View Full Version : Which cold blueing works best?

August 6, 2009, 02:38 PM
I am refinishing an old rifle. I want to re-blue the barrel but not sure what to use. I have used the Birchwood Casey liquid blueing agent on my 20 guage shotgun with decent results, but I would like something a bit darker.

Does the pase produce better (darker and or smoother) results? Are there better bluing products out there that I should try?

I realize that I will not get the showroom finish by using the readily available products out there, but I don't need it to win any shows. I just have a project and would like to to be as nice as I can get it for my own gratification.

I would appreciate any advice or tips from anybody with experience.


August 6, 2009, 08:27 PM
Personally.... I have never seen a cold blue that ever looked good. They are meant to "touch up" small areas, but if there is any wear or contact they wear off real quick.

August 6, 2009, 08:37 PM
What about Blue Wonder? Any experiences with this system out there?

August 6, 2009, 10:33 PM
Honestly I second Rugers' opinion. I have cold blued using the birchwood casey product. The results really didn't look that great, to be honest. You could do a paint finish that will be way more durable than cold bluing. If the "Paint" isn't pretty enough for you, neither will cold blue.

August 7, 2009, 02:22 PM
Use a heat gun to warm up the gun and the cold blue will at least be a little tougher.

And even if the cold blue makes claims about working through oil, degrease the are completely.

August 7, 2009, 09:01 PM
Brownells.com Oxpho Blue

August 8, 2009, 01:35 PM
+1 on the Oxpho Blue. I find that if you can completely immerse the part you get better results with cold blue products. Also, blasted parts seem to work better than polished.

You might want to look at "rust bluing". (http://www.akfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=31594)

There is also "home brew" hot bluing:

The paint suggestion is good as well.
In air curing paints, I read a lot of good things about Duracoat.
I refinished my Enfield (http://gbrannon.bizhat.com/no.4.htm) (the Brits painted many of them) with Barbecue paint years ago and it has worn well (still it's best to avoid contact with paint solvents).
I like the bake on paints.
Wheeler Cerama Coat (http://www.shootingtimes.com/gunsmithing/0706/index.html) does not require a blasted surface; I used it on a SIG P229 (http://i29.tinypic.com/rtg746.jpg) frame and it proved quite durable.
I've also used Dupli-Color High Heat Ceramic paint with good results (http://gbrannon.bizhat.com/marlin.htm).
Some of the other paints, such as Gun Kote, require a blasted surface and wear better if applied over fresh parkerizing.

Parkerizing is my favorite DIY method.
Here are a few sites for reference:
Here's a 1911 I did in the garage:


August 9, 2009, 10:18 PM
I've had great sucess with Birchwood Casey liquid cold blue on my CVA build-it-yourself muzzleloader kit. The barrel has an "open grain" that accepted the blue very well. When attempting to do a Mossy 500 barrel, I had very little luck because the metal has a very smooth surface (like any other shotgun barrel).

I guess it all depend on the metal's surface.

August 27, 2009, 03:23 AM
If the part is small enough, you should boil it in water for 5 minutes after you cold blue it. When you remove it, you'll need to remove a soft, fuzzy black oxide, and your blue will appear below it. Keep following this routine until your blue is satisfactorily dark. It will be as durable as any hot or rust blue because it is a form of rust bluing. Oil the part when done.

December 9, 2009, 01:08 PM
Google Van's bluing...

December 9, 2009, 01:48 PM
Vans and Oxpho are both similar. Phosphoric acid-based, they are a form of thin dark Parkerizing. They make more of a charcoal gray than a blue, to my eye, but they are much better at protecting the steel from after-rust than the nitric and hydrochloric acid-based cold blues. The Nitric, like 44-40, is likely best for the semi-rust bluing Bowes described. It tends to be darker and bluer, but more prone to after-rust when used by itself.

Shooter's Solutions used to distribute Van's, but now has a new chemistry (http://shooterssolutions.com/gunblue.html) of their own, they say is better. I haven't tried it yet. It is intended to be used diluted for submersion. They have a black version and a stainless version available, too.

December 9, 2009, 02:16 PM
+1 on the cold blueing isnt all that great. but i get to hot blue everything for free as long as i do all the work... so *shrugs*

the shop i help at charges $250 for a bluing job. which includes complete disassembly (of course), cleaning, inspection, polishing or media blasting (for desired finish), the hot blueing, reassembly, and correct oiling.