View Full Version : Bluing kits

August 17, 2007, 12:45 PM
Im looking into rebluing some of the guns in my collection and ive heard different things. I saw a pretty cheap kit called blue wonder and from what i understand, you can do spot treatments with this on small areas or just take off all the bluing and redo the whole thing. It seems pretty easy, just apply the chemical and then heat it. Ive also heard there are other, more expensive, more complicated ways of doing this.

Just wondering if anybody has used the blue wonder kit before and how the results were... I have a lot of surplus WWII rifles I'd like to reblue, but only if I can do it cheaply and (relatively) easily, otherwise ill just leave them alone.

Also, anybody know of a good way to do parkerizing at home?

August 17, 2007, 01:13 PM
WW II military rifles will all be zinc phosphate coated (Parkerized). You don't want to blue them if you want original finish. There is a lot of Parkerizing information on the web. I do it, but it really requires you own at least bead blaster to get good results. Lots of kits. Call Brownells and ask for the instructions on their Parkerizing materials to get an idea. The materials from Shooterssolutions.com have also worked well for me.

Cold bluing (and Blue Wonder qualifies as such, even though you need to heat a gun with a hair dryer before applying it) don't have the color or durability of the hot bluing applied by a manufacturer. It is also very difficult to get the color truly even over a large area. You experiment with this at your own risk. These products are really better for coloring scratches and the like.

Hot bluing requires submerging the degreased gun in molten oxidizing salts that react with the iron at the surface to create blue iron oxide (magnetite). Most of the oxidizing salt formulations are nitrates or nitrites of one kind or another and many contain proprietary portions of other metal salts, like nickel, to get the color blacker. It requires a good bit of equipment investment and there are safety considerations to messing with this.

A lot of people have gone to spray-on finishes, like Lauer DuraCoat or KG Industries GunKote. These systems spray on like paint and are baked on. The Brownells Teflon/Moly oven cure finish is available in spray cans and you can get a Parkerizing color match to the darker manganese phosphate finish.

August 17, 2007, 09:42 PM
I had a few older barrels that needed bluing and tried many of the cold blues to see which one worked best. None of them worked best, but I was very disappointed in the Blue Wonder after seeing their video on how the bluing works. The better results were from Brownells' Oxpho-Blue, but it's still not a match for a hot bluing or a spray-on finish.

Bill DeShivs
August 18, 2007, 12:21 AM
You will probably not be satisfied with the results of cold blue. Countless guns have been ruined by people trying to reblue their guns with it. Cold blue is for touch-ups.

August 18, 2007, 03:21 AM
Blue wonder: don't waste your money on that junk
I know a smith over in PA called E.R.Shaw the last I redid a barrel action by him was around $95.00 with shipping he does some nice work

James K
August 18, 2007, 10:54 AM
Since you use the word "collection", I will caution that the value of any real collectors item will be decreased by use of any refinishing of any kind. The only exception would be a gun so far gone as to be without any value, such as a badly rusted M-N. If you have guns with an average amount of wear, but with an otherwise original finish, I strongly recommend leaving them alone.


August 18, 2007, 02:21 PM
So the general consensus is that blue wonder sucks... thanks for keeping me from wasting my money. In response to what Jim said, I use the word "collection" a little loosely, I don't collect them for their value necessarily, so I'm not that concerned about them losing value, I just want them to look brand new again. I don't think any of mine are worth much anyway, I have some different Enfields (No 4 Mk 1 mostly) and some mosin nagants which were in very good condition already. Some of my Enfields are pretty rough though, which is why I thought rebluing them would be a good project. I guess I'll try to keep some of the better ones original, but I have some that are already sporterized, so I think I might try one of those bake-on coatings to make them look a little more modern. Thanks everyone who replied.

45Marlin carbine
August 27, 2007, 06:32 PM
yep, 'Blue Wonder' is a bunch of advertising hooey. if you need a home blue try Brownells Oxpho-blue, put on right it is the best and will last 'WITH CARE' but no compare to hot tank blue.

