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Old 08-06-2018, 09:11 PM
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Default Disappointed in answer from S&W, the Mothership

I sent a question to S&W on line:

I have a question(s) about S&W's 1911Sc Commander. I realize that the frame has Scandium added for extra strength. Does S&W still anodize the frame in spite of the extra strength Scandium?
Second question.....on the same firearm, what is the black finish on the frame? It appears that the finish used is not very robust.
Thanks,

Here was their answer:

The finish is described as an anodized black. Despite the scandium frame the anodize does not add additional strength to the frame.

Smith&Wesson values its customers and we are happy to have served you today. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further assistance.

Regards, Richard

Please use the link below to check out the all new S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ.

Is it just me? Am I the AH? It is obvious that the finish is some black finish and is NOT anodizing and they completely blew off my question about anodizing.

Maybe I stuttered or spoke a foreign language? I thought my 2 questions were very clear?? Again I am disappointed with the staff at S&W......
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:14 PM
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Quote:
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Am I the AH?
Yup. They answered the question . . .
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:26 PM
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Welcome to 2018, nothing personal, just business.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:28 PM
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If you are stuttering online you need to clean your keyboard.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:32 PM
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"Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further assistance."

They didn't answer what the black finish was. I'd ask again.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:38 PM
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Default Anodizing doesn't add.....

Anodizing doesn't add strength, it is a surface treatment like bluing is to steel.

Scandium is added to aluminum which significantly increases the strength of the alloy.

The alloy is actually aluminum-scandium, as aluminum is the predominant element by far. A little scandium goes a long way in making aluminum stronger. Scandium is rare and expensive. Plain aluminum is frequently anodized in different ways and colors and aluminum scandium is no different. In fact, it anodizes better than many aluminum alloys.

I have a scandium 5943 third gen. It's hefty enough to make it easy to shoot but much lighter than steel.


PS: Good gravy. The finished is described as black anodized which doesn't add strength to the alloy.

My conclusions are:

The finish is black
The finish is anodized
Anodizing doesn't add strength.

I didn't get at all that they were pulling a fast one by painting the gun black to save money on anodizing it, so it's not as strong as it should be.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:44 PM
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It looks to me like they answered the question.

- The finish is described as an anodized black

I looked up the gun, and that is exactly what the review descriptions say. Having once been a CS person, I'd say they met spec, but failed on form.

"The SW1911Sc’s a Scandium alloy-framed black anodized finish bobtailed 1911. It’s designed to compete with the rest of the Commander length (4.25″ bbl) 1911’s.
The two-tone model sports a stainless steel slide, bringing the gun’s unloaded weight to 29.6 ozs. The sister pistol’s steel slide is Melonite treated, weighing in at 29.7 oz. At 7.95″ snout to tail, the SW1911Sc’s an easy choice for concealed carry."
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:47 PM
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Default He gave a good answer....

...but you needed an explanation more. Misunderstanding and that is all.
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Old 08-06-2018, 09:53 PM
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S&W answered your question. You didn't understand it.

Anodizing can be in various colors (blue, red, green, black, etc.) and is a protective finish. It is thin and can be easily scratched. It adds no strength to anything.
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:05 PM
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...and that's why sometimes it's just better to pick up the phone. I usually get better & clearer info from a conversation that way,
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Old 08-06-2018, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notary View Post
I realize that the frame has Scandium added for extra strength. Does S&W still anodize the frame in spite of the extra strength Scandium?
Their response was correct, though they chose not to educate you on the misconception inherent in your statement.


Your not the first person posting on this forum who was disappointed in the ability of anodized Scandium to maintain it's cosmetic appearance. They seem to require special attention and delicate handling to stay looking new.
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Old 08-06-2018, 11:28 PM
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I called them last week about refinishing a model 39, and they told me they don't do anodizing any more..........??
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Old 08-07-2018, 12:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notary View Post

Smith&Wesson values its customers and we are happy to have served you today. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further assistance.

