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Revolver "Defarb' 102: 'Rebluing'

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  • Revolver "Defarb' 102: 'Rebluing'


    Just getting Double Mileage out of this post in the Cavalry COI:

    There is an acceptable revolver "'defarb" process or effort that can be done at home with little skill and very few few tools. And that is realatively "inexpensive."

    And that is the "higher end" of the dreaded "home cold bluing." Traditionally, cold blue or cold bluing has gotten a bad rap because of early attempts to "reblue" so-called "defarbed" Enfields when the Italian markngs ahd been removed and the lad did not want to pay to the barrel pofessionally 'hot salt" or "hot vat' that ende dup being just as farby because it does look like the Period rust-blued Enfield barrel. (And, created the hobby-myth that original Enfields had thin, transparent bluing that quickly wore off..)

    NUG, most of the cold blues (liquid or pastes) contain selenium dioxide as its active agent and the end result is NUG splotchy, thin, transparent, grayish and not particularly resistant to use wear, holster wear, or rust resistant. And, IMHO, the cheaper it is, the harder it is to get okay let alone decent results. Cold Blue was invented for us eon small parts, and "okay" repairs to scratches or wear spots on blued guns.

    True gun blue is basically a surface coating created by an oxidizing chemical reaction with iron to form magnetite (Fe3O4), the black oxide of iron as composed to the brown oxide (rust aka Fe2O3). Yes, Ii know there are full formulae for the different compounds, and i am not citing full balacned chemical/atomic equations here.)

    Anyways, the key to half way decent cold bluing in the "defarb" process is to use "more professional" grade cold blues.

    For some twenty years I have been using 44/40 or Brownell's "Oxpho Blue" as an expedient. For about $30 in supplies, one can cold reblue several dozen revolvers as well as redo the process at the end of the season to repair use and cleaning wear, and holster wear. Plus, a mess or pards can get together and do a batch and split the costs. However, one nice thing, Brownell's realized others other than professional gunsmiths used it, so they now offer it in as small as four ounce bottles instead of having to buy a full quart anymore.

    I was going to write this all out, but recently discovered some You Tube videos that will save me a lot of writing and words.

    As seen, the key is:

    1. metal prep in the form of polishing and degreasing. NUG when one removes the Italian hot salt/hot tank modern blue, one finds the machine marks and scratches the Italians left in that the black iron oxide covered over and visually 'smoothed away." The mor epoished your metal, the more glossier or "wet" the finished result will be. But the final oil or greasing/waxing will also impart shine or sheen as well.

    2. gently heating to deepen the chemical reaction

    3. applying the solution in long overlapping striokes to prevent streaking or blotching

    4. repeating the process 4-6 times, or so, to get the deepest, black possible.

    5. killing, er neutralizing the acid with baking soad rinse or oil rub, as it will continue to work and turn to brown rust in the exposed air of the enviroment unless oiled and preferrably oiled then greased/waxed.

    Videos can be deceptive, and over-promise while the product in your hands under delivers. But this video and Oxpho Blue are better (not perfect, but better)

    This three part video does a nice basic job:




    I have also learned of a new product called "Blue Wonder Gun Blue" that I just ordered from Amazon.comm for half price. I have a Cimarron/Uberti Colt M1860 Army that one side of the barrel took this process well, and the other side took thinner. I suspect uneven heat from the sun when I was doing it. Anyways, it needed stripped and redone. I will experiment with the "Blue Wonder" and see if it is equal or superior to the Oxpho Blue. And post later.

    IMHO, take a few minutes and watch the video. I think most lads could or can swing the process. And like I said, the videos save me much typing and some lads learn better visually than be reading...

    Curt Schmidt
    In gleichem Schritt und Tritt, Curt Schmidt

    -Hard and sharp as flint...secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.
    -Haplogroup R1b M343 (Subclade R1b1a2 M269)
    -Pointless Folksy Wisdom Mess, Oblio Lodge #1
    -Vastly Ignorant
    -Often incorrect, technically, historically, factually.

  • #2
    Hi Curt,

    Thanks for writing this, it is a good article. I have a older Griswold and Gunnison kit gun I'm building. I want to do an original type finish. I'm not removing any of the Italian proofs, so it won't look completely authentic. I'm wondering if you have any advice or could point me somewhere to try to replicate the original bluing process? Is that possible with today's chemicals? Also, how did the Wonder Blue work out compared to Oxpho Blue on your 1860?

    Could you post some pics of the finish on your 1860?

    Randy Gann
    In Memory of my GGG Grandfather, Pvt. James E. Gann, Vaughn's - 3rd Tennessee Mounted Infantry. In service before Manassas, passed from Smallpox at Vicksburg, 11 April 1863. Left a young wife and several children.

    God Bless America, Our Troops and Their Families, Past and
    Present !