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Old 09-20-2018, 03:16 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Default Suggestions please: Is there a way to protect/preserve the Mod. 915 finish?

Hi,

A few months ago I bought a Mod. 915 with the orig. box, papers, mags, the whole deal. Believe me, I looked for one in this shape for a looong time.

The pistol was, and is, in perfect condition. It's mechanically AND cosmetically pristine. Not a scratch on it. And I want to keep it that way!

You guys who own these pistols probably know the aluminum alloy frames on these pistols tend to scratch if you look at them the wrong way. I speak from experience.

Does anyone know of an additive or coating I can apply to the frame which will help prevent scratching?

It's a great shooter and I'm pleased with the accuracy. But I've only taken it to the range twice because I want to keep it mint, the way it is now.

Other than making it a safe queen or just not shooting it, is there a way to prevent the aluminum alloy frame from scratching?
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Last edited by mikem; 09-20-2018 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:27 PM
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Maybe Ren Wax will help a little.
Main thing is keep it out of a holster and don't drop it, bang it against range table etc.
Slide finish will start wearing thin before the frame.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:37 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Originally Posted by dusty3030 View Post
Slide finish will start wearing thin before the frame.
Are you saying the carbon steel slide will scratch more readily than the aluminum alloy frame?

This has not been my experience with the Model 915, quite the opposite, in fact.

Last edited by mikem; 09-20-2018 at 03:40 PM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:48 PM
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I am saying the finish will wear thin on the slide. It was a value series gun. I've owned them too. Believe me or not it's true. The matte finish on the slide isn't as durable as the anodized finish on the aluminum frame.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:51 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
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I am saying the finish will wear thin on the slide. It was a value series gun. I've owned them too. Believe me or not it's true. The matte finish on the slide isn't as durable as the anodized finish on the aluminum frame.
I guess we just disagree on this.

Let's see what other 915 owners have to say.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:55 PM
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Whatever. Go look at used 915's, 457's etc and see what the slide versus the frame looks like. The slide finish will be thin and the edges and corners will be worn through to bare metal. The frames will still be mostly black and only places finish will be marred on the frames is where they were banged around or rubbed on a holster.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:58 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Originally Posted by dusty3030 View Post
Whatever. Go look at used 915's, 457's etc and see what the slide versus the frame looks like. The slide finish will be thin and the edges and corners will be worn through to bare metal. The frames will still be mostly black and only places finish will be marred on the frames is where they were banged around or rubbed on a holster.
Whatever? I despise that dismissive phrase.

As I said, let's see what others have to say.

I already know what you think.

But should I believe you or what my eyes and my experience with the Model 915 tell me?

And please don't tell me that it's just holster wear on the frames in the pictures.

We're talking about which is more prone to wear on this pistol, the frame or the receiver and how to preserve this pistol's finish.

Holsters touch both frames and receivers. So where is the wear on the receivers?

Which look more worn to you, frame or receiver?
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:33 PM
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It has also been my experience that the finish on 915's is all of these things:

1) irrationally cheap and ultra-low quality
2) absolutely won't stand up to use
3) will make the pistol look MILES more worn than it is
4) yes, opposite of normal for alloy frame -- slide finish is cheaper and lousier than the frame
5) cheap finish will NEVER hurt the utility in this great gun, and easily overlooked at the price 915's trade at

My suggestion, consider it an outright CHALLENGE if you choose not to take my advice:

Buy a beater 915 for chump change and put your pristine 915 back in the box if you love that it is pristine. No, I am not kidding-- I also have a mint/NIB 915, it's very cool and I am certain that it's finish simply will not tolerate use.

The challenge... if you elect to keep using your pristine 915, keep us updated. I've never witnessed a 915 who's finish will tolerate handling, shooting, cleaning or GASP, carrying over time.

The good news is that there's so damn many 915's that you shouldn't lose sleep over this.

If ya just wanna argue and get snotty hahaha, well, that's fun around here also. Count me in.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:38 PM
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Just shoot the thing and do not worry what that does to the gun's condition.

It is not now, and never will be, highly collectible.

It will depreciate over time, not appreciate.

Enjoy it for what it is, a relatively inexpensive tool.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem View Post
Am I the only one who has noticed prices going up on the 915 in the last few years?
This is not the first time I am proven wrong, and will not be the last time.

Thanks, mikem.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:07 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collects View Post
Just shoot the thing and do not worry what that does to the gun's condition.

It is not now, and never will be, highly collectible.

It will depreciate over time, not appreciate.

Enjoy it for what it is, a relatively inexpensive tool.
Collects,

I like to keep my posessions in as good shape as I possibly can. You know, my homes, my cars, my firearms.

You do what you want with your stuff and I'll do what I want with mine.

And am I the only one who has noticed prices going up on the 915 in the last few years?
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:08 PM
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I'll enthusiastically argue two points:

1) "915 is not and will ever be collectible" Ummm, wrong, dead wrong. If you meant "915 won't bring Python money..." then I'm with ya but we have a whole forum just here of folks who love these guns. This one in particular isn't scarce or rare but a PRISTINE one is already both. It's a simple and dead sure certainty that 10 or (many) more years from now, some folks would be thrilled to find a mint/NIB 915.

