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Old 02-28-2012, 09:29 PM
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Default Nickle Boron Finish-What is it & Why?

I've seen on other threads and other gun forums the nickle boron finish and being a little old school wasn't familiar with it. What are it's advantages, and is it affected by certain solvents like the nickle finishes of old? I don't currently need any refinishing, but would like to be well informed in case of future need by some of you who have had experience with this. Thanks, Steve
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Old 02-28-2012, 09:35 PM
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Just realized this may have been a better topic in the gunsmithing threads. I just noticed it mentiond several times here in the M&P area and figured some of the folks here knew something of it.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:58 AM
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Basically, it is a very hard coating, metalic in nature, so it's not paint or ceramic~not Cerakote and is typically a beige to almost gold color (unless you treat/paint it differently) that is very, very hard and somewhat like teflon coated metal (but much tougher) it moves against itself and other metals with very little resistance. It means the firearm typically cycles a bit better, needs cleaning much less and when it does need cleaning, it cleans much easier.

Some sites say it needs no lubrication, but I don't believe that. I think a very little bit of lubrication is good, but as always, too much lubrication tends to attract dirt and 'gunk up' a gun--so again--a little dab'l do ya...

I don't recall the exact Rockwell scale of hardness N.B. typically has, but it's much harder than the protective Melonite of Tenifer coatings found on many firearms. I have not seen information on whether this great hardness means it can be brittle if it takes a strike (like ceramic knives) but they're using N.B. in more and more assault weapons, including in the military, so I am inclined to think it's not a problem, unless I hear otherwise as time goes by.

To me, time is the ultimate test and for example is why the 1911 sidearm deserves it's excellent reputation and also why Glock, (until they went and screwed up Generation Four), had a sterling reputation. Nickel Boron's been around a while too--especially in tough industrial applications--I think for about 50 years. In ten or fifteen years, I am optimistic that the S&W M&P series will have earned a similar reputation--so far, so good!

I've read that you can polish the typically matte finish to a golden chrome like gloss, but that's not my style, especially on parts that are exposed to sun and other bright light, potentially creating glare. I don't have any such issues with the typical, standard N.B. coating. Unlike some of my outdoor guns, I don't see any need to treat the upper surface to reduce glare and enhance target aquistion time.

I've been happy with N.B. on slides and barrels and when it's not a high priced after the sale option, I'd strongly consider it again.

I'm not one to jump on th bandwagon for the newest thing and as said, this has been around a while, but just seems to be getting to small arms more recently. S&W lists a N.B. coated M&P on their official website, but oddly indicates that the dealer determines the price, so beware the 'gouge factor'--I don't think it should cost more than $75 or so above the standard Melonite coating, if they do the slide and barrel, as is typical.

I bought a new N.B coated Glock 27, (gen 3) with Trijicon night sights, 3 extra magazines and all the standard Glock 'stuff' and some Corbon ammo, for an even $600 at a gun show. An outfit called WMS did the N.B rather well. EXO is a well known name for N.B. as well, but there are others as well. There are some decent Youtube videos also on nickel Boron coated weapons.


There are a number of links on Google when you type in 'Nickel Boron coatings explained' that will tell you more:

Google

Last edited by Rangel; 03-01-2012 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:13 PM
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Good description on what it is. Fail Zero is the leader in NiB in AR's. It isnt always going to be shiny if used in a BCG, and it will wear. The best part is it is super smooth specially when rubbing up against more NiB. I'm not a fan of 2 tone guns so I passed on NiB on my slides. But I will, if at all possible keep NiB on my AR BCG's and LPK's. I have a Spikes M4 with the full NiB and a Spikes Middy with the standard phosphate. The standard stuff though smooth and 100% reliable with litle lube feels and sounds like sandpaper compared to the NiB dry. Is it necessary in an AR-no, is it better-YES. Heck, I will even have some of my bullpups important parts NiB'd when the next ATEi NiB opportunity comes. It works for black rifles and I'm sure if applied to the proper areas it will make a good pistol a great pistol.

Last edited by lockon; 03-01-2012 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:10 PM
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I like the NB treatment, but there are some guns that look and work so good stock that I wouldn't have the NB treatment done to them. I wouldn't alter a Daniel Defense AR one bit. I haven't seen NB in black yet, but I don't think I could bring myself to have it done to certain Sigs, for example. Certain Sigs look good in certain finishes (ala the 'Equinox' finish) but some guns just seem meant to be BLACK all the way and I imagine some folks feel that way about their M&P's, as it's a helluva handsome sidearm right out of the box. For that matter, I want to reach for the Pepto Bismol when I see a S&W revolver with pink grips.....
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