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Old February 18, 2008, 07:11 PM   #1
RPSmith
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How do I remove a nickel finish?

Help I'm in love with the wrong type of gun.

A beautiful 686 2.5" for a steal of a price.

It's pre-lock and no MIM.

BUT IT'S NICKEL

Is there a safe way to remove it? I'm dubious of glass-beading (wouldn't want those little suckers to mess up that beautiful S&W action) and buffing on a wheel seems like a good way to mess up a nice gun too.

Anyone solve this problem before? I love the heft and feel of the gun and pre-lock models are getting harder to come by. Help!
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Old February 18, 2008, 07:22 PM   #2
TNFrank
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You'd probably have to send it out to be done since they'll be a plating of copper under the nickel as well. If you want I'd just send it off to Robar and have him put the Np3 finish on it for you. It's pricy but it'll last for two lifetimes and will give the gun a matte finish kind of like stainless, which I really like. JMHO, YMMV.
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Old February 18, 2008, 07:42 PM   #3
Dfariswheel
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The S&W 686 is a STAINLESS STEEL gun, not nickel.

Probably, someone has polished it with metal polish to a brighter shine.
S&W can restore the factory satin "grained" finish easily.

You can do a quite acceptable job at home with Scotchbrite pads which is what we use to repair scratches and scuffs on stainless guns.
Scotchbrite pads are synthetic polishing pads, similar to the green pot scrubber pads sold in grocery stores, only in a finer "grit".
You can buy them in a variety of grits at most auto supply houses, where they're sold for use in painting cars.

To restore the original factory grained finish, simply "stroke" the metal with a pad to restore the factory-like grained finish.
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Old February 18, 2008, 07:47 PM   #4
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Like Dfariswheel said, a 686 is Stainless Steel not Nickel. Buy it, or you will be sorry you didn't...........hpg
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Old February 18, 2008, 08:03 PM   #5
RPSmith
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Quote:
The S&W 686 is a STAINLESS STEEL gun, not nickel.
That is exactly what I said and also thought that is was just highly polished. I already have a 686 4" and just thought that someone had taken it to the buffing wheel.

The owner of the gun shop is 100% convinced it has been nickeled and showed me Ruger's high-buffed stainless as a comparison. The nickled gun is much shinier. BTW it is possible to nickel a stainless (I wasn't sure that you could but I asked)

When I asked why the hell would anyone nickel-plate a SS gun he responded, "I don't know maybe the guy was a pimp!" It sucks I know, but I'm pretty sure some idiot put nickel on a perfectly good SS revolver. He may as well have painted a moustache on the Mona Lisa!
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Old February 18, 2008, 08:20 PM   #6
KyJim
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Okay, what's wrong with nickel besides the fact it is not as durable? Everybody needs a gun with a little bling!

BTW, some stainless finishes can be mistaken for nickel. The photo below is not too good, but the upper Python has the Colt Ultimate Stainless finish and, unless you knew otherwise, it could pass for nickel.

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Old February 18, 2008, 08:27 PM   #7
Webleymkv
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I'd say that it's stainless and someone just polished the bejeebers out of it. Now, if it was a 586 (the carbon steel version of the 686) I could believe it. Besides, I like Nickel on a revolver.


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Old February 18, 2008, 08:49 PM   #8
SIGSHR
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As our experts have said, the S&W M686 is stainless. As far as removing nickel, soak it in Hoppe's No. 9 that will remove a nickel finish PDQ. (harharhar)
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Old February 18, 2008, 08:57 PM   #9
TNFrank
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LOL, gee, funny I didn't catch that. Yep, 686 IS stainless.
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Old February 18, 2008, 09:14 PM   #10
RPSmith
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OK, so how do I tell the difference between nickel and highly-polished SS?
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Old February 18, 2008, 09:29 PM   #11
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Just use the gun a lot and the nickel will wear away after a while.
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Old February 18, 2008, 09:32 PM   #12
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I agree with the others, it is almost certainly just polished stainless. There's no reason to nickel plate stainless.

The difference is in the color. It is slight but if you know what to look for, you 'should' be able to tell between the two at a glance. You already know what stainless looks like, it can be polished to be just as bright as typical factory nickel finishes so luster is not a determining factor. Nickel plating has a slight bronze hue to it. Totally unlike chrome, which is a very "white" finish, almost bluish. Very similar to polished aluminum. Stainless is somewhere between the two. Find yourself some color pictures or even better, live guns in a shop that are known to be nickel and compare the two.
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Old February 19, 2008, 06:18 AM   #13
Hal
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Hello,
Quote:
OK, so how do I tell the difference between nickel and highly-polished SS?
Scratch it in an inconspicuous spot - like under the grips.
SS will scratch.
Nickel will too, but you'll have to really work at it.
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Old February 19, 2008, 11:25 AM   #14
DPris
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If it is nickel, it should be removed electro-chemically by a "reverse plating" process for best results.
Find a gunsmith who can do it.
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Old February 19, 2008, 11:29 AM   #15
Mike Irwin
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You can remove the finish, or I should say alter the finish, by having it bead blasted.

I'm NOT a fan of stainless (soulless) steel, but I've seen a number of bead blasted guns. They develop almost a pewter color and have a lot more character than something that looks like the bumper off a Nash Rambler.
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Old February 19, 2008, 08:06 PM   #16
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I picked up a nickel 586 a few months ago. Wouldn't have but I got it for a great price.

I'd rather have a 686.
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Old February 19, 2008, 08:14 PM   #17
akr
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I wouldn't take the dealer's word for it. Even if it is nickel, why change it? Nickel is one of the hardest and most durable finishes (just keep anything with ammonia away from it). There are nickel guns that still look good after a hundred years. As for myself, I like nickel guns.
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Old February 19, 2008, 08:21 PM   #18
tplumeri
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My SS vaquero is high gloss. ruger advertised it "to look like the nickel finish of old".
I think its polished stainless, who would nickel plate a SS gun?
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Old February 19, 2008, 09:00 PM   #19
RPSmith
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Quote:
who would nickel plate a SS gun?
Tell me about it! It's killing me!

I'll try the scratch test if I can. But just because it's a bad idea doesn't mean somebody didn't do it. Like the gun shop owner said, " Maybe he was a pimp." Ouch!

If the thing isn't nickel-plated, it's a steal on exactly the type of 686 that I want (dash 3, SS, 2.5" barrel).

If it is nickel....well, hell I just don't know what to do.
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