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    Re-Blued Firearms

    Ask the experts:

    I have minimal knowledge on this subject and I haven't exactly found what I'm looking for on the internet.

    I have a few antique firearms that have been re-blued. I know this kills much of the value, but I knew that going in and paid accordingly.

    My question is: is there any way to get to the original finish or any other options than just stripping it down to the 'white'?

    For example, here's an 1889 Colt Lightning in .44-40. The re-blueing is very good, but the rifle looks almost brand new and certainly not 130 years old.

    Colt Lightning .44-40.jpg


    The refinished wood is another issue, but one issue at a time.


    Any info would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

    #2
    I think that the original finish is probably long gone as the metal is usually polished down to the white to prepare it to receive the new finish.

    Comment


      #3
      Do you mean making the bluing looked aged? I've done it on small parts. Such as on an original Winchester 1892 rifle. It was missing the saddle ring and staple attaching it to the gun. Plenty of new replacement parts were available. But they were all highly polished blue. So I took the parts, soaked them in a weak diluted solution of vinegar. The vinegar will start removing the bluing. Straight vinegar will remove the bluing in seconds, so a very diluted solution is used. And to add the minor pitting to also match the rest of the gun, you add some salt to the vinegar solution. The salt in the vinegar rapidly causes corrosion to the metal. Too strong a solution, or leaving too long, will completely eat away at the metal. All this info I found on the internet looking for "how to age the bluing on a gun". As you can see, the two parts are almost a perfect match to the receiver. I would think for doing the whole gun, either a long tank would be needed, or maybe you can wipe the vinegar solution on the gun using a rag.


      20150104_183743.jpg
      Evil beware, Postal Bob is here!
      Certified NROI RSO

      Member Freeport R&R

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by NativeNYer View Post
        I think that the original finish is probably long gone as the metal is usually polished down to the white to prepare it to receive the new finish.
        Yeah, that's what I figured; just wondering if maybe there was any other chemicals that can reduce the current blueing to a more realistic, antique look.
        "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Postal Bob View Post
          Do you mean making the bluing looked aged? I've done it on small parts. Such as on an original Winchester 1892 rifle. It was missing the saddle ring and staple attaching it to the gun. Plenty of new replacement parts were available. But they were all highly polished blue. So I took the parts, soaked them in a weak diluted solution of vinegar. The vinegar will start removing the bluing. Straight vinegar will remove the bluing in seconds, so a very diluted solution is used. And to add the minor pitting to also match the rest of the gun, you add some salt to the vinegar solution. The salt in the vinegar rapidly causes corrosion to the metal. Too strong a solution, or leaving too long, will completely eat away at the metal. All this info I found on the internet looking for "how to age the bluing on a gun". As you can see, the two parts are almost a perfect match to the receiver. I would think for doing the whole gun, either a long tank would be needed, or maybe you can wipe the vinegar solution on the gun using a rag.


          20150104_183743.jpg
          I have heard of vinegar, just wasn't sure how to use it - THANKS. Give me a good direction.

          Post pics of the whole rifle - year/caliber. Looks really nice.
          "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by NativeNYer View Post
            I think that the original finish is probably long gone as the metal is usually polished down to the white to prepare it to receive the new finish.
            Yep. Bluing isn't paint. Lots of chemical agents can be used to speed up the aging process and add a patina. At the next gun show pick out a too good to be true vintage rifle and ask the vendor how he faked the finish.
            Exercise the Bill of Rights. It's good for your Constitution.

            Comment


              #7
              Why try to age the new blue? Let it be and enjoy it.
              Like you said you knew going in and I wouldn’t want to wear the new finish down prematurely.
              And in 100 years it will have age to it and be 200 years old

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Rrudo74901 View Post
                Why try to age the new blue? Let it be and enjoy it.
                Like you said you knew going in and I wouldn’t want to wear the new finish down prematurely.
                And in 100 years it will have age to it and be 200 years old
                Yeah, well....they kinda' stick out in the collection. Imagine having a collection of, say.....old 1911's. And you have two or three from 1914 that have been re-blued.....kinda' sucks.

                If I could wear down the re-blue a bit and have it still look authentic - that would be great.
                "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

                Comment


                  #9
                  The vinegar works well, but you have to be cautious. Like said, you can remove all the bluing in seconds with a strong vinegar solution.
                  Evil beware, Postal Bob is here!
                  Certified NROI RSO

                  Member Freeport R&R

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Wonder what is the determining subjective point where rebluing either adds or detracts a firearms value
                    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation." –Thomas B. Reed (1886)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Dan 0351
                      If you do decide to age the finish, please keep us posted on the results.
                      Thanks.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by NativeNYer View Post
                        Dan 0351
                        If you do decide to age the finish, please keep us posted on the results.
                        Thanks.
                        Will do, but I'd have to practice on something less valuable.
                        "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Vitaman View Post
                          Wonder what is the determining subjective point where rebluing either adds or detracts a firearms value
                          Personally, I think that if it's not a collectible firearm, a re-blueing may add value to an otherwise very bad finish. But I think any re-blueing to a collectible would only detract from it's value.
                          "The Open Carry guy is my decoy."

                          Comment

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