Regards, Richard
To the OP, with all due respect.
Whatever you missed in Richard's concise answers to your vague questions, has ultimately been explain once again this time even in further detail. See the caption above for an more in depth explanation to your questions .

Regards,

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Old 08-07-2018, 12:48 AM
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Quote:
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I called them last week about refinishing a model 39, and they told me they don't do anodizing any more..........??
S&W may not, but it's available from some refinishers. Here's what a quick google for "firearms anodizing" returned:
firearms anodizing - Google Search
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:15 AM
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A question was presented to S&W and they answered the question.

Anodizing does not add strength. Anodizing is a process in which, at least in firearms, adds color, corrosion protection, and surface hardness to aluminum. The anodizing does add a tiny amount of thickness to the surface of the aluminum and also slightly penetrates the surface.

Re-anodizing can sometimes be performed, but the original anodized layer must first be removed. The removal of this layer may enlarge the holes in the receiver to the point that they will be slightly oversized even after re-anodizing.

At least that is my understanding of the process.
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
I have a scandium 5943 third gen. It's hefty enough to make it easy to shoot but much lighter than steel.:
When did S & W make 5943s with Scandium frames?

I have two and never was there any mention of the frame(s) containing Scandium.

Was this a particular production run or are they all supposedly Scandium?
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Old 08-07-2018, 07:46 AM
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Good question, as I thought only 4040PDs were scandium.
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:00 AM
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Like others have said, I think they answered the question fully. Why would they give any more details about anodizing? What more could you want to know? If they use a proprietary method in-house or send it out for the finish, they are not obligated to divulge that information. And seriously, they don’t care if you buy the gun, keep the gun or sell the gun...
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Old 08-07-2018, 09:15 AM
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I recall reading years ago that S&W was alloying the aluminum they used in frames with 7% scandium, and that scandium came from Russia. Scandium alloy frames still stretch, shimmy, wiggle, and shake, but it makes the frame return to its original dimensions much better after firing a scandium alloy gun versus one that's not. An aluminum frame will get "sloppier" dimension wise compared to a steel frame with the same number of rounds. A scandium alloy will cut down on the slop and the gun will stay tighter longer.

Anodizing hardens the surface of aluminum and makes it more corrosion resistant. It also makes the surface non-conductive.

Bill

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Old 08-26-2018, 10:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Mac View Post
"Please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further assistance."

They didn't answer what the black finish was. I'd ask again.


ďThe finish is described as an anodized blackĒ.

Most manufacturers are not willing to go into any great depth on their treatment or finishing processes. They usually stick to general phrases or proprietary names to describe it.

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Old 08-26-2018, 11:03 AM
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I think the OP is confused on what exactly anodizing is... It has nothing to do with adding strength. It is a electrolysis process in which metal is placed in a chemical solution and a electric current passes thru the item and the solution adheres to the metal. It can be used to apply color to a metallic object. You see it everyday from keychains to toys to aluminum bottle openers. It's how gold plated jewelry is created.

Scandium on the other hand is basically a type of very strong and lightweight aluminum alloy. On a side note I've shot a scandium framed S&W 357 magnum. A 340PD and it was NOT fun to shoot at the range. but it was light and easy to carry... The finish does not last and will show wear if used as your EDC.

Last edited by RGVshooter; 08-26-2018 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:07 AM
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Welcome to 21st century customer service in the good old USA. And S&W's actually is better than the norm. As Wee Hooker said, calling them usually yields better results.

As an example of how much I suppose electronic communication is a PITA to companies and how often it is ignored until "time allows," I sent them a part request via email recently. Two weeks later, I had heard nothing so I called with the same request. The phone-ordered part arrived the same day as an email telling me that the email-ordered part was shipped! But again, that unfortunately is the state of customer service these days.

