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  #1  
Old 04-04-2005, 08:14 PM
Grant Grant is offline
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Advice on Black T Finish




I have read negative comments on how Black T finish wears. Is this criticism about its durability, bad appearance when worn, or both?

It is my understanding that the FBI's 45s have Black T finish. Is that still correct, and are they dissatisfied with it?

Does anybody on this forum have a pistol with Black T and can tell me your first hand experience with its durability and appearance when worn?

Thanks.

Grant
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2005, 09:04 PM
Karsten Karsten is offline
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I am not the expert here by any means but I haven't heard any issues with Black T. I have heard scattered issues with some of the Black Armory Coat however even those where few or due to extreme holster wear.

I think if you post this same query in the SA 1911 forum you will get a lot more input from the Pro Owners Group there. I know more than a few guys there have had their Pro's for a number of years. They won't hesitate a bit too give their input.

I has also done work some someone that personally know Walter Birdsong and has been test Guinie Pig for the Number of Black and Green T finishes on his own firearms. The lastest was a Green T SA M1A I did a stock for and you have too be pretty confident with a product to hand over your M1A.

Good Luck and I can put you in personal contact with the above mentioned owner if you like.

Karsten
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2005, 09:26 PM
DBR DBR is offline
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I have had "Black T" done on several handguns. First, Walter Birdsong's service and expertise is among the best available anywhere. He won't mess up your gun. The finish is as durable as can reasonably be expected from a polymer finish. No orange peel - just smooth satin black. The only thing more abuse resistant is one of the plated finishes. "Black T" will show wear from holster contact etc but it still provides metal protection because it is in the phosphate applied under it. Also, IMO it looks great.
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  #4  
Old 04-05-2005, 11:59 PM
J Randal J Randal is offline
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Won't use the black T again, and wouldn't recommend it to anybody else. For a service/duty pistol, it just doesn't hold up...peels and flakes a lot.
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2005, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J Randal
Won't use the black T again, and wouldn't recommend it to anybody else. For a service/duty pistol, it just doesn't hold up...peels and flakes a lot.
Yeah, if you hit it with a chisel. "Hard use pistol" doesn't mean it's a hammer, tent peg, or prybar, you know

Black T wins. Use it. If you're worried about the pistol getting ugly over time, get someone to do a master-grade hi-polish blue then stick the gun in your safe and stare at it longingly.
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  #6  
Old 04-06-2005, 10:04 AM
taz7nads taz7nads is offline
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How does the Black T compare to something like Rogard? I'm building my first, and want a matte/satin black finish on the frame, and bead blasted SS on the slide, comparable to a Kimber CDP. I have read here that of the various finishes, there's a difference in how they're applied (plated vs. baked on?) and that determines whether they are better for corrosion resistance or wear resistance. I'm in N. Texas, so I would be more interested in wear resistance over corrosion protection. Which would serve me better, the Black T or the Rogard?
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  #7  
Old 04-06-2005, 10:14 AM
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Here is a picture of a Kimber Pro carry that has Black T finish. Note the wear spots near the muzzle on the slide and on the tip of the dust cover. This gun was carried a lot by its owner in leather as well as kydex holsters. The owner also did a lot of dry fire practice presentation with this gun. Although the wear spots were visible, the surface was protected and there was no rust. This same process and wear also applies to other polymer/teflon coated finishes, such as Armor Tuff (Wilson), Bearcoat, Kimpro (kimber), Armorykote (Springfield).
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  #8  
Old 04-06-2005, 11:39 AM
taz7nads taz7nads is offline
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What about Robar's NP3 and CobraChrome? Are they polymers, or platings? And what are the advantages/disadvantages of each?
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2005, 12:48 PM
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I've read a few finish "reviews" in the gunrags, and most of them seem to be a plug for a certain product. Just about everything, from bluing to barbeque paint is covered, but one finish always seems to be the star of the story. The last one, in American Handgunner (IIRC), was slanted (my opinion) toward the Robar products, and Rogard was the black finish winner. It is apparently not of the Guncote/Armory Coat/Bear Coat/this coat/that coat family, which seem to be the same ingredients, mixed in different proportions. Rogard is (supposedly) more durable, and is applied over the slick and rust-resistant NP3.
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2005, 02:52 PM
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Black_Talon Black_Talon is offline
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I'm not a big fan of painted guns, but the Black T is definitely the best painted-on finish I've ever used. In my experience, it's tougher than Gun Kote, Armory Kote and Baercoat in chip resistance as well as wear resistance. I currently own 2 SA Pros that are factory finished with Black T. One of them is my "beater" that's run hard and put away wet. It's seen many thousands of holster presentations and is holding up quite well. Here's a pic. Note the holster wear (and a few light rub marks, if you look close), but mostly it's in pretty good shape. Certainly no "chipping" or "peeling" going on here:

