People often ask “how can firearm finishes improve reliability?”
What We'll Cover
A well known example that most people are familiar with is the original M16 rifle. When the M16 was first developed it was designed to have a chrome lined barrel and bolt carrier group. The geniuses in the government focused their attention on the costs of chrome lining the barrel and BCG and viewed it as an unnecessary expense. They underestimated the importance of a finish to improve reliability. Due to their failure of foresight many of our young soldiers died. Once the chrome lining was approved and implemented, along with new cleaning kits issued, reliability was increased to operational standards. However the price to learn that lesson was heavily paid by our boys in the field.
Proper lubrication is essential to reliability in firearm function. Usually a few drops of a favorite lubrication will do the trick: Seal 1 CLP, Rand CLP, MPro7, etc. The problem with all externally applied lubricant is it eventually wears off in all the critical areas and collecting dirt and debris. In contrast a firearm plated in a custom finish has the self lubrication of the Teflon®, which does not wear off. In some coatings, Teflon is co-deposited through the nickel; all coated surfaces are evenly covered so no surface area goes un-lubricated. Even when the firearm is run dry or with minimal lubrication, less dirt and debris have the ability to adhere to the surface of a custom finish. We still recommend that all firearms be properly lubricated at least for the initial break in of the coating. After that initial break in period, depending on the type of firearm, it can then be run with little to no lubrication at all.
A lower co-efficient of friction will enable more reliable function on all metal moving parts. Traditional oils can reduce friction between moving parts, but where oil needs to be reapplied and degrades the finish. Certain finishes lower friction allowing all parts to function as originally designed, with nothing to slow them down. AR builders and companies that plate their rifles benefit greatly when going from using a regular phosphate coated BCG to an custom BCG. Some manufacturers have experienced a 20% increase in the rate of fire on full auto guns.
Custom finishes act much like the Teflon in a non-stick pan not allowing particles to permanently adhere. Carbon and dirt cannot imbed or bond to the finish and their particles are more likely to rub off even while the action cycles. These particles have trouble adhering to the dry finishes versus them sticking to a normal surface that is lubricated or treated in other finishes. What is allows is more reliable function and longer sustained periods of firing between cleaning or lubrication of the firearm. When it does come time to clean, in most cases great custom firearm finishes are able to be cleaned with a dry cloth and needs little to no solvents.
A great finish increases surface hardness of parts to 48-52 Rockwell hardness. This is a big increase from normal gun metal which is around the low 30 Rockwell scale. This increase in hardness to the surface increases parts life and can reduce breakage and wear. Corners and angels that must be maintained will last longer because of the increased hardness and low friction. Again wear in essential parts like that of slide rails is also reduced because of the increased hardness and self lubrication of your custom finish. All of this increased part life means that the firearms will be more reliable for longer and last you generations to come.
Firearms are susceptible to rust and corrosion because of the environments firearms are exposed to. Corrosion is detrimental to the reliability of a firearm and can permanently destroy a functioning pistol, rifle, or shotgun. Some providers of custom finishes guarantee their work for the life of the part against corrosion.
Custom finishes improve reliability! and this is more than just talk. It’s a FACT!
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