View Full Version : Making metal pretty again

March 3, 2005, 01:29 PM
Need a little guidance here...

I picked up an old side-by-side 20 ga. at one of my local pawnshops. It's in great shape, but it's been sitting around for quite a few years in someone's attic.

The metal work has some outstanding engraving that I don't want to screw up. However, all the metallic parts have some degree or another of tarnish. No rust, no pitting, not dried grease, just what looks like general creeping discoloration.

I'd like to pretty the metal up, but I don't want to screw up the engraving with steel wool or anything like that. And since the gun seems to have weathered many decades with no rust, I don't really want to strip it down to bare nekkid metal.

I was wondering what product might remove some of that tarnish as gently as possible. I was think perhaps a cream designed for removing tarnish on silverware or jewelry. I also have my trusty can of Brasso - but I'm not sure I want to go there either (bad for the metal - bad if it gets on the wood?).

My husband and I have re-finished a couple of Mausers, but we could use a lot more "brute force" with those than I want to use here.

Any input would be appeciated.

Harry Bonar
March 3, 2005, 01:58 PM
Dear Shooter:
The "creeping discoloration" you speak of may be a natural discoloration of an old gun called, "patina." I would use an oily rag and GENTLY get the dust and dirt off but no more than that.
You may have a very expensive double there if the engraving is of a professional quality!
I would need to know more about other markings etc to comment more, for instance a name or country of origin; it could be VERY valuable, please don't steel wool or emery paper it!
Harry B.

March 3, 2005, 02:19 PM
Harry -

Good enough. I won't. :) I know "prettier than I can improve on" when I see it, and I won't trouble myself over a little natural discoloration.

As for particulars, it's a "Fulton Special," (right barrel mark) from "Hunter Arms, Fulton, NY" (left). The engraving is very nice (pheasant on one side, what looks like a woodcock or snipe on the other, engraved trigger guard, etc). Buttplate appears to wood or pressed leather and is worn, but look as though there's a retreiver (dog) in the center.

Serial # is F46325, and the letters "LTS" are engraved in a couple spots.

I'm not a big bird hunter, but it was purty, and I could tell that sitting in an urban pawnshop, chances were it would end up in the hands of someone who wouldn't oil it and hug it and pet it. :p

March 3, 2005, 05:04 PM
Yes, from my understanding, Firearms are one of the only things that actually decrease in value if you repair it (refurbish it). Internals are okay but the frame and such is a no-no, including the finish.


March 3, 2005, 09:21 PM
+1 for what Harry said...and keep in mind that some of the tarnish removers could remove not only the desirable patina but also the underlying finish

March 3, 2005, 09:40 PM
Appreciate the input. I'll keep my dirty little mitts away from the high-powered cleaning products. ;)

Now I just have to make sure the "better half" doesn't have one of those, "this would look a lot prettier if it was SHINY!" moments. :D