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View Full Version : Anyone ever had a factory re-finish?


Chris_B
March 22, 2009, 07:18 PM
I have a new to me Colt (made in 1920) that really deserves a re-finish. I'm contacting Colt tomorrow.

I'm from the auto restoration world, so I know about "original is only once". Has anybody here ever had Colt re-finish a pistol for them? What was your experience? It may be a nice little road trip for me to go down there, as well, so shipping it is potentially a non-event

Dfariswheel
March 22, 2009, 07:34 PM
Colt no longer does the old pre-war type of bluing, so the appearance will be a little different.

Colt offers different grades of bluing from a "standard" bright blue, to a mirror polish Python-quality blue.
Recent guns sent in come back looking like brand new.
Colt still does it "right".

If you want a true original 1920's type Colt Carbona blue job, talk to Doug Turnbull Restoration service:

http://turnbullrestoration.com/

They are capable of making it look like the day it was shipped from Hartford.

James K
March 22, 2009, 07:49 PM
I once sent a well-used and well worn K-22 revolver back to S&W to replace the frame mounted firing pin. They called and wanted to know if I wanted them to do a reblue job for $17, which even then was ridiculously cheap. I wrote the check so fast I burned up the ball point.

When I got the gun back, they had fixed the firing pin and reblued it. They also had stripped the gun to the frame and replaced every part, including the barrel and cylinder. Only the frame and grips were what I sent them. I don't expect anyone to do that today, but that was quite a "reblue" job for $17.

Jim

Chris_B
March 23, 2009, 04:29 PM
Colt no longer does the old pre-war type of bluing, so the appearance will be a little different.

Colt offers different grades of bluing from a "standard" bright blue, to a mirror polish Python-quality blue.
Recent guns sent in come back looking like brand new.
Colt still does it "right".

If you want a true original 1920's type Colt Carbona blue job, talk to Doug Turnbull Restoration service:

http://turnbullrestoration.com/

They are capable of making it look like the day it was shipped from Hartford.

I talked to Colt, and I talked to Turnbull today.

Colt

"we may possibly refinish that for you. Due to it's age we may not"

Turnbull

"yes we will refinish that in carbona blue for you. We don't mind that it's old, this is what we do. I'm not surprised Colt told you 'maybe'. We have experts here that will refinish it like the factory used to do"

So...on one hand, I can have the factory do it, and have Colt paperwork. On the other, Turnbull will do it the correct way for about the same money...and they actually would like my money, whereas Colt seems unhappy I called them

I'm thinking two things here:

1) The pistol doesn't care who refinishes it

2) A "gun guy" would prefer Colt paperwork to back up the refinishing. An expert would know the correct finish for the pistol, and would tell me the Colt finish is improper (this is not to imply that I plan on fooling anyone with a sale by the way, all I'm saying is that if the factory does it "wrong", what's a piece of paper that says "Colt" on it worth?)

kraigwy
March 23, 2009, 04:45 PM
I dont know about colt, but years ago I had a Smith Model 25 in ACP. I sent it back to have a seperate 45 LC cylender made. I had some holster wear and cylinder lines on my pistol. I dont know if it was part of the price but they refinished the gun so it would match the new cylender.

So hear I had a Nice, Modle 25 with two cylenders and like a dumb a$$ I traded it off.

Never again. I might sell a grandkid or two, but I refuse to let any of my guns go.

Dfariswheel
March 23, 2009, 06:50 PM
The reason Colt "may not" refinish your older gun is lack of replacement parts if they find a safety issue, or a badly worn or broken part.
Once they accept a gun for any work, the customer often thinks that they have to be responsible for any defects in the gun, whether it's related to a refinish or not.

Many people expect that if ANY work is done on a gun, the people doing it will repair unexpected problems, usually for no charge.
Colt simply doesn't have parts for these old guns so they often refuse to work on them.

As a restoration expert, Turnbull will have access to at least some parts supply for antique guns, so they can afford to take work that might have a "surprise" inside that will need extra work.

Chris_B
March 23, 2009, 06:59 PM
Heck, I'd be happy with just a uniform color! :D But if I have it done, it only makes sense to do it right

James K
March 23, 2009, 10:00 PM
Turnbull will also (for a price) recut any markings that are worn away, something that (AFAIK) Colt will not do.

The real problem is that unless the gun is something special, there is a point where the cost of a high-quality restoration will be many times more than the gun can ever be worth. If the gun is a DA Colt, like an OP or OM, those guns are very common, are often found with little wear or use, and are a significant part of firearms history. But from a hard dollar viewpoint, a badly worn or broken one is not worth spending a lot of money on.

In the past couple of years, I have picked up seven or eight Colt DA revolvers of the 1910-1940 era, all 90% or better and all under $300.

Jim

Chris_B
March 24, 2009, 11:22 AM
Well naturally. There is a point at which outlay of funds exceeds the value

I don't mind spending 700 dollars if in the end I get by price of purchase + price of refinish a pistol that is worth 700 dollars

What I mind is spending 900 for a pistol worth 700, In that case the only action that make sense is to sell the pistol, and buy one in better condition

In the case of Turnbull, I have no manner of doubt that they would do a stellar job. But 200+whatever 'surprise' money+shipping+fee for the FFL01 holder (they won't accept my FFL03) might easily exceed the pistol's overall worth when added to the price I paid. I can be talking about 800 dollars all told for a pistol that I can sell for 650-700

Housezealot
April 2, 2009, 01:30 PM
My dad sent a S&W in for rebluing and engraving about 10 years ago, they threw in a new set of grips but had the gun for almost a year.