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Old 07-26-2020, 11:29 PM
daffyfellow daffyfellow is offline
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Default S&W 908 What would you do?

I have a VUV (silver frame, blued slide) S&W 908 that I bought used. I want to fix it up a bit. The previous owner had engraved personal identifier numbers into the inside of the frame and underside of the slide. It also has a few scratches on the slide and under the slide release. The rear sight is dinged up.
I have removed the numbers, sanding/polishing the scratches on the slide but leaving the anodized frame scratches stay.
It will also get Hogue grips and Trijicon sights.
Do I re-blue because it's an authentic VUV serial number gun?
Would I affect value by getting the slide nitrided?
Should I even be worried about it?
Other suggestions?
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Old 07-26-2020, 11:43 PM
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I wouldn’t worry about it.

It’s too early to tell, but right now there’s no indication that third gens, other than perhaps some 10mm models, will ever be truly ‘collectible’.

If the gun doesn’t serve any meaningful purpose in use, I’d care for it, but leave it alone. Again, with no expectation that doing so will help you at all in the long run. If you intend to carry and use it, by all means, make it your own. I did. (Not a 908)




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Old 07-27-2020, 06:35 AM
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Refinishing the gun will not make it shoot better or be more accurate. It all boils down to how much are you going to be willing to spend to fix cosmetic problems? Will the hundreds of dollars added for cosmetic reason be recoverable if sold in the future? Most likely not. Just my $0.02.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:06 AM
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The previous owner destroyed any collector value when he or she engraved their personal ID numbers into it. S&W's bluing on the 3rd gen pistols tended to be dull and thin, especially on the economy pistols. You are not going to devalue it further by refinishing the slide, so do what you want.
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Old 07-27-2020, 07:39 AM
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Why would somebody feel the need to engrave their own personal identification numbers in a gun with a serial number? Maybe on the slide where there’s no number but the frame that already has one? Is is so hard to remember a serial number? And just how often were the guns in pieces that you’d have to mark the slide, too? Only reason I can think of is if the gun was one of many and they were stored somewhere, like a rack number. A local police department takes the officer’s guns once a year and deep cleans them in a sonic bath. Even then they don’t engrave numbers everywhere.

908’s were the budget line of the 3rd gen guns. I wouldn’t do anything with it. That being said, I did re-blue a Model 10 once, but it was very worn. I wouldn’t care if the finish issues were under the side plate.

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Old 07-27-2020, 08:06 AM
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Why would somebody feel the need to engrave their own personal identification numbers in a gun with a serial number? Maybe on the slide where there’s no number but the frame that already has one? Is is so hard to remember a serial number? And just how often were the guns in pieces that you’d have to mark the slide, too? Only reason I can think of is if the gun was one of many and they were stored somewhere, like a rack number. A local police department takes the officer’s guns once a year and deep cleans them in a sonic bath. Even then they don’t engrave numbers everywhere.

908’s were the budget line of the 3rd gen guns. I wouldn’t do anything with it. That being said, I did re-blue a Model 10 once, but it was very worn. I wouldn’t care if the finish issues were under the side plate.



I have seen lots of guns that previous owners went nuts with engraving machines, heck even full social security numbers,
Some guns that would have had value!
One I remember at the LGS was a Colt Woodsman!


For the OP leave it alone, put grips or whatever you want on it, The cost of refinish is not worth it. JMHO
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:38 AM
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Did we ever get a number on how many of thos 1997 two tone 908s were made? I have two.
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Old 07-27-2020, 09:55 AM
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On the pre-68 guns, I can see putting a number on them. I have put the last 4 of a social on a few guns, but put it where it wasn't conspicuous. I agree with others, these things have a serial number, write it down and your are good.

Now off that tangent and to the OP questions.

I have a 908, love the gun and have considered nitrideing the slide to make it rust resistant but haven't wanted to spend the money on it. I got it for a super price so guess I can justify spending more on it. I also want night sights, but Trijicons are the only makers and are pricey. I ended up tracking down a 3913 which was already rust resistant and adding night sights was more within my budget range.

That being said, I still consider nitriding the 908 as well as my 6904, but haven't invested the money in it yet.

My only concern was if nitrideing might affect S&W warrantying it. Some will say "it is used, it isn't covered", but I have sent in more used guns that they warranted than ones I bought new and they have warranted them just the same.

Rosewood

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Old 07-27-2020, 09:57 AM
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By the way, what is "VUV"?

