Defensive Carry banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
952 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
So I posted earlier that I'm acquiring a S&W Model 442 with Nickel finish.

I'm planning to carry it some times.

What is the best way to protect the finish and prevent (or at least reduce) the Nickel flaking off?

Coat it with wax? Or just a light coat of REM oil? Or what?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10,303 Posts
Good question, I've wondered about this myself, not owning any nickel guns (yet). I'll defer to those who do, but a light coating of oil and a soft leather holster seem like good ideas.
 
  • Like
Reactions: bmcgilvray

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,231 Posts
Unfortunately, the durability of "modern" (post-1985?) nickel finishes is very reduced compared to quality work performed by top tier manufacturers in years past. I believe this is due to environmental disposal/chemical exposure regulations.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,600 Posts
My CZ is holding up fine. I carry it in a natural finished quality leather holster. I've used chemical cleaners, oil, and grease. I clean it like any other gun and wipe it down when I'm done. It's only 9 years old and isn't my EDC, but it gets the most range time.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,890 Posts
Unfortunately, the durability of "modern" (post-1985?) nickel finishes is very reduced compared to quality work performed by top tier manufacturers in years past. I believe this is due to environmental disposal/chemical exposure regulations.
+1 this ^^^ the #1 reason I would get a stainless model and polish it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,787 Posts
In the era prior to the advent of the stainless steel gun and also some modern coatings/finishes, nickel offered an early enhancement to metal surface preservation as well as provided a flashy appearance which held great appeal for many. The secret to long life with nickel is maintenance. I keep mine clean and wiped down with a RIG impregnated rag. I haven't used Renaissance Wax though I am always intending to get some to use.




This mid-1950s N-Frame Smith & Wesson Heavy Duty was undoubtedly a lawman's gun in its day, probably right here in Texas. While I haven't obtained a factory letter yet, it bears the tell-tale signs of years of heavy holstered use. It may be seen that the nickel is slightly worn through on either side of the muzzle. Takes quite a lot of holstered use to do that to nickel. There is also the odd peck and scratch to be found, neither of which have cut through the nickel plating to the metal beneath. Nickel can be quite sturdy.

Nickel finish's enemies are either moisture and/or chemical corrosion, coupled with neglect. By the time the Heavy Duty above was shipped and put into service, ammunition could be depended on to be loaded with smokeless powders and primed with non-corrosive primers. Someone prized this Heavy Duty on which he depended on to bring him home at day's end. Because the revolver was valued it was kept clean and perhaps wiped down at the end of the day. No wretched corrosion can be seen and the nickel is not loosening or flaking. Nickel guns were said to once be popular with lawmen in coastal regions because the guns were more resistant to corrosion, both for the humid climates and from perspiration. Still, they needed to be tended to regularly, a habit with which extended their service lives substantially.

This early K-Frame Smith & Wesson suffered from sheer naked neglect. When this revolver was produced in 1904, .38 Special was still sold in black powder loadings to some extent and corrosive primers ruled the day. It would be over 20 years before the first reliable non-corrosive priming compounds were introduced to the American ammunition market. This revolver was used with the ammunition of the day and then put away untended. It may have sat untended for decades. Corrosion acted on the nickel, causing it to loosen. Flaking resulted. This shabby remaining nickel finish isn't the result of wear on the revolver but is mute testimony to someone's laziness in years gone by. This old Smith & Wesson still has an honored place in the "Home For Wayward Old Guns."




The Smith & Wesson Model 19 (top) is from 1980 and the Smith & Wesson Model 57 (bottom) is from 1975. Both have seen a small amount of holstered use since I acquired them. They're none the worse for the wear because they receive attention after they are used.





Sweaty fingerprints are not likely to grow a "fur" of rust on a nickel surface as they are prone to do on an unprotected blued finish. Nickel finish is distinctly more impervious to rust than is blue finish. Because of that, nickel finish is easier to keep up with and conceals wear for longer than blue. Both have to be maintained. One cannot ignore his nickel gun though as quite a few are wont to do with their stainless steel guns or their Glocks. If you are the type who is lackadaisical with cleaning habits or who enjoys bragging on forums about how many rounds your handgun has fired between cleanings or how you never lubricate your pistol then nickel finish is not for you.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19,639 Posts
In the era prior to the advent of the stainless steel gun and also some modern coatings/finishes, nickel offered an early enhancement to metal surface preservation as well as provided a flashy appearance which held great appeal for many. The secret to long life with nickel is maintenance. I keep mine clean and wiped down with a RIG impregnated rag. I haven't used Renaissance Wax though I am always intending to get some to use.




This mid-1950s N-Frame Smith & Wesson Heavy Duty was undoubtedly a lawman's gun in its day, probably right here in Texas. While I haven't obtained a factory letter yet, it bears the tell-tale signs of years of heavy holstered use. It may be seen that the nickel is slightly worn through on either side of the muzzle. Takes quite a lot of holstered use to do that to nickel. There is also the odd peck and scratch to be found, neither of which have cut through the nickel plating to the metal beneath. Nickel can be quite sturdy.

