View Full Version : Best cold bluing solution

January 30, 2013, 05:13 PM
I'm going to re-blue a revolver frame and cylinder. What are you guys suggestions as far as the best cold bluing solution? There are so many choices and so many conflicting customer reviews.

January 30, 2013, 05:46 PM
Don't. If the gun needs to be reblued, take it to someone who does hot caustic bluing.

January 30, 2013, 05:54 PM
Having watched and American Gunsmithing Instute video on refinishing I agree with Scorch.

If you have to ask, you don't have the tools and knowledge (neither do I) that are necessary for the job. I've learned that if it isn't done right it'll cost you a lot more later to undo the mess created by cheap solutions.

January 30, 2013, 06:09 PM
Brownells Oxpho-Blue. http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/metal-prep-coloring/metal-bluing/liquid-cold-bluing-chemicals/oxpho-blue--prod1072.aspx

January 30, 2013, 06:21 PM
This is not an expensive pistol and this is intended to be more of a learning process than anything. I have done some browning that came out very nice using Birchwood Casey Plum Brown.

January 30, 2013, 06:26 PM
Oxpho blue was what I was thinking about using. Also considering dricopan? And 44/40. Just not sure if there are big differences between different brands. I imagine they all use varieties of the same chemical process.

January 30, 2013, 06:43 PM
I wish I had pictures of it when i first did it, a GP-100 completely re-blued with 44/40, because i didn't have any $$ at the time. It was my first blue job, the revolver saw lots of carry in the woods in some pretty rough weather.

The bluing holds oil quite well, and has been durable. The most important thing in any bluing process is the metal prep IMO.


January 30, 2013, 06:47 PM
That is a good looking finish. Do you remember how many coats you had to use? If I can get a finish that good ill be happy. Mine will be on a Pietta 1851 repro.

January 30, 2013, 06:49 PM
The most important thing in any bluing process is the metal prep IMO.

Exactly right!

I have seen some fine looking guns that have been done by "noobs"...although, they did their homework before starting.

I have just never been able to get the nerve to try it.:D

January 30, 2013, 07:03 PM
That is a good looking finish. Do you remember how many coats you had to use? If I can get a finish that good ill be happy. Mine will be on a Pietta 1851 repro.

I don't specifically remember how many applications, but it was several, in between each application I polished lightly with new, fine steel wool. I had much more time in metal prep than actually bluing, it took quite a few hours total.

I can't seem to lay my hands on a bottle of 44/40 right now, but I think it is supposed to cure under a coat of oil when you finish.

Jim Watson
January 30, 2013, 08:18 PM
The local shop is actually doing some whole gun bluing with Oxpho Blue when it is too much trouble to fire up the tanks or wait out the rusting process.
It looks very good. I have not used anything done with it enough to see how it wears, but have hopes.

The Brownells bluing instruction manual, available in PDF from their site, goes into detail on how to do it. It is NOT just a swipe it on process as you would touch up a worn spot.

James K
January 30, 2013, 08:21 PM
FWIW, I have used G96 Gun Blue Paste with good results, BUT, NO cold blue, repeat, NO cold blue, is really durable. If you boil the parts and swab and card, you can create an imitation rust blue that is fairly durable, but that is as much work and trouble as using a real rust blue, so nothing is saved by using cold blue.


Bill DeShivs
January 30, 2013, 11:15 PM
Just buy rust bluing solution from Brownells, and do it properly.
Cold blue sucks.

January 30, 2013, 11:40 PM
I prefer either Novum Solutions "Blue Wonder" (have a black version too) or Brownell's Oxpho Blue (cream version works better than liquid version for me) to cold blue a firearm. I've had good and bad results with both products, but they have worked better overall than other cold blue products I've tried. Both products wear quite well and the Oxpho is easier to use and less costly than the Blue Wonder. If I'm redoing an old rifle not worth much, I'll use the Oxpho. Use the Blue Wonder on firearm I really am concerned about turning out nice.

A lot depends on the metal you are working with. Basically a barrel takes cold blue better than a receiver because a barrel is softer. Have a barrel on an old BSA rifle from the late 60s ready to be cold blued and expect it to turn out nice. Will not try to do the receiver on the rifle as it is in better condition than the barrel and as I mentioned already, its hit and miss on a receiver due to its metallurgy.

January 31, 2013, 01:59 AM
If you're determined to use cold blue, Oxpho is the best I've tried, for ease of application, final appearance and durability.

January 31, 2013, 09:05 AM
Don't Do It! Looks terrible!

February 1, 2013, 12:44 PM
This is what I ended up with. I used Plum Brown and then boiled in distilled water. I gave it 5 coats. I'm quite happy with the results, it came out better than I'd hoped. The picture dosnt do it justice. It has a very even dark blue/ black finish. Thank you everyone for all the advise.

February 1, 2013, 02:42 PM
Since you are doing a percussion revolver an easy and durable finish can be obtained with rust bluing and is the way many of the originals were finished.
Order some Art's Belgian blue from Midway. All you will need then is some distilled water and a pan large enough to hold the cylinder and barrel. Polish no finer than 320 grit and have some OOOO degreased steel wool. You can do it on the stove top as all you are doing is boiling water. With just a little care you can end up with a great blue job every bit as durable if not more so that hot caustic blue. Midway has a you tube video on this. Check it out.

