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Stainless, blue, or nickel....your choice

Gene LGene L Senior MemberPosts: 12,384 Senior Member
edited December 2019 in General Firearms #1
In handguns.  Which do you choose?  For sake of  argument here, "blue" is traditional blue, and  is anything other than nickel or stainless. .
I've got or have had all three. Stainless is great, got one gun (S&W 3" Model 65) and requires a lot less maintenance than others.  But I'm not sure I prefer it.  I've only had one SS handgun, two in nickel....come to think of it all my handguns are blue.  So maybe I'm prejudiced.
Nickel to me is the best looking, if a bit flashy, which is OK, if that's what you want.  I find maintenance on nickel a bit more demanding than blue, since I tend to under-maintain it. Especially on older guns, many of which have flaking nickel caused by oxidation (I guess) beneath the finish.
Stainless what can you say?  A little oil on the innards, applied judiciously, and you're golden.You'd think SS would be the primary choice of most people in handguns and iI's got a lot of good characteristics going for it.  An excellent choice all-round, and it seems to be by far the most popular choice in revolvers.
However, these new finishes like the finish on Glocks and Sigs and a lot of other recent handguns present a challenge to SS in terms of durability.  I don't know who offered it first, but I tend to think Gaston Glock.  At least that's the first firearm I saw finished that way.  And I think it's taken off...much cheaper and more durable than conventional nickel or traditional blue.
I don't know, but I think I'd be hard pressed to find a new nickel handgun.  It's a finish that's pretty well out of style.  Or a "traditional" blue for that matter.  

What's your choice?  Would it play a part in your choice of a new gun?
Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.

Replies

  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    I've had all three types at one time or another. Today most of my inventory is Blue or other. I had a Ruger Super Blackhawk in SS but ended up selling it when the ranch I'd go to (pig hunting) shut down. Sad day...
    I owned a shiny nickeled S&W 4506 when I lived in Arizona. Very nice handling gun but I ended up trading that later on also. I just wasn't into shiny guns. Guessing they weren't Tacticool enough 😂
    Anyway, most of mine are Blued, Melonite or Parkerized. I'm guessing that makes them less obvious and more nefarious 🤔

    Btw, Melonite is part of an ongoing process that emerged out of Great Britain called Ferritic Nitrocarburizing. It's been an ongoing evolution since around the 50's.
    "Ferriticnitrocarburizing, also known by the proprietary names Tennifer/ Tenifer and Melonite, is a range of proprietary case hardening processes that diffuse nitrogen and carbon into ferrous metals at sub-critical temperatures during a salt bath."
    Anyway, what we call Melonite is a Nitrocarburizing process with a post oxidation (black oxide) step added in.



    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 26,017 Senior Member
    A pretty revolver is blue. A working revolver is stainless. 

    Pistols, I like stainless or one of the miracle finishes. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 16,203 Senior Member
    I tend to gravitate toward stainless for the low maintenance qualities but I have to agree with Zee that blued revolvers look nicer. I have never had a nickel finish gun but do kind of like the way they look.
    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.
    -Thomas Paine
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    As has been said blue is the prettiest and the finish I favor but I love a nice stainless working gun.  For some reason not a lot of nickel guns have managed to stay in my collection.  I don’t particularly dislike them at all.  They just seem to move on.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 8,792 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #6
    Practically, I want Glock's metal finish on EVERYTHING. Not shiny, AND won't rust, AND I can draw and re-holster a zillion times doing instruction and it STAYS black?  Yeah, the quest is over.

    Bluing is pretty when it's new.  That's about all I can say for it.  It takes too much work to produce to a decent standard anymore, and part of the reason antique guns in good condition command the prices they do is that the finish doesn't hold up to what guns are supposed to be used for.  Keeping a blued EDC pretty is a part time job all by itself.

    I had a retired guy come in to qualify a year or two back.  He used to work on the range as an instructor WAY back in the day and brought in the old blue Smith 59 that was his duty gun.  That gun was special because even though it was maintained in perfect mechanical condition and had ZERO signs of ever being allowed to rust, the gun was worn maybe 80% WHITE from having been drawn, holstered, and carried so much.  That pistol was so far outside the cancerous norm for blued guns that actually get used, I felt like I'd seen Bigfoot riding a unicorn.

