What Type of Metal Coating Do You Need?

Are you considering what type of corrosion resistant paint you should use? Perhaps you're unsure whether Cerakote will be perfect for your firearm? This article will answer some of the most critical questions regarding the Cerakote versus corrosion.

When we consider firearm finishes, we usually focus on their color, abrasion resistance, hardness, or lubricity. That's not all you should be focusing on. Corrosion protection should be your number one priority.

Guns of every type come from steel components, a by-product of iron. On the other hand, iron is susceptible to metal corrosion. Hence, every gun needs a metal coating to prevent it from happening. We will discus how to avoid corrosion, but before we dive in, first things first:

Does the Metal Coating of a Firearm Matter?

Coating a firearm is one of the utmost important protection tactics. If you think metal coating doesn't matter, consider this: there is no better way of enhancing the luster of your firearm and reducing corrosion than with Cerakote.

In most cases, metal corrosion occurs as a result of moisture exposure. For instance, metal corrosion will occur when continuously exposed to water. (More about this later.) Thus, the thin-film protective ceramic coating of Cerakote creates a barrier around the firearm and protects it against abrasion, corrosion, chemicals, impact strength, and hardness.

Cerakote Vs. Corrosion

Decades ago, you could only use stainless and blued steel to protect your gun from corrosion. The problem with such materials is that they are not waterproof and will need a layer of water-repellant oil to protect your rifle from rust and corrosion. Fortunately, things have now changed for gun owners. There are many other advanced metal coating products you can use, including Cerakote.

What is metal corrosion?

Corrosion is the deterioration of a metal as a result of environmental chemical reactions oxidizing and damaging the surface. It affects not only the aesthetics of the firearm but the durability of it as well. In the long run, that will affect the functionality of your gun too.

Types of metal corrosion that may affect your gun include:

  • Galvanic corrosion is a form of corrosion that happens when two metals with different chemicals connect.
  • Stress-corrosion cracking happens when you expose the metal to unusual tensile stress.
  • Crevice Corrosion - this type of corrosion happens when dust, sand, or similar corrosive elements find their way within the crevices of a gun.
  • Intergranular corrosion happens when grain boundaries form an anode then act as a cathode inside a metal.
  • Water - Another prominent cause of metal corrosion is water, which contains some form of oxygen that causes corrosion on metals. However, the level of deterioration will depend on the water's pH level, temperature, electrical conductivity, and oxygen concentration.

What Is Cerakote?

Cerakote is a composite epoxy coating made with polymer and ceramic. It is a unique coating that can be applied to polymers, wood, plastics, and metals. It comes from a polymer-ceramic compound, which offers resistance to corrosion.

Test reports have proven that Cerakote coatings have 9H hands, which is similar to pencil hardness. Besides, Cerakote has an industry leading scratch resistance rating of 6H. Furthermore, in some cases, when Cerakote is applied by the firearm manufacturer,  they will warranty your gun against cracking, hipping, peeling and flaking of the H-series (bake on) Cerakote finish.

Now you understand why manufacturers use Cerakote on several pistols, including custom firearms.

Cerakote has some apparent benefits; some of them include:

  • Cerakote can improve the wear and tear of your gun over its lifetime
  • Cerakote provides resistance to corrosion.
  • It offers chemical resistance to your firearm.
  • It enhances the strength and durability of your firearm.
  • It is a perfect finish that will give your gun a nice look.
  • It is available in a myriad of finishes that you can use to create anything from a bold to a subtle look.
  • Cerakote improves the lubricity of your gun.
  • It can match the component colors of your weapon.

Corrosion Protection on Your Firearm

Metal corrosion is one of the most common concerns. It usually happens rapidly and can affect many components of your gun. How does it occur? Metal reacts to other chemical substances such as oxygen, hydrogen, or even dirt and bacteria causing oxidation damaging the surface. 

How Long Does it Take for a Firearm to Show Signs of Corrosion?

The time for a firearm to show signs of corrosion will depend on the climate where you live. If you live in an area with high humidity levels, the corrosion will form quite fast.

Some tests have proven how effective Cerakote protects your equipment when you compare it to other competitive finishes. The tests followed the American for Testing Materials (ASTM) standards.

How Cerakote Stacks Up Against Other Competitive Finishes.

The salt chamber was set to a temperature of 95˚F with a 5% salt concentration. This test aimed to draw a comparison between metals and finishes without considering the number of hours we usually spend when putting a gun in a safe. At least nine different firearm components were placed into a salt chamber to check how long it takes for them to show signs of corrosion.

Researchers sourced finished parts directly from manufacturers to ensure that the results were 100% accurate. A coat was applied on the steel barrel, including using Cerakote, to make it easy to compare results.

Signs of Corrosion

Inside the salt chamber, the environment was harsh enough for each component to start showing the first signs of corrosion.

  • First, within 24 hours, the Blueing and stainless steel showed visible signs of corrosion. If you are unsure what Blueing is, here is the explanation: it is a process of treating iron to create a layer of magnetite on the surface of your gun.
  • Forty-eight hours later, more corrosion showed on Phosphate, FailZero, NIBX, and KG Gun Kote components.
  • The Duracoat began to show signs of corrosion in 172 hours.
  • Impressively, Cerakote only showed signs of corrosion 2034 hours later. When you consider this, it becomes clear which metal coating product will protect your product better.

How to use Cerakote?

If this is your first time applying Cerakote to your equipment, follow these steps:

  1. First and foremost, you need to disassemble your firearm
  2. Sandblast your firearm
  3. Clean your firearm thoroughly
  4. Paint it with Cerakote
  5. Bake it

While doing it yourself may seem cost-effective, it is not always advisable to try applying Cerakote finishing yourself. In this instance, the best thing you can do is take your gun to a professional to coat it for you. Why? Because coating a firearm is a rare skill only a professional would typically possess. Besides, when you use Cerakote, you need to take your firearm apart.

First, sandblast your firearm, which includes blasting every nook and cranny of your gun. There are two formulas that you should use: oven cured and air-cured.

Let's look at each process:

  1. Oven cured process- when you use this process, you will be baking components of your gun. This process is suitable for frames, slides, and other external elements.
  2. Air cured process: is suitable for high temperatures and components such as barrels.

Typically, it will take at least 35 minutes for Cerakote to cure. But the other parts may even take as long as 24 hours to dry. Until all the details are completely dry, you need to avoid touching or bumping into it. Remember, Cerakote is a fragile product, so ensure that you apply it at a minimum of 2/1000” (2 mils).

Final Thoughts

Lastly, always ensure that the coating that you use doesn’t leave drips or marks. The best protective gun finish should be perfectly smooth. And that will depend on the kind of coating option you apply.

When you apply Cerakote coating on your firearm, it goes beyond protecting your gun against corrosion. It will also improve the handling, functionality, and durability of your gun. What's more, your gun will last you for years. To make sure that your gun gets the best metal coating it deserves, contact our experts to help you.

When looking for an industry leading corrosion resistant paint for your firearm,  reach out to us today, and one of our experts will take you through the process of finishing your gun!