Black Nitride, Melonite, SBN and QPQ

Black Nitride goes by a few names, Ferritic Nitrocarburizing, Melonite, SBN "salt bath nitriding", QCP and Tenifer, that are all names for the same thing, the only difference would be Tenifer, this process is used in Europe with a different cyanide formulation bath "EPA wont allow that in the US".

How is it done?... this is a video from the History channel.

YouTube Video

I first heard abut this a few years ago from this video

YouTube Video

Who uses this?
DS Arms (most ZM4 models and ZM4 uppers)
S&W M&P15 
CMMG - LE Series with WASP treatment
Adams Arms (uppers)
Huldra Arms (rifles and uppers with chrome-moly barrels {not stainless})
Bushmaster ACR
Spikes Tactical
Robinson arms
Sig - 550-556
Superior Barrels with "hard blue" (uppers and barrels) {}
and many more...

What will it do? ... What can you do it to?
Any Ferris steel, Carbon Steel, Alloy, Stainless Steel can all be treated. Typical Hardness ranges from HRC 60 to HRC 70-75 on Stainless steel.

"These barrels can take a lot more use and abuse than a standard barrel before any degradation in accuracy or loss of velocity. NiCorr™ surface conversion has proved more lubricious, harder wearing, more heat and corrosion resistant than the hard chrome normally used in the bore. Our barrels can handle 20,000 rounds before replacement, as compared to 6,000-10,000 rounds on a standard M4."

"Nitriding offers improved wear, abrasion, and corrosion resistance when compared to hard chrome lining or phosphating. The benefits are not limited to only these attributes, nitriding also offers a lower coefficient of friction. Unlike chrome lining where the chrome is built up on the surface, nitriding converts the surface with out the risk dimensional build up causing fitment and function issues."

Per Superior Barrels
And years of discussion on many forums, this is one of the longer running threads I found..

Sounds good to me, any down side?
Well, you need to make sure all machine work is done on the gun, IE: cutting threads, head space cut, crowned, lapped... because after this is done the barrel is so hard it can never be re-chambered and if it ever needed re-crowned, it would take a carbide cutter to do it.
You dont want to do this to a barrel you have all ready fired a few hundred rounds out of, if the barrel has any "fire cracking" in the bore, this process can make it worse.
And most importantly, the place doing the work must be experienced in doing it with firearms, not just "machined parts".

What do you need to do to your gun before you send it in?
If is a new unfired barrel, it is best to break it in "30 to 60 rounds"
At this time, I am not suggesting having Chrome lined bores done.
Clean it GOOD... use a good copper remover like KG12 "the best"
If sending a action, bolt, or hand gun, EVERY spring needs removed, the heat will destroy the springs, sights should be removed as well

So i emailed MMI and got this back
On 03/09/2011
Mike Wooldridge to me
We at Trutec are no longer doing individual orders. has taken over that account. His charge $75 a barrel plus $25.00 shipping fee ground. will not process actions.I think he can get them out 2-3 days. They will still ship for now to the mmi trutec plant 2609 north 12th ave. attention rodney paragould ar. 72450

Please contact him for details 

I first sent in a 243wssm AR barrel in to MMI, it was a a fast turn around and cost 100$ and this was what i got back.

The finish is vary flat, and has a minor finish flaw near the end of the barrel "pic above", click on, and look at the bottom tip of the barrel, you can see what looks like a "water spot", a white mark that goes around the bottom 1/2 of the barrel.

After talking to some others, I found a place local to me..

I had a few long calls with the General Manager, Shade McMillen to gather info before having work done there.. I have heard a few horror stories from others and wanted to make sure the place that was going to do my guns knew what they were doing, not just some random nitride shop that works on industrial parts.

Some of the things I found doing the research..
H&M was started in 1948 and has been family owned since, The do work for the large car companies, GE , NASCAR and a bunch of others listed on their page.
But more importantly, they do work for S&W, LWRC, AAC, Spike's, Beretta, KRISS. Robinson arms and many many more... they know guns.. And that's whats important.
They have a onsite firearms consultant, metallurgist, full test lab and salt spray chambers.

