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Nitrate vs. Nickel

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by englishupland, Jan 19, 2009.

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  1. englishupland

    englishupland Member

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    Having my 32 plated as I don't care for blued receivers for the most part...

    I am seeing nitrate and nickel..What is the diffeence?
    What is Krieghoff using?
    Is Nitrate newer?

    Any idea who does this?
    Also looking for someone to engrave some barrels as well put put some gold accents scrolls(paint) down.

    thanks
     
  2. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    Nitriding and nickel ARE two different processes.

    Nitriding (some call it silver nitriding, but that's false) is a heat-treating process. It results in a piece of metal having a hard "skin" while maintaining the balance of the metal's properties. It's more or less, the modern way of case-hardening, or color case hardening, but without the colors.

    During the nitriding process the part is heated in an atmosphere controlled enviroment. After coming out of the oven, it has a brownish/tanish dusty look to it. This then gets polished off, leaving a shiney silver look. Extra care has to be taken during the polishing process to ensure that the polishing does not break through the hardened surface.

    This is what you will see on the newer Brownings. Also, you will see some Brownings get a "tarnished spot. This is because the polisher went through the hardened surface.

    Nickel plating is just as it sounds. It is applied ONTO the surface. Because of this, the metal has to be prep very well to get an even look.

    Nickel plating is not just nickel plating either. Many companies have dabbled with different recipes to come up with a nickel that's not only durable, but also stain resistant.

    Nickel also needs to be regulated with regards to it's thickness. Too thick, and it becomes brittle, and too thick will cause tolerance problems. There is a fine line. (The company I use is at .00003" to .0005" thick.)

    Nickel can be had as a polished/shiney look (car bumper) or a satin look. Most shooters go for the satin.

    K-80's are nickel plated.

    Doug Braker

    (edited for spelling errors)
     
  3. englishupland

    englishupland Member

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    Is there a difference in color?

    I have heard the nickel has bit of yellow cast, and the nitrate a bit of grey
    What if the gun is engraved? Would one coating look different than the other on the engraving areas?
     
  4. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    I've nickel plated several hundred guns, I've yet to see any one of them with any yellow hue. Maybe those that have, have had it done with some other chemical composition. Ask any of the shooters here, that have had the plating done by me if they see any yellow or any other color, besides silver.

    Nickel does reflect very well and if you're wearing a red. blue or other color shirt, it may reflect that color. A satin nickel will hold all of the sharp corners and turns in highly detailed engraving.

    With regards to the nitriding, I may differ with others in regards to nitriding an engraved piece. As I stated in the other post, the metal must be polished after it comes from the oven. It is possible (and highly likely) that any detail in the engraving will be washed out slightly. Especially with engraving showing any relief..ie 3 dimensional engraving. This would also hold true for a polished nickel piece.

    Nitriding will be a silvery color. How bright/glossy/shiney, depends on how much polishing/buffing is done. Remember..the more you work on it, the bigger the chance of breaking through the hard surface.

    The gray look comes more from a satin chrome finish. Chrome will give you two colors, and three finishes. All of them involve the metal prep...polish/buff, polish, bead-blasting.

    My personal opinion, for what it's worth, I don't care for the chrome. Not for what it is suppose to do, but for what some platers do not do. I get several guns in here each year that have the satin chrome finish. Each and everyone of them is poorly done. Some will still show bluing through the plating. Most still show ALL of the dings and scratches that were present before the plating process.

    When someone says they have the best price, belive them, AND, believe me, you will get what you paid for. They just will not take the extra time to examine every piece for scrathes and dents, and still, will not take the time to remove them before plating.

    As for who actually does the plating processes, 99% of any business(gunsmiths and dealers) do not do the actual plating. It is sent to a company that is in the business of doing it. Their chemical composition, and application is researched to give exactly what we're looking for.

    The plater's job is just that...plating. How good it looks is determined by how well the metal was prep ahead of time, by the gunsmith or dealer.

    But hey, everybody's tastes are different, and some can't recognize a quality, cared for job, from garbage, but are still happy.

    Doug
     
  5. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Doug - I have a bunch of guns nitrided- it usually makes engraving more apparent- no rounding because its not a plating

    It doesnt cover up gold

    you sometimes want to rub in a contrast for the crevices

    nitriding also improves corrossion resistance because the top layer of steel actually undergoes a chemical change

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
  6. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    As I mention Gene, everyone has different tastes. The amount of engraving and the type has a lot to do with how it will look. The guns I've seen that were nitrided and had engraving didn't look as nice as a gun that was acid washed (french grayed).

    Doug
     
  7. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't doubt that some type of contrast is need in the cuts. That's what I meant by looking washed-out. Everything tends to blend together, loosing the depth.

    The same holds true with a blued finish. The "super-deluxe", high gloss polish will diminish the detail and depth of engraving.

    Doug
     
  8. dcmulcahy

    dcmulcahy Member

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    Doug,

    Can Chrome be removed from a (Super-X1) receiver? Can it then be Nitrided?

    Thanks,

    Dan
     
  9. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    Chrome can be removed, but I'm not sure about nitriding the SX-1. Because it is a heat-treating process, I'd be afraid of the thin-walled receiver moving around and possibly warpping.

    With regards to removing the chrome, it could be costly. Some DIYers will use acid, but a chrome shop will just reverse the process. Nickel plating is strickly an acid method...carefully monitored.

    Doug
     
  10. englishupland

    englishupland Member

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    What is French Grey ? Is that another process?
     
  11. GunDr

    GunDr Well-Known Member

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    French gray is an acid wash. Using a diluted mix, acid with water, the parts are either dip or brushed with this mix, then rinse extensively. It will leave the metal in a somewhat satin gray color.

    It looks extremely great on a highly engraved gun...even with gold inlays. When I mean highly engraved, I'm talking almost 100%. Using it on anything lesser, and it will appear splotchy.

    The drawback to this is that the graying process DOES NOT add any protection to the steel. You need to be religous at keeping it oiled. The use of RIG is great for this, for it works itself down into the nooks and grannies of the engraving and protects the steel.

    Doug
     
  12. g7777777

    g7777777 TS Supporters TS Supporters

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    Often - people and maybe the factory does this- use a toothbrush and put jewellers roughe or shoe polish on the metal and brush in- wipe off and you have contrast on the nitrided

    I can tell you from personal experience that no matter how careful you are with a french grey gun- it will rust in hours in on a humid day or if you drip sweat on it--- even if you leave one of the vapor things in your gun case

    I do agree with Doug-- french grey surface on a gun is a very nice contrast

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
     
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