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Old 10-11-2012, 07:31 PM
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Question Matte Nickle 1911- What to do with finish

I've heard this finish is not the best, tarnishes,etc. I really like a black frame with a silver slide, like the color the slide is now.

Don't have a bead blaster or sprayer, and even less$ .
Picking the gun up next week.

Thanks for your help. Dan
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Old 10-12-2012, 09:22 PM
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If you really dislike the nickel on the frame, a plating shop can strip it for you for a small fee, but you'll have to find one that has an FFL. I don't think a plating shop can legally keep your frame overnight unless they do.

Stripping is way smarter than trying to polish away the nickel, which will probably end in disaster.

If you are short on bucks right now, I would just use it as is until you can afford to have it stripped and then you can polish the parts (preferably by hand) and have it blued or black oxide treated.

Nickel is actually not a bad finish as far as durability. You might clean it up and maybe you will get to like it. You can always hide some of the nickel frame with a set of wrap-around rubber stocks.
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:12 AM
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Nickel just plain sucks as far as durability is concerned....looks great when new, and stays that way, as long as you don't touch it......that is exactly how chrome came to be, plate over a nice nickel finish with chrome, and you get a more durable finish.....highly polished nickel tends to hold up better due to the non-porous surface, but matte or satin holds in any kind of oxidizer and turns to **** much quicker, if not properly maintained, but highly polished nickel still scratches super easy, don't ever wipe it with anything but the softest cotton or microfiber, or it will dull up and show scratches almost instantly.....how many brand spanking new nickel guns do you see being made nowadays?......if you want a silver slide, go with hard chrome, you can get any desired look from high polished to matte, and it will hold up to use, it all depends on the surface prep before chroming, and it doesn't cost tons of money......

Last edited by grif684; 10-13-2012 at 03:18 AM.
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Old 10-13-2012, 03:58 PM
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Depends on the type of nickel you have too. Modern electroless nickel plating is by far one of the most durable finishes one can have done. It is very popular for industrial usage as well. Electrolytic nickel plating however is not quite as durable, and is a rather old process. It would help if we had a picture of the gun in question to determine which it is, but as a quick way to tell, if it's shiny and smooth it is likely to be electrolytic whereas electroless tends to match the material on which it is applied (IE the same pits and blemishes in the metal carry through) and it is more coarse than it is smooth.

You said it is a matte nickel finish, so I would be inclined to say it is the more durable electroless nickel finish. To attest to how well this holds up, I have the hammers on two pistols of mine finished with it.
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Old 10-13-2012, 07:25 PM
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There are different grades or types of electroless nickel and some will rival industrial chrome for hardness. Industrial chrome is a great finish if properly applied, but not the only game in town.

I have a friend who owns an original Colt Combat Commander finished in electroless nickel. He doesn't shoot it as much these days, but there was a time when he shot it every week for several years. One couldn't say his gun looks like new, but it looks nice. A blued gun subjected to similar use would probably be a lot worse.

I would think twice before changing that gun around, especially if money is tight.
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Old 10-14-2012, 12:54 PM
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I have a Colt Combat Commander that I had refinished in electroless nickel by Nitex in Texas about 1980 , they were I believe the first to offer this finish on guns.
The Commander had been carried for years after the refinish and shot innumerable times, the finish is still better then 95%, and most of the degradation is from rough or careless handling on my part . After 30 plus years of use most blued or other finished guns would never have held up as well.
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:17 PM
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I also had two handguns refinished with Nitex in the late 1980's. A S&W mod 29 and a Beretta mod 92SB. The 29 has seen several years carried in the woods hunting and still looks as pretty as the day I got it back from TX. The 92SB has had several thousand rounds through it, and for many years was my duty carry gun. Some of the Nitex has worn from the alloy frame, but every steel surface is just as it was when they first did it. Anybody know if Nitex is still available? I've recently brought home a mod 25 that I'd like to have done.
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:37 PM
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I have a Commander in factory electroless nickel and I think it still looks like new after many years and lots of rounds.
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Old 12-31-2012, 05:42 PM
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I had a satin nickel Combat commander for years ,
Never had a problem with the durability but never warmed up to the look and always wondered if it could have been blued over the nickel and be a satin blued nickel finish,
nickel will hold blue but I never dared try finally ended up trading the gun.
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