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Old May 18, 2013, 10:42 AM   #1
fragtagninja
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Finishes

Hello gentlemen I was hoping to learn a bit more about finishes from your sage like wisdom. Which ones are prone to rust in particular. For instance My P229 is coated in Nitron which from what I hear helps prevent rust, but what about brushed steel, cerakote, blued steel, stainless steel, and whatever they coat glocks in.

How rust resistant are these finishes? I hear despite the nitron sigs are prone to rust. I hear 1911 are as well.

Just curious as to how they rate these things and how well it really performs. And if there are certain things I can do protect my pistol from rust and of course any future pistols. I am seeing a Colt 1911 in my future, but of course that won't be my last firearm purchase.
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Old May 18, 2013, 11:37 AM   #2
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I've carried Sigs and Glocks in duty holsters in all weather. My Sig P229 was SS and blackened with whatever they use, (nitron I guess,) and it held up well, no rust but the black would wear. My Glocks have been the best and pretty near perfect as far as durability (finish) goes.I have a mini glock that was made in 98' and it's been through everything from camping, tackle box and sweaty IWB carry and it still looks good, no rust.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info man. I have been considering a glock in the future.
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Old May 18, 2013, 12:57 PM   #4
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Almost any modern finish oither than nickle or blue will hold up well.
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Old May 18, 2013, 01:32 PM   #5
fragtagninja
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How would one prevent rust on nickel and blue finishes? From what I know excess oil or oil on the outside of the gun attracts debris from firing as well as sand and dirt depending on where you are shooting.


Do you just need to keep it well oiled during storage and then wipe it down before firing? Or am I missing something?
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Old May 18, 2013, 03:49 PM   #6
newfrontier45
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Most firearms' finishes are more durable than people think they are.

Bluing works perfectly fine for most, even those that think they have to have stainless. Not as delicate as people think but perception is everything. I've been using blued guns for a lifetime and have never had issues with rust, even in the humid deep south.

Stainless steel is more rust resistant than carbon steel but far from rust proof. It will still rust if exposed to corrosive chemicals or neglected.

Nickel is the most corrosion resistant but softer than hard chrome. Again, not as delicate as 'some' people think.

Hard chrome is more durable but slightly less corrosion resistant.

Glocks and other polymer autos with a Tenifer or Melonite treated slide are rust proof before they're even finished. The hardening treatment makes them nearly impervious. Black oxide or some other finish is done to make them black.
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Old May 18, 2013, 06:01 PM   #7
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I've got firearms that are blued, SS, matte, etc and none are rusty. Some are decades old. Rust is cause by misuse and neglect. Take care of your guns and they will take care of you.
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Old May 18, 2013, 08:02 PM   #8
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If you plan on taking care of your guns, rust isn't really something that you are going to have to worry about.

Proper cleaning and a light coat of oil will prevent rust no matter the finish.

Blued finishes hold up very well. Stainless even better. Tennifer is excellent. Regardless of finish, buy the gun you like and take care of it. A little care is really all you need to prevent rust.
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Old May 18, 2013, 09:23 PM   #9
Bill DeShivs
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Nickel holds up just fine-much better than bluing.
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Old May 18, 2013, 10:12 PM   #10
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Quote:
I've been using blued guns for a lifetime and have never had issues with rust, even in the humid deep south.
I had rust issues with blued guns in leather IWB type holsters for years. It gets as hot and steamy in the summer SE PA too, and sweating like a pig, constantly wet holsters, and blue and parkerized finishes will only get you so far.

Once I found kydex holsters and hard chrome finishes for my 1911's, most of the rust issues went away, but I still got some.

When I switched to SIG's, the newer guns were much better, but the older, carbon steel slides rusted just like the 1911's, and needed constant watching.

Glocks are pretty much impervious, and the only thing Ive had rust on them, has been the slide stop "button". Thats the only part on them Ive had the finish wear off of, and apparently, they arent treated with Tennifer, like the slides.


Quote:
Rust is cause by misuse and neglect.
I beg to differ. I clean and maintain my carry guns constantly. I dont misuse or neglect them, but I do use them, and their life isnt an easy one, nor is the life of anything else I carry with me day to day.

When you use your guns on a daily basis, work physically outside year round, often in harsh environments, and sweat like a pig, your gun is going to get beat up, and youre going to get rust at some point, even with SS and hard chromed finishes. Blue and park are not the best choice, and leather just aggravates things even more.

