At the suggestion of my good friend Freddie Blish, I recently sent out a mil spec AR15/M16 bolt to Robar Guns for their NP3 Finish. Though I have known of Robar and their NP3 for decades, I really didn’t know much about the finish other than it was based on electroless nickel. A quick phone call to Freddie got me up to speed. The Cliff Notes version is that the Robar Companies spend most of their resources fulfilling industrial contracts, including plating of critical aircraft components for the military with many of the same finishes seen on their firearms. And Robbie Barrkman is no stranger to custom guns, as he was the original gunsmith for Jeff Cooper at the American Pistol Institute a.k.a. Gunsite.
Freddie highlighted the benefits of the latest iteration of NP3, including extreme corrosion resistance (1000+ hours of salt spray resistance), embedded PTFE in the coating makes it self-lubricating, exceptional abrasion resistance without being excessively hard so as to cause abnormal wear on softer parts that mate up to the coated surface. The coating is also easy to clean, and in most cases fouling will wipe right off the surface. What does this mean? Freddie expects that my bolt will have an enhanced service life and asked me to shoot the gun completely dry to see how long it will run before failure. This is a completely foreign concept to me as I keep my AR/M4 platforms wet with lube as a matter of practice, but I will grit my teeth and do as instructed. Results will be posted here.