View Full Version : Gun Blue (What Works?)

Uncle Buck
June 30, 2011, 07:11 AM
Have any of you successfully re-blued your guns? What did you use?

I have several (Pistols, Rifle, Shotguns) that I would like to re-blue. I tried using Perma Blue, from Birchwood Casey and have had no luck.

I followed the directions. No grease/oil on the gun. But it comes out looking like a mottled.... something.

What do you guys use? Is there a reliable, home blue kit available?

Bill DeShivs
June 30, 2011, 07:22 AM
Rust bluing is reliable, but it's labor intensive.
Cold blues don't work for refinishing.

June 30, 2011, 07:24 AM
I've had good luck with Kleen Bore "Black Magic", though I've only done touch ups, never a complete gun.

June 30, 2011, 01:27 PM
Cold blues will almost always give you a mottled appearance, just by nature of the way it is applied and how it acts. Cold blue is also not a protective finish, it can actually promote rust. If you are stuck on cold blue, use Brownells' Dicropan.

If you want the best looking results, find a smith that can hot tank your rifle. You do the prep work and let him blue it.

June 30, 2011, 02:34 PM
Try Blue Wonder...Use a heat gun or good hair dryer and warm (not too hot to handle) the parts that have been prepped. For some reason when you excite the atoms in the steel with a little even heat, it does "wonders" for the treatment...Go figure.

BTW, if the parts you are bluing have ever been case-hardened, you will get that mottled look. It's in the temperment of the steel and the chemicals don't go that deep. Just a tip.

June 30, 2011, 03:59 PM
Uncle Buck;
I did a rifle a long time ago with cold blue.
I was an apprentice gunsmith, the smith directed me to use floor sealer on the rifle.!
Floor sealer kept it from rusting and helped lessen the mottled look.
After doing the cold blue the smith had me re-polished the rifle and then do a hot blue just to learn the difference.
I think I was mouthing off to a customer or someone about something.
Good luck in your endeavor.

Oh yea,
I found that using a propane torch and heating the metal to a 300 to 400 degree range will help the the cold blue attach to the metal. A little darker effect.
I placed a little cold blue on a cotton ball when you hit the hot metal, It will steam off, but I found works better.

June 30, 2011, 04:02 PM
It helps if I would of read GoOfY-FoOt post about warming the metal. "Right on"

June 30, 2011, 04:43 PM
The cold blues have different acid bases. Many will activate the metal and promote rust as mentioned. It's is always a good idea with to spray with an alkaline cleaner afterward to neutralize the acid. Baking soda solution works, but I use Formula 409, as it's easier. Rinse well and dry and apply the rust inhibiting sealer of your choice.

The exceptions to the activation for rust are the phosphoric acid based blues, like Brownells Oxpho-Blue and Van's Gun Blue. These form phosphate conversion layers like thin, darkened Parkerizing, and protect better and leave the least activated surface. Unfortunately, they aren't very dark, being more like charcoal gray than blue.

All the cold blues, AFAIK are sensitive to any alloy irregularity, hardness irregularity, or grain variation in the steel and will color it differently, as you discovered. I've successfully experimented with a couple of cold blues for blackening sights, but I abrasive blast the surface with 240 grit aluminum oxide first, so it already looks a fairly dark matte, then the cold blue reacts well with the surface and blackens it.

If you want to do the job at home and want an actual blue, Bill is right that rust bluing is the way to go. If you can pay for hot bluing, that is the most durable and is blacker.

Buzzard Bait
June 30, 2011, 04:45 PM
I used Art's Belgium Blue which is sort of an accelerated rust blue and was pleased with the results and I am planning to use it again. You have to spend the time to prepare the metal it must be bare clean shiny metal and clean no oil.

James K
June 30, 2011, 06:52 PM
The quick answer for cold blues is nothing. A lot of folks will slop on cold blue so a gun looks good and then take pictures to show off the cheap and easy blue job they did. Impressive. They never show pictures of the gun after a bit of handling, though.

Belgian Blue is rust blue; done right it gives excellent results. Almost all European guns made before the 1930's (Lugers, Mausers) were rust blued.


Uncle Buck
July 1, 2011, 12:21 PM
Thanks guys. I have been looking at the rust bluing and I may give that a try. I have several old shotgun barrels that I can practice on.