View Full Version : Pointers requested on allowing sanded metal to turn naturally instead of bluing

April 30, 2010, 08:08 PM
I sanded one of my Remington New Armies in preparation for hot blueng, but have become accustomed to the old gun look. I am considering just letting the metal turn naturally. Does anyone have any pointers on how to get the best result?
I had figured the way to go about it would to just leave it upholstered and keep it dry.
Any pointers would be hugely appreciated.

May 1, 2010, 04:45 AM
Will take a long time without help. keep it clean and oiled and it never will.

May 1, 2010, 08:03 AM
Naval Jelly well give raw metal a French Gray look. Using a diluted browning solution can get that aged look of an 150 year old gun. Don't be afraid to experiment, you can sand it down and start over.

May 1, 2010, 09:05 AM
Mad Crate Builder, How do you apply the naval jelly? I would assume the process would be the normal apply, rinse, sand, then repeat procedure. How do I make the browning solution you mentioned?

May 1, 2010, 09:18 AM
Hawg, How do you keep it shiny? Besides oiling and keeping it clean, I guess that's all you can do. I'm in NC and the humidity is always high in the warmer months.

May 2, 2010, 01:40 PM
I live in Mississippi and if anything it's more humid here. I don't do anything special. I've had this Hawken for almost a year now and the nose cap isn't pewter it's steel. Hasn't aged a bit. The guy that built it fitted it so close it wouldn't come off when he browned the rest of it.


May 2, 2010, 02:13 PM
Thanks Hawg.
No matter what I do, the metal darkens in spots. I polish the metal, oil it every day or two,, but it darkens. If it were a uniform darkening it would be ok.
I thought about getting it like I want it, then waxing the metal, but I have never heard of anyone doing that.

May 2, 2010, 02:35 PM
There's a few things you can do. You can coat it with naval jelly and it will turn the metal a kind of a French gray(like MCB said) that holds up well. I used a salt and vinegar mix on an old 58 Remington I have but it isn't a consistent coloring. May not have let it sit long enough tho. It rusts it up really thick but cards off easily. Looks bad after a couple of days.


Came out looking like this.


May 2, 2010, 03:01 PM
That certainly looks like an old gun that has seen a lot of action in the OLD West. So you just let it soak in salt and vinegar?
I guess it is easy to tell by the stupid questions that I am new to refinishing.
As for the naval jelly, do coat the gun then polish (blend) it then coat it again?

May 2, 2010, 04:21 PM
I've used it to clean off rust and just one coat usually does it and leaves a fairly uniform gray look. I don't know what would happen if you tried to polish it. Prolly polish it off.

As for salt and vinegar I removed all internal parts except hammer and trigger and coated bore and chambers. Add salt to vinegar til it quits dissolving and spray it on liberally. Let it sit a few days and card it off with 0000 steel wool.

May 2, 2010, 04:39 PM
I think I'll try the naval jelly first. I can't stand the thought of having it out of commission a few days for the salt and vinegar technique.I keep my guns loaded and with me all of the time. I would feel naked with just one.
I soaked my gun in vinegar to remove the bluing, it worked well.
I didn't realize you could use naval jelly and vinegar to blue a gun until this thread.

May 2, 2010, 04:39 PM
There's no need to sand or to use harsh chemical to remove rust or bluing.
Just soak it in Evapo-rust, a unique water based selective chelation agent.

On average, one gallon de-rusts up to 300 pounds of light to moderately rusted steel.
EVAPO-RUST is highly recommended by the NRA gunsmithing school and is utilized by FBI, CIA, NATO and other law enforcement and forensics agencies. EVAPO-RUST is perfect for removing oxide weapon finishes such as Bluing, Parkerizing, Zinc Phosphate, and Browning.


Home page:


May 2, 2010, 04:46 PM
There's no need to sand or to use harsh chemical to remove rust.
Just soak it in Evapo-rust over night.

Weren't talking about REMOVING rust.:D

May 2, 2010, 04:49 PM
Weren't talking about REMOVING rust.

Please, at least read the ad. I was in the process of editing my post and gun bluing is a form of rust.

There's no need to sand or to use harsh chemical to remove rust or bluing.

EVAPO-RUST is perfect for removing oxide weapon finishes such as Bluing, Parkerizing, Zinc Phosphate, and Browning.

