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Old May 10, 2005, 04:06 PM   #1
Capt. Charlie
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"Blueing" stainless steel?

Is there any commercial product out there that will blue or blacken stainless steel? The top of the slide on my old S&W 645 is flat and smooth, and the glare is driving me nuts. Went the black paint route. Looked crappy and didn't last.
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Old May 10, 2005, 04:44 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Not that I ever heard of, on the DIY basis.
Robar does stainless blackening and there must be other shops, Brownell's adversises the chemistry. You could send out the slide for that.
Or a real professional job of coating, a step above the black paint level. Many places do that and if you wanted only the slide darkened you wouldn't run into gun shipping hassles.
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Old May 10, 2005, 06:05 PM   #3
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S&W currently sells blackened stainless guns (QPQ "Melonite" process). You could see if they would do it for you.

It is possible to use hot water or slow rust blue on stainless. Probably a very slow process (many cycles), but you could try it for about $50 in materials and alot of elbow grease.

Paint type options:
Robar uses a teflon coating over nickel plate. Black T is another teflon coat.

For paint that doesn't look crummy, you could take the slide to a powder coater. Alot of little shops have a set up for small parts coating.

Finally, how about a good bead blasting to reduce glare? It won't be black, but is much easier.
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Old May 11, 2005, 01:24 AM   #4
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bead blast it

To get rid of the glare, have it bead blasted. Make sure whoever does it for you cleans out his blast cabinet and uses fresh glass beads. I blast mine on low pressure using glass beads and they have no glare and don't rust like when someone uses old beads that has contaminants from steel. You could have it painted afterwards to any color you want. Good luck.
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Old May 11, 2005, 11:56 AM   #5
Dave Sample
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There are stainless steel processes that blue SS. Try Virgil Tripp and if he doesn't do it, he would know who does.
I blast with all the preessure I can get and don't worry much about the media. Most of the fun is blasting titainium and that neat blue glow you get!
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Old May 11, 2005, 08:37 PM   #6
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There are stainless steel cold blacks out there. They turn out more charcoal gray than black, in my experience. You do have to blast the surface first. Stainless steels form a chromium oxide layer at their surfaces that help their rust resistance, but also make them semi-resistant to the acids in the cold blacking agents. If you don't remove this oxide by blasting, you get a splotchy and poorly adhered result. I've also used a boiling water pre-heat to help, but that is only useful with some alloys and makes others worse, so you'll want to test the process inside the slide or some other inconspicuous place.

One agent I've used is Insta-Blak SS-370, made by EPI, Inc. (262-786-9330). There are others. I’ve not found any entirely satisfactory. The appearance of either black chrome or black nickel plating is superior for glare (soot black, in both cases), but you have to find and electroplater to do the work who is good at masking to keep the result from looking shabby.

Another possibility is a painted finish. I've used the Brownells Teflon/Moly gun finish to restore the finish on M1 Garand gas cylinders, which are machined stainless castings. It works quite well for that, but it isn't a true matte black. Brownells Baking Lacquer is available in black. I haven't ever tried this product line myself, but it is less expensive than the Teflon/Moly and may be good for your purposes. Especially since it would be relatively easy to renew the finish if it gets scratched and to remove it (paint stripper) if you don't like it in the end?

Good luck, and let us know what you actually do in the end and how it turns out?


Last edited by Unclenick; May 11, 2005 at 09:13 PM.
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Old May 13, 2005, 02:07 PM   #7
Capt. Charlie
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Thanks guys! I'm thinking of trying the Insta-blak first (so I don't have to send the slide out), and if that doesn't get it, I'll give Mr. Tripp a call. I'll let you know what happens.
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I train in earnest, to do the things that I pray in earnest, I'll never have to do.

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Old May 13, 2005, 08:31 PM   #8
Lazy D
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Bake it

There are a number of products such as "Gun Kote", "Duracote". Check Brownells. You do need some specialty tools. Bead blaster, airbrush, oven, and oh yeah a little knowledge about the application. If it is just a slide I will teflon cote them for $50.00 plus the shipping just to give you a guide on the pricing. Good luck.
"Fast is Fine but accuracy is final.".....Wyatt Earp.
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Old May 23, 2005, 12:13 PM   #9
Harry Bonar
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blueing ss

Dear Shooter:
Disassemble the gun completely and get it bead-blasted - they really look nice -(and as you've been told, clean that sucker real good before assembly).
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