Regardless of the finish, youre also going to get accelerated finish wear from holster use, and leather is a big culprit here, as they are about impossible to clean inside, and dirt and abrasive debris is easily embedded, and constantly attacks the guns finish. The fact they get wet, and stay wet, really aggravates things. They dont dry out over night.

Kydex wears the finish in specific spots, leather wears the finish much more overall, as it has more surface contact. Kydex is easily cleaned and maintained, and thats as simple as rinsing it out in the sink and drying with a paper towel.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:34 PM   #11
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There's two types of nickel finishes, the bright mirror like finish like on Smith and Wesson revolvers and electroless nickel. Electroless is usually a matte finish on firearms. Electroless Nickel is more corrosion resistant than hard chrome. Some nickel finishes can be applied with teflon in the nickel matrix (Robar NP3) that offer self lubricating properties.

Most of the thermoset polymer finishes for firearms offer excellent corrosion resistance. They can last the equivalent of 30 years exposure in a marine enviorment (Norrells Moly resin). GunKote touts 500 hour salt spray exposure before rust.

The finishes you mention like brushed steel is going to rust, this is equivalent to in-the-white steel. Stainless steel will rust if neglected. Ceracoat falls under the polymer finishes. Bluing will obviously rust if not cared for.

Concealed handguns are exposed to perspiration and the oils from your skin. These are corrosive to bluing and other finishes. If you will be carrying concealed your gun needs the extra protection from a finish other than bluing.
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Old May 21, 2013, 02:57 PM   #12
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Don't forget, also, that leather is a wick as far as moisture is concerned. If you are planning on storing a handgun for any extended period, I would recommend removing it from a leather holster.
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:20 PM   #13
Bill DeShivs
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Electrolytic and electroless nickel can both be either matte or shiny. It all depends on the surface texture it's applied to.
Electroless nickel is a thicker plate than most hard chrome. At equal deposition depths both electroless nickel and industrial hard chrome are pretty rust proof. Hard chrome is much harder than either nickel plate.
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Old May 21, 2013, 06:53 PM   #14
AK103K
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This is last 1911 I carried before switching to SIG's. I carried it daily for a little over 11 years through the hot and steamy SEPA summers, and 10 of those years, it was finished as you see it, in hard chrome. The first year, it wore a Colt blue finish, which didnt make it out of the year without heavy rusting. That year, it rode in two Galco Royal Guards in a rotation, trying to get them to dry out, which was basically, an impossibility.

If you look at the second pic, at the muzzle end, you can see where the distortion in the wear, where they filed the rust out. The black stripes and marks you see, are actually "mirrored" chrome polished bright from wear, and not "black".

While Ive been told HC wont rust, I have gotten very light, almost a fine powder rust, at and under the grip panel that was against my body, and not protected by the kydex holster. If you look close along the rear edge of the grip panel in the second pic, you can still see some light rust.

I switched from leather to kydex shortly after having it hard chromed, and the wear marks you see on the gun, were from the holster over that time.

I still have both that gun and the original Blade Tech holster I got for it, and both are still 100% functional. At this point, the holsters cost to use ratio is down to about $2.75/year. My Royal Guard tab was right around $150/year. Hows that for cost effective?


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Old May 21, 2013, 08:04 PM   #15
ClydeFrog
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top coating & treatment shops in the USA....

Any metal surface including stainless steel can get galling rust or corrosive problems.
There are more detailed descriptions out there. The SIG brand nitron is highly rated for a factory stock finish. Melonite on the M&P series is good too. Beretta USA uses a Brution(check spelling) & anodized alloy frame which is okay but will rust or get scuffs/nicks over time. Glocks have a high tech tennifer treatment that is strong & very protective. I had heard that Glocks in the US had to be modified due to new EPA or environmental industrial SOPs. Newer Glocks have a slight change.
As for after market treatments or coatings; I would suggest Metalife SS C, Robar NP3+, Black or Green T, or www.bearcoat.com . Cerakote from www.apwcogan.com is highly rated too. Metalife SS C is a silver nickel color and prevents wear scuffs rust etc. The rates are good & it can be put on most firearms.
Bearcoat comes in a few color choices and has a fast shop time. It's rated for life too by the company. Extra pistol mags are cheap to coat also.
Robar's NP3+ is not cheap & you might have a 3/4 month wait but the end result will be a very strong, long lasting service treatment. I've owned 2 Beretta model 96 .40 pistols with.
NP3.
Black-T & the OD color Green T has many supporters in the LE & spec ops industry.
Walter Birdsong had a huge impact on firearm treatments & surface coating.

