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Old November 15, 2012, 09:06 AM   #1
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Parkerize vs. Duracoat

I have an 870 Express that needs refinishing. I want to parkerize it but have also wondered about Duracoat. Which is more durable? If oil is kept on parkerized guns, is there any reason not to go with it?

I will most likely have a gunsmith do the work, so i dont have to consider any diy related benefits.
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Old November 15, 2012, 11:18 AM   #2
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I think that parkerizing is considered a first step before duracoat is applied. It makes it a lot more permanent if i recall correctly. At least on all the ferrous parts.
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Old November 15, 2012, 12:47 PM   #3
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parkerize vs dura coat

if you look at the GI guns from ww2 & Korea you will see that they were parkerized and that usually did it. I've had a few that were 60+ yrs old with no rust.
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Old November 15, 2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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it has the original finish which has somewhat of a texture so it is probably ready for Duracoat if i went that route but i like the idea of the metal being treated (as in parkerizing) versus a coating because i dont want it to be able to chip. I dont know much about duracoat but often, a spray on product is a easier/cheaper route to the best way but i dont know if that applies in this case or not.
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Old November 15, 2012, 02:11 PM   #5
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Do both park first and dura last
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Old November 16, 2012, 12:57 AM   #6
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Parkerizing by itself is nothing more than a very thin layer of crystalized material. If you looked at it under a microscope, it would look similar to a sponge but with sharp edges. It has no durabilty by itself. It get's it's durabilty because like a sponge, it will absorb liquids and hold those liquids in the "pores". The idea behind Parkerizing is for it to be submerged in oil while it's still "fresh". Some prefer hot oil, others cold oil. Once that oil is in the "pores", it's pretty difficult to get it all out again. (See note below)

The reason that many firearms refinishers prefer to use Parkerizing under the coating, is because the "pores" will absorb the coating too. It gives a much better bond to the top finish. If Parkerizing earns a #7 and a quality resin coating earns a #7, the two together earn a #20.

NOTE: Once the "pores" have been saturated with oil, it's almost impossible to get it all out. This is why quality refinishers will refuse to apply any type of coating over "old" Parkerizing. No matter how well it's cleaned, the risk of contaminating the new finish is to high.

There are two types of Parkerizing used on firearms: Zinc based and Magnesium based. Magnesium based results in finer "pores" and a darker color. Zinc based results in coarser "pores" and a lighter color. Most of the old military stuff was Zinc based. I'm not sure of the exact reason but maybe because of the coarser "pores" holding the oil better or more oil? We use the Zinc based Parkerizing under the resin because of the coarser "pores". It soaks up the resin much better.

Now, a few words about coatings: "Bullet proof, will never wear, just spray it on and it's done, it'll last forever no matter what you do to or with the gun, etc" is all B.S. !! I have been applying firearms finishes for 35 years and there is no finish that will not show some type of wear eventually. My favorite statement is: "Just degrease it and spray it on". Your firearms are expensive! If you're going to pay somebody to apply a new finish to them, ask first what you're getting. Will the internals be coated too? Is it rustproof? Says who? This MilSpec rating...what's it for? Will you warranty it? Parkerizing by itself is pretty hard to mess up as long as the solution is seasoned and the prep work is good but: If you're getting a coating applied over that, ask questions!! Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:37 AM   #7
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I "built" or assembled this gun last winter. It has been shot a good bit and been my exclusive hunting rifle since our seasons started on September 1. I have hunted an average of 4 times a week since. Dragging it up and down metal stands and riding the 4 wheeler. I haven't abused it, I don't do that to my guns, but I haven't babied it either.

The Duracoat is wearing just fine. There are some scratches and dings in the finish but that is why I put it on there, let it scratch and chip and not the metal on the gun. When the time comes I'll sand it and spray it again.
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Old November 16, 2012, 09:06 AM   #8
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Im undecided about the duracoat. I dont want to spend 100 bucks to parkerize just to cover it with duracoat and pay for that too. i think that my factory finish is a good base for duracoat if i went that route.

I dont have a problem with keeping oil on a gun so i still may parkerize and keep it oiled. although not the most maintenance free option, i think it could be the most durable.

thanks for the pic. good looking gun.
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Old November 16, 2012, 09:52 PM   #9
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Speaking of parkerized barrels, how the heck can i avoid the white fuzzies and lent from sticking all over my barrel from the cloth or rag im wiping it with?
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Old November 16, 2012, 10:06 PM   #10
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Use a black tee shirt.
No BS, that's what one manufacturer recommended.

