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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 02-08-2020, 04:50 PM
mainegrw mainegrw is offline
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Default Model 15-3 Nickel Finish

Was looking in the safe this morning, and my 1966 Colt Trooper 357 was looking a bit lonely. So later in the day today, I picked up a 1974 Model 15-3 with a nickel finish to keep it company. She's fitted out with a target hammer, wide target trigger, an orange insert front sight, and (I'm pretty sure) Herrett's Shooting Star grips. She's in really nice shape, with good lock-up and a smooth trigger. The finish isn't perfect, but it's really, really nice.

I want to shoot this gun, and if it's anything like the other S&W revolvers I've owned, it's going to be shot a whole bunch. However, this is the first nickel plated firearm I've ever had and I know they have a reputation for for being difficult to maintain. I'd appreciate some tips from those of you who are experienced with nickel finishes on good upkeep practices and dos and don'ts.

Thanks!

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Old 02-08-2020, 07:02 PM
JSticks JSticks is offline
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I have a couple of nickel Model 10's. A 4" mid 60's and a 5" early 70's vintage. Personally, I think the nickel finish is more durable than people think. In fact, I was going to post something to the effect, "Are we, me included, too concerned about the plating peeling or wearing." I agree with the thought that Hoppe's won't hurt the finish because the nickel plating is applied directly to the steel. By that I mean it is not applied over a copper wash that Hoppe may "attack". I think blued finish is quicker to wear.
Neither of my revolvers was a safe queen. The 5" is police turn in.




Anyway, you have a very nice model 15. Thank you for posting it.
As far as care goes, I clean mine with Mothers Mag Polish, followed by some Renaissance Wax. They may oxidize some, over time, but that doesn't bother me.

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Old 02-08-2020, 07:18 PM
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I have a couple of nickel Model 10's. A 4" mid 60's and a 5" early 70's vintage. Personally, I think the nickel finish is more durable than people think. In fact, I was going to post something to the effect, "Are we, me included, too concerned about the plating peeling or wearing." I agree with the thought that Hoppe's won't hurt the finish because the nickel plating is applied directly to the steel. By that I mean it is not applied over a copper wash that Hoppe may "attack". I think blued finish is quicker to wear.
Neither of my revolvers was a safe queen. The 5" is police turn in.




Anyway, you have a very nice model 15. Thank you for posting it.
As far as care goes, I clean mine with Mothers Mag Polish, followed by some Renaissance Wax. They may oxidize some, over time, but that doesn't bother me.
Your Model 10s are beautiful! Duly noted on the Mother's polish and Renaissance Wax, hopefully mine can look that good with a little work.

I noted when I was looking my new model 15 over this afternoon that there's a little spot where the finish is starting to bubble at the edge of the side plate, undoubtedly from someone removing it incorrectly, so that has me the most concerned at present. Otherwise, I'm not too worried, I just want to keep it looking nice.

