View Full Version : easy and cheap way to remove bluing

July 12, 2010, 11:08 AM
Ok, I had a few small parts I needed to remove the bluing from (trigger parts, sight hood, etc..) and then reblue with some bluing from Brownells.

I searched the net and found lots of weird and possibly harmful information and then i found a guys blog and he was going into minute detail on molecular theory and other things on chemistry that made my head hurt :p and then the simple answer that regular vinegar will remove bluing from metal.

well I went to wally word and bought a couple bottles of white regular vinegar, put some in a small rubbermaid container and put the parts in it. took about 5 minutes and the bluing wiped right off with paper towels. I soaked a little longer for some areas that were slightly "blue stained" and i then had bare clean metal.... wow! very easy. then I remembered I had an old barreled action that I needed to remove the bluing on (was a bad combo of factory bluing that was poor and someones attempt at hot bluing). since I couldn't soak the entire barreled receive I decided to wrap paper towels around it and then pour vinegar on the paper towel and let it soak.

holly handgrenades! 5 minute soak and the bluing was almost 100% off. I resoaked again for some tough spots, and then used 0000 steel wool before wiping off. I left a vinegar residue of the gun to prevent flash rust (it is monsoon season down here in AZ with humidity around 75-85%) and will clean up the gun with water bath then brake cleaner then a protective coating of CLP or Hoppes oil tonight...

wow, cheap at 84 cents a bottle and eco-friendly to boot...:p

beats spending 14 to 25 bucks on bluing remover from brownells or midway.

now i get to practice my bluing skills on the barreled receiver (brownells makes several good "cold" bluing solutions that actually hold up better than some factory hot bluing.

July 12, 2010, 01:00 PM
Yup ! Any acid will do it , vinegar, navel jelly [phosphoric acid] , citric acid etc.

July 12, 2010, 05:58 PM
PB Blaster will take blueing right off too.......don't ask me how i know :(

Bill DeShivs
July 12, 2010, 06:57 PM
While I have never used PBlaster, it is advertised as a penetrating lubricant.
There is no reason that it would remove bluing.

July 12, 2010, 08:12 PM
bill, go and try pb and let us know how it turns out. brake cleaner also works well at removing rust and everything except the metal :p ( my oops once on a Remington Rand 1911 :( )

Bill DeShivs
July 12, 2010, 09:23 PM
I have no use for the PB stuff, but I use brake parts cleaner in my shop constantly. It will NOT harm bluing. I also use it to clean guns.

July 12, 2010, 09:27 PM

Could the difference be between using chlorinated or non-chlorinated brake cleaners? I keep wanting to try non-chlorinated brake cleaner as a cheaper alternative to Gun Scrubber, but posts like UniversalFrost's have me nervous.

July 12, 2010, 09:47 PM
i know that the walmart cheap stuff will strip bluing (the remington is a prime example).

July 12, 2010, 09:51 PM
Were the Remington-Rand 1911s blued? I thought that they were Parkerized (or "Du-Lite", I believe it was called.)

Do you remember if the Wal-Mart brake cleaner said anything about being non-chlorinated?

July 12, 2010, 10:12 PM
was a 1911 not a 1991 (remington stopped making 1911's after WWII if I am not mistaken). hence the frustration

July 12, 2010, 10:16 PM
Oops - that was just a typo. Meant to type "1911" in the first place, thanks!

Bill DeShivs
July 13, 2010, 12:54 AM
I use the Walmart cheap brake parts cleaner. It will NOT strip bluing.
It might take some of the dye out of anodized aluminum, but I have never had a problem with this, either.
Brake parts cleaner will remove all the oil from a blued surface, so the oil needs to be replaced.

July 14, 2010, 04:28 PM
The cheapest bluing remover is blood. It's free and you make more of it for free, too.



July 14, 2010, 09:18 PM
I think you did right in using the vinegar. Vinegar doesn't attack the metal like naval jelly does, and it's mild enough to wash clean with water afterwards. The only problem I would foresee would be in removing the bluing on an older Remington 700 BDL. It almost looks like they sprayed an epoxy shell on some of them.

July 14, 2010, 09:36 PM
I use brake cleaner for cleaning as the first step in refinishing . Get the stuff that has only TCE in it , it won't harm bluing . Didn't know about the vinegar removing bluing , I'll give that a try next time I strip one . I usually use Naval Jelly , nasty stuff !

July 15, 2010, 05:34 PM
Yes, Vinegar will remove blueing easily. The white is best, but wine vinegar will work too. It also works good in dishwater for washing dishes and works good for cleaning glass.

July 17, 2010, 07:58 PM
Try using Walmart carb cleaner instead of the brake cleaner for degreasing. It DEFINITELY won't affect the blue, and it's cheaper than the brake cleaner. Don't get it on plastic or the finish on your stock, though.

Vinegar is a good idea for removing blue. It is a weaker acid and won't etch the metal as much as Naval Jelly or muriatic acid.