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  #1  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:17 AM
ReaganYouth ReaganYouth is offline
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Owning a Nickel 1911 or Ultrabrite Stainless?




I would really like to get a bright nickel Colt 1911, maybe the Govt model or maybe the Commander. I'm in Ca and my choices are limited to say the least. I've never owned a nickel plated firearm before and I understand nickel can be very problematic, looks good at first but if it's used as a shooter then the finish just wont hold up over time (or so I've been told). Then there's ultrabright stainless (is this the same thing as high polished stainless?) or hard chrome(?). Which would you consider the best route if I wanted the bright nickel or as close to the bright nickel look as I can get without actual nickel, get blue steel and have it nickel plated or get the stainless and have it polished? (or get blue steel and have it chromed?) Sorry for all the questions, I guess my goal is to get bright nickel, unless it's gonna be a headache down the road, then I'd want as close to the bright nickel look as possible.

Last edited by ReaganYouth; 01-16-2012 at 01:21 AM.
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  #2  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:35 AM
Auto426 Auto426 is offline
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I understand. You want a shiny silver gun, you just aren't sure how to get there.

Nickle and Hard Chrome are metallic platings, which are very thin. The problem with that is if they are scratched, it can go through the plating, and the only way to fix it would to to completely refinish the gun. Corrosion can also get in through scratches or chips in the plating, and can cause some real headaches.

Stainless isn't a finish, it's a type of metal. It's the same all the way through. While it can still rust, it take's a good bit of neglect for it to start. If the gun is ever scratched, you can simply get out a little bit of polish and a rag, combine it with a little bit of elbow grease, and the gun will look like new.

Since you are in California, your options are limited. The best route I can see would be to buy a new stainless Colt, pick your flavor, and send it to the custom shop for the bright stainless treatment. You could also do it yourself, if you know a little about polishing and you are willing to put a little work in. I believe Colt charges somewhere around $250 for the polishing, and the custom shop would warranty the work.
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  #3  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:37 AM
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dsk dsk is offline
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The problem with nickel is that it can flake off, plus some cleaning solvents can actually damage it. Then there's the issue of scratches being something you can't really fix, and the expense of refinishing due to the hazards of stripping the nickel off. I think you should go with stainless, but do be aware that many stainless pistols have nickel or chrome-plated small parts. That could be a problem if you get a matte-finished one and want to have it polished out.
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  #4  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:43 AM
ReaganYouth ReaganYouth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auto426 View Post
I understand. You want a shiny silver gun, you just aren't sure how to get there.
To a "T", thank you.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-2012, 01:51 AM
ReaganYouth ReaganYouth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsk View Post
The problem with nickel is that it can flake off, plus some cleaning solvents can actually damage it. Then there's the issue of scratches being something you can't really fix, and the expense of refinishing due to the hazards of stripping the nickel off. I think you should go with stainless, but do be aware that many stainless pistols have nickel or chrome-plated small parts. That could be a problem if you get a matte-finished one and want to have it polished out.
That's the thing, if I'm going to do this then I'm going to buy a brand new Colt, I'm in CA and only have two options if I get a stainless, 01091 M1991A1 Ser 80 / Stainless Steel (matte) or 04091U / Stainless Steel (the Commander)
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  #6  
Old 01-16-2012, 02:45 AM
Kamerer Kamerer is offline
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I'm a fan of nickel guns; here's a few points:

1) Before stainless guns came about in the 1960s, nickel was the "tough" finish. It was not just for show. It holds up to wear and to elements far, far better than bluing. Gun wags I have read have stated that real western outdoorsman would get nickel guns when they could for this reason.

2) Modern nickel won't be damaged by solvents. It's not the nickel that is damaged, but the copper substrate used to adhere the nickel to the carbon steel that would weaken and flake. Modern nickel plating methods don't use that anymore.