August 27, 2007, 09:14 PM
If you want to do a home bluing job that is "for real" and you like the slightly brighter, slightly satiny blues seen on antique shotguns, you can actually do rust bluing at home. I've used this on sight extensions and other things I've made. It still requires a tank large enough to immerse your largest part in for boiling. The water you boil in needs to be distilled or DI water to avoid water spots. I can vouch for the Pilkington rust bluing liquid that Brownells sells. Can't speak to the others. This process is a lot of trouble, though, and takes a week or more to complete.

It works by applying a coat of the rust-inducing liquid, waiting a day for fine surface rust to form, then boiling the rusted part until the rust turns black (10 or 15 minutes). You then "card" the loose black off with de-oiled steel wool or a stainless carding brush wheel on a buffer. The first pass leaves only modest bits of black on the surface. You repeat. After the sixth or seventh go around you find you have an authentic blue finish made of iron oxides intimate with the metal, and not a weak selenium-colored coating of non-ferrous crystals, as the cold blues leave behind.

After finishing, go for one last boil, quickly dry the metal before it cools and apply Brownells water displacing oil so it gets down in the surface imperfections. Chase it with a rust inhibiting oil, like LPS-2 or 3.

James K
August 28, 2007, 10:35 AM
Hi, Lionshead,

Unfortunately, there is no rebluing that will make a gun look "brand new" again. At best, it will look like a good (re)bluing job which might not even be appropriate if the gun was originally Parkerized.

I always make that caution on refinishing. I have seen too many Lugers, percussion revolvers, and other really valuable guns ruined and reduced in value from thousands of dollars to a few hundred by attempts to "restore" or "refinish" them.


September 4, 2007, 10:57 PM
WW II military rifles will all be zinc phosphate coated (Parkerized). this is true of US rifles My understanding in mausers and the Mosin Nagants were all blued. I found on the couple of older mausers I have reblued they are a real PIA. the recievers come out with more variation in color than other parts. I think it has something to do with the original heat treating prosses. ( but that is my opinion The barrels came out uniformally). This is with hot tank blueing and the setup is not inexspencive. hopoe this helps

October 2, 2007, 01:01 AM
I recently tried a cold blue made by Birchwoo Casey that I was happy with and was verry easy too use, the hardest part is the prep work as in most things, but after sanding away all the pits and scatdhes I use a buffing weel till Ihad a bright shiny barrle then used the Perma Blue as per intructions it only stays on the metal for 1 minute but looks good to me. I'm sure it is no match for hot bluing as far as wear gos but did a niece job an only cost $15. bucks to put some luster on an old cheap gun. Good luck. :)

October 3, 2007, 06:16 AM
I just re blued this grip safety from a colt commander 80's series;I am upgrading my SA 1911 with a combat hammer I don't need the fancy beaver tails and don't want to cut the frame on my 1911.
The blue/black finish was done with a slow rust chemical called Laurel Mountain Forge browning chemical
Yes it is for black powder steel to be browned but when boiled in distilled water it turns blue/black and it won't come off no matter how hard you rub it with 000 steel wool.

October 7, 2007, 08:42 PM
I just finished using the Blue Wonder on a couple of guns. Yes, it is an over-hyped and over-priced product. I have used the Brownells before, and that is what I will buy next time.

There really is no cold blue that is going to handle anything other than a touch up. Fortunately, that is all I really wanted this time. The only major piece of bare metal was the front sight, and it came out OK.

I am going to try the rust blue method eventually. It takes a lot of time, but for a hobbyist with a job, time is no problem. Its not like you have to sit there and watch it rust!

That browning solution used in the rust blue process can't be too complicated. Any chemists, (hobby or professional), care to describe a home mixed version?

October 7, 2007, 09:26 PM
If you have a sandblaster for your TIG welder, sandblast a piece of steel and put some DICROPAN T-4, it will turn black as night and now wear off.