Somewhere I recently read that that Taurus now makes the hammers and triggers for their revolvers using the MIM (Metal Injection Molding) process, and that on the stainless steel revolvers these parts are nickel plated so as to match as close as possible the stainless frame, cylinder, and barrel.
This prompted to me look at my recently-purchased model 65 stainless revolver, and compare the hammer and trigger finish to the overall matte stainless of the rest of the revolver.
What I notice is that both the hammer and trigger are slightly "off" with respect to the frame, etc. The hammer and trigger are smoother in appearance, and do not exhibit the slightly "grainy" texture of the rest of the revolver. This does lead me to believe that the hammer and trigger may, in fact, be plated over some other base steel.
Now I am not concerned with the MIM process being used for these parts. MIM parts are now commonly used throughout the firearms industry, and properly applied these parts give good service.
I am a little concerned with the nickel plating however - specifically the long term durability of the plating when exposed to ammonia based cleaning solvents, such as Hoppes #9, for example, or any other solvent that claims to remove copper fouling.
You see, it is not normally possible to nickel plate steel. Nickel cannot be made to "stick" to steel! However nickel WILL stick to copper, and copper will stick to steel. So the process to nickel plate a firearm is to first plate the firearm with copper, then plate over the copper with nickel.
The problem arises when the end user uses ammonia-based solvents, such as Hoppes #9, etc., to clean the revolver. If any of the copper plating is exposed, such as at a drilled hole, or maybe where the finish is scratched, or where any of the nickel top layer is damaged or worn off where the solvent can come into contact with the underlying layer of copper, the solvent will begin to dissolve the copper right out from under the nickel, which then will flake off. (I'm sure anyone who has been around firearms long enough has seen an example of a mangy-looking nickel plated firearm with the nickel flaking off. Below is a picture from the Smith & Wesson forum of a nickel plated model 57 with the plating peeling off of the cylinder.)
So this begs the question: Are the hammers and triggers, and possibly other parts, of Taurus stainless steel firearms in fact, finished with nickel plating?
If so, I would advise any owners of a stainless steel firearm of any manufacture, as well as any firearm that is known to be nickel plated, to avoid any "copper solvent" cleaning solution when cleaning such a firearm. I, for one, will continue my practice of using only Ballistol to clean my model 65.