2) 915 prices rising in recent months or years? No, nope, no way, especially as a huge glut of them have been re-imported from service and duty use in foreign lands. Price on a mint/NIB 915...? Tough call as these aren't common.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:09 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Collects View Post
This is not the first time I am proven wrong, and will not be the last time.

Thanks, mikem.
Ooops, Collects, I missed this post. Sorry.

And, uh, oh yeah, do any of you guys know of a finish add-on that can be applied to the 915 to help protect and preserve it's somewhat fragile finish?

Last edited by mikem; 09-20-2018 at 06:15 PM.
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  #14  
Old 09-20-2018, 06:18 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
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I It's a simple and dead sure certainty that 10 or (many) more years from now, some folks would be thrilled to find a mint/NIB 915.
Sevens,

You mean like this one?
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:23 PM
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Some folks will hate the analogy I'm about to use, but I think it helps make the point. Instead of S&W 915, picture in your mind a 1986 Pontiac Firebird. Now I'm not talking about a GTA or even a Formula, I'm talking base model, low end.

Continue to imagine if you will, the car: condition is mint, low miles, everything works as if brand new and interior is in top shape. You even have the window sticker and all documents including promotional brochures and advertisements.

Now... the current year is 1989. It's an '86 Pontiac. I would suggest that you drive it, commute with it, take the kids for ice cream. It's a car, it has a lot of utility and it didn't cost a fortune and it isn't rare and won't win any races.

Okay, still with me?
SAME CAR, same condition, everything is the same except now the year is 2018 and the retro and collectible car market has evolved over the last 20yrs in a way that nobody would have predicted.

This '86 base model Firechicken is definitely NOT a 1970 Plymouth SuperBird but are you gonna tell me that you should take this mint car with almost no miles and original everything in perfect shape and slog this sucker through your winter commute hell?

It's just a damn car, drive it, it isn't collectibke yadda yadda yadda....

I wouldn't do that. Not sure why anyone would.

I'm not saying you should take a 2nd mortgage out and drop $10k on an '86 Firebird... I'm saying if you HAVE one and it is dead mint in 2018, that sucker is collectible and somebody would love to buy it from you in that condition.

Much like a 915 that's ANIB now or 5-10-20 years from now.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
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Sevens,

You mean like this one?
No man, I mean like the one I have in it's original cardboard one-piece flip-top box, with the colored production stickers STILL on the pistol.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:29 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevens View Post

I'm saying if you HAVE one and it is dead mint in 2018, that sucker is collectible and somebody would love to buy it from you in that condition.

Much like a 915 that's ANIB now or 5-10-20 years from no
Sevens,

I'm convinced. I'm going to buy a beater 915 to shoot and just stash the mint one.

Thanks.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:39 PM
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Quote:
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No man, I mean like the one I have in it's original cardboard one-piece flip-top box, with the colored production stickers STILL on the pistol.
The box mine came in is original also.

I wonder when they switched from cardboard to plastic? They only made these from 92-94, I think.

I'd love to see your pistol with production stickers on it. Feel like posting a pic?
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:49 PM
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Ahhhh, one day I'll find the energy to set up a host for pictures. Until then, imagine it looks just like yours except it has the little colored stickers (I think one dot is actually laying in the box) and the box is the older style blue that says PISTOL PISTOL PISTOL PISTOL on it.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
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Ahhhh, one day I'll find the energy to set up a host for pictures. Until then, imagine it looks just like yours except it has the little colored stickers (I think one dot is actually laying in the box) and the box is the older style blue that says PISTOL PISTOL PISTOL PISTOL on it.
Sevens,

I'm able to take photos with my tablet and send them directly to the forum from the tablet, no host site necessary!

Tell you what. I'll give you $200 for your 915 and you can go buy a nice tablet.

That 915 of yours is only going to depreciate in value. So, over time, it'll be my loss, right?

Last edited by mikem; 09-20-2018 at 06:58 PM.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:01 PM
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I actually have two 915's, down from three that I had. (A good buddy needed one!). Not selling any of my 9mm's at the moment. But I do have a 4566 TSW that I could be talked out of. But not at $200.
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Old 09-20-2018, 07:05 PM
mikem mikem is offline
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Quote:
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I actually have two 915's, down from three that I had. (A good buddy needed one!). Not selling any olof my 9mm's at the moment.
Ya can't fool that ol' Sevens!
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Old 09-20-2018, 09:44 PM
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Aluminum frames can be touched up with Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black.
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Old 09-20-2018, 10:46 PM
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I've been collecting S&W 3rd Gen autos since 2007. I'm in Southern California where prices for 3rd Gens have been rising steadily. Keep in mind that here in California we don't have a glut caused by pistols "re-imported from service and duty use in foreign lands" or LE turn-ins.

