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abraxas_3_6_5
February 14, 2008, 01:51 PM
I decided to start some simple home-gunsmithing so a purchased some relative books. They all state that use of wet or dry paper is the best way to polish the action but there is no explanation on how to remove dirt and rust from the engravings. Can anyone explain? Thanks.

Scorch
February 14, 2008, 01:57 PM
Engraving is best cleaned with solvent and brushes (preferably a plastic brush, bronze brush if the rust is really hard, NEVER stainless steel brushes).

Polishing actions requires knowledge of how the action works, otherwise you can actually cause problems. For polishing actions to smooth them, use stones.

Refinishing is another story. Unless the gun is badly pitted, I usually start polishing with 150 aluminum oxide cloth, then 220 or 240 grit wet/dry paper, then 320, and final polish is with 600. Always use a sanding block. I prefer a satin finish, so I don't buff the finish. If you are going to buff the finish, the finest you will probably want to use is 320 grit, otherwise the metal will look like a mirror and any small scratch will show from a long ways away.

abraxas_3_6_5
February 14, 2008, 02:24 PM
What solvents can I use? I know that most solvents (like IMS for example) will dissolve the plastic brush.

Scorch
February 15, 2008, 01:37 AM
Most firearms solvents can be safely used with nylon brushes. If you are using something that dissolves mylon, then I would worry about its long-term health effects.

James K
February 15, 2008, 03:13 PM
FWIW, a lot of gunsmith books and most of the old gun work lore touted the "mirror finish" as the "sine qua non" of gun refinishing.

The trouble was that few factories (Weatherby and some others being the exceptions) actually polished their guns that well, so the typical gunsmith reblue job not only could be spotted at 100 yards on a foggy day, but looked garish and ridiculous up close.

Probably 600 grit is just about the finest that should be used to create anything that looks reasonable. Finer than that, you are into the "mirror" business. One way to get a look at the original finish is to use blue remover on a part of the gun; you might be surprised at how bad the factory finish is.

If by engraving, you mean the markings, yes, use a bronze brush to clean them out. "Dished" areas around markings and screw holes are the signs of poor quality wheel polishing. They scream "bad reblue job".

Jim