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Discussion Starter #1
Most of you probably know about the finish problem some of the Smith and Wesson Chief's Specials series, namely the 637, 638, and my personal choice the 642 all have.

Basically the short version is that apparently the frame and the cylinder are actually 2 different colors and the factory spray paints them to match. The finish is awful and wears off in a hurry.

Now in anticipation of actually taking the class this Saturday and getting my permit here sooner or later, I've been firing this gun as often as possible and I plan to work with it some more.

That is to say I've cleaned it a lot, which means most of this finish is gone. This is fine by me because I think the gun actually looks better with the spray paint gone and I couldn't care less if it's two different colors. It's going to have some "battle scars" anyway after I've carried it for 6 months.

Is there a way to hasten this process and just strip the finish off entirely? I use Gun Scrubber, and that seems to make the finish come off a little more. Or should I just wait a couple months and let it happen naturally? I think once it all flakes off the gun will look better than it did with the spray on finish applied.

I've checked and this problem does not in any way affect how the gun functions. If I ever want to I can send it back to Smith and Wesson and they'll redo the finish at no charge. But I'd rather just have my gun so I can be using it since I think it looks fine without the sprayed on finish.

The only thing I'm even remotely concerned about is that the finish is basically entirely gone on the right side of the gun where the engraved logo is, and that part of the frame is now as rough as sandpaper to the touch. Of course I don't even feel that unless I'm cleaning it so it doesn't really matter, but is that a problem easily solved or no?
 

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Sorry Euclidean, I don't have a clue about this one. All my guns are either Stainless Steel, Blued (rifles), or have some sort of corrosion resistant finish.
does anybody else have an answer for this one?
 

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Euclidean said:
Most of you probably know about the finish problem some of the Smith and Wesson Chief's Specials series, namely the 637, 638, and my personal choice the 642 all have.

Basically the short version is that apparently the frame and the cylinder are actually 2 different colors and the factory spray paints them to match. The finish is awful and wears off in a hurry.
I thought all three of those guns were stainless. Doesn't the *6* in 637, 638, and 642 still indicate that it is a stainless model? I have never heard of a spayed on finish on S&Ws, expecially the 6xx.....
 

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There's some sort of overfinish on a lot of the aluminum framed S&W revolvers.

It scratches etc with time revealing a different coat below.

As far as what to do to strip it all off, I wouldn't - afraid S&W would say I did something stupid and modified if I ever needed factory service.

I've grown to not care period on carry guns. My Sig 226 looks like the company's ad slogan personified, and the S&W 296 isn't far behind.
 

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I would just let it wear off normally would like like it has soem battle scars then ... I dont know much about Smith finshes .. Not a Smith Guy..

I also agree with Above poster about worrying smith said i did something to it if you finshed stripping it all off.
 

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Not sure , I would ask S&W about how the worn finish will affect rust and corrosion. If its re sprayed it will just wear off again I imagine. Unless they have a diffrent type of finish they install. All my pistols are well worn, I it doesn't bother me. A 2 tone revolver would look good I think.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Well I'll let it go naturally. It seems to be progressing all by itself and a little more comes off every time I clean it. I plan to shoot the thing at least 3 times a month whenever possible. Heck, this is a bad month for me shooting wise and I've shot it twice this month.

For S&W's part, they handle it okay. Any gun sent to them for warranty work for this problem gets refinished at the owner's request no questions asked. They know they screwed up on this little issue.

My understanding is that the older models, the first ones made, came from the factory with a dual tone finish because the frame is aluminum (I believe) and the cylinder and barrel are steel. The problem was a lot of people thought they were really ugly. So the solution was to spray paint the frame a flat gray color so it would resemble the flat finish on the stainless cylinder. Of course it wears off quickly, revealing the shiny aluminum underneath. I actually think it looks better this way.

I don't think they would know the difference if it were stripped or if the finish was simply allowed to wear off and I doubt they would care. It does not effect the gun's corrosion/rust resistance or in any way affect its operation.

Every gun, no matter how good, has one little flaw, and this is a very minor one.
 

