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Chromed heirloom firearms

Paul R

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I have just heard from members of my family that I am to receive all of the military related items from my mother's side of the family. All the males were in the military for some part of their lives. My Great Grandfather was in the Ambulance Corps in WW1, my grandfather was a corspman (PhM1) in the Navy who landed on Guadalcanal. My uncle served in Germany and Washington DC in the 60s.

Anyway, included in the lot with uniforms and etc are a few weapons.

I will have my great grandfather's service M1911 .45 and my grandfather's M1 Carbine. Since most of my relatives live in Louisiana and Texas, where the humidity is high. As a result, my grandfather chromed the exposed metal parts.

Now is there anyway to restore these pieces to their original finish or am I better off leaving them the way they are. The way I understand it is that all the markings and codes are still visible. I will never sell these pieces, so I am OK with either option.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.



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The chemical process required to restore these items to their original state would be far to invasive.

Your Great Grandfather saw fit to plate these items so if, as you say, you will never sell these pieces, keep them as he loved them

If he had carved his initials in the stock of his carbine I don't think you would want to sand them out and re-finish the stock.

They were his and he loved them the way they were.

Just my thoughts,

Semper Fi


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I considered that it could be harsh to the weapon as well. I am still on the fence for several reasons:

1. I dont want to adversly harm the weapon.

2. My grandfather had it chromed to protect it from exposure(rusting) and perhaps liked the effect/look as well.

3. I would like to see the weapon restored to it's old original glory, BUT the fact it was chromed is part of the history.

I have seen the work of Bill Adair and he does a great job. I am just so torn...

I understand what you are saying completely. I may just keep it the way it is.

Semper Fi!!!!


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  • 4 years later...

Paul - this is a great inheritence. Removing chrome on swords - i.e. a straightish surface is possible - however, for firearms I would say best leave

alone. After all they were originally chromed for protection and whilst you display them this protection will still be needed in a humid atmosphere.

Write a full account of their original owners - the family members - and make sure it is kept with the weapons. So many weapons come-on the market

or, are passed down in families - and yet they know little of the history attached to them. Mervyn

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