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Why Bluing

Alright, you say! "What on earth is this bluing??"

Well, just in case you're not all that familiar with bluing, it is a chemical process, called “hot dip,” applied to all of the metal parts of your gun, or golf clubs, or decorative swords, or knives, or. . .

Precision Bluing offers hot-dip bluing only.  The purpose of