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You could consider bring the weapon to a good metal finishing shop, and have them do a fine bead blasting for a satin finish. Robar Industries also makes a great finish, something like Electroless Nickel, which I've heard that Robar's finish a very durable. I for one, am very visual about what I carry, but everybody has their own tastes about how their weapon looks. I'd be concerned over the long run of time, and the effect of the corrosion factor.
Just my 2 cents :biggrin:
 

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CLASS3NH said:
You could consider bring the weapon to a good metal finishing shop, and have them do a fine bead blasting for a satin finish. Robar Industries also makes a great finish, something like Electroless Nickel, which I've heard that Robar's finish a very durable.
From Robar's Website

What is NP3?
NP3 is a surface treatment for steel and metal alloys that combines sub-micron particles of P.T.F.E (polytetrafluorothylene) with electroless nickel.

NP3 - THE PROCESS
The application of NP3 is auto-catalytic, that is, not requiring any form of electricity. This process is preferable to standard electrolytic plating as all active surfaces are evenly plated, which is not the case with any electorytically deposited coating. With Robar's well-equipped laboratory, coating thickness can be maintained to within .0002 or two ten thousandths of one inch, guaranteeing consistent quality coatings. With the P.T.F.E. evenly distributed and locked into the nickel phosphorus matrix, NP3 is a true composite. If wear occurs, fresh particles of P.T.F.E are exposed to keep the opposing surfaces lubricated throughout the life of the coating.


NP3 - THE ADVANTAGES

Very accurate and even coatings on all activated surfaces.
No lubrication is needed on opposing surfaces.
Cleaning is minimal, usually requiring only a soft cloth.
Firing for longer periods of time between cleaning, as dirt has no wet or oily surface to cling to.
NP3 has a micro hardness of 48-51 Rockwell as plated (nickel matrix).
NP3 is very corrosion resistant, a 1 mil (.001) coating exceeding 240 hour salt spray test.
NP3 has a high lubricity and low friction co-efficient; therefore, the life expectancy of a firearm will be greatly increased due to the less friction wear.
The coating is strippable with no effect on the base metal, allowing other coatings to be applied or a new coating of NP3 to be applied if necessary.
NP3 plated onto stainless steel guns will stop galling, a problem common the stainless steel guns.
NP3 is a satin grey, non-reflective color ideal for all firearms.
NP3 can be plated to all internal parts giving a smoothness to the action not found with any other coating.
In cases where the NP3 has been perforated, the corrosion shows no tendency to spread or migrate under the coating.

I'm not sure this to any of the aluminum surfaces of the gun, but Robar does good work and would be worth considering.
 

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DO NOT STRIP AWAY THE FINISH! Lwt it wear naturally. The natural wear will only effect the overcoating. When you start trying to take it off physically, you run the risk of destroying the anodizing that keeps the aluminum hardened. It won't ruin the gun, but it will sure shorten it's lifespan.
 

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The Over Coat

If the top coat can be removed with just a lacquer thinner type solvent and you can dissolve it with just say...Lacquer Thinner or Acetone on a rag then you could take it off without hurting the anodized Aluminum Hard Coat.
D. Armstrong is correct in that if the Aluminum beneath the top coating is anodized then you do not want to use any mechanical or abrasive or blasting process to remove that surface spray top coat.
Anodize on Aluminum is much harder than the underlying substrate Aluminum or "base metal" ~ You do not want to do anything that would damage the Anodizing. You will make a doggone mess.
There is no "home process" that should be used to remove the actual "hard Coat" from Aluminum.
Do a test spot under the grips & see if Lacquer Thinner and/or Acetone will dissolve the top coat.
Either of those two solvents on a rag will not affect the chemical Anodizing.
Always do a test area in a place where it will not show when attempting to do anything chemical to any expensive firearm.
 

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I had ROBAR do a complete "build up" of an M1A SuperMatch just before the great Y2K non-scare. Ummmm "just in case." They did the interior in NP3 and the exterior in ROGUARD and they painted the stock because the plastic was giving off fumes that just stank. That gun is just so easy to clean you wouldn't believe it and durable? Sheeeesh. Best of all, it just never needs to be lubed. Because of the NP3 application the action is just as smooth as butter in the release. AWESOME.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well I've since switched grips and cleaned it a couple more times. It's gotten to the point where the overcoat is slowly wearing off naturally, and it looks better than it did.

The funny thing is I don't even have the stupid permit yet and the gun already looks like it's been carried for 4 months.

Well I guess in a way it has... it's not like I haven't been using it.

In a way I am starting to like its worn, non factory fresh appearance. It's gaining character. I love to see guns that look like they belong to someone.

One of these days I need to get off my lazy butt and have them rebuild my 686-2 from the ground up. There's nothing wrong with it at all, but I just want to...
 
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