I have a number of stainless and nickel guns; I vastly prefer nickel. If I were carry a gun on my waist in the humid, hot South or in a marine environment, I'd opt for stainless. But otherwise, I like the warmth and character of nickel. In CA, you'd have to get a gun refinished, or be patient and look for a used one.

I think Colt can do a nickel finish - they send it out but it's well done - they produce nickel models occasionally. You could order the pistol of your choice that way and just wait, like the SS polished option mentioned above.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:02 AM
my04heritage my04heritage is offline
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Here is a picture of my Colt Officers model brite stainless. This pistol is 26 years old and still shines.If someone has a 26 year old nickel picture to do a side by side it would be interesting!
Attached Thumbnails
more stuff 007.jpg  
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2012, 08:26 AM
invssgt invssgt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamerer View Post
I'm a fan of nickel guns; here's a few points:

1) Before stainless guns came about in the 1960s, nickel was the "tough" finish. It was not just for show. It holds up to wear and to elements far, far better than bluing. Gun wags I have read have stated that real western outdoorsman would get nickel guns when they could for this reason.

2) Modern nickel won't be damaged by solvents. It's not the nickel that is damaged, but the copper substrate used to adhere the nickel to the carbon steel that would weaken and flake. Modern nickel plating methods don't use that anymore.

I have a number of stainless and nickel guns; I vastly prefer nickel. If I were carry a gun on my waist in the humid, hot South or in a marine environment, I'd opt for stainless. But otherwise, I like the warmth and character of nickel. In CA, you'd have to get a gun refinished, or be patient and look for a used one.

I think Colt can do a nickel finish - they send it out but it's well done - they produce nickel models occasionally. You could order the pistol of your choice that way and just wait, like the SS polished option mentioned above.
This guy saved me a bunch of typing.

I've had nickel S&W revolvers, a nickel Colt or two and currently, a Nickel Rock Island GI 1911A1FS. I've found S&W's nickel to be very durable; one of the revolvers was a very hard-used, 4" Model 29. RIA's looks about as thick and 'deep' but time will tell on that one.
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:37 AM
ReaganYouth ReaganYouth is offline
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I'd love to get one of those Nickel RIA 1911's, they are very reasonably priced I think, it would give me a good idea of how nickel is gonna hold up. But because I live in CA I can't get one, only the park finish is on the roster, doesn't matter that the nickel finish FS is the exact same gun and the only difference is the finish which has no bearing what so ever on the functionality of the gun, if it's not on the "safe" handgun roster exactly as listed I can't buy it. For whatever strange reason RIA has the .38 Super in nickel on the roster but not the .45.

Last edited by ReaganYouth; 01-17-2012 at 04:49 AM. Reason: 38 super not super 38
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2012, 04:48 AM
ReaganYouth ReaganYouth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my04heritage View Post
Here is a picture of my Colt Officers model brite stainless. This pistol is 26 years old and still shines.If someone has a 26 year old nickel picture to do a side by side it would be interesting!
That is a beauty, if you didn't tell me it was ultrabrite I would have thought it was possibly bright nickel, I found this surfing around, it's nickel according to the seller, http://www.collectorsfirearms.com/ad...p?itemID=48814, I can't much tell the difference between your ultrabrite and this nickel, also shouldn't there be a series 80 on there? Did the nickel finish cover it up?

This is about as close as I could get to a side by side UB stainless and Bright Nickel Comparison:





This was advertised as an "original" series 70 in bright nickel, I saw it online at shop In Simi Valley, it was sold by the time I called, I was told it made around 77-79, sorry for the difference in pic size, I'm still getting the editing part down

Last edited by ReaganYouth; 01-17-2012 at 05:48 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-17-2012, 05:36 AM
Bullseye1911 Bullseye1911 is offline
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Nickel looks very nice but as others have stated it does flake after time

I prefer stainless if I want a shiny gun
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2012, 09:20 AM
invssgt invssgt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullseye1911 View Post
Nickel looks very nice but as others have stated it does flake after time

I prefer stainless if I want a shiny gun
A good nickel plate will outlast the original owner by a considerable margin. I've seen S&W's from the early 1900's that looked damn near as good as the 1980 S&W Model 29-2 I used hard for 10 years, before this photo was taken. It probably ate a 2 gallon bucket of full-snort magnum loads over that period, yet the plating never chipped or flaked.