May 2, 2010, 05:04 PM
32 ozs. of Evapo-rust can be purchased through Auto Zone for $8.99:


May 3, 2010, 08:37 AM
RemTim, I use naval jelly to remove existing blue. It strips the blue and leaves the French Gray appearance. You just wash it off (the jelly) and dry and oil. You could also use the NJ over raw metal. This well leave a uniform dull gray look.

I think Hawgs method would work very well for getting the "old gun" look. Let the rust build up then go after it with 0000 steel wool or brass wool.

May 4, 2010, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the info guys. I definitely learned something.
Last night I decided to try the naval jelly. After getting the gun shined up really nice, I decided to wax the frame and cylinder that I had prepared. I used Nu Finish Car Polish. The surface has not darkened yet.
I strip my guns when they are fired any way so I can probably maintain the finish pretty well. If it don't work out I plan to try one of the techniques discussed here. Thanks again.

May 4, 2010, 09:31 PM
I just ordered some of that Evapo-Rust stuff. I've been wanting something like that for some time now.



May 5, 2010, 12:46 AM
I'm going to try some too. :)

May 5, 2010, 08:38 AM
I re-contoured the backstraps on my 1860s by sanding off some of the "excess" metal. I've always been going to refinish them in brown or blue. I just went and looked at them and they are a uniform gray. I use Ballistol for cleaning and assume the coloration is a natural oxidation controlled by the Ballistol so that it doesn't go to rust?
They look good so no refinishing will be done

May 5, 2010, 05:37 PM
Hey Noz, that sounds great. I'll be getting some Ballistol. Thanks

May 5, 2010, 08:26 PM
Evaporust is so amazing, you'll be looking in your garage for more stuff to soak in it. :)

I bought some nipples from Dixie that looked like they were found in the yard, the crust on their threads laughed at steel wool and Breakfree. I soaked them and a bunch of older tools that were rusty from sweat and tears over night and they came out with a gray finish. The rust had turned to carbon dust.

One thing though, when you rinse off the parts with water, they might flash rust as they dry, but some Ballistol/Breakfree will take care of that.

May 10, 2010, 07:48 PM
After getting the gun shined up really nice, I decided to wax the frame and cylinder that I had prepared. I used Nu Finish Car Polish. The surface has not darkened yet.
I had a massive brain fart when I decided to wax the bare metal. It looked nice up until the gun was fired.:eek:
I then tried the naval jelly; I let it dry on the metal, I guess the jelly should have been removed before it dried since it was not uniform. It sure leaves a durable finish because it was a pain to remove. Vinegar did nothing,:eek: it had be scraped, sanded and carded with 0000 steel wool.
I'm going to redo it with the naval jelly and work it wet this time.

May 13, 2010, 01:50 PM
I've started rusting up my original '58 Remington too after seeing your results, Hawg Haggen. After each time I just used hot water and soap as usual after firing the gun. Guess it will get darker each time I spray the liquid on the gun. In on the third session now. Like 24 hours each time.

Looks a lot nicer already. It was bright before.

May 13, 2010, 03:28 PM
I let it sit for three days and carded it of with 0000 steel wool. Let it sit too long and it will start to pit.

May 13, 2010, 04:46 PM
Hawg - I love the looks of your Remington! I went back and read the posts and still may have missed it . . . . . what do you coat the bore and the chambers with so that it protects them so they don't rust? Many thanks! bedbug :)

May 13, 2010, 05:08 PM
I used bore butter.

May 13, 2010, 05:49 PM
I mixed enough salt in a spray bottle filed with vinegar until it quit dissolving. Removed all internal parts except trigger and hammer. The parts of these inside the gun were coated with bore butter as was the bore and chambers. Spray it down liberally and let it sit. It will most likely need a few more applications to insure complete coverage. Once it dries it will rust up and be nasty looking. If you card it off when it first starts to look nasty it will just be gray. I let mine sit for three days and it came out like it is in the pic. YMMV. If you leave it too long the salt will start to pit the metal.

May 14, 2010, 03:22 PM
Hawg, your results are outstanding. I got a '60 and a '51 off the recent Cabela's sale and am doing the '60. I have already deblued w/birchwood casey and now am going to use your salt/vinagar meathod after I defarb. One more question... did you use anything on the screw threads to avoid issues of removal after obtaining desired finish? Thanks.

May 15, 2010, 02:20 PM
Here's how my 1858 turned out.

