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Removing pits from stainless

This is a discussion on Removing pits from stainless within the Gunsmithing forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; Have a gp100 with pits in the stainless. Do you have any suggestions? I was thinking of using a polish wheel and compound but i'm ...


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Old February 25th, 2009, 07:41 AM   #1
 
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Removing pits from stainless

Have a gp100 with pits in the stainless. Do you have any suggestions? I was thinking of using a polish wheel and compound but i'm not sure of the effect it will have.



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Old February 25th, 2009, 11:27 AM   #2
 
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$4, on what part of the revolver are the pits and how deep are they? I've not had great luck with buffing because buffing generally makes the surface defect (pits) smoother but more obvious.

In general, if you have the desire to remove or blend in surface defects like scratches, dings, or pits the most effective way is by flat filing or sanding with a flat backer. This generally involves some amount of disassembly to get good enough access to the surface you want to work down but I usually disassemble completedly to allow thorough clean up with solvent after the abrasive work is done.

You start out with coarse enough grit to work down the defect area and the surrounding surface until the defect is no longer visible, then go to finer and finer grit until you get to the level of brightness (shine) that you want. On slab-sides it's fairly straight forward using abrasive paper on a very flat surface. On a barrel or cylinder, they can be removed and chucked up in a lathe to allow working the surrounding surfaces to a uniform contour. Good luck! Cheers/JimH
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:39 PM   #3
 
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Is this a new pistol? If it is, I believe I would send it back to Ruger. I guess I don't understand how a stainless firearm would become pitted. I understand that a stainless firearm is not rust proof, but pitting would seem unlikely, at least to me. Could these be caused by a problem in the casting process? Just wondering.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 08:26 PM   #4
 
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Coastie, I've had a few SS revolvers by both Ruger and Smith and they have all shown a nasty tendency to corrode by pitting, particularly if left in a wet holster for too long and particularly if what made the holster wet to begin with was river mouth water that was part ocean. I don't think it has anything to do with the casting process but it is definitely a type of localized corrosion, probably galvanic corrosion, most notably seen at the points of contact with holster leather. Cheers/JimH
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Old February 26th, 2009, 05:12 PM   #5
 
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Well, you learn something every day. The only time any of my handguns had any possibility of long term exposure to salt water was when I was in the CG. Being in the ordnance division I took real good care of my firearms. Been an inland person ever since.

Thanks for the information.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 05:27 AM   #6
 
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Thanks for the info guy's. I think old coastie hit with the casting. I'm thinking it will get bigger if I try to smooth it out. I'll try to get a picture of it. I had a friend tell me you can fill a pit with a high content silver solder for cosmetic purpose on stainless but he has never tried it on a gun ??? What do you think? it sounds reasonable.
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Old March 1st, 2009, 04:34 PM   #7
 
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$4, again, you haven't said where this pitting is but before you try filling pits with silver solder, I recommend you spend the dough to send your GP back to Ruger for their evaluation. If it is a casting flaw, they should replace whatever part it is. If it is not a casting flaw and they won't cover it, you should request they provide a repair option. I'd be reluctant to put a glob of silver solder on it and then try to work it down where it won't show much. Some stainless steels are not happy when you put heat to them and you could be making a minor cosmetic problem into a big structural strength problem. Good luck, whichever way you go with it. JimH
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Old March 1st, 2009, 09:42 PM   #8
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>>> Could these be caused by a problem in the casting process?<<< (Old Coastie)

>>>…but it is definitely a type of localized corrosion, probably galvanic corrosion,<<< (Jim H)

Some casting processes cause pitting. Actually most casting processes cause pitting. Casting could be the culprit.

If it is corrosion, it is a localized corrosion phenomena and, believe it or not, it’s called pitting corrosion. Galvanic corrosion occurs mostly between dissimilar metals in contact with each other. It can happen with metals and a few non metals but it always requires two conductors, contact and an electrolyte.

Pitting corrosion is different. Salt by itself will cause some of the steel components, mostly the iron, to break down leaving voids in the surface.

It there is no evidence of pitting inside the barrel, chambers or action you should be fine. Removing pitting on the exterior will involve removing metal and I would opt to not do that. Pitting doesn’t help the looks of the gun but minor pitting on surfaces will not affect the structural integrity of the gun.

It’s been stated and we all know that a gun should be dried and oiled as soon as possible if it gets wet and cleaned also if it was fired. We all know salt water will damage metals more rapidly than freshwater. We sometimes forget that leather attracts moisture and can be “wet” and yet feel dry and that fingerprints may be mostly oils from our body but they can and do contain salt from our perspiration. Fingerprints on metal up against leather will cause pitting in some conditions.

I am a former squid and, like Old Coastie, spent my career fighting corrosion. I wipe my guns down often with CLP but any good preservative product will work fine. This may not get rid of what is there but it will stop progression if the pitting is truly corrosion. Oils and silicon can wash or be rubbed away. Most of the MIL spec preservatives bond with the surface metal and work better than oil or silicon in harsher environments.
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