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#5735911 - 05/09/15 09:37 AM Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help
Fez Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 67
Loc: Lake Jackson area
Hey guys, I'm in need of a little help deciding my finish options for a post-64 Winchester 94-22. I put one on layaway at my local toy store/pawn shop, and boy, is it rough. The poor thing looks like it was left out on a porch for a few years. Blue mostly faded on the barrel and magazine tube, and serious rust and likely pitting over most of the flats on the receiver.

Ideally, I'd like to strip and polish out the rust/pits and re-blue the thing but I've heard that the blue doesn't take well on these certain year Winchesters. Internals are fine, but the outside definitely needs re-finishing.

Here lies my dilemma. The blue won't take well, I know little about plating, and I dislike coating options such as Cerakote/Duracoat. Also, I'd like to have something cost effective in the $200 range for the whole gun, and maybe even do it myself. (Gotta learn sometime, right?)


I've been trying to research plating such as chrome, nickel, black chrome, or even gold. I'm not particularly fond of gold but maybe it's worth it for durability? I'm honestly most inclined to black chrome but I can only find scarce information about it.

Other options I would consider are nickel boron or NP3 but again, I know little about these. Maybe even Teflon or other dry lubes would work well?

Anyways, if y'all could help me out with pointers about what finishes might be durable and cost effective without resorting to Duracoat/Cerakote, I'd be ever so appreciative. Thanks!
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#5737475 - 05/10/15 11:31 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
RifleDude Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/24/14
Posts: 162
Loc: Brenham, TX
I've had guns finished in Teflon, Duracoat, Cerakote, hard chrome, NP3, NP3+, Titanium Chromium Nitride (TiCN), electroless nickel, Melonite/QPQ/Black nitride (salt bath ferritic nitrocarburizing), and every flavor of bluing.

Except for Teflon and Duracoat, you're not likely to be able to get the entire gun finished for $200, even if you do all the metal prep to remove rust and pitting yourself.

Of the finishes you mention, from my experience, the Teflon is the least durable of the ones mentioned, but it is also the least expensive to apply.

Why do you dislike Duracoat and Cerakote? Between those two, Cerakote is by far more durable, and in fact is a very durable finish. Duracoat is fairly durable, but it is better for finishing stocks and other items that would be warped if baked (since the most durable version of Cerakote requires heat to complete the curing). Duracoat is essentially an epoxy. It's very flexible and impact resistant, so it doesn't tend to chip. Cerakote is more durable yet, as it contains ceramic powders in the mix. There is a color available in Cerakote called Midnight Blue that looks just like satin bluing, if you want a traditional bluing look. It's also available in colors that do a good job of mimicking matte stainless steel and titanium, if you want your gun to look metallic. Cerakote wears extremely well, many times better than traditional bluing, and it provides outstanding corrosion resistance as well as being somewhat self-lubricating for moving parts.

Hard Chrome is pretty durable, but since it's a porous finish, the steel underneath can still rust if neglected, so it's less corrosion resistant than the other finishes. It can flake off in places over time under hard use, being a plating.

NP3 is extremely durable, extremely corrosion resistant, and more self-lubricating than Duracoat and Cerakote due to the inclusion of Teflon in the mix. It is a form of electroless nickel. It's a great choice as long as you want a matte silver gray looking finish, as that's the only color it's available in. NP3+ is an even more durable and corrosion resistant version of regular NP3.

PVD coatings like titanium nitride (TiN) and titanium carbonitride (TiCN) are the most durable finishes of all. They are applied with a gas deposition process and are quite expensive to have done. They are also very hard/abrasion resistant, and completely shield against any corrosion.

You might be able to get your parts done in Melonite/QPQ for $200 or less, especially if you team up with someone else getting the parts done at the same time, as usually the facilities that apply this process have a minimum charge and price based on volume. You will usually need to completely disassemble the rifle and send the disassembled parts to have done, unless whoever is applying the finish is willing to do this for you. The one I'm familiar with won't disassemble and reassemble guns. This process is neither a coating or a plating; it is actually a case hardening process that turns steel a shiny black color that looks a lot like bluing, only more black. It goes by a variety of trade names, including Melonite, QPQ ("quench-polish-quench"), Tenifer, Black Nitride, salt-bath nitriding, etc. It is an extremely hard, extremely wear resistant, and extremely corrosion resistant finish. Basically the parts are immersed in a hot bath of cyanide salt, where the cyanide chemically reacts with the steel and transfers nitrogen to the surface to case harden it and turn the surface black. As a result of the parts being completely immersed, the inside of the barrel bore is also treated, which can increase barrel life (which isn't a concern on a .22LR anyway). Many firearms companies use this process. Besides being very durable and corrosion resistant, the advantages to this process are fast turnaround time and reasonable price, since the process is fast and easy to do. It's a good finish to use, as long as you like black, as that's the only color it's available in, but it can be somewhere between a matte black to semi-gloss black, depending on what you request. I work in a machine shop, and we finish half our steel parts in QPQ.

