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Old April 22, 2012, 12:23 PM   #1
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What is Melonite

An ad for a Springfield Arms pistol says the barrel is Melonite.
A Google search says Melonite is a "telluride of nickle". Whatever that means. Other references say it is a finish or coating for metals.
The SA ad would then be confusing. Is the whole barrel just plated with this stuff or is it all made from Melonite?
What, in layman's terms, is Melonite?
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Old April 22, 2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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As I understand, Melonite is highly similar to Glock's Tenifer.

It's not just a coating, it's a metal treatment. The steel on the surface and down into the steel a few millimeters is rendered much more resistant to corrosion and much harder on the Rockwell hardness measurement. Then a standard black parkerizing is added to that. So even if, say, an older Glock looks worn, you're just seeing wear to the parkerizing, not the actual Tenifer finish.

I think Melonite is just another brand of Tenifer and is basically identical.

I may be wrong about all of this, but that's what I understand of it.
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Old April 22, 2012, 01:03 PM   #3
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LockedBreech is correct. The Melonite (Burlington Engineering) process is practically identical to the Tennifer process. Both of them infuse nitrogen into the outer layers of the steel (nitriding) to make it harder and more resistant to wear and oxidation. The treatment goes much deeper into the metal than traditional bluing.

The Melonite process should not be confused with Melonite the mineral. There is no Tellurium involved in the steel treating process.
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Old April 22, 2012, 04:52 PM   #4
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Some of these coatings are hard to find out about . AFAIK ,The Glock and Melonite are similar but the procees of making it may be different .
Gun coatings first started out with carbonitriding ,some done with gas which puts a thin carbon+ nitrogen rich layer on the gun .This is very wear resistant but rusts fairly easily. Later this was modified to oxidize the surface [IIRC !!] which adds considerable corrosion resistance .It is then blued.
The result is an extremely durable finish !!
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Old April 23, 2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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Right, the result is pretty much the same as with Tennifer, but produced by a slightly different method. As I understand it, tennifer requires use of some chemicals for production that are problematic for use in the US.

Greg "Sully" Sullivan of SLR-15 has some melonite offerings, In taking an AR15 armorer's course from him, he passed around a barrel treated with melonite. While nobody tried beating it with a hammer or anything like that, several of us did try to scratch it using various steel tools and had no luck.

One aspect that interested me beyond the external protection of the outside of the barrel was the protection of the interior of the barrel - the rifling. Sully claims (and I don't have reason to not believe him, but can't verify) that the treatment will extend the rifling life of the barrel.

Melonite looks to be a very good treatment if you are willing to spend the money. The corrosion protection looks very good, especially if on a gun you use is harsher environments or are less apt to as diligently maintain.
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Old August 29, 2013, 04:19 AM   #6
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Does any manufacturer forgo the blackening aspect? I'm curious if you wind up with a nice, corrosion resistant silver finish that is basically the same as "in the white" though more corrosion resistant.
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Old August 29, 2013, 10:05 AM   #7
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This sounds like the nitriding process that's been used for racing engines and transmissions, for decades.
It makes the surfaces resistant to abrasion damage.
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Old August 29, 2013, 11:41 AM   #8
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Hardchrome is what you are after, it's a transparent finish so if your gun has a matte finish it will appear to have a soft silver finish.
However hardchrome is very hard between 72 and 76 on a Rockwell C scale and is a very durable finish.
Here's a pair of hardchrome guns.

Best Regards
Bob Hunter
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Old August 29, 2013, 06:03 PM   #9
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One aspect that interested me beyond the external protection of the outside of the barrel was the protection of the interior of the barrel - the rifling. Sully claims (and I don't have reason to not believe him, but can't verify) that the treatment will extend the rifling life of the barrel.
I know a couple of AR manufacturers melonite the interior of the barrel, rather than chrome lining it. It is apparently being well received.
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Old August 29, 2013, 08:10 PM   #10
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Chrome lined rifle barrels....

To line the barrel with chrome is something I think started with the AR15s and the XM16 T and Es of the early 1960s. GIs in SE Asia said the 5.56mm barrels would rust out & be unstable in real combat.
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Old September 1, 2013, 05:51 PM   #11
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Already lots of good info here. If you want to research the process look for ferritic nitrocarburizing.

Among others, CMMG LE series rifles use it and so does SIG for the 556 series rifles, instead of chrome lined bores. Lots of other industries use the process, too.
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Old September 2, 2013, 12:19 PM   #12
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Lots of good info, but how does this benefits the owner?

Less wear & tear, easy cleanup, more rounds durability, less weight?
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