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  #11  
Old 04-06-2005, 09:07 PM
Miossi Gun Work Miossi Gun Work is offline
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I have 3 personal Black-T carry guns and have built over 30 guns for customers that have been Black-T'd. The properties of the finish are deep in the pores of the metal and when what looks to be worn is still protecting the gun and working at the level that is important, the base metal pores. Black-T is a soft finish, if you want a hard finish get hard chrome, but you will not get the same performance properties as Black-T.
Walter is a great guy, he will even refinish the gun free, “you pay shipping both ways”, if you are bothered by the holster wear. He also guarantees the finish for the life of the gun. The finish will not crack or peal, if it does it is not Black-T. Black-T is applied to all parts including springs and if it were going to crack or peal it would be on the springs, and I have many springs that have been replaced after a full life and the finish on them is as new.

If you want a hard finish that won't show holster wear get hard chrome, if you want a self lubricating, highly protective finish get the original Black-T.

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  #12  
Old 04-07-2005, 09:07 AM
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I agree with Jim Miossi. There are some folks out there who will perhaps tell you that your gun has been coated with "Black-T". There is however, only one Black-T. Walter Birdsong owns both the finish and the name, and I've been dealing with him for close to 15 years. In that time, I've NEVER had his finish peel or flake. In fact, I've never gotten a gun or part back that wasn't perfect as to his finish. If you have a gun that was "Black-T" coated, I'd suspect that it was another finish mis-represented as the Birdsong finish. Birdsongs number is (601) 939-7448. If I were you, I'd call him, give him the serial number of your gun, and ask if they coated your gun. If he did, rest assured they'll make it good at no charge (bet they didn't).
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  #13  
Old 04-07-2005, 10:41 AM
taz7nads taz7nads is offline
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Roguard from Robar (also a polymer) mentions on their website that they do the internals of the frame, thus reducing friction/wear. Does anyone know if Walter does this also? And, does anyone know a ballpark price on what he charges to coat just the frame?
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  #14  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:20 AM
Anthony Lombardo Anthony Lombardo is offline
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The spray on finishes are a tradeoff like anything else.

The slicker, Teflon finishes like Black-T and BearCoat are softer than the moly-based finishes like Roguard and ArmorTuff.

However there is a tradeoff. The softer finishes are slicker and may require less lube. The "harder" finishes may stay on a bit better.

I like NP3 the best, but for working guns any of the shake and bake finishes are real hard to beat unless you are anal about slight wear.
A lot of the finish boils down to the prep work, so even if the finish is the same in some instances (ArmorTuff and GunKote), the prep is what makes the difference.

One thing I dislike about the slicker Teflon based finishes (Black T and BearCoat) is that when hands are bloody, wet, greasy, etc it makes it a bit hard to hold onto the gun unless you have some good grip treatment or grip tape. Slide manipulations are little tougher also, especially so with a tightly spring gun.

