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{snip}

* That could be because they don't want anything added that will screw up a fitted barrel. I know if one gets a handgun coated with NP3+ they won't coat the outside of the barrel for that reason. There could be other reasons as well with a ported barrel, but I'm not a gunsmith. Finished barrels might be "matched" from out of a bin of barrels (but don't count on it) so that they can be finished first and not affect the mass produced gun built from out of a parts bin. I don't see a finished barrel as being done for quality since it wasn't fitted and the finish on it reflects that.{snip}
What Brian is saying is correct. I had my first gen M&P heavily milled then had the shop install a gunsmith fit apex barrel, then I asked for all metal parts to be refinished in nickel boron (because np3 would have taken 4 to 6 months) they refused to apply finish to the barrel, but did everything else.
 

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My 4.25” ported M2.0 CORE has a stainless barrel. I rather like it. It gets filthy because of the porting and boy it’s nice to see you’ve got it clean because it’s silver.

Robert E Lee has his troops sand the bluing off their Enfields so he could easily see whether they were maintaining them.
I had to use a brass brush to clean it.

Out of the box, mine had an elliptical mark around the top of the barrel in front of the ports. I thought they were tooling marks. After 90 rounds it was a mess. The brush removed the carbon so well that the “tooling mark” vanished. I think the mark on the barrel was fouling from a proof shot at the factory? I don’t know.
 

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Rick...the whole gun is stainless...of course the barrel is .

Smith, correct and thank you. Several M&Ps, several Glocks, an H&K, a Walther, a Taurus, a Ruger, an RIA/P80 not to mention what's been sold over the years. Every one of them finished in black with a black barrel. Threaded, plain, ported whatever - always black. I don't think I got something weird, I think S&W did something weird and changed the barrel color for this one model to it's raw form, and it irritates me.

I appreciate everyone's opinion here, so appreciate mine. It also looks cheap. There are even machining marks on it. Not acceptable to me for their top of the line M&P.
Those aren’t machining marks. At least I don’t think so. Mine had them to. When my barrel was so fouled on the outside, I kept wiping solvent on it and finally hit it with a brass brush. My fouling and “machining marks” disappeared.

i think they Proof Fire them at the Factory and it leaves a trace of fouling
 
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