View Full Version : Discolored nickel finish

March 28, 2016, 10:08
I have a S&W Mod 19-4 factory nickel finish. The gun has a couple of dull discolored spots on it. My Dad bought it new back in the 70s. Are there any products out there that can safely polish out these spots? I don't want to take a chance on completely messing up the finish on it.

March 28, 2016, 11:16
First, smith-wessonforum.com is the place to go to for any S&W issues

That said
As you already know, the nickle is a plating. You're not going to remove much of anything without removing the plating. Most people use Flitz to clean discolored spots. It isn't going to 'fix' anything. It might help some but you run the risk of doing more damage.

Anything with ammonia in it is going to do much more harm than good. Be careful in whatever method/cleaning solution you use.

I say just shoot the thing and not worry about discolored spots. If the gun has sentimental value, leave it as is. If you want it restored to like new condition, send it to Smith and Wesson for a re-nickle.

Retired Bum
March 28, 2016, 16:08
One needs to be very careful when cleaning or polishing a nickel plated firearm. In order to nickel plate steel it first has to be copper plated. Nickel will not adhere to steel or iron. Do not leave any solvent on nickel plate such as Hoppes #9. It will attack the nickel and the copper plating underneath.

This is why I use WD-40 to clean the exterior of the small number of nickel plated handguns I own. Then a good wipe down to remove the WD-40.

Nickel plate as it gets older has a tendency to take on a slight yellowish tint. My old 1935 made Colt Police Positive Special is like that. I just wipe it down with a good quality silicone cloth every so often. IMHO the yellowish tint is like a nice patina on an older handgun.

And so it goes.

The Retired One

March 28, 2016, 18:35
well, not exactly. Nickel electroplating, perhaps? Should have no problem on steel. Hard chrome yes. And plating aluminum, perhaps.

Autocatalytic/electroless nickel, no. High phos nickel is silver. Low phos will take on a yellow hue with age. Also, additives "brightners" to refine the nickel grain structure will result in a higher luster.

No, nothing you can do about it.

April 05, 2016, 20:08
I keep a can of automotive paste wax around for touch ups like that. It has a mild abrasive that gives a soft touch of polish when used sparingly. Very sparingly. It has no solvents nor corrosives either. I will use it only after trying a lubricant rub on the affected area.