Ed
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:20 AM
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Thanks for all the great responses from the forum....Simply put, I was asking that since the scandium adds strength to aluminum, does it still require anodizing to protect the outside of the aluminum frame? OR, is the scandium frame tough enough to not require anodizing? As far as the black finish on a scandium frame, I never saw anodizing that looked like that finish, which prompted my question to S&W. If in fact the back finish is black anodizing, it does not hold up very well, and easily wears away which caused my question if it is a true anodizing or maybe just a marketing name?
At this point, I'll wait until the right opportunity presents itself to make further inquires.
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Old 08-26-2018, 11:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notary View Post
Thanks for all the great responses from the forum....Simply put, I was asking that since the scandium adds strength to aluminum, does it still require anodizing to protect the outside of the aluminum frame? OR, is the scandium frame tough enough to not require anodizing? As far as the black finish on a scandium frame, I never saw anodizing that looked like that finish, which prompted my question to S&W. If in fact the back finish is black anodizing, it does not hold up very well, and easily wears away which caused my question if it is a true anodizing or maybe just a marketing name?
At this point, I'll wait until the right opportunity presents itself to make further inquiries.
Scandium in its natural form is a dull whitish grey. From what I've read online S&W adds 2% of scandium to their aluminum alloy. It is incredibly light. The anodizing is just for looks because of the dull grey of the metal. It is to the best of my knowledge a very good quality finish that with proper care will hold up... But if you shoot thousands of rounds like me and carry the thing in the woods, hiking, camping, I mean really USE it, then it will show wear like anything else.


Final note.... if it eases you. A very popular & busy outdoor shooting range in south texas has a 340PD as one of their range guns. They rarely clean the thing. It gets handled by different people. shot the heck out of...I wish i had a photo of it... It looks like its a 100 years old....The finish doesn't chip but rather fades and gets thin in the most worn areas. Kinda like old school bluing. BUT, it functions perfectly fine... I just wouldn't shoot 357's out of it unless you hate your hand or you're a glutton for pain.

Last edited by RGVshooter; 08-26-2018 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 08-26-2018, 04:41 PM
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Just for the sake of discussion, since we're discussing coatings (sort of), I had the pleasure of visiting Beretta's Accokeek, Maryland plant 10 years ago. I watched Model 92s being made and followed one through the plant. I was surprised to see that the black coating is sprayed on! A worker inserts a quantity of frames on a fixture into a chamber and sprays them with the black coating they come with. I guess it's safe to wager that most companies do it that way.

They allowed me to take photos during several stations in the process of making that pistol and it was informative to see how things are done. There was more hands-on work than I expected for a mass-produced gun. Even more surprising was the number of older, Italian-made machines being used in a modern facility.

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Old 08-26-2018, 07:15 PM
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Welcome to 21st century customer service in the good old USA. And S&W's actually is better than the norm.
Exactly. Did you expect a 10 page reply? Their only goal in life is to sell new Tupperware guns. Not write long replies about guns built decades ago. Their answer was to the point on your question. They don't sell those guns anymore, so a longer answer would not put $ in the bank, to quote my Dad. Welcome to corporate America. GARY
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Old 08-26-2018, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Notary View Post
Thanks for all the great responses from the forum....Simply put, I was asking that since the scandium adds strength to aluminum, does it still require anodizing to protect the outside of the aluminum frame? OR, is the scandium frame tough enough to not require anodizing? As far as the black finish on a scandium frame, I never saw anodizing that looked like that finish, which prompted my question to S&W. If in fact the back finish is black anodizing, it does not hold up very well, and easily wears away which caused my question if it is a true anodizing or maybe just a marketing name?
At this point, I'll wait until the right opportunity presents itself to make further inquires.
I feel like they answered the question asked albeit with a minimum of words.

Finish is not typically required for strength, but to improve surface properties. Iíll bet adding scandium does little to surface hardness. While steel gets a harder surface as the strength increases, not all metals behave like this.

When you say wears, do you mean like rubbed thin or like it chips easily.