Good nickel is a lifetime finish. How much 'time' do you need?
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2012, 01:21 PM
US1911 US1911 is offline
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Colt Gold Cup in Bright Stainless; not plated, rather polished stainless.

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  #14  
Old 01-19-2012, 12:14 AM
norcal_anthony norcal_anthony is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my04heritage View Post
Here is a picture of my Colt Officers model brite stainless. This pistol is 26 years old and still shines.If someone has a 26 year old nickel picture to do a side by side it would be interesting!
Here's my 36 year old nickle plated Series 70 Click image for larger version

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ID:	75794. It's been a while since she's been polished but I'll try to take care of that this weekend and post a new pic to get a better side by side. It does have some minor scratches where someone had installed an extended slide release but there are no flaking or corrosion issues like others here have reported. I'm not sure if it was ever used as a daily carry but it definitely is no safe queen either and I'd say the finish has held up well for it's age.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2012, 03:38 PM
DArBad DArBad is offline
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Another route is: get a carbon steel gun, then send it to one of the specialty finishers for a top of the line polished hard chrome job. You will get a very durable and pretty finish.
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  #16  
Old 01-20-2012, 01:38 AM
norcal_anthony norcal_anthony is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by my04heritage View Post
Here is a picture of my Colt Officers model brite stainless. This pistol is 26 years old and still shines.If someone has a 26 year old nickel picture to do a side by side it would be interesting!
Just finished polishing the old girl and took a few photos for a side by side Click image for larger version

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ID:	75823 Click image for larger version

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ID:	75824 (sorry about the amateur photography lol). Some of the light scratches are still visible but all of the flats polished right up to a mirror finish again. I think the 36 year old nickle finish has held up pretty well for the amount of use it's had and think it's still got a lot of life left.
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2012, 09:36 PM
krvincen krvincen is offline
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Love the grips on the gold cup us1911!! Mind sharing who makes them? I have a series 80 brite stainless gold cup I purchased back in '96 and put a box and a half through, put it in the safe, and pretty much forgot about it(too busy in idpa, ipsc, and 3gun comps with other weapons i guess) until a couple weeks ago. Gonna have to start shooting the snot outta it, I have alot of time to make up for!!
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2012, 10:20 PM
US1911 US1911 is offline
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Love the grips on the gold cup us1911!! Mind sharing who makes them?
Welcome to the forum Krvincen. Those are Hogue Extreme Flames in clear finish. I really like the looks of them on the polished pistol, but they shot loose during the first mag. I could probably try putting some o-rings on the grip scews, but I'd just rather swap on some stocks with a better grip.
http://www.getgrip.com/main/overview...lames.html#gov
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  #19  
Old 01-28-2012, 10:34 PM
garysy garysy is offline
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I have a series 70 serial #70bxxxxx manufactured in 1982 according to colt. it is very bright polished nickle. It is my every day carry for last 5 years, I bought it from a friend 6 years ago he bought new in 1983. It has been tunned accurized by a local Gunsmith from cullman al in 1984 who is now deceased. it has at least 4000 to 5000 rounds thru it maybe more. no flacking has some deep scratchs that didn't go thru to the copper. I use FLITZ on it weekly I even have a idiot scratch on it . everyone knows what that is polished it out with scratch x2.0 did not go thru to copper. only copper showing thru is on the inside of hammer if you had been shot that many times you would be showing.

My point is I get tired of people bashing polished nickle, you got to own one and you would know it dosent flake.

No offence intended. When I figure out this camera I will post a mighty pretty picture.
There are 2 or 3 pictures posted in post your colt. (not mine) which as you know takes awhile to get thru.
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