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Old December 9, 2012, 11:18 PM   #1
Zhillsauditor
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S&W Aluminum Cylinder Coating

Hey all,

I have a S&W m17 with the aluminum cylinder. The gun is in great mechanical shape, but the bluing is wearing, making the cylinder look darker than much of the gun, and the cylinder is showing some slight chipping as well.

I've been thinking about resurfacing. I don't see how the color of the cylinder will match if I get the gun reblued. I was thinking about either getting the whole thing chrome or nickle plated, or maybe just the cylinder with a reblue of the rest of the gun--if I'm going to have a two tone revolver, I'd rather have a shinny cylinder and a blue frame than two mismatched blues.

Anyway, the question is, can an aluminimum cylinder be chrome or nickle plated with long lasting results?

Thanks,
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Old December 9, 2012, 11:31 PM   #2
JohnKSa
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I know that NP3, a metallic plating consisting of electroless nickel & teflon, can be applied directly to aluminum. I assume that electroless nickel can be as well.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:23 AM   #3
Bill DeShivs
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Both can be applied to aluminum. A special treatment is required first.
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Old December 10, 2012, 12:53 AM   #4
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What sort of treatment?
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Old December 10, 2012, 01:03 PM   #5
Zhillsauditor
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If it weren't for the cylinder, I would not worry about it, but the two shades of blue annoy me, and I worry about the wear and tear on the aluminum surfaces of the cylinder. I've never had anything chromed, so maybe this is my opportunity.
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Old December 10, 2012, 04:20 PM   #6
Bill DeShivs
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Usually a zincate coating is applied to the aluminum to prevent oxidizing. The slightly acidic nickel solution eats the zincate away, exposing fresh aluminum and plating it.
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Old December 10, 2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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Interesting. I knew that a copper plate was required prior to some types of plating, but what you're talking about is almost like a primer/prep coat that disappears as the nickel attaches.

Neat stuff.
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Old December 10, 2012, 11:22 PM   #8
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An aluminum Cylinder?... are there any unusual markings on the gun? If your correct... That may be a bit of a rare piece. I suggest you check with someone on the S&W forum... and dont do anything to the gun.
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Old December 11, 2012, 02:16 AM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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John,
That's exactly what it is.
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Old December 11, 2012, 06:40 AM   #10
Zhillsauditor
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Quote:
That may be a bit of a rare piece
It is a 17-8 made in the 90s. S&W made them with alum cylinders. The original 617s were made with alum cylinders as well, but they switched to stainless fairly quickly. While rare, I don't think they are seen as collectable (they switched to stainless due to complaints about the cheap feel of aluminum).
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