    Parkerizing. . .I like it A LOT.  A bit antiqueish compared to tenifer/melonite/DLC, but good stuff all the same.

    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • earlyagainearlyagain Posts: 7,833 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #7
    I've had all three. I used to lean heavily towards stainless. Now, I don't think I have a preference. Modern stainless finish is silky smooth, and blued is durable enough for sustained use to last more than a lifetime. Either 'or' for me now.

    Nickle is a bit flashy for my plain tastes. It holds up well if properly maintained.
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #8
    Bigslug said:



    I had a retired guy come in to qualify a year or two back.  He used to work on the range as an instructor ...
    the gun was worn maybe 80% WHITE from having been drawn, holstered, and carried so much.  That pistol was so far outside the cancerous norm for blued guns that actually get used, I felt like I'd seen Bigfoot riding a unicorn.

    ...
    I have a 1911 that resembles that remark. It's a Colt Mark IV with a dark blue slide and SS frame (yes, it's two tone) but now the slide is catching up to the frame. The blue finish reminds me of those blue jeans that have been washed 1000 times too many (it's just kinda there) 😁
    I have no plans on re-blueing the slide. It would look weird to me if I did. The gun has character now!
    It would be like changing Darren Stevens on Bewitched mid season and not explaining to anyone why or how (as if no one would notice)?
    🤣
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • bellcatbellcat Senior Member Posts: 1,983 Senior Member
    All.....sorta like ‘favorite sex position’ ...I’m just happy to be involved!
    "Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." Mark Twain
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 13,539 Senior Member
    I like blue the most, I buy stainless because I use mine, meh on nickel.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • zorbazorba Senior Member Posts: 24,656 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #11
    I think stainless is probably the best for a carry gun of the 3 choices - although like most others here, I prefer blued for a range gun. I don't know how well park holds up to holster wear, I do know it can wear off as it had off of my Garand when I first got it so I had same reparked. Melonite and similar look great - but I'm also clueless as to the long term with it.
    My LC9s has a blued slide that I have to "keep after" to keep it from rusting as its my carry piece. I may get it "somethinged" at some point. *shrug* Its also showing the usual high point holster wear.
    Chrome or nickel don't do it for me. Stainless is harder to keep clean as it shows powder residue that bluing hides - and it too can and will rust under the correct circumstances, like my wife's revolver did when she left it in her holster for  several weeks here in Florida. Not bad to clean up, but I can tell when I look at the right place. Somebody needs to make a revolver out of passivated and polished 316! That wouldn't rust!
    -Zorba, "The Veiled Male"

    "If you get it and didn't work for it, someone else worked for it and didn't get it..."
    )O(
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 11,682 Senior Member
    I like stainless over all others.  I think a well done stainless is prettier than a mediocre blue.  


    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 26,017 Senior Member
    I like stainless over all others.  I think a well done stainless is prettier than a mediocre blue.  


    Agree. 

    If it’s blued, it better be good. Otherwise, stainless or wonder finish. 
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 7,515 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #14
    I've seen so many different quality "blued", I'd be hard pressed to pick it out of hand. Though I'll admit a well blued revolver (or shotgun, for that matter) is pretty hard to beat in the looks department.

    I've never cared for nickle finish, but my ex-boss owns a nickled Colt Diamondback in 22LR I tried to buy from him for almost 30 years. He never would sell, and best I can tell it would sell for upward of 5K today, if not more. That's probably my only grail gun and it's pretty evident I'm not gonna get it.

    So....stainless for me, I guess.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • GunNutGunNut Posts: 7,642 Senior Member
    I've seen so many different quality "blued", I'd be hard pressed to pick it out of hand. Though I'll admit a well blued revolver (or shotgun, for that matter) is pretty hard to beat in the looks department.

    I've never cared for nickle finish, but my ex-boss owns a nickled Colt Diamondback in 22LR I tried to buy from him for almost 30 years. He never would sell, and best I can tell it would sell for upward of 5K today, if not more. That's probably my only grail gun and it's pretty evident I'm not gonna get it.

    So....stainless for me, I guess.

    Mike
    You’ll never see that kind of blue again.  I was talking to an old timer that worked for Colt for decades and he said the recipe and methods for the old bluing died with the guys that used to do it.

