After several years of working with different plating companies; trying to determine which one had the best recipe for nickel plating, the company that Doug has chosen and has used for the past 20 years, has shown to be the best. Though part of the plating process has to do with the preparation of the metal, a lot has to deal with the chemical composition of the plating solution; to prevent staining from oils, greases, and cleaning supplies, and the tolerances that the company allows itself to apply to the surface. Doug is proud to offer the best quality nickel for you firearm.
Preparation on Doug’s part is preparing the metal surfaces. The process starts with the disassembly of the firearm. All of the pieces to be plated are then cleaned of all dirt and oils. Many individuals that have plated their firearms on their own found out that if the firearm is not disassembled or not cleaned properly, a lot of problems arise. Just because the firearm is clean and dry, nickel plating does add to the surface of the parts being plated. The plating company that Doug utilizes can hold the tolerances (thickness) of the plating to .0003”-.0005”. Anything thicker than that will cause problems with pins not fitting in holes and screws not going back into threaded holes. Also as the plating gets thicker, it also gets much more brittle. This brittleness can and will lead to the plating to chip and peel. Keeping it thin allows it to flex, minimizing any future problems. After the disassembling and cleaning, all sharp corners are slightly chamfered, to prevent flashing; an unnecessary build-up on corners and all the holes are chased with a reamer; to be sure they are clean and to size. The parts are then bead-blasted with glass beads to give the surface a soft matte surface. Then oiled and wrapped to insure a safe trip during shipping.
When the parts are returned to Doug’s Gunsmith Shop, the plated parts are checked for dings and scratches. With this completed, all of the parts are carefully reassembled. This includes chasing all of the holes one more time. This time using a carbide reamer matching the correct hole size.
Because of the close tolerances of the internal parts of a firearm action, i.e., hammers, firing pins, springs, sears, and triggers, these parts are not plated. The only pieces that will be plated are: Receivers, Top Levers, Safety Buttons, Trigger Housing, Trigger Guards, Forend Irons, and Forend Latches. Exposed pins, screws, and barrels are not. And, the plating will only be a matte finish. It is still a silvery look, just not shiny like a car bumper, and not some kind of shade of gray. Please call Doug for details.
Doug would like to add one warning with regards to the stripping of nickel plating. The stripping of plating can only be done in an acid bath. Most any plating shop can do this but, careful monitoring of the process is essential. If the shop places your parts into the acid and neglects to keep an eye on the stripping, not only will the nickel be stripped but, the metal will begin to etch, leaving behind a severely pitted part. The only correction is hours of painstakingly hand polishing all of the damaged parts. Doug has an agreement with his plating company to have a person monitor the process every minute while the parts are in the acid. It’s a little more costly but, the end result is only the plating is removed.