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I just picked up a used S&W 442 Airweight for $270 from a dealer in Portland, OR. I have two days to examine this revolver, shoot it, and decide if I want to keep it. I thought this was very nice of the dealer. My question is this: The cylinder of this revolver has some of the nickel finish flaking off. Some of it has flaked off up to about 1" up the cylinder. I don't care about the cosmetic appearance at all. I am only concerned that without the nickel it might rust. Does anyone know if this is stainless steel under the nickel? If so, I'm golden. If not, it might start to corrode and I might want to take it back. I have until this Tuesday at noon to decide. Thank you kindly for any advise you can offer on this matter.

Kirk
 

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This is not stainless, or the nickel finish would serve no purpose. I know plating by reduction reaction (electroless nickel) is unlikely to work on stainless at all.

It sounds like you want to have the gun stripped and refinished. New nickel plating is one option, but once stripped, you have your pick of the litter. If you don't want to tackle this yourself (Brownells sells an electroless nickel product, including a stripper), then get some gunsmith pricing before you decide to buy.
 

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Contact Smith and Wesson. I believe this would be under warranty. Even though you are not the original purchaser they might honor the work to refinish it. I have had very good luck with their service department as have many of my friends.
 

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To answer your question, no -- the steel willl not rust, as long as you perform the same maintenance you should perform with any gun and keep it cleaned and oiled. I have an old Model 10, bought very cheap, that someone stripped all the finish off of decades ago. It has acquired a gray patina, but not a spot of rust, because it's always been kept properly.

The way some folks talk, you'd think any gun except a stainless gun is reduced to a rusted , worthless lump after a few years. It ain't so.
 
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