View Full Version : Regular cleaning of S&W (bright) nickel finish?
May 6, 2010, 07:17 PM
I shoot a lot of cast lead reloads in my factory nickel plated S&W Model 19 ,and I perpetually struggle to remove the powder staining from the cylinder using elbow grease and CLP. Is there a better approach that won't harm the nickel finish?
May 6, 2010, 09:14 PM
Because nickle plating isn't as durable as you might think, you do need to be careful about how often you do a detail cleaning of the cylinder face.
There are two methods that don't damage the finish.
First is the "lead-away" cloth. This is a treated cloth that just wipes the carbon and lead off by rubbing the area.
The second is one of the carbon cutter chemicals that is applied to the area and allowed to work.
You can buy lead-away cloths at most gun stores under several brand names. You can buy carbon cutter chemicals from some gun stores and from Brownell's.
I don't recommend using any metal polishes, even fine ones like Flitz, because they ARE abrasive and will remove the plating if used too hard or to often.
Again, I wouldn't clean the cylinder face more often then absolutely necessary to limit wear of the finish.
Cleaning the face often just to make it look nice will accelerate wear of the nickel.
May 7, 2010, 10:19 AM
First is the "lead-away" cloth. This is a treated cloth that just wipes the carbon and lead off by rubbing the area.Ah - good news! I use these for my stainless revolvers, but was worried that they would harm the copper under the nickel.
May 7, 2010, 03:12 PM
"I don't recommend using any metal polishes, even fine ones like Flitz, because they ARE abrasive"
The Lead Away clothes are abrasive also. That's why you can't use them on blued steel guns. To get rid of just carbon, use a carbon cutter such as KG1. For copper fouling, KG12. For lead, try Nevr Dull. You can use Flitz on nickel, but use it carefully. Once you got the nickel clean & free of scratches, keep it waxed with Renaissance Wax to make it look good & make cleanup easier. What you do not want to do is expose the nickel surface for extended periods to any cleaning agent which contains ammonia. That can raise hell with the nickel, especially if there are any imperfections which will allow it to get under the plating.
One more thing you can try is a coating of Corrosion-X on the face of the cylinder, forcing cone and topstrap. Many folks claim to have had success in making cleanup a lot easier with that technique although I have not tried it.
Again, stay away from Lead Away clothes on blue and nickel. Save that for stainless, which they work great on.
May 7, 2010, 05:50 PM
Bruce is correct about the lead away cloth. They are pretty abrasive. Using them once or twice should not cause a problem.
Most powder solvents are OK on factory nickeled guns, as there is no copper undercoat. Leaving them on the gun for long periods could etch the nickel plating, but using them to clean should be fine.
WD 40 works pretty well at dissolving carbon, and it won't hurt the finish to soak it in WD 40.
May 9, 2010, 12:35 PM
Is Kroil safe for use as a carbon solvent on a nickel plated gun?
May 9, 2010, 03:41 PM
I wouldn't use Kroil. It's an absolutely superior penetrating oil and will get under the nickel if there is any defect, seen or unseen, in the finish at all.
May 9, 2010, 03:54 PM
Nickel is a pretty durable finish. If a penetrant gets under nickel, the plating was going to come off anyway.
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