Among those finishes I have experience with... from most to least durable:

1. PVD coatings
2. Salt-bath nitriding
3. NP3+
4. NP3, electroless nickel
5. hard chrome plating
6. Cerakote
7. Duracoat
8. Teflon and other "poly" finishes
9. Bluing
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#5737617 - 05/10/15 02:04 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
patriot07 Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/06/11
Posts: 969
Loc: Royse City, TX
That's a heck of an informative post Rifledude. Just as a spectator, I appreciate that much good info!

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#5739219 - 05/11/15 03:15 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
RifleDude Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/24/14
Posts: 162
Loc: Brenham, TX
You bet, patriot! I'm glad you found it helpful. Thanks!
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#5739288 - 05/11/15 04:03 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
nsmike Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 05/02/12
Posts: 4219
Loc: MN
RifleDude one thing you didn't mention is the ability of the coatings to cover pitting. I know most of them can't and that draw filing, before polishing is best, but I'm curious if any of them can.
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#5740449 - 05/12/15 11:11 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
Fez Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 67
Loc: Lake Jackson area
RifleDude, that is an amazing amount of information and a very helpful post! Thanks for all that.

Could you tell more about your experience with aftermarket PQP? I'm wondering about who did it, what prep was required of you besides disassembly, and if it has any dimentional changes on parts to any significant degree like coatings do?
_________________________
I don't play video games. When I feel like shooting something, I go shoot it.

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#5740461 - 05/12/15 11:17 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: nsmike]
RifleDude Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/24/14
Posts: 162
Loc: Brenham, TX
Originally Posted By: nsmike
RifleDude one thing you didn't mention is the ability of the coatings to cover pitting. I know most of them can't and that draw filing, before polishing is best, but I'm curious if any of them can.


None of the coatings can cover pitting. Some of the poly coatings could technically cover very minor pitting, but you would have to apply coatings too thick to do so. You pretty much have to polish below the pitting prior to coating. If the pitting is very minor and you wanted a matte finish anyway, you could bead blast the surface, which would hide the pitting.
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#5740489 - 05/12/15 11:29 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
RifleDude Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/24/14
Posts: 162
Loc: Brenham, TX
Originally Posted By: Fez

Could you tell more about your experience with aftermarket PQP? I'm wondering about who did it, what prep was required of you besides disassembly, and if it has any dimentional changes on parts to any significant degree like coatings do?


We use Houston Unlimited in Chappell Hill, TX for all our QPQ salt-bath nitrocarburizing because it's only about 5 miles from our shop.

http://www.houstonunlimitedinc.com/

As for surface prep, you really don't have to do anything as long as the parts don't have any rust, as it's not a plating or coating, it's a heat treat process. We deburr the parts and usually blast the surface to remove any machine marks and give the parts an even satin sheen. The facility doing the process will clean the parts anyway prior to QPQ, to ensure they don't contaminate the chemical bath. This process only works with steel alloys; it won't work with aluminum or any non-ferrous metals.

Just like bluing, it doesn't change the parts at all dimensionally. If the part is very thin and delicate, the process could technically warp the part due to the temperature of the chemical bath stress-relieving the material, but as long as the parts have reasonable cross-sectional thickness, it won't have any effect on part dimensions.

For that matter, Cerakote (properly applied) won't change part dimensions very much at all either (not more than about .001").
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#5740903 - 05/12/15 04:06 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
passthru Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 12/05/06
Posts: 10875
Loc: Saginaw, Tx
RifleDude you are a good source of info for the members on this forum.
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NRA Life Member
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#5740974 - 05/12/15 04:54 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: passthru]
RifleDude Offline
Woodsman

Registered: 02/24/14
Posts: 162
Loc: Brenham, TX
Thank you, sir; I really appreciate you saying that!
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Ted

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#5741141 - 05/12/15 06:43 PM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
RiverRider Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 11/11/07
Posts: 6232
Loc: Wise Co.
I have used this Moly Resin for a few things and it seems to be a very good alternative to bluing. I haven't really dished out a lot of punishment to anything I have used it on as of yet, but I think it's definitely superior to Duracoat. I'd like to see how it compares to Cerakote but I have nothing finished with it for comparison.
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Originally Posted By: Cleric
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#5741780 - 05/13/15 07:46 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: Fez]
Fez Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 07/17/11
Posts: 67
Loc: Lake Jackson area
RiverRider, I hadn't even looked up "moly resin" before you mentioned it. Is it essentially the same as Duracoat or Cerakote, or is it something entirely different? I followed your link but I can't find many good examples of what it actually looks like on a gun. Also, do you have any experience with the clear or glossy versions? Thanks.
_________________________
I don't play video games. When I feel like shooting something, I go shoot it.

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#5741850 - 05/13/15 08:39 AM Re: Plating vs Bluing vs Coating help [Re: passthru]
deewayne2003 Offline


Registered: 03/19/09
Posts: 4167
Originally Posted By: passthru
RifleDude you are a good source of info for the members on this forum.


I agree, and would say that's the most informative post on rifle finishes ever to be posted. It answered questions I didn't even know I had, and helped me decide on the finish for an up coming project.

Thanks RifleDude

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