Nickel finish's enemies are either moisture and/or chemical corrosion, coupled with neglect. By the time the Heavy Duty above was shipped and put into service, ammunition could be depended on to be loaded with smokeless powders and primed with non-corrosive primers. Someone prized this Heavy Duty on which he depended on to bring him home at day's end. Because the revolver was valued it was kept clean and perhaps wiped down at the end of the day. No wretched corrosion can be seen and the nickel is not loosening or flaking. Nickel guns were said to once be popular with lawmen in coastal regions because the guns were more resistant to corrosion, both for the humid climates and from perspiration. Still, they needed to be tended to regularly, a habit with which extended their service lives substantially.

This early K-Frame Smith & Wesson suffered from sheer naked neglect. When this revolver was produced in 1904, .38 Special was still sold in black powder loadings to some extent and corrosive primers ruled the day. It would be over 20 years before the first reliable non-corrosive priming compounds were introduced to the American ammunition market. This revolver was used with the ammunition of the day and then put away untended. It may have sat untended for decades. Corrosion acted on the nickel, causing it to loosen. Flaking resulted. This shabby remaining nickel finish isn't the result of wear on the revolver but is mute testimony to someone's laziness in years gone by. This old Smith & Wesson still has an honored place in the "Home For Wayward Old Guns."




The Smith & Wesson Model 19 (top) is from 1980 and the Smith & Wesson Model 57 (bottom) is from 1975. Both have seen a small amount of holstered use since I acquired them. They're none the worse for the wear because they receive attention after they are used.





Sweaty fingerprints are not likely to grow a "fur" of rust on a nickel surface as they are prone to do on an unprotected blued finish. Nickel finish is distinctly more impervious to rust than is blue finish. Because of that, nickel finish is easier to keep up with and conceals wear for longer than blue. Both have to be maintained. One cannot ignore his nickel gun though as quite a few are wont to do with their stainless steel guns or their Glocks. If you are the type who is lackadaisical with cleaning habits or who enjoys bragging on forums about how many rounds your handgun has fired between cleanings or how you never lubricate your pistol then nickel finish is not for you.
Yup, only nickel pistols I owned were the collector grade revos from Smith. Nickel also discolors easily if not maintained. Thanks for sharing the pics. Nice guns you have there.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,639 Posts
The best ticket is Renaissance Wax. I have some nickle collectables that remain beautiful using it.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,787 Posts
That is no dig at you Brownie. You are you're own man and know what you are about.

It may have been a bit of a poke at the lazy, half-hearted gun owner though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20,021 Posts
Many years ago, it was said not to use chemicals like Hoppes #9 on Nickel coated guns.

Thus, I have never tested the theory.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
19,639 Posts
That is no dig at you Brownie. You are you're own man and know what you are about.

It may have been a bit of a poke at the lazy, half-hearted gun owner though.
No offense taken whatsoever sir. My collectors were dawdled over and kept absolutely white glove clean. I even removed the grips on the collectors so none of the cleaning fluids would taint the wood, even in storage. Real anal on the upkeep of fine firearms that were purchased as investments such as yours. I just didn't shoot them as I think you do from time to time. :bier:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
18,787 Posts
I did test the Hoppe's No. 9 and nickel finish's reaction thereto on an occasion and so discount the whole rumor.

I once had a .32-20 Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector from 1906 that looked much like the wheezy old .38 I posted above, only the .32-20 had a worse case of the "leprosy." I was young and going through my hatred of nickel phase anyway so was inspired to strip the nickel off and refinish the gun. I'd read that Hoppe's No. 9 was a no-no with nickel finish and would remove it, degrade it, just generally play havoc with it. This was in those per-internet days when we read stuff in books and gun rags.

So, I got a bread pan and a quart of Hoppe's No. 9 and detail stripped the .32-20, placing all nickel parts in the pan and covering them in Hoppe's No. 9. Covered the pan in Saran Wrap and left it to sit overnight on the reloading bench.

Next day I went in there expecting to see at least the beginnings of the results that Hoppe's No. 9 was suppose to do to nickel. Nothing! Left the parts in there the rest of the week, looking in again over the weekend. Nothing! A tentative scrub and a bit of picking at the edges of the flaky nickel patches revealed no special loosening of the nickel that was still firmly attached.

Long story short, the bread pan of Hoppe's No. 9 marinated parts became a fixture of the reloading bench for some months. No harm was ever done to the remaining nickel. I finally gave up and carried the revolver to a gunsmith who expertly stripped and refinished it, bluing it as I had requested. I traded the gun not long afterward, dissatisfied with it now that it was "refinished."

I maintain the habit of cleaning the nickel ones here with Hoppe's No. 9, taking perhaps a bit more care in wiping them dry afterward. The guns have never come to grief because of the Hoppe's No. 9.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top