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Old 02-08-2020, 07:54 PM
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I've never had an issue maintaining a nickel finish. I just use a Birchwood Casey lead remover cloth a couple times a year and keep the rest of the gun clean and lightly oiled.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:07 PM
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Be aware that Mothers Mag Polish, while a good product, is somewhat abrasive. Continued use will remove finish. In fact, I have used it aggressively to remove deep scratches from stainless steel. If I acquire a dull nickel gun I might polish it very lightly with Mothers, followed by Ren Wax, then clean normally after use. Never seen any reason to do it again. If it took 50 years or so to become dull through improper care, and I continue to care for it properly, I don't figure I'll need to apply Mothers again, ever. Love that nickel shine!
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:13 PM
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Be aware that Mothers Mag Polish, while a good product, is somewhat abrasive. Continued use will remove finish. In fact, I have used it aggressively to remove deep scratches from stainless steel. If I acquire a dull nickel gun I might polish it very lightly with Mothers, followed by Ren Wax, then clean normally after use. Never seen any reason to do it again. If it took 50 years or so to become dull through improper care, and I continue to care for it properly, I don't figure I'll need to apply Mothers again, ever. Love that nickel shine!
Good advice. All of the above applies to Flitz. Another good product that should be used with care. Very nice Model 15. My 2 inch Model 15 is one of my very favorite K frames.
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Old 02-08-2020, 08:21 PM
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My 2.5 inch Model 15 is one of my very favorite K frames.
Seriously? I wasn't aware of that barrel length ever being offered on the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. Model 19, yes, for obvious reasons. Can we see a pic?
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Old 02-08-2020, 09:58 PM
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I'd sure like to see a Model 15 with a 2-1/2" barrel, as I don't think they ever made one.
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Old 02-08-2020, 11:39 PM
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I have a nickel 15-3 that was shipped to the Campus Police at a Louisiana university. I fitted some polished stags with medallions I also fitted. Very classy.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:10 AM
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Seriously? I wasn't aware of that barrel length ever being offered on the Model 15 Combat Masterpiece. Model 19, yes, for obvious reasons. Can we see a pic?
As usual, you guys are really on top of it! You are soooo right. My Md 15 has a 2 inch barrel. I was just reading about the 2.5 inch barrels on the 686/586 L frames and I guess that dimension just stuck. Anyway, I still love my 2 inch model 15.
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Old 02-09-2020, 11:53 AM
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That's a sweet looking nickel plated Model 15-3! The nickel plating applied by S&W is not that difficult when it comes to maintenance. Go up to post #5 of this thread, Peak53 gave excellent advice. Other gun manufacturers often applied a copper plating to the steel, then the nickel plating. This is where the horror stories of solvents causing the nickel plating to peel from the gun started. S&W's plating was direct, no copper layer, just steel and nickel. This method of plating is quite durable, second only to specialized plating methods like NP3 and hard chrome. Follow Peak53's advice and you will not be disappointed.
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Old 02-10-2020, 09:19 AM
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That's a sweet looking nickel plated Model 15-3! The nickel plating applied by S&W is not that difficult when it comes to maintenance. Go up to post #5 of this thread, Peak53 gave excellent advice. Other gun manufacturers often applied a copper plating to the steel, then the nickel plating. This is where the horror stories of solvents causing the nickel plating to peel from the gun started. S&W's plating was direct, no copper layer, just steel and nickel. This method of plating is quite durable, second only to specialized plating methods like NP3 and hard chrome. Follow Peak53's advice and you will not be disappointed.
Thanks, will do! The finish is pretty good, though up close you can see its age. I was going to try a light polish with Flitz rather than Mother's and then the Renaissance Wax to bring it back some.


She's a great shooter though, I got her to the range Sunday morning, and I'm not disappointed at all! One thing did occur though: the orange insert in the front sight fell out. I went ahead and carefully cleaned the insert and dovetail with some alcohol, then glued it back into place with a little bit of Krazy Glue. Hopefully it will hold for the foreseeable future, however it's not really a tight fit in there anymore. I suspect it's not the first time its fallen out. If I were inclined, to completely replace the insert, what is the process? Is it something I can do at home, or do I need to send it to someone? Thoughts?

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Old 02-10-2020, 11:39 AM
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Mainegrew

I may be wrong, but I think the orange insert is a later modification. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Smith & Wesson started the factory inserts in the early 80's. I have a 67-1 vintage 1982 that has the insert.

Search YouTube Larry Potterfield,of Midway, has a video showing how to use their kit for the insert. I thought about using it on my 67-1 because the plastic was nicked, but was concerned that by trying to remove the excess new plastic, I would do more harm than good. So, I decided to just live with it.

I believe that Smith & Wesson drilled a small hole in the base of the slot that acted like an anchor, or key, that prevented the plastic from moving sideways, and falling out, once hardened.
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:48 AM
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I ordered and received a small bottle of Flitz and a small can of Rennaisance Wax this week. Early this morning, since I was awake, I decided to give it a try, and well, she's not perfect, but wow what a difference!

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