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  #1  
Old 02-12-2008, 8:04 PM
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Default Refinish or repair nickel finish on S&W revolver?

I bought an old S&W 10-8 4" nickel (1977-1982, pinned but not recessed) on the extra cheap, someone used it as a carry gun - swirling on the finish, scratched here, a minor ding there, etc. Even the telltale chunk out of the lower right side grip where it banged into a table or door or something. Solid though, barely fired - not even a primer ring around the firing pin bushing/guide.

Can I repair nickel myself with any polishing tricks, or is nickel one of those things you send the gun away to a Pro for? Is it like powder coating, they sand it down and re-nickel it? I've run across a few posts that say S&W no longer refinish older guns, I have to get someone else to do it - any Norcal recommendations? (I've never had a nickel gun before, so treat me like a newbie)

Phonecam pic, you can make out some of the finish damage but it's not that clear:

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  #2  
Old 02-12-2008, 8:15 PM
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can't help you with the problem but i do like the looks of it! i think we have similar taste.....

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  #3  
Old 02-12-2008, 8:25 PM
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If the nickel is chipped or cracked then it has to be chemically stripped. DO NOT attempt to sand it off. If it has some light haze you could get some metal polish and it might buff out. Re-nickel plating should be done by a shop that has specific experience refinishing firearms. I don't know anyone in NCal but be patient and chose wisely. Pre-polishing and surface prep is the most important thing to getting a good plating job.

On the other hand, the pictures look OK, I'd probably just shoot it.... since refinishing it will impact the resale value.
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  #4  
Old 02-12-2008, 11:26 PM
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Its beyond hope, send it to me so I may dispose of it properly, along with your cz
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  #5  
Old 02-13-2008, 8:25 AM
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Just called S&W last week. They upped cost of refinishing in nickel. Costs now $225 plus whatever else. I just sent a Ruger to that company for repair within the last two weeks. FEDEX and UPS will only overnight handguns to get them through their system fast because of the danger of being stolen internally. UPS cost was $58. So, if you send a gun to S&W for a nickel refinish, you are looking for at least $283 starting cost if not more for some added cost that I may have forgotten they mentioned.
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  #6  
Old 02-13-2008, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big50_1 View Post
So, if you send a gun to S&W for a nickel refinish, you are looking for at least $283 starting cost if not more for some added cost that I may have forgotten they mentioned.
wow, thanks for the great info - seeing as how I picked this up for $375 out the door (all fees, DROS, etc.) I'll have to think long and hard about another $300 to refinish it. I didn't realize it was that expensive...
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:05 AM
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I'd say do it man, it's worth it. Imagine how incredible it's going to look with a brand new factory nickel finish on it. Remember, we're in Ca...it'll be worth $700 here sooner or later.
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  #8  
Old 02-13-2008, 1:15 PM
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Give it a good polish with Flitz first. If it doesn't help, you wasted a half hour. If it works like it usually does, you could be happy without a refinish.

Whatever you do, keep Hoppes and anything else with ammonia in it AWAY from that nickel finish.
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  #9  
Old 02-13-2008, 3:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledbetter View Post
Whatever you do, keep Hoppes and anything else with ammonia in it AWAY from that nickel finish.
Ooooh, OK - what should I go buy then for standard cleaning of this, like the cylinder front and so forth? If I'm careful (I usually wrap a cloth around the frame anyways to avoid ramming the cleaning rod into the firing pin) can I still use Hoppes Black Label (copper remover) inside the barrel itself?
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  #10  
Old 02-14-2008, 9:35 AM
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Most older nickel finishes are applied over a layer of copper. Any imperfections in the nickel can allow ammonia in Hoppes or other cleaners to attack the copper under the nickel, causing the nickel to flake off.

I only use CLP or FP-10 on my nickel gun, a Colt Government .380. (And Flitz very occasionally.)
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  #11  
Old 02-14-2008, 9:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledbetter View Post
Most older nickel finishes are applied over a layer of copper. Any imperfections in the nickel can allow ammonia in Hoppes or other cleaners to attack the copper under the nickel, causing the nickel to flake off.

I only use CLP or FP-10 on my nickel gun, a Colt Government .380. (And Flitz very occasionally.)
Roger, thanks - I have the CLP and FP-10 and will be careful to read my labels to keep ammonia products away from the handgun. Much appreciated.
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Old 02-14-2008, 10:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big50_1 View Post
Just called S&W last week. They upped cost of refinishing in nickel. Costs now $225 plus whatever else. I just sent a Ruger to that company for repair within the last two weeks. FEDEX and UPS will only overnight handguns to get them through their system fast because of the danger of being stolen internally. UPS cost was $58. So, if you send a gun to S&W for a nickel refinish, you are looking for at least $283 starting cost if not more for some added cost that I may have forgotten they mentioned.
If they don't loose your gun in their system and take 2 1/2 months like they did with mine. S&W sucks I wouldn't use them again.
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  #13  
Old 02-17-2008, 11:59 AM
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New question - does 'Lead Cloth' damage the nickel, will it wear it off like it does to bluing (or so I've heard)?
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  #14  
Old 02-24-2008, 4:01 PM
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The finished cleanup - I used mainly FP-10, Lead Cloth and Flitz with some dental tools (to gently scrape off the hard parts right above the forcing cone, etc.) and a lot of elbow grease. She shined right up, what I thought were scars polished right out, no refinishing needed.

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  #15  
Old 02-24-2008, 5:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rivviepop View Post
wow, thanks for the great info - seeing as how I picked this up for $375 out the door (all fees, DROS, etc.) I'll have to think long and hard about another $300 to refinish it. I didn't realize it was that expensive...

It looks OK in the pics... just shoot it and enjoy it!
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