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S&W-Smithing Maintenance, Repair, and Enhancement of Smith & Wesson and Other Firearms.


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Old 11-28-2021, 03:14 AM
K9judge K9judge is offline
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Newbie question, what type of factory finish is on my S&W 5943?
The slide is SS and the frame is an aluminum alloy. Both have holster wear marks (Pd trade in) Looking for advice on best way to refinish for a durable finish. Would like to dress it up a bit.
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:04 AM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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Aluminum receivers are anodized, this gives them color and surface hardness. S&W can re-anodize a receiver, but this can only be done once and they will not change the color from the original. In order to apply something like GunKote or Cerakote, the surface would certainly need to be roughened before applying the finish.
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Old 11-28-2021, 12:56 PM
K9judge K9judge is offline
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Thank you stansdds for the quick answer and forgive me for my ignorance but you are saying that the satin finish on the receiver is the anodizing process? If so, then if bead blasted it would remove the anodizing? Then that would expose the bare aluminum alloy of the receiver? Would that be rough enough for Gunkote or Cerakote?
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Old 11-28-2021, 10:09 PM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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Yes, the satin gray/silver finish is a colored, anodized finish. Anodizing is great for aluminum as it creates a hard, but thin oxide layer on the surface and a hard layer of equal depth below the metal surface. In order to re-anodize, the old anodization must be removed, that means removal of the surface of the metal, hence it can be reanodized only once before the pin holes are too big to hold the various pins in their proper places. I've not done it or had it done, but a light bead blasting may not fully remove the anodizing, but might make it rough enough for a spray on type finish. Just how bad does this receiver look, it might not be bad enough to warrant messing with it. My 6906 and 6946 show some discoloration and some of the sharper edges are shiny, but it doesn't bother me as I consider these to be working firearms, not collector pieces.
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Old 11-29-2021, 03:37 AM
GerSan69 GerSan69 is offline
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My understanding of Cerakote is that the only basic prep is a clean, grease-free surface. "Roughing" it will result in a rough-looking finish after coating. The only other prep would be the usual polishing, etc., of any flaws that you don't want to show through. Check with a reputable Cerakote dealer before doing anything!
EDIT: Area 15 is a highly recommended Cerakote dealer here in Metro Phoenix. If you don't have someone local to you, they are worthy of consideration. I'm not affiliated with them, I only know of their reputation among gun people out here.
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Old 11-29-2021, 04:49 PM
K9judge K9judge is offline
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Thanks for the info from both gentlemen as it has given me somethings to think about. One last question has anybody tried a metalife hard chrome plating on an aluminum alloy frame? Concerns would be structural integrity, durability and dimensions changing.
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Old 11-29-2021, 06:16 PM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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Back in the days of the Model 39, 39-2, and 59, if you did not get a black pistol (blued steel, black anodized aluminum) you got a nickel plated pistol, the aluminum receiver seemed to work just fine with nickel plating. Hard chrome can work just fine on aluminum, metalife being a version of hard chrome, and if it didn't, custom gun shops would not offer it.
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Old 11-29-2021, 10:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K9judge View Post
Thanks for the info from both gentlemen as it has given me somethings to think about. One last question has anybody tried a metalife hard chrome plating on an aluminum alloy frame? Concerns would be structural integrity, durability and dimensions changing.
I had several guns plated with a cousin of Metalife, called Armoloy, back in the late 70s-early 80s. Back then, stainless guns were still somewhat difficult to obtain because they were so popular, and a hard-chrome finish was a good way to get the look of stainless. While I didn't plate alloy guns, the finishes themselves are a superior finish if durability and ruggedness are important to you. The finishes do not add an appreciable amount to the surface, so the dimensions are generally unaffected. All of the hard-chrome companies are experienced in plating parts for industries where the tolerances are hundreds of times tighter than firearms and with all types of metals, so I think you can trust them to return a great product to you.
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