How to connect two pieces of chain?
Max, it''s tough to get everything you''re asking for...especially if we expand ''integrity'' to mean not only strength but also reliability (meaning the damn thing won''t come apart).
My vote is for a Mid Link, which comes in a size that is rated the same SWL as 5/16" HT chain. These are drop forged and easy to use. They are not galvanized and will rust faster due to their zinc-only coating, but using Boeshield or a similar spray every so often keeps rust at bay for a few years. Besides, they don''t cost all that much. They surely don''t fit smoothly over my windlass gypsey, but they''re short enough that the other links in the chain carry the rode past it.
You''ll find Mid Links illustrated on p 719 in the 2004 WM catalog, I notice.
BTW if you are using HT chain, do you use HT shackles? They are tough to find but necessary to avoid that same ''weak link'' issue you mention.