For the Beretta guy, a sprayed on finish isnít annodizing....that is probably a spray n bake finish.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:09 AM
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Default The '3' means.....

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4506517 View Post
When did S & W make 5943s with Scandium frames?

I have two and never was there any mention of the frame(s) containing Scandium.

Was this a particular production run or are they all supposedly Scandium?
.... that the frame is scandium. The slide is still stainless but the gun is finiished like stainless. If you have a 5943 it is lighter than a full size all steel S&W.

A 4 has an alloy frame, but the finish is black

A 5 is all steel, black finish

A 6 is all stainless steel with a stainless finish.

A 7 is steel, two toned.

That's a pretty good attempt at codifying model numbers. It makes more sense than arbitrary numbers.
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Old 08-27-2018, 03:11 AM
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Default I don't think a gun that's aluminum...

... of any kind is ever left with a raw finish.
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Old 08-27-2018, 02:54 PM
JohnHL JohnHL is offline
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
The 3 means... .... that the frame is scandium.
I don't think so...

John
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Muss Muggins View Post
Yup. They answered the question . . .
Yup, they sure did. Anodized is mentioned twice in their answer.
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Old 09-02-2018, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by RGVshooter View Post
I think the OP is confused on what exactly anodizing is... It has nothing to do with adding strength. It is a electrolysis process in which metal is placed in a chemical solution and a electric current passes thru the item and the solution adheres to the metal. It can be used to apply color to a metallic object. You see it everyday from keychains to toys to aluminum bottle openers. It's how gold plated jewelry is created.........


Close, but not quite correct. The electrolysis process creates a layer of aluminum oxide that is harder and has a higher melting point than the base aluminum. The oxide layer is also porous so it must be sealed to make the process practical. During the sealing process dyes can be introduced, as well as corrosion inhibiting chemicals. The end result is aluminum with a harder, more wear resistant surface. Downsides are that anodizing makes welding a pita, as the base metal melts long before the surface coating does, and anodizing increases the thickness of the item being anodized. The thickness change is on the order of thousandths, and obviously does not matter on things like flashlight bodies, but does on precision parts. Thatís why the threads on your trusty Mag-Lite were cut after the body was anodized.




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Old 09-02-2018, 10:59 AM
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I have never seen anything to indicate that the xxx3 guns are Scandium. My understanding is that they are anodized aluminum in "silver" to match the stainless slides. The xxx4 guns are anodized aluminum in black to match the carbon steel guns.

Scandium framed 3rd Gens end in "0". OTOH, Scandium framed revolvers start with "3", such as the 342, 325, 340, 360.

Other than the 4040PD, are there any Scandium 3rd Gens?
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Old 09-02-2018, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rwsmith View Post
Anodizing doesn't add strength, it is a surface treatment like bluing is to steel.

Scandium is added to aluminum which significantly increases the strength of the alloy.

The alloy is actually aluminum-scandium, as aluminum is the predominant element by far. A little scandium goes a long way in making aluminum stronger. Scandium is rare and expensive. Plain aluminum is frequently anodized in different ways and colors and aluminum scandium is no different. In fact, it anodizes better than many aluminum alloys.

I have a scandium 5943 third gen. It's hefty enough to make it easy to shoot but much lighter than steel.


PS: Good gravy. The finished is described as black anodized which doesn't add strength to the alloy.

My conclusions are:

The finish is black
The finish is anodized
Anodizing doesn't add strength.

I didn't get at all that they were pulling a fast one by painting the gun black to save money on anodizing it, so it's not as strong as it should be.
The note about the scandium 5943 caught my eye. I've never heard of a scandium 5943. I'm always happy to learn though. I'm a big 3rd gen fan and have a particular soft spot for the DAO models.

What can you tell us about it? About when was it made?

I apologize for the thread hijack. Perhaps this would be best done in a different thread.
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Old 09-03-2018, 09:18 PM
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Wow. Tough crowd.
I'll just sit over here with my popcorn.
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