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Old 07-27-2020, 01:33 PM
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By the way, what is "VUV"?
My understanding is that these factory two-tone pistols were only made for about a year and all their serial numbers start with “VUV”. That’s how you know if it’s original or a pistol made up of parts.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by stansdds View Post
The previous owner destroyed any collector value when he or she engraved their personal ID numbers into it. S&W's bluing on the 3rd gen pistols tended to be dull and thin, especially on the economy pistols. You are not going to devalue it further by refinishing the slide, so do what you want.
Thin blueing is an understatement. I was working on a few of the scratches with water and 600 grit. I now have a nicely polished base metal showing around a few scratches. There is no turning back now. 😜
Thanks for all the advice
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:49 PM
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Thin blueing is an understatement. I was working on a few of the scratches with water and 600 grit. I now have a nicely polished base metal showing around a few scratches. There is no turning back now. 😜
Thanks for all the advice
In lieu of going all out and spending a lot of $$, you can try out the Birchwood Caseys cold gun blue (<$10). I have refinished many guns and many look like new if you prep the surface correctly. Then if you don't like it, you can go for a nitride.

How about some pics of the process? I want to see what it looks like with the blueing removed. Might spur me to start on mine.

Rosewood
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:16 PM
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Gots me thinkin. The 6904 has a different looking finish than the 908. Maybe the 6904 was bead blasted before blueing? The 908 looks like it was blued on the smooth steel finish. I wonder if I bead blast (with the secret sauce) the 908 then use cold blue if it will look like the 6904 slide? Hmmmmm...

Rosewood
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:24 PM
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How about some pics of the process? I want to see what it looks like with the blueing removed. Might spur me to start on mine.


Here are a few pics. I broke or mangled 4 drift pins getting the extractor out.
I already sanded down some deep scratches ahead of the ejection port. The damage around the extractor pin hole is new and I blame the amateur that works in my garage (me).
I will post a few picks after I start smoothing it out on 400 grit and finer.
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Old 07-28-2020, 10:49 PM
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Could you post some pics of these engraved numbers. If theyre just scratched in its one thing, but professionally engraved might lead me to believe this might be a police trade-in.

As for 3rd Gen S&W's not being collectible, go check the prices for things like 645s and 559's and tell me they're not on the exrpessway to collectability. The prices for very good condition vintage smiths are wandering into the on average 400 to 450 category and some insane prices for rarer models. Gotta love the gun-snobs that post here.
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Old 07-28-2020, 11:28 PM
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Gotta love the gun-snobs that post here.
Geez...first time I’ve ever been called that. S&amp;W 908 What would you do?

Correct me if I’m wrong...but the 559 isn’t a third gen. I wasn’t lumping all generations in one post there.

645, CS9, 40, 45, 3913 etc., sure do command a premium over other third gens, I’m honestly not sure if it’s a collectibility thing or just that they are such fine examples of solid CCW choices, regardless of age. Want something similar these days new, and be prepared to fork over much more than these beauties go for.

I guess to me, ‘collectibility’ begins when people make a huge issue over whether or not the original box, paperwork, history, etc., is included...that seems to be true with the 10mm variants, mixed with the above models, and absent elsewhere.

Please know, there’s no snobbery here! Semi auto pistol, hands down the 3rd gen is simply the best there is (for me). By and large though, I honestly feel they are better owned in use and enjoyed, rather than collecting dust on the hopes of some future value that may never come to pass.


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Old 07-29-2020, 12:42 AM
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Could you post some pics of these engraved numbers. If theyre just scratched in its one thing, but professionally engraved might lead me to believe this might be a police trade-in.
Making those numbers disappear was the first thing I did when I bought it years ago. It looked like a personal number not a badge or rack number. At the time I thought it looked bad. Until I saw the engraving on the side of a 5906 I acquired after the Florida Corrections Dept. upgraded. That agency had no regard for penmanship, symmetry or style.
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Old 07-29-2020, 01:02 AM
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This member documented his finish experiment on a value slide - M910 Slide learning project
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Old 07-29-2020, 07:08 AM
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Cold blue is the least expensive refinish, in my experience it is also the least durable. You can also rattle can refinish it with Duracoat or KG Gunkote. More expensive, but if you follow the directions, they are more durable and rust resistant finishes. If you are patient, you can rust blue it.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:36 AM
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Cold blue is the least expensive refinish, in my experience it is also the least durable. You can also rattle can refinish it with Duracoat or KG Gunkote. More expensive, but if you follow the directions, they are more durable and rust resistant finishes. If you are patient, you can rust blue it.
When I refinish blued steel, disassemble all parts from it, bead blast it, then heat it with a hot air gun before dipping it in an immersive bath of bluing salts, then a buffing and polishing with super fine steel wool, and a repeat on the heat and bluing salts. I wind up with an extremely dark blued finish that doesn't wear or scratch easily.
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Old 07-29-2020, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by daffyfellow View Post
How about some pics of the process? I want to see what it looks like with the blueing removed. Might spur me to start on mine.


