To Refinish or not to Refinish?

Discussion in 'Centerfire Pistols & Revolvers' started by mesinge2, Apr 10, 2010.

To Refinish or not to Refinish?

Poll closed Apr 14, 2010.
  1. High Bright Blue Finish

    11 vote(s)
  2. Matte or Brushed Stainless Finish

    1 vote(s)
  3. High Polish Stainless Finish

    1 vote(s)
  4. Leave it alone!

    14 vote(s)
  1. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Active Member

    Dec 4, 2009
    Central Florida
    I have a Smith and Wesson Model 19-4 that just runs like a clock. I mean it is mechanically perfect.

    I am more accurate with its 2.5" barrel than with my Security Six's 4" barrel.
    But the finish is in shameful condition; don't blame me, I bought it that way.

    View attachment 35649
    View attachment 35650
    View attachment 35651

    I have been toying with the idea of sending it to Smith & Wesson for a refinish. I know that refinishing can lower the value; however collectors tend to be lenient/forgiving if it was done by the manufacturer, but I never intend to part with this gun anyways.

    Also since I plan on keeping it, I can't decide to have the high bright blue it originally had restored or a matte or brushed stainless finish applied.

    Furthermore, would any of these options weaken the metal?

    For example, I was worried that in order to make the weapon stainless they would have to remove metal, thereby weakening the frame. Am I being overly cautious or is this a potential problem?

    Sorry, about the barrage of questions
    But I honestly can't decide what to do

    P.S. For some reason the camera actually made the gun's finish look better than it is. This picture shows it better:
    View attachment 35652
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  2. Contenderizer

    Contenderizer Member

    Feb 18, 2007
    North-Central Florida, USA
    Unless there is some sentimental value here, you'll be ahead of the game by visiting your local gun store and simply trading it in for a better example.

    While I am no expert on handguns, generally speaking if a gun is professionally restored it will be worth about half the value of an un-restored gun that's in perfect condition. As a result, most guns cost more to restore than they will ever be worth. While refinishing is not as costly as a restoration, the return on investment is usually worse.

    If you must proceed, keep it blue ... but my vote is to leave it alone.

  3. BobMcG

    BobMcG Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    Somewhere in the Twilight Zone.
    I'm in the save your money, enjoy it, and leave it alone camp. If you want a better specimen, shop around and sell or trade this one toward it.
  4. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2006
    You are confused about metal finishes.
    Stainless steel guns are made from stainless steel, and usually have no finish. Your gun is not made from stainless-it's carbon steel. It will never be stainless.
    You can have it plated with nickel or chrome to get a white finish.
    Rebluing the gun will reduce the value considerably, and with any use it will look as bad or worse than it does now. If I was hell-bent on refinishing the gun, I would upgrade the finish to industrial hard chrome. This will still reduce the value.
    If it were mine, I would leave it alone, at least until it looked a lot worse, then go for the hard chrome upgrade-done by a shop that specializes in that finish.
  5. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    As Bill says, you can't get a stainless finish on it. You can do chrome or nickel.

    But, the purpose of a finish on a gun is to protect the metal. Blue, while pretty, is not a good protective finish. I suggest something like I did with my 19.

    I sent it to Robar and got it NP3ed. NP3, I believe, is a combination of teflon and nickel. I'm not real sure. But it is more corrosion resistant than my stainless guns.


    If I were to sell it, the fact that it is refinished would lower the value. No finish I could put on it would keep the value up, so I got the best finish I could, to protect the gun.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2010
  6. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Jul 28, 2008
    DAV, Deep in the Pineywoods of E. Texas!
    You said you weren't going to get rid of it, so don't worry about the value. I voted: Leave it alone. You intend to keep the gun, and shoot it, so spend the money that it would cost to refinish it on ammo, or what ever you want. If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
  7. wpage

    wpage Active Member

    Aug 25, 2009
    Leave it alone.
  8. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

    Oct 24, 2007
    ND, USA
    I'll throw another vote of Leave it alone out there too...just my opinion though.

    Doesn't look bad to me from the pix. It does have some character though. Like it's had a life and has a story or two to tell.
    I won't embarrass myself by posting a picture of my Mak that was carried daily for many years (and abused more than a bit too). On top of a cheap factory blue job, it's been in the hands of a person who's sweat is corrosive enough to kill any bluing and even got swamped under the seat of a car with leaky weatherstripping more than once. Not much blue left on once side at all but I still enjoy it even with the ratty finish.

    But in the end it is still your gun, and especially if it's a keeper, feel free to put whatever finish you want on it.
    If you want a good carry gun finish, I like Alpo's suggestion of an NP3 job. makes a nice matte finish and is tough as nails.
  9. Terry_P

    Terry_P New Member

    Mar 23, 2008
    The NP-3 finish that ALPO suggested has been out there for several years and from what I have read is an excellent way to have a firearm refinished.
  10. fleetwood1976

    fleetwood1976 Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    Southern Indiana
    I am trying to figure out what is wrong with it. I have carry guns with a crapload more wear than that. I would be tickled to death to have the pictured gun with fingerslotted laminate grips. If it is reliable as is, I would carry it as is.
  11. zb338

    zb338 Member

    Apr 12, 2009
    Recently moved to Pennsylvania.
    The model 19 is not a rare collector's item. By the time it becomes
    one you probably won't be around. If you send it to the factory for
    refinishing they will probably do it in a way that no one would know
    the difference from a new gun. Refinish it if you want to. It's your
    gun enjoy it.
  12. al45lc

    al45lc Active Member

    Mar 8, 2010
    colorful colorado
    Agreed, it ain't no collectable. You said you intend to keep it, so the value is pointless, isn't it? One doesn't normally shoot collectables, so that point is moot.
    I like my tools in top shape, and refinishing is a fact of life for a well used gun, just as a good knife will eventually wear out with use and sharpening.
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