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Stainless Revolvers - Hammer and Trigger Material?

2528 Views 7 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  tpelle
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.
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A lot of the small parts have always been MIM and are usually stainless steel.
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Your stainless revolver is stainless. No plating ever. never never ever.
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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.
I can understand your recommendation when it comes to nickel plating - especially older nickel plated firearms. I'd say anything from before the 90s.

But stainless? I don't see an issue with stainless.
I've been told that if the underside of the hammer is smooth, as mine is on my SS M85 new in 1996, then it's not MIM. But, the underside of my 605 Poly's stainless (or whatever it is) hammer is smooth, so I don't know if that bit of internet wisdom holds water. LOL I really don't care how it's made so long as it goes bang when I need it to. It's a tool, not a Picasso. :rolleyes:
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I cut the spur off of my 605 and then polished the hammer trigger, and cylinder release and ejector rod. I found no indication of plating. I would completely believe the parts are MIM.
Taurus' Stainless Steel firearms are indeed Stainless Steel, not Nickel-plated, not Tenifer, nor any kind of coating. Rumors of Taurus' Stainless Steel firearms was based on a combination of the US Website poorly wording the product descriptions on their Stainless Steel firearms so that under the finish category they were labeled as "Stainless Finish" or "Matte Stainless" as well as Customer Service Representatives for Taurus USA spreading misinformation that it was a coating, which they likely got from those same product pages.
In reality, Taurus' Stainless Steel firearms are simply bead-blasted, which gives them a dull appearance, and they seemingly don't clean their blasting media very often, which tends to make the surface look more gray than one typically expects Stainless Steel to be on certain models when they come fresh from the factory without being cleaned.
However, it is easy to tell upon closer inspection that they are indeed merely bead-blasted, since certain areas such as the cylinder chambers and the inside of the frame aren't bead-blasted, allowing you to see the bare metal.

As for the use of MiM parts for the Hammer, Trigger, and controls, I honestly couldn't tell you for sure. They don't appear to be MiM since there's no visible seems nor molding/casting marks on any of those parts on any of the Taurus firearms I have handled, so I'm going to presume that they're steel, but I'm no expert on MiM or how to spot it.
I will say this much though, the Hammer and Trigger on my S&W PPK/S-1 are MiM, and it's extremely easy to spot since they both have visible seems down the middle and a different look/texture than the rest of the firearm which is made of Stainless Steel, yet my Taurus Judge Magnum's Hammer and Trigger look much closer to the rest of the gun, with the only noticeable difference being that they look smoother than the bead-blasted body of the firearm, more like a Satin Stainless Steel.
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I was certain that the frame, barrel, and cylinder was stainless. It was only the hammer and trigger that I questioned.

The lack of visible seams, as usually evident on a MIM part, I presumed were polished away as part of the plating process if in fact that is what was done.

Thanks for the replies.
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