show in whatever finish you have done. The only way to remove the pitting is to remove metal by buffing / stoning the metal. I have a feeling the price quoted by S&W does not take into account the additional metal work this gun needs for a proper blue finish.

Of the various finishes you have talked about, satin hard chrome such as Armoloy is the most durable.

If it were my gun, I would shoot it some, and see if I really liked it before I put any serious refinishing money into it. I think in the end, if you put say $400.00 into the gun for a quality refinish, in addition to what you already have, you would probably about break even if you later sold it. Even with a very well done re-finish, you would not get the top dollar collector prices an original might bring. Personally, if I were to re-finish it, I would go for a polished blue, unless the gun was going to get heavy field use, then maybe a hard chrome finish.

Larry

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Old 04-16-2018, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcon72 View Post
.... Because of it's rough life and my low investment I'm not necessarily looking for complete originality, just something that's pleasant to the eyes if I do indeed decide to invest in it....
I've got my doubts about whether or not that one could ever be made "pleasant to the eyes" - at least at a price that I could live with. I'm another one of those who'd be more inclined to let it sit in a bucket of some kind of solvent for a few days, then scrub the heck out of it with steel wool. Yep, good ol' 4-0 steel wool. It's not like it's gonna ruin the finish.

The only money I'd invest in it would be for the rear sight parts and ammo. .22 Mag ammo ain't the cheapest stuff on the planet, so if you're not gonna shoot it a whole lot, you can have a little fun with it and brag bout how well the ugly ol' P.O.S. shoots.

Mark
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:51 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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You guys make some valid points. I'll see what my 'smith friend thinks and proceed from there. Wheelgun610, the good news is that S&W is sending me the rear sight parts at no charge, woohoo! So, my investment so far is still at $100 + a little steel wool, gun oil and an hour or so of labor at this stage of the game.
Sort of kicking myself for giving my dad a couple boxes of 22 WMR for which I had no use a few months ago, but oh well...
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Old 04-16-2018, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightowl View Post
I think I would refinish in hard chrome.
So this is an acceptable answer just because hard chrome is cool.

But only do this if you too think hard chrome is cool.


It's just such a shame every time I see someone get a re-blue on a gun thinking it will be right, or like the original, and it just never will be. The gun has moved onto another stage in its existence, it can become something cool, or stay what it is if you like it, but it can never go back.
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:02 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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I can't say hard chrome is "cool" or not, as to the best of my knowledge I've never seen it on a gun before. Not particularly being a fan of bright silvery-looking guns, however, it likely wouldn't be my first choice. Assuming hard chrome would look very similar to nickel, is it easy to tell the two apart?
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:26 PM
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If I was to refinish it, I would do nickel and install a red post front sight insert, white inlay rear sight blade, a target hammer and target trigger.
Just my two cents.
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Old 04-17-2018, 02:24 PM
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More power to you for taking on such a project. I don't believe I would have.

However, if your trigger pull is really under 2#, you might want somebody to go over the action for a tune-up. I already know 2 and lower is practically a hair trigger and probably needs attention.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcon72 View Post
I can't say hard chrome is "cool" or not, as to the best of my knowledge I've never seen it on a gun before. Not particularly being a fan of bright silvery-looking guns, however, it likely wouldn't be my first choice. Assuming hard chrome would look very similar to nickel, is it easy to tell the two apart?
It's more of a matte shiny silver. It's one of the few finishes that are shiny and silver that I like. It's very durable.

This thread has a bunch of good pictures that survived the great photobucket mess

Hard Chrome
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:16 PM
Jcon72 Jcon72 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixgunStrumpet View Post
It's more of a matte shiny silver. It's one of the few finishes that are shiny and silver that I like. It's very durable.

This thread has a bunch of good pictures that survived the great photobucket mess

Hard Chrome
Thank you, that was a good read. I do like the matte "stainless-like" finish that the hard chrome provides. Wasn't able to meet up with my gunsmith last night but hopefully tonight we can come to some determination as to what's practical.
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