May 15, 2010, 04:49 PM
I've used Naval Jelly to remove blue and "antique" BP guns. Comes out "French Grey." Wipe on, wipe off, stabilize with "oil" -- I use veggie shortening.

May 15, 2010, 05:07 PM
dlon21 It looks a whole lot like an honest old gun, now don't it ?
Good job, bet yer proud of her.

May 15, 2010, 05:10 PM
Can someone post a pic of one done up with just naval jelly so I can see before I jump in and go the salt/vinegar route?

May 15, 2010, 05:27 PM
Sure, it's an old used gun. It's number 110xxx, don't know what year that would make this gun?

It sure looks better now, than before all bright. ''She'' shoots real straight too, when the wheelgunner does his job right :D And that's not all the time, to say the least.

May 16, 2010, 02:10 PM
did you use anything on the screw threads to avoid issues of removal after obtaining desired finish?

Bore butter on threads.

Looks good dlon

May 16, 2010, 06:12 PM
dlon - what a great looking job! You should be proud of it . . . looks like a lot of the originals I've seen! You guys are giving me the "itch" to go ahead and try this the way you describe. As soon as I can get some spare time, I think I'll do my '51 Navy. Thanks to everyone for their photos and advice! :)

May 16, 2010, 06:50 PM
That is an original gun. It just looked so boring all bright so I decided to try this. Well I'm done for now. Guess it looks better the more I do it, but this feels pretty nice as it is now.

This is what an old civil war gun should look like when it's worn.

May 16, 2010, 08:21 PM
Dion, that thing looks ancient. Great job.

May 16, 2010, 09:27 PM
The naval jelly turn out alright but I decided to also try the evaporust since it leaves a grey protectied surface. I plan to get it at Auto Zone (its supposed to be in stock at the local store. I'm going to order the Ballistol since i can't find it locally.
The salt and vinegar certainly produces nice results, but i think will experiment with the gray finishes first. I read an interesting article on parkerizing and other formulas:

May 18, 2010, 01:43 AM
That Evaporust is absolutely amazing, Articap, I thank you and my guns thank you!!!
Here is the result.Got a few lines on the cylinder for some reason. I'll eliminate them next time I clean and soak.


May 19, 2010, 02:38 AM
ok so i'm sure you all have seen my cylinder doesnt quite match the rest of the gun so i want to reblue it. i have no idea what i'm doing...lol... i saw the cold blu at wally world and figure the evaporust will get the blue thats left off than i can use the cold blu... so will this actually work or is this wally world blueing a gimmick?

May 19, 2010, 06:14 AM
It will work, but it won't give you the same overall finish as a hot blue job. It's really intended for touch up of small areas; cold bluing a large piece and getting a consistent finish is very difficult. If you're expecting a perfect finish like a factory gun you'll be disappointed, but if you don't mind a few, hard-to-notice imperfections it won't be too bad. But even getting that mediocre result does depend on very careful preparation. Fully degreasing, keeping the surface very clean, absolutely no fingerprints, etc. Build wooden fixtures to hold the parts so they don't need to be handled, wear nitrile or latex gloves, etc.

Also, the cold blue is not as durable.

May 19, 2010, 06:37 AM
ok so what do i need for hot bluing? i bet there is more involved than heating this stuff up...

May 19, 2010, 07:01 AM
Hot chemical bluing is usually done at a gun shop that has the bluing tanks set up and some will do a small part for a very reasonable price.
The only home based hot blue that I've ever heard of that works is Herter's Belgian Blue [from Brownell's] which involves boiling the part[s] in water and then repeating the process.
There's a very detailed description about how to use it in Post #37 of the following thread. Check out the pictures in the first post to see how rich the results can be. Unfortunately the product is more costly than having such a small part done by a professional gun bluer which may cost less than $20.
But there will be plenty of the chemical solution left over.



May 19, 2010, 10:35 PM
Aricap, that Belgian Blue looked good. Had read a little about it.
The nearest place to get a gun blued from my location that I am aware of 95 miles or so. Two trips would be required since it will take a day or two for it to be ready, which would add to my expense. The guy's price was $60 if I had my 1858 prepped, which would be great if he were local. I have got to have some of that Belgian Blue, though it may be a couple of weeks before I can spare the $$$. I would have the satisfaction of doing a professional job myself and if I ever had to do it again or do another gun, my only investment would be time and sandpaper. I once again owe you my gratitude. Thank you.