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  1. #1
    RugerShooter is offline Junior Member
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    Care for Nickel plated revolver?

    I don't have any experience with these guns, but their looks always catch my eye. What kind of special care does it take to keep the finish looking nice? And do they hold up well over time, or do they tend to rust easier, show holster wear, etc.?

    I've seen some sharp looking nickel plated Smiths on the photo threads, so I know someone knows a thing or two about them!

  2. #2
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    Agreed, they look cool. However, the finish tends to flake off over time. Bright nickel is actually copper plating on the gun, plus nickel plating over the copper, so it adds a bit of thickness, doesn't work well in tight spaces. Solvents like Hoppes #9 are designed to remove "deposits" from metal, and nickel is a "deposit" on the metal. Use it, but wipe it off; don't let it soak.

    I owned a nice nickel Model 19 once, but the finish started to come off at the leading edges of the cylinder, at the forcing cone, and at the muzzle.

    Electroless nickel, on the other hand, is a different process. Doesn't flake (because there is no copper layer), but usually comes out matte. It is hard to make electroless nickel bright, because it is too thin. Polish it enough to make it shiny, and you remove the nickel down to the underlying metal.

    Looks, yes. Durability, no.

  3. #3
    RugerShooter is offline Junior Member
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    So you don't really have to worry as much about the nickel plated guns with more of a matte look? Which I guess takes away that good shiny look I liked to start with.

  4. #4
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugerShooter View Post
    So you don't really have to worry as much about the nickel plated guns with more of a matte look? Which I guess takes away that good shiny look I liked to start with.
    That's right. Shiny nickel is electroplated (nickel over copper). Electroless (matte) nickel is not "plated," does not flake like plating does.

    If you like the shiny look, go for the nickel plating, and expect you might have to have it re-done in 10 or 15 years. In that respect, it's like bluing. Big deal.

  5. #5
    tncruzin's Avatar
    tncruzin is offline Junior Member
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    I have a nickle plated 38 special that I've owned since the late 1970's and it looks as good today as the day I got it. I've stored it for years before with no care at all and it looks no different when I get it out. Hope I've helped.http://i105.photobucket.com/albums/m...n/IMG_0003.jpg

  6. #6
    MitchellB's Avatar
    MitchellB is offline Member
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    I got a 1916 Smith that was nickle plated sometime between British use in WWI and 1950s (when dad got it) and looks like a brand new revolver, but it does not get handled very much either.

  7. #7
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is offline Senior Member
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    As has been noted, be careful with solvents such as Hoppe's No. 9. As to flaking, I don't know why some guns do that. I've seen fairly new guns flake, while hundred year old guns often look near brand new.

    Nickel plating does sort of "yellow" over the years, apparently the copper or brass showing through, and this,to me is the beauty of nickel over stainless steel. It ages better developing that patina that stainlees can never achieve.

    Bob Wright

    Incidentally, Elmer Keith wrote about a man who was to have a Colt Single Action nickeled. He saw the gun as it was copper plated and stopped the process right there. The gun took on the blackened weathered coppered look except where it contacted the leather holster, which burnished it bright. Suited him just fine that way.

    Bob Wright

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