I asked them if they knew of MMI, the answer was 
"Ya, sure, we built it and owned it till we sold it to TruTec"
So i asked if they do the same process.
" The nitride is the same the prep work is different. We Ultra Sonic dip clean every gun that comes in the door to make sure they are 100% clean inside and out so we have no imperfections in the nitride."
I was talking about this with Chris Cerino from TopShot season 1 and he told me he had just had some work done by H&M and he was heading down to pick his stuff up, so I drove down to drop off my guns and met up with Chris and Iain Harrison the season 1 winner from top shot. The General Manager took us on full tour of the plant while the three of us were there.

We saw PALLETS of S&W AR barrels, and M&P slides, LWRC, AAC, Spikes Tactical, Beretta, KRISS, Robinson arms, and about a dozen other custom rifles and pistols makers getting processed..

At the production level for manufactures, having this done is 1/2 the cost of chrome + phosphate..

H&M has a full test lab for microscopic analyses and salt spray chamber at the place as well....

Some pics I took today at H&M of some the guns & finish they do..

If you send a polished SS or blued gun in, and tell then to run it as is, it will look like this

if you ask for flat, it will look like these.


If you have SS part "this can ONLY be done on SS", H&M can do this..

"Tan" Nitide.. same corrosion resistance and same lubricity as black... but not as hard.
Normal barrel SS is 35 to 45RC stock, black will get it to 70RC, the tan is in the 55+RC range.

You can send in stuff that is "duracoated" or similar, they will strip it..

Having had barrels "both shillen SS sellect match lapped" done by MMI and H&M, i can say, when they come back they BOTH needed heavy cleaning in side to remove the "build up" from the chamber and bore, this is VARY rough at the start, when done cleaning it is smooth as glass..

Why does this need done? 
The finish you see on the outside looks the way it does due to the company "polishing" the finish after it is done, this is done with glass beads at 40psi to remove the oxidation from the process, while this should not effect the inside of the bore, no company would take the chance that it "might' and ruin a good barrel

Bobby Keigans from Freedom Gunworks.
Post-processing - It is important to thoroughly clean your barrel again before you resume shooting. I suggest using a mild abrasive such as Flitz, Iosso, or JB Bore Paste on a tight fitted patch. Lap the bore and scrub out the chamber good. Don't expect your old load to shoot the same. My experiences have shown me that a new load development will be in order.

It took me about 45 min per barrel.

Start by running a WET patch in the bore when u get it back...
let it soak for 5 min

"I wouldn't use a good brush it might get trashed" wet the brush push this down the bore this will be stiff as hell for the 1st 5 pass's
you will need to do at least 30 stokes, after the 1st 10, it should have you normal resistance

Run some more wet patchs, they will look like mud when that come out

If you have JB bore paste, this is when you break that out for 20 strokes.. if no JB, us can use flitz or other polish on a patch

Now some more wet patchs to clean that out, they should be black but should feel as smooth or smoother then when you sent the gun in.

Now the chamber.. either use a chamber brush, or over sized brush, IE: 45acp brush for a 308 or 10mm brush for a 223 chamber.
shrub the hell out of it, personnelly i chuck the rod in a cordless drill and buzz it for a few seconds..

Wipe out the chamber and you are done.

This is what the patches looked like coming out..

Both guns i have done this to get zero copper fowling, i just took my 260 in the pics to a 1200y shoot the other day and put 125 123amax @ 3250fps down the tube... no fouling..
havent cleaned it and put another 75 down, still no copper..

Some people report a FPS increase of 40 to 60 FPS, "maybe", but think about this.. SBN is slicker then chrome... 

How smooth and slippery is the bore?
If you coat bullets with moly or HBN, you will lose 50 to 100fps due to the lubricity..

My before and after FPS test with these barrel dropped 60FPS with the same load...
What dose that tell you?

Also, a nice thing is on the bolt, with the RC as hard as 70, it feels like glass on glass.. it really soothed it out.. I also made sure to lap the lugs before sending it in as well.

Also, SBN can not "chip" off like chrome or other coatings...
Pic's of the of the work I had done..

YouTube Video

Pics of all the work i've had done.