Blue vs Nickel (and SS?)

This is a discussion on Blue vs Nickel (and SS?) within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I am looking into a Colt SAA. I will buy the 45LC and probably 4.75" length. I really want the nickel finish as there is ...

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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    Blue vs Nickel (and SS?)

    I am looking into a Colt SAA. I will buy the 45LC and probably 4.75" length.

    I really want the nickel finish as there is nostalgia associated with it. First gun I shot was a Colt SAA, nickel, mother of pearl handles, beautiful,balance, shiny, etc. That being said I think that blued guns are beautiful as well. I plan on having both, and hopefully many of each, but what are the advantages to each, if any of Nickel finish and Blued finish? I notice blueing wears off especially with holster use, nickel doesn't (that I have seen). This, like all of my guns will be shot, and probably only carried on property or at the range.

    This question doesn't apply to Colt SAA, only. All guns in general. Trying to understand if it is just a visual thing or the intrinsic value, or lack of, in each finish.
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Nickel is beeee-euuu-teee-fullll & generally tougher than bluing. But please, please keep those mother-o'-pearl grips off that sixgun. I'll personally organize a telethon to find & buy you some SAA pre-ban elephant ivory panels. Any questions, please research Gen. G.S. Patton's response to reporters when asked if his revolvers carried "pearl grips".
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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of really deep blued guns. Kind of like a S&W revolver.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Bluing is an oxidation process, where essentially the outer surface of the metal is "rusted" in such a way that the "rust" stays on the surface, rather than flaking off (and also happens to have a blue-black coloration). This oxide layer prevents oxygen from reaching deeper into the metal and creating actual rust. Stainless steel and aluminum alloys do this under normal atmospheric conditions, which is why they don't easily corrode - if this "passive" layer is rubbed off, it just forms a new one by itself. With a blued steel weapon, once that layer is rubbed off, the exposed steel becomes susceptible to rust.

    In nickel-plating, electrical current is used to deposit nickel onto the outer surface of the steel. Nickel tends to form a passive layer of its own (many stainless steels gain their rust-proof properties from a high concentration of nickel). As I understand it, this makes it more durable than bluing, as the nickel is more wear-resistant than a layer of bluing, and it has the capacity to form a new passive layer when the top layer is rubbed off.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    Nickel is beeee-euuu-teee-fullll & generally tougher than bluing. But please, please keep those mother-o'-pearl grips off that sixgun. I'll personally organize a telethon to find & buy you some SAA pre-ban elephant ivory panels. Any questions, please research Gen. G.S. Patton's response to reporters when asked if his revolvers carried "pearl grips".
    I won't be puttin mother of pearl on them. I love contrasting colors. The black plastic stock grips are nice, but I will take preban ivory any day! I also love the wood and blue look.
    BigJon


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    Distinguished Member Array Once's Avatar
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    Refering to your last statement
    I pick all of the above

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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    it has the capacity to form a new passive layer when the top layer is rubbed off.
    Nickel is self-healing? Whoa!
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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    I won't be puttin mother of pearl on them.
    Whew, that's a relief. But now you're saying "them". Are you getting a matched pair with consecutive serial numbers? Great, now I've got to find TWO sets of MATCHED ivory grips! Dang, this is gettin' expensive!
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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    IMO: nickel (if exceedingly well done) is hard to beat in terms of looks and basic durability; ivory or stag grips is hard to beat. Gotta have a great, custom-made holster rig and belt to go with it, for a matched ensemble for the hoedowns and square dances. Silver bullets, too ... right? Gonna need a few more C-notes, I think.
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    I won't say cost isn't a factor, however the whole shebang, is part of the deal. Grips, holster, belt etc. If I thought I could get consecutive serial #s I'd do it before u could talk me out.of it!
    BigJon


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    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    If I thought I could get consecutive serial #s I'd do it before u could talk me out.of it!
    If you close your eyes & open your wallet you can get almost anything you want. As for consecutively numbered Colt SAAs, it's a relatively common request.
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    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I see a lot of old plated guns that are a mess. I have an old Colt that looks pretty crappy.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    Nickel is self-healing? Whoa!
    Yeah! Now stainless steel is even better, because then the whole piece is like that, so it doesn't matter how deep the scratch is, it's still corrosion-resistant. But, of course, more expensive, and prone to galling.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevew View Post
    I see a lot of old plated guns that are a mess. I have an old Colt that looks pretty crappy.
    Yeah, old timey corrosive ammunition, neglectful cleaning, and 109 years can take it's toll on nickel.


    Neglected blue finish looks pretty shabby too as seen on the top revolver from 1921 when compared with the heavy wear but less neglect exhibited by a 1914 example of the same model.



    On the other hand...


    The nickel will stand up to holster wear a bit better than blue and nickel provides protection against moisture to a degree that blue won't. In the days before the advent of stainless steel handguns nickel was considered superior for severe duty use. When nickel goes bad though, it really gets tacky in a hurry.

    Blue looks so very fine too though if well-maintained, despite a dab (only a dab) of holster use.


    Old doesn't have to be shabby when considering a blue finish. Honest wear coupled with proper maintenance through the years can lend a soft, appealing look to a fine blue finish. And, there is no finer blue finish to be found on handguns than the pre-World War I blue finish produced by Colt, still apparent after 102 years on this revolver which was likely unissued when it was sold as surplus out of the San Antonio Arsenal in 1920. The owner put it to considerable use but gave it careful maintenance for almost exactly 80 years before kindly allowing me to acquire it.



    The look of stainless steel is my least favorite by far. It's popular and practical. While it can oxidize, it is far less prone to do so and is appropriate for those who value the ability to neglect the surface finish of their guns. A careful re-polish can rejuvenate stainless steel firearms. Stainless steel surfaces that have badly oxidized though are unsightly and difficult to properly restore. I actually dislike the appearance of stainless steel firearms so haven't pursued them to any extent. I also fancy that I can tell that stainless steel revolvers' actions aren't as smooth as their blue/nickel brethren. This notion is likely a bunch of bunk but I still feel that way about stainless steel.


    At the end of the day, blue finish is my very favorite.
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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Dude, I want your guns. Can't afford, just want.

    I might buy what you say about the actions being less smooth in stainless. In general, stainless doesn't like rubbing against stainless.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

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