For a painted finish, Armor-Tuff is my favorite. After the initial learning curve at Wilson's, all of my latest stuff has been excellent.
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  #15  
Old 04-07-2005, 11:48 AM
Miossi Gun Work Miossi Gun Work is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taz7nads
Roguard from Robar (also a polymer) mentions on their website that they do the internals of the frame, thus reducing friction/wear. Does anyone know if Walter does this also? And, does anyone know a ballpark price on what he charges to coat just the frame?
Black-T is applied to all parts including springs, the only palce it is not applied ib the bore of the barrel.
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Last edited by Miossi Gun Work; 04-13-2005 at 12:23 AM.
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  #16  
Old 04-07-2005, 12:04 PM
anotherlefty anotherlefty is offline
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I own a S&W 681 from the Custom Shop and it came with the Black T finish in OD green and black. Two weeks of off and on carry inside of a Comp-Tac (Kydex) holster completely wore away the finish on the muzzle and cylinder.
I am very un-impressed with this finish.
I will probably refinish it with Gun-Kote. I have two other guns with the Gun-Kote finish that have seen thousands of rounds fired and hundreds of hours in holsters with many, many repeated presentations with NO wear thru.
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  #17  
Old 04-08-2005, 09:51 AM
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Skelt Skelt is offline
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Contact Info

Does any one have the contact info for Mr. Birdsong? I can't find it anywhere.
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  #18  
Old 04-08-2005, 10:05 AM
kjhof kjhof is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skelt
Does any one have the contact info for Mr. Birdsong? I can't find it anywhere.
According to this post, his phone # is (601) 939-7448. I think I've seen mention that he doesn't have a website.
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:51 PM
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Yeah, I'm an idiot. Sorry about that. I didn't read hard enough. Thanks!
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Old 04-08-2005, 12:55 PM
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Don't sweat it--heck, I do dumber stuff than that every minute or two .
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  #21  
Old 04-12-2005, 10:32 PM
Karsten Karsten is offline
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I spent quite some time on the phone with Walter Birdsong and I get the impression that this stuff almost becomes one with the gun or what ever metal surface.

Walter knows what he is talking about and is a pretty straight forward matter a fact this is the way it is guy.

I can't imagine the depth and scope of his business being as such that he is out doing second rate work. After all the FBI SA Pro is 5500 plus units per contact.

If you have peeling/flaking issues I would get on the phone 1st and make sure it is indeed Black/Green T or did someone just tell you that like so much gun show BS

Walter had a good reason to develope something to protect the finish of his firearm due to where he is located........I guess it is sad to sit and watch the rust destroy your finish the 1st day out hunting or carry along an oil soaked rag to wipe it down all day long.

It can and has been applied to revolvers, numerous Goverment Contacts, the FBI/Civie Pro and the list goes on and on.

I am thinking I want my SS TRP redone with Black T here pretty soon.

Again, if you have peeling/flaking issues give Walter a call 1-601-939-7448

Just my opinion

Karsten

Last edited by Karsten; 04-13-2005 at 10:41 AM.
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  #22  
Old 04-12-2005, 11:02 PM
TXAGGIECHL TXAGGIECHL is offline
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Can Black-T be applied straight over an anodized aluminum frame?
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  #23  
Old 04-12-2005, 11:35 PM
Karsten Karsten is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAGGIECHL
Can Black-T be applied straight over an anodized aluminum frame?

As I understand it the item in general (pistol, revolver or rifle) goes through a complete disassembly, degreasing then all parts get 3 different bathes/soaks/dips.

Walter is like a wealth of knowlegde about what he does and he will tell you straight. As far as I could tell was that any finish on the firearm was removed and all parts were/are completely redone.

Karsten
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  #24  
Old 04-12-2005, 11:38 PM
TXAGGIECHL TXAGGIECHL is offline
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Yeah, that's what I was afraid of. I'll call Walter when I get closer to wanting the frame refinished. I now Robar's Rohguard polymer finish requires the anodizing to be removed, which seems kinda puzzling as it adds a really nice, hard, protective layer to the aluminum.
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2005, 12:22 AM
Miossi Gun Work Miossi Gun Work is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAGGIECHL
Can Black-T be applied straight over an anodized aluminum frame?
Yes it can, I have a LW Commander, SA Micro and Sig 229 Black-T finished. Any metal can be finished with Black-T, but the aluminum must be anodized, no bare aluminum, as it will not have any hardness so it, although Walter says it will stick bond even to bar aluminum. Where I checkered the front strap on both the Commander and Micro I did not re anodize and it has not worn off, but it is does not take a beating like the feedramp or frame rails.
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