    I have two guns that we’re done the old way.   My Python which is just magnificent and my Remington Rand which looks like it’s dipped in blue black crude oil.
  • PegasusPegasus Senior Member Posts: 2,800 Senior Member
    Stainless first, blued second.  Nickel plating is for pimps.

    Merry Christmas. 
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 22,374 Senior Member
    First choice is the Melonite type finishes, even on SS
    Then SS and finally Blued.

    Nickel doesn't even rate
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • AntonioAntonio Senior Member Posts: 2,986 Senior Member
    Depending on the gun. Local humidity is HIGH and damages blued guns quickly, even with the proper care. For rifles & shouguns, blue finish but for sporting recreational handguns SS is the best. For example, I'd loke to change my Ruger Single Six and MkIII for SS ones since those see a lot of use and therefore need constant clean & care while exposed to more finish wear.
  • kansashunterkansashunter Senior Member Posts: 1,899 Senior Member
    It depends on what it's going to do. I have a 586 nickel that I really like but it stays in the safe until time to go to the range. Other revolvers are blue and they look nice but pretty much the same thing. I have a couple of stainless ones, one resides in my feed pickup and I will carry the other one when I find a holster I like. My carry ones are either stainless or coated and that's fine. I still like either nice blue or nickel for a revolver.  
  • SpkSpk Senior Member Posts: 4,542 Senior Member
    Gold for corrosion resistance.
    😁
    Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience -- Mark Twain
    How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and [how] hard it is to undo that work again! -- Mark Twain

  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 12,384 Senior Member
    edited December 2019 #21
    Pegasus said:
    Stainless first, blued second.  Nickel plating is for pimps.

    Merry Christmas. 

    Not if it comes from the factory that way.  I believe nickel was an attempt to save the gun from rusting, but being flashy didn't hurt. Apparently, it worked.  A whole lot of revolvers in the early 20th century were nickel.  You won't see many early blue I frames.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,468 Senior Member
    I LOVE blued guns.  Especially the older deep blue like Colt had.

    they LOOK great, but function wise, SS is better for what i want and do.

    Nickel. No way. But i do have some nickel guns since i was in the collecting mode and that finish was part of the collection.  But if i had a choice, no way it would be in my safe.

    Ive gotten lazy in my older years and when i was younger i would regliously clean my gun(S) after every outing.  If it was the last shoot for the year, i would strip them down and clean it that way, then put them away until.  But i began to think what i was doing was to wear out those toys by disassembling them.  Not field strip, but disassemble.  I did learn alot by disassembling them, but in the end i quit doing it.

    I also quit doing my cleaning after a shoot.  Sometimes i would only shoot 1 mag if i was taking a noob out and if i took out 10+ guns and they only shot 1 mag through it wasnt worth it to clean them  like i used to do.

    But thats where i found that SS is nice.  I can clean or not.  Most of the times i would just wipe down and the lube the important parts.  

    On my blued guns i got so carried away that i rubbed long and hard enough to wear some spots thin.  Once i noticed this, i quit doing it and left well enough alone.  after all it was just cosmetics.

    others my have a say in my lack of cleaning but its how i do things now.  My SD piece is a GP100 blued revolver and it does get cleaned.  The blueing is also thinned on it since its been cleaned so much but it will also go without cleaning if its only had 1 cylinder full.  If any gun has been out in the rain or shot when its wet, they all  get an airing out and cleaning.

    but for the most part i love SS for function, blued for looks.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • bobbyrlf3bobbyrlf3 Senior Member Posts: 2,572 Senior Member
    I like stainless over all others.  I think a well done stainless is prettier than a mediocre blue.  


    This.^
    Knowledge is essential to living freely and fully; understanding gives knowledge purpose and strength; wisdom is combining the two and applying them appropriately in words and actions.
  • Six-GunSix-Gun Senior Member Posts: 8,155 Senior Member
    edited January 2020 #24
    I'm a working/field gun kinda guy.  SS is preferred the majority of the time.  Bluing is pretty, and for a range gun (think .22 revolver), I love it.  

    But, overall, stainless wins. 
    Accuracy: because white space between bullet holes drives me insane.
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