Here are a few pics. I broke or mangled 4 drift pins getting the extractor out.
I already sanded down some deep scratches ahead of the ejection port. The damage around the extractor pin hole is new and I blame the amateur that works in my garage (me).
I will post a few picks after I start smoothing it out on 400 grit and finer.
Those extractor pins are tight. I too broke a punch trying to remove one. The last one I bead blasted, I just taped up that section instead of removing it and made sure I cleaned out the crevices good with carb cleaner and compressed air when done.

If you were to bead blast it, you wouldn't need to remove those scratches, the bead blast would take care of it. But you would need the setup.

However, I bet a good mirror polish and then blueing would look nice.

Rosewood

Last edited by rosewood; 07-29-2020 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 07-29-2020, 02:37 PM
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However, I bet a good mirror polish and then blueing would look nice.

Rosewood
So that brings us back to the original question.
When I get this thing all polished up, do I go for a nice deep blue?
Do I get a tougher QPQ Nitride?
Both processes will cost about the same because I am doing almost all of the prep work.

It's a one year only but it's been worked on and it doesn't have original box/papers.

Here are a few photos after some 400 grit. There are low spots on the sides and some machining ridges on the top. But I am in no rush. I will get there eventually.
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Old 07-29-2020, 03:05 PM
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400 grit, 800 or 1000 grit, then 2000 grit and you can make a mirror finish. Sometimes good to go 90degrees perpinduclar between each grade to knock off scratches from previous grade of paper.

Rosewood
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Old 07-30-2020, 07:01 AM
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If possible, with every change in grit or finer polishing compound, you polish perpendicular to the direction of the previous grit you used. This is more efficient and creates the smoothest surface possible.
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Old Yesterday, 02:16 AM
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Update:
I have decided to send the slide, slide stop lever and safety/decocker lever to get a QPQ Nitride salt bath.
I got rid of the scratches and the shop will media blast any old blueing off.
Thank you to all for the advice.
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Old Yesterday, 10:56 AM
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If you don't mind sending it off and paying a refinishing fee, S&W offers factory refinishing and re-anodizing for 3rd Gen pistols.
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Old Yesterday, 02:06 PM
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Quote:
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If you don't mind sending it off and paying a refinishing fee, S&W offers factory refinishing and re-anodizing for 3rd Gen pistols.
I am only having the slide, safety lever and slide stop done.
I don't think S&W will provide me a more durable finish for $50.
The budget line blueing wasn't very good to begin with. And I have read that their new process doesn't provide a finish suitable for a working pistol.
For those purists out there, please understand that with the damage done by the previous owner and lack of box or paperwork, any collector value is gone.
I will be a carried working shooter.
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Old Yesterday, 03:20 PM
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Daffy, I appreciate your "labor of love'. You will never get your money out of it, but that clearly is not the point. I like to see people care for "non-collector firearms", especially the models 908, 910, and 915.
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Old Yesterday, 04:43 PM
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I totally agree. I had a 410 and 457 that I cared for and loved for a while. Then my collection went a different direction, and a buddy promised to care for them. 6 mos. In his safe and he hasn't even fired them yet. But he won't sell them back so I know he'll take care of them.
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Quote:
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If you don't mind sending it off and paying a refinishing fee, S&W offers factory refinishing and re-anodizing for 3rd Gen pistols.
They will only put the factory blue back on it. I already called and they said they will not put the Nitride on a 908.

Rosewood
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S&amp;W 908 What would you do? S&amp;W 908 What would you do? S&amp;W 908 What would you do? S&amp;W 908 What would you do? S&amp;W 908 What would you do?  
Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Georgia
Posts: 569
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daffyfellow View Post
I am only having the slide, safety lever and slide stop done.
I don't think S&W will provide me a more durable finish for $50.
They are going to nitride the slide for $50? Is that shipping and all? Please let me know how it turns out, for that price, I might just consider sending mine in.

Rosewood
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