February 2, 2013, 12:25 AM
My first experience was about ten years ago. Bought the kit. Read the directions. Blued the rifle.
Pretty simple.
I was lucky to have a friend with a blast cabinet. He blasted it clean with walnut shells. It had no pitting just the wear from years of use.
That may be the key. Get it clean, get it right then the blueing is really simple. I used two coats.
Waited about three weeks and oiled it up good. Got a nice finish too.
Its still in the same condition as it was the day I blued it.
Who Knew?

4V50 Gary
February 3, 2013, 09:20 AM
The most important thing in any bluing process is the metal prep IMO.

This. It's all in the preparation. You can express blue it but this process will take several days. After polishing and degreasing, you apply the rusting solution and let it hand in a sweat cabinet (box/pvc with a can of water and a light bulb) for a day. Remove it and card it off, degrease, apply another coat of rust solution and back into the box. Repeat until desired blued is attained.

February 3, 2013, 12:22 PM
Oxpho blue is the cold blueing my shop
Have a bottle of B-C blue on shelf as well as .44-40

To cold blue whole guns I use Flex-Bar Tool Black.

Jim Watson
February 5, 2013, 12:55 PM
Do tell.
Where can I learn about Flex Bar Tool Black?
Neither Google nor Bing want to play.

February 5, 2013, 02:25 PM
Do tell.
Where can I learn about Flex Bar Tool Black?
Neither Google nor Bing want to play.
Flexbar Machine Tool Corp

March 11, 2013, 11:02 AM
Seems to be out of production
But Birchwood-Casey makes a similiar product.

March 11, 2013, 07:45 PM
For a home job without a lot of expensive equipment the rust blue aka Belgian Blue is the best way to go. Follow the instructions closely and do it on a couple or more pieces of scrap metal till you get the hang of it. I'll bet you'll know when you're ready to do your first gun.

March 18, 2013, 01:28 PM
Brownells Oxpho-Blue for light touchups...I did a 'reblue' on an old TT33 by glassbeading the metal then using a propane torch to heat the metal to a 'blue' then cooling in motor oil (I read about this and wanted to try it)...I rather like the matte finish the glassbeading and blueing produced...

March 18, 2013, 03:30 PM
I use Dicropan IM quite often and Oxpho when the Dicropan doesn't match the color well

IM is a bit more blue in color but seeing as how it's appied with 0000 steel wool and burnished it's pretty tough

March 18, 2013, 06:26 PM
As others have said, RUST BLUE ! Rust blueing is the best blue one can get, better than hot caustic blueing. It can also be done at home with a minimum of expense and equipment. I use Laurel Mountain Forge barrel brown and degreaser. There is no reason to use inferior cold blue when rust bluing is so superior and easy to do.

March 19, 2013, 04:06 PM
roklok is making all kinds of sense. Once you get the hang of it you'll likely never want anything else.

March 20, 2013, 03:46 PM
I use Casey's bluing paste. I have gotten some really great results with it. This thread contains pictures of an STI LS40 where I touched up holster wear on the frame and slide - http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=508067

Note, this is a flat finish. The paste works good on polished finishes to, but it won't hide imperfections - just makes it black and shiny. Although I haven't experienced any problems, some folks will tell you that even if you get good results, any cold blue will rub off faster than hot bluing.

March 21, 2013, 10:43 PM
I used to be on a kick that Dicropan was darker, but Oxpho blue lasted
longer, so I would put Dicropan on first and get it down in the micro
valleys, and then run Oxpho on the micro ridges.

That trick makes dark and long lasting cold blue, but it only works on
steels that take both cold blues well.

If you can find this stuff, get some, and you will broaden what you can
do besides Oxpho and Dicropan.


You will need:
1) Towels
2) Paper towels
3) Kleenex
4) Hot running water
5) 3 dedicated tooth brushes
6) Motor oil
7) Oxpho blue: liquid works better, cream is easier to use
8) Some other darker cold blue
9) Liquid detergent, like SIMPLE GREEN

G96 gun blue cream.
Get the part hot and soapy, and scrub it with a tooth brush.
Rinse and dry without getting finger prints on it or letting it cool down.
Scrub on the dark cold blue with a tooth brush for a minute.
Get the part hot and soapy, and scrub it with a tooth brush.
Rinse and dry without getting finger prints on it or letting it cool down.
Scrub on the Oxpho cold blue with a tooth brush for a minute.
Apply oil lightly without rubbing off the Oxpho blue.
Leave overnight.
Get the part hot and soapy, and scrub it with a tooth brush.
Rinse and dry.
Rub oil on it.
Wipe off excess oil.

Repeat until dark and durable enough.

For whole barrels, spin them in the lathe to rub in the Oxpho.

With barrels, put a rubber stopper in the muzzle and breech to keep
liquids out.

Hair dryer or heat gun can warm parts.