Originally Posted by Scorch
Guns come in lots of colors. Blued (black) is the traditional color, and of course silver (nickel or stainless), but back in the 1890s, Winchester made color cased rifles, and Colt made the 1873 in color case.
The way you refer to "color cased" makes it appear that you think that was a finish option. It was not. And "color cased" was not the correct term, then or now. The term was, and is, "case hardened." Case hardening was, and is, a process of heat treating that hardened the surface of the metal rather than making it uniformly harder all the way through. The mottled, multi-color surface is simply a by-product of the case hardening process, and was not done as a desired "finish" at all.
What modern gun makers call "color case" finish is not a true case hardening process, which they don't need because their frames are hardened all the way through. Rather, it is a chemical (I believe) process that is
a finish, intended to replicate the appearance of the case hardened firearms of days gone by. They have to call it "color case" because they can't honestly call it "case hardened" -- because it isn't case hardened.