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Old October 19, 2012, 01:11 AM   #1
Nero45
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Bluing guns 101?

Ok, I've got some guns that I'm wanting to re-blue but I'm not 100% on what is needed. I know for some types of bluing you have to heat up a solution and dunk the parts in it and let it soak in. The problem is I'm not planning on doing this on a regular basis and don't really don't want to spend a lot of money on equipment that I may only use once. Is there an alt. that will look good but without having to buy expensive equipment? Thank you.
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Old October 19, 2012, 02:58 AM   #2
Bill DeShivs
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Rust bluing.
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Old October 19, 2012, 09:12 AM   #3
hooligan1
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Freeland Brothers Gunsmithing Pleasant Hill Mo.
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Old October 19, 2012, 10:23 AM   #4
dahermit
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Quote:
...Is there an alt. that will look good but without having to buy expensive equipment?...
No, there is not. Instant, comes in a small bottle, bluing solutions are only fit for touching up some small imperfection to make them less noticeable. The only way to get a quality bluing job is with the proper equipment, know-how, ability to polish metal properly. Bluing a complete gun is a process for a skilled person with the equipment.
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Old October 19, 2012, 02:51 PM   #5
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And, if you can do all that-use the rust bluing process. It's the only durable bluing process you can do at home. Cold blue offers no protection, stinks, and looks like crap. brownells.com sells rust bluing solution.
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Old October 19, 2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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Bill is exactly right, that's why I leave the "bluing" to a proffessional.
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Old October 19, 2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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I have to agree with Bill. I have been rust blueing for a long time. You can get by without some of the recommended stuff. Start with small enough parts to fit into a stainless steel bowl (Flea market item). Get a Coleman single burner camp stove. The cheap kind that screws on to an LP bottle. You will need some sandpaper designed for metal. (Bodyshop supply store) Go down to #600 grit to finish and it will look good. Get Brownell's Blueing solution. Brownell's solution is easier to work with for beginners. They used to send instructions along with it. This is O.K. to start out. It will let you know if you want to spend more to be able to do whole guns. Rust Blueing is a real blueing process that pre-dates acid dips and is way safer. It will last as long as hot dip blueing, but there is a lot of time and work involved.
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Old October 19, 2012, 07:37 PM   #8
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Rust bluing is a good alternative to caustic tank blue, but not quite the quick and easy process some folks think it is. Doing rust bluing properly requires good preparation; some equipment, including a tank large enough for the gun; and a whole lot of time and patience. Its advantage over caustic blue is that it does not require caustic chemicals with the accompanying danger.

In reading a number of threads on bluing, it seems that what some people are calling rust bluing is nothing more than cold bluing applied to heated metal. That type of bluing is only marginally better than the normal cold blue process and will not do a good or lasting job.

But there is an alternative in the form of one of the paints available today. Some of those are durable, relatively easy to apply, and, if they don't look like a good bluing job, will at least cover up a bad or damaged finish. And paints have the advantage of requiring little in the way of equipment

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Old October 19, 2012, 08:13 PM   #9
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blueing help

These guys are right do what they reccomend I have used this process and found it to work great for the projects I doo the only thing I might add is to do the longer stuff I use a section of old gutter that I capped off at both ends and soldered so it won leak that is my rust bluing tank for most of what I do
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Old October 19, 2012, 09:21 PM   #10
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Good point. Caustic bluing requires a heavy iron tank but rust bluing requires only a tank that can hold boiling water.

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Old October 20, 2012, 12:10 PM   #11
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Good idea, gundoc1. I forgot to mention that when you buy steel wool, soak it in gas or something to remove the oil on it. You don't want oil from anything (Including your hands) on the parts once you start.
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Old October 21, 2012, 01:07 PM   #12
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I did a complete re-blue with cold blue on a Ruger GP-100, just because I didn't want to spend any money on it, when I'm done using it, maybe I'll have it professionally done, the blue job came out very good and has been durable. Even though it is cold blued, it seems to hold oil quite well.

IMO the key to any type of bluing is metal preperation, if you skimp on prep it will show no matter what type of blue process you use.

When rust bluing a barrel I seal the muzzle and throat so I don't get anything in the bore, the last one I did I used foam earplugs with a light coat of non hardening sealant on them, sort of glued them in, just a regular bore cleaning removed any trace of it.
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Old October 21, 2012, 10:10 PM   #13
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And if you use cold blue, it will show no matter how good the metal prep is....
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Old October 22, 2012, 12:23 PM   #14
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A while back Brownell's was marketing some kind of blueing that you just boil, or maybe it was boil and blue. Anybody try that stuff? It is supposed to eventually replace hot blueing. I have not kept up on that stuff for a while and forget what it is called.
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Old October 22, 2012, 01:23 PM   #15
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Quote:
"And if you use cold blue, it will show no matter how good the metal prep is.... "
It may not be as good or as durable as a caustic blue job, but only careful inspection will show it as less than perfect. It suits my need, if I ever want to turn it into a safe queen, or when it needs another refinish, I may go with a professional re-blue.
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Old October 22, 2012, 03:27 PM   #16
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Quote:
These guys are right do what they reccomend I have used this process and found it to work great for the projects I doo the only thing I might add is to do the longer stuff I use a section of old gutter that I capped off at both ends and soldered so it won leak that is my rust bluing tank for most of what I do
That's a great idea. I have an old Mauser 96 that I would really like to make look a little better.
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Old October 22, 2012, 08:45 PM   #17
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Go to Brownell's website and download the instructions for various types of blueing. Good information!
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Old October 23, 2012, 10:04 AM   #18
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There are really two types of rust blueing. The first you boil the parts to bring them up to temperature then apply the blueing which flashes off and leaves rust behind. You reboil to turn the rust into black oxide and card the part with 0000 steel wool then repeat the steps until the desired color is reached generally four to six times. The most popular product for this type is Art's Belgian blue.
The second type is a slow rusting process where the solution is applied to the metal and it is placed in a damp box for several hours untill a fine coat of rust develops then it is boiled to turn the rust into black oxide and the parts are carded with a fine wire wheel. Again the steps are repeated untill the desired effect is achieved.
Polishing with both systems is generally not beyond 320grit.
Both systems are well within the purvey of the home craftsman and the results are easily on par with hot blueing as to durability and above regarding appearance. Hot blueing becamne prevalent because it was quicker and more cost effective for production.
Midway USA has videos on youtube showing the basics of both systems.
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