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IonBond or Hard Hat

Discussion in '1911 Forums' started by TexasPOff, Aug 13, 2011.

  1. TexasPOff

    TexasPOff "Dump The Hump"

    Well I am just about finished fitting and installing all the parts I wanted to replace on my STI. I will shortly be sending it off for one of these two finishes. This pistol will serve along side my G19 as an alternate on and off duty pistol so I would like the best finish possible. I looked into the melonite as well. I am a bit put off, like others about having my pistol put in 1k temps for the finishing process. So at this point Melonite, QPQ Isonite etc are on the back burner. Price wise it looks like they are within $50 dollars of each other once its all said and done. I need some recommendations and pictures if you have some. Years ago it was an easy choice, Hard Chrome and your done. I would like to keep this pistol Black so HC isn't even a consideration. Thanks in advance, also I will post up some shots with the new parts installed prior to being sent off. Then the good ones when it gets back. TXPO
  2. up1911fan


    Mar 12, 2009
    Upper Michigan
    I would go with IonBond, probably a coin toss though.

  3. Hard Hat is aka Melonite.
  4. carguy2244


    Jan 13, 2009
    The Melonite process shouldn't disturb you?
    If the salt nitride is boiling when the gun is submerged, they say the weapon doesn't feel a thing.
  5. Quack

    Quack Rent this space

    Jan 7, 2002
    NE Ohio
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  6. skdmrklcy

    skdmrklcy Duck and Cover

    Jun 10, 2004
    North of Cinci, Ohio
    I am looking at the same sort of choice. I am leaning toward IonBond myself, since they can do the trigger as well in it.
  7. GJ1981

    GJ1981 Pitying Fools

    Feb 10, 2008
    After owning both, if it were me I'd go for something else honestly, something basic like Parkerizing or a paint finish and reapply when needed. My reasoning is I've played around with the "wonder" finishes/treatments and feel a K.I.S.S approach is best.

    My reasons - both WILL show wear, not that that should matter on any carry pistol, but I know some people choose these finishes since the do wear better than others. IME to date, Ionbond has worn better than my Melonite pistol despite some claims I've read.

    The temps you mentioned are a concern to me in the long run and would be a mark against the Melonite type treatments. I've been told of possible issues with high round counts down the road from weakened components due to the heat, warped breachfaces, etc. This is one area where IB wouldn't be a concern.

    Ionbond does NOT have great corrosion resistance, most of the paint finishes exceed it here.

    If you go with Melonite, there is no going back. IB can be removed...something to consider.

    Here are pics of my Melonite and Ionbond 1911's for visual comparison.



    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  8. MD357


    Jul 13, 2008
    I'm going to agree with GJ here, my preferences nowdays are HC or Robar after seeing examples of use after 15 years.

    I was told that they lay a layer of HC down under Ionbond when applying due to it's porous nature? Someone can verify?
  9. lsbbigdog


    Dec 12, 2008
    I'm a little bias but I like Cerakote. It has more colors than just black, it's pretty tough in it's own right and offers lubricity.
    Turn around time (my shop less than 2 weeks) and it's cheaper. A lot of other smiths & Semi custom shops use it.
  10. TexasPOff

    TexasPOff "Dump The Hump"

    Thats why I ask you guys over here. I know polymer but have been out of the steel game for a while. I wasn't sure what the hard hat stuff was, but I was wondering if it was a type of meloniting. I have a local guy here that has done a few Glock slides for me in Norrel Moly resin. He is a big Ed Brown nut himself, so he has a bit of background in 1911's. If I decided to go the IonBond way, who out there offers it other than Springer Precision. TXPO
  11. does IONBond and Melonite and is Round Rock, just north of Austin.

    I'm curious about the comment that HardHat is Melonite. The finish does not look like any melonite I have ever seen and Severns has stated on several occasions that his process is not melonite.

    Is there a source for this information about Hard Hat being Melonite?

