Great Western offered the Frontier model and its variants with a conventional nickel finish. The company is known to have experienced difficulty with its plating methods or vendors however, and they suspended the nickel option at times. Great Western’s 1956 catalog advised that for those seeking nickel “polished but unblued guns may be ordered for plating at the same prices. Any local metal plating company in your territory can do this work’.
I do believe it’s accurate to observe the nickel plating on some Great Westerns is quite a bit better than others, with the poor ones showing a tendency to have flaked excessively. It’s probably not fair to extrapolate that the poor ones are factory and the good ones aftermarket or vice versa. In any event, great looking nickel examples have been somewhat hard to find.
Great Western offered the Frontier model in gloss chrome also. This would have been a new idea for single actions, but made sense as a modern alternative to nickel. There was no doubt an abundance of metal finishers in Southern California doing chrome plating for tools and consumer goods. Chrome is also more durable than nickel.
Great Western’s chrome examples, to the extent they are readily distinguished from nickel ones, seem consistently well executed. Chrome has an appearance that is quite a bit more silver / mercurial than nickel. Nickel, while similar, throws off a gold luster.