I saw my first 915 in 2008. It was offered on consignment sitting next to a 910. I knew the shop owner pretty well and he allowed me field strip them side by side for a comparison. Oh my, there was no real comparison at all. The 915 is truly a 3rd Gen with a few corners cut. The 910 is a true Value Line pistol, plastic sights, squared box contours and all. The 915 was 98% no box. That's the way I like my 3rd Gens so I don't feel bad about shooting them, but they're still really nice to look at. I bought it.

The next few 915s I saw were dinged up, maybe 85-90%. I passed on those. Then in 2017, I saw one on consignment around 98-99% no box. I bought that one. I now have two.

Like most black alloy frame pistols, they will show every little scratch and ding. The finish on the slide does not seem as durable as that on my 6904 or 4014. I keep my pristine 915s in soft cases that go to the range and then come home, no holster or rough handling, that's the way I protect their condition. HTH


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Old 09-21-2018, 04:17 PM
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Aluminum frames can be touched up with Birchwood Casey Aluminum Black.
Apec, that's good info. Thanks.

But I'm looking for something I can apply to my 915 to help protect and preserve the finish. Thus far, the finish is perfect, and I want to keep it that way.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:06 AM
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I am not aware of anything in the gun industry that can do that. If it did exist, it would sure interest everyone else concerned about protecting blued/cerakoted/nitrided finish and such.
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Old 09-22-2018, 04:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikem View Post
Apec, that's good info. Thanks.

But I'm looking for something I can apply to my 915 to help protect and preserve the finish. Thus far, the finish is perfect, and I want to keep it that way.
Bubble wrap?
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:01 AM
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There is no additive or coating that can be applied except a harder finish like a industrial hard chrome finish. Robar's NP3+ finish is a good one but I'm not sure it can be applied to an alloy frame....

I think bubble wrap and your gun safe might work .

Gary
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:42 AM
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An automotive clearcoat might work, but then you are removing the originality of the gun. I think that not shooting it and keeping it in the safe is the only way to maintaining the original finish.
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Old 09-22-2018, 02:47 PM
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My 915 shows some wear, especially along edges. It's a range gun now, not a carry gun, so it shouldn't pick up any major scratches or dings if I am careful -- but I agree it is not a hard, resilient finish.

One very nice addition to this pistol was done by Novaks, Parkersburg, WV. They added a Novak rear sight to replace the factory sight, making the gun easier to shoot (for me) and improving the looks a bit.

The Mdl 915 finish may be a little "thin" or "soft," but this is really the problem with any gun - using them makes them look used. Although the Mdl 915 is a nice gun, it will never be a great "collector" item that reaches high value -- so not to worry. Two reasonable suggestions have been offered to the OP: shoot and enjoy it, while accepting some wear; or put it in the safe, and keep it pristine -- while buying a run of the mill Mdl 915 as a shooter.
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Old 09-22-2018, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S&W Rover View Post
One very nice addition to this pistol was done by Novaks, Parkersburg, WV. They added a Novak rear sight to replace the factory sight, making the gun easier to shoot (for me) and improving the looks a bit.
Actually, I have to say that at least in my opinion, it REALLY improves the looks a lot. The 915 is already an attractive pistol but the rear sight is a slight detraction.

With a Novak on there like a 3rd Gen deserves, you've got not only a better looking pistol, you've really got a distinct look because S&W didn't catalog anything that looks like that. Closest was the very scarce 5905 or the 5904, both of which has the original plump step-sided frame. The 915 frame is svelte.

You've got to be a real S&W junkie to come to these conclusions when the changes are as small as a rear sight, but that's a sharp looking pistol.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:48 PM
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Thanks!

Novak's charged a reasonable price to mill the slide and install their sight on my Mdl 915.

Novak Designs Inc. - Products - 3rd Gen Series

Wayne Novak designed the famous Novak LoMount sight and had a lot to do with S&W using them on the 3rd Gen Pistols. I think a Novak sight belongs on the Mdl 915!
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:05 PM
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Heh, Wayne Novak punked me at a gun show. I have a thread about it here, I gotta go find it.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:24 PM
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Here it is:
Fun & laughs at the gun show, a S&W tale
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:44 PM
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The anodizing on my early 1990’s 915 frame is similar in quality to the 5904, Sig Sauer or Beretta pistol.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:46 PM
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The anodizing on my 915 is equal to a 5904, sig Sauer or aluminum framed Beretta.
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Old 09-23-2018, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dusty3030 View Post
I am saying the finish will wear thin on the slide. It was a value series gun. I've owned them too. Believe me or not it's true. The matte finish on the slide isn't as durable as the anodized finish on the aluminum frame.
The slide finish is not equal to a 5904. While the frame anodizing is equal to a 5904, Sig Sauer or Beretta pistol. I have an early 90’s 915.
Op must drag his bits through shattered glass and gravel.

Last edited by surfgun; 09-23-2018 at 02:49 PM.
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