    What was your experience with the corrosion resistance of Hard Hat vs Melonite?

    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  12. GJ1981

    GJ1981 Pitying Fools

    Feb 10, 2008
    I've never had a pistol in HH. I've read from a few sources about Ionbond not being comparable to most paint finishes, let alone Melonite for corrosion resistance. IB compares their corrosion resistance to untreated metal, which doesn't say much. I've heard they use hard chrome underneath but don't think it is standard -

    Oddly, I have found slight rust on my Melonite 1911 and a M&P after leaving it in my basement for a few days. My basement is pretty damp so maybe there was more to the cause?? The rust did wipe off and hasn't come back. It wasn't a test or anything so I don't plan to do the same with my IB pistols. Just something I noticed...
  13. bac1023


    Sep 26, 2004
    I really like the melonite finish on my Guncrafter.

  14. asiparks


    Sep 17, 2006
    Portland. OR
    your Glock's tennifer finish is pretty much melonite.... Durferrit, owns the patents to both trade named processes. So if you're confident your Glock is OK, your 1911 will be too....Dan Wesson "Duty Treat" is also melonite and S&W offer Melonite as a factory finish too.

    Hard hat is salt bath nitriding aka nitrocarburizing aka melonite aka isonite. If you have your gun Hard Hatted, then it's going through the same chemical and same temperature process as melonite.
    If Mr Severns has invented a whole new way to finish firearms in a way that so closely imitates melonite, but isn't, then he will be a multimillionaire very shortly, especially as he's not incurring the overheads that those massive chemical engineering conglomerates had to, what with paying scientists and all..... :tongueout:

    Melonite beats IonBond in just about every metric other than range of suitable substrates. The melonite process actually hardens the metal. Ionbond is also incredibly hard in of itself , but it's still a micron thin coating. It resists abrasion well, but not impact. Imagine wrapping a tomato in a very thin layer of titanium. The titanium is very hard, but it won't take much of an impact to mash the tomato regardless...

    My Nighthawk does not appear to have HC under the IonBond, but it's an older gun and the process may have been refined some....

    I have guns in both, including a very pretty Ionbonded Valor, but I'd take melonite over it any day of the week.....especially as it can be done for $200 or so.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  15. Texas Bulldog

    Texas Bulldog

    Oct 28, 2009
    Cerakote and IonBond is a total tossup for me, they are both amazing IMO.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2011
  16. dp509

    dp509 2009 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

    Jul 20, 2007
    What finishes are available for aluminum frame guns ?

    I have a Kimber Tactial Custom II.

    It has the aluminum frame.

    The finish is starting to show small nicks and dings.

    Gun is great :supergrin:

  17. faawrenchbndr

    faawrenchbndr DirtyThirty fan CLM

    Nov 24, 2005

    +1........getting ready to start a LW frame project.
  18. Sarge43


    Aug 22, 2010
    I've got more than one pistol in each the IonBond and the HardHat, and am sold on the HardHat. I've actually rubbed against a nail accidentally with the HH metal treatment and looked to find a scratch. After the obligatory berating myself for my stupidity, I got home and to my amazement the scratch just wiped away with some solvent. NO noticeable change to the HH in the area at all. On my Beastbob, I had Dave HH it and then return the slide sides to stainless. The HH makes the surface so hard, that it took him four hours to grind through it and get back to stainless. He said it was the first time he'd tried it, and would be the last. I don't pretend to know anything at all about metallurgy or it's nuances, but I do know that in reality and daily use, the HH is dang near impervious to anything I've run into and still looks like it did the day it arrived.
    Hope this helps, and good luck!
    Hard Hat
  19. KillStick


    Dec 30, 2008
    Corn fields
    My vote would be for Hard Hat, It is blacker than black and seems to be holding up pretty well.:wavey:

  20. Sarge43


    Aug 22, 2010
    Oh, if it makes a difference - the HH is a deeper black than the IB on my pistols.