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Old May 21, 2013, 09:03 PM   #16
fragtagninja
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So basically modern firearm finishes are vastly superior to old school.

With the older stuff on the 1911 I take a brushed stainless would hold up better than the blued carbon then?

I also take it painted on finishes like the cerkote are good to stay away from?
Seems like it would come off easy.
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Old May 21, 2013, 10:00 PM   #17
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Nitriding finishes if you can.
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Old May 22, 2013, 12:10 AM   #18
newfrontier45
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Quote:
So basically modern firearm finishes are vastly superior to old school.
"Superior" for what? Vastly is a strong word and today's "old school" finishes are typically not as good as real old school finishes. Fact is, all firearms require a certain level of care and given that, "old school" finishes work just fine. On the flipside, some folks can't be bothered and "modern" finishes are probably a good idea. Others have issues with their body chemistry that is particularly harsh to carbon steel and a good plating is for them.
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:36 AM   #19
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Kydex is extremely hard on metal surface finishes - probably because instead of the bearing surface being essentially the entirety of the exterior of the handgun, it's typically only a few high points that the kydex "grabs" in and out and these surfaces bear the brunt of the finish erosion. You see the same thing with knife holsters/scabbards. I personally wouldn't use a kydex holster with anything but a stainless pistol or revolver, but YMMV.
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Old May 22, 2013, 09:39 AM   #20
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Oh, and ClydeFrog - my experience with NP3 mirrors yours. My EDC 1911 has a NP3 frame that looks brand new even though it is 13 years old and sees a good bit of use. The Roguard (their proprietary "blue") slide finish, well...it's beginning to show its years and I'll probably send it off for a refinish in a year or so.
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:15 AM   #21
ClydeFrog
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cerakote...

I don't think Cerakote or Beatcoat or any other coating type treatment is bad if put on correctly by a professional shop or trained person.
As posted it may get streaks or minor holster wear but that is common.
Not all handguns can be safe queens.
I don't care for Robars Rogard treatment it nicks & scuffs quickly. I had it on the frame of a 96D & it would be soft, easy to mar.

Gun writer & tactical trainer; "Chuck Taylor" has for years supported the nickel-silver Metalife SS C treatment on carry/duty weapons. To get a pistol slide & parts treated is only $78.00 & pistol magazines can get Metalife SS C too.
I'm thinking I'd try Metalife on my next major firearm purchase.

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Old May 22, 2013, 12:07 PM   #22
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Metalife is a hard chrome finish and thus, has a bluing white color like any other hard chrome. It does not have the soft, bronze hue of nickel plating and yes, as Bill posted, electroless nickel can be done on a bright polish. NP3 is nickel blended with teflon and as such, has that soft bronze luster.
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Old May 22, 2013, 03:42 PM   #23
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In my opinion, some of the hard-chrome type finishes over steel are the best. I like the Wonder Finish on the higher end Tanfoglio guns. The Starvel finish on Star's pistols is quite durable. I've seen some P7's with excelent hard chrome finishes. These finishes, when done right, prevent rust fairly well and are more scratch resistant than stainless steel. They are also quite attractive.
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Old May 22, 2013, 05:48 PM   #24
AK103K
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Quote:
Kydex is extremely hard on metal surface finishes
"Extremely" is a little over board, contact point specific is more like it. Even then, depending on the gun and finish, its really not all that bad, and way better than leather.

My experience with leather has been, it wears the finish more overall, as it contacts more of it, leaving it looking washed out and thin over time. Some leather holsters wear the finish in contact points too, much like kydex. Kydex really only shows where it makes contact, and the rest of the finish is unaffected.

Where kydex really shines is, its impervious to moisture, and its easily cleaned when dirty.
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Old May 22, 2013, 10:34 PM   #25
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If I thought for a minute that Kydex or any other synthetic was better than leather in any way, I probably wouldn't own a couple thousand dollars worth of the stuff.
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