What I use is a clean, soft toothbrush with a few drops of CLP Breakfree on it to lightly brush the metal.
This brushes off any dirt and applies a thin coat of CLP to keep the protection good.
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Old November 16, 2012, 10:33 PM   #11
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Look into cerakote. The toughest of coatings but more money.
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Old December 3, 2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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Cost wise, Dura Coat is cheap, if you have an air brush and do it yourseld. Very easy to do. I did three rifles with one 4 oz Dura Coat bottle. DC is an epoxy finish that hardens over time, you can handle and shoot the gun after 24 hours, but it does not competely cure until a month or more. I've been very happy with my DC'd guns. One is a old Marlin 25 converted to .17 Mach II. It stays in my garage all the time for gophers and crows, and gets knocked around a lot. After 4 years there are no chips or scratches. I also did a rifle that I use for F class shooting with polished stainless steel barrel, spraying just the barrel. I started shooting the gun less than a week after I sprayed it. The DC finish is fine except for the target barrel crown. There the DC finish has come off the crown after approximately 2,000 shots of 3,000 + fps loads. May be it would have lasted if the crown was not polished smooth, or normal hunting crown, don't known; but the rest of the barrel is doing fine.
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:01 PM   #13
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parkerize first then duracoat. Parkerizing was developed as an undercoating for paint but turned out it's OK as is but park then duracoat and you'll have a #1 looking finish job
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:34 PM   #14
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Thats what i want to do but i dont want to pay 100+ bucks for each procedure instead of one or the other. Still have not done it and still dont have my mind made up.

A post above says cerakote is the toughest finish available. Whats different with it compared to duracoat.
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Old December 3, 2012, 07:37 PM   #15
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Duracoat is more durable.
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Old December 6, 2012, 12:58 AM   #16
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My GI 1911 was manufactured in 1913. It left official government service at the end of WWI. It went to WWII and Korea before I purchased it in 1976 from the grandson of the WWI vet. It has not been refinished. It takes hard use and I have not had a rust problem.

In the case of form follows function, I think a parkerized finish is a very becoming way to dress any fine firearm which is to be used and not set in a display case.
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Old December 6, 2012, 10:13 PM   #17
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I took the gun to a place that does nothing but refinish firearms-mostly the metal but they do stocks too. After looking at samples, i decided to have him blue it. The parkerizing looked great but was lighter than the tone of black i want. He warned me that once in the parkerizing chemicals, they dont have alot of control over the color tone besides using the one that turns out black vs gray. He said alot depends on the density and type of metal being treated. The barrel and reciever are not the same type of metal so I decided to play it safe and will keep it oiled.

He will blast the metal and run through the bluing tank which will produce a darker tone of black yet it will be more of a matte finish from not being polished before dropped in the tank. He said it will still be somewhat poreous to hold some oil but not as much as parkerizing. He said he believes thats what the factory finish was. This time i will not neglect it. I dont mind cleaning it because im kind of ocd with that anyway and would still do it no matter what the finish.
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Old December 7, 2012, 12:01 PM   #18
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There are many different firearms finishes available and everybody says their's is the "best in the world". Your choice of bluing over an abrasive blasted surface is a pretty good one. Yes, it will hold some oil due to the non-smooth surface.

Regarding "the best finish in the whole world": Laboratory tests for finishes are designed to accelerate those types of conditions that the finish may be exposed to. For example: One firearms finish is tested with an oxygenated heated salt water spray. This is a corrosion test the finishes durability in salty humid conditions. Nobody has the time to take a finished part out to the sea shore, lay it on the sand and then sit there for months watching it to see if and how much it will rust.

Another test is chemical exposure: Nobody has the time to carry a finished part around aircraft being serviced, the public pool or the auto shop to see if exposure to vapors of those chemicals found in those areas will affect the finish. Hence...the chemical submergence tests.

The results of those tests will give the end user a better understanding of whether that finish or this finish will be a better choice for these parts under those particular conditions. Before using a finish, check out the test results. Note: That's test results, not advertsing hype!!!

Cerracote: They've conducted quite a few tests and have released the results. It's a firearms finish.
Gunkote: They've conducted a lot of tests, are Mil-Spec rated, their finish is not only used by several militaries, it's actually required by a couple and is the only resin that we use. It's a firearms finish.
Duracoat: Uhhmmm...ahhh...ooops! There are NO test results for that finish for use on firearms. They even stopped using the Mil-Spec rating because it wasn't a firearms rating!

Keep yer powder dry, Mac.
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Old December 7, 2012, 11:35 PM   #19
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Well, thats good to hear. I was sure to receive some slightly critical responses with my choice of matte bluing since the ####cote/kote options are so popular these days. Im sure those are great finishes but blueing can be a durable finish too as long as its oiled regularly and thats the plan. I will just be glad to get it back together since i have drug my heels so long on taking it to be refinished.
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Old December 8, 2012, 09:37 AM   #20
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Another option would be to have it Parkerized without the oil soak, then run through the bluing tank. That gives a flat black finish more durable than matte blue. It shouldn't cost much extra if the shop is set up for both finishes.
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Old December 15, 2012, 10:26 PM   #21
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It's an Express, not a high dollar gun. Just thoroughly clean it with Acetone or MEK and Duracoat it. Should work fine, I wouldn't spend the money on parking for a base coat. If you park it I would leave it parkerized. Completely soak it down with oil before and after hunting season. Let the oil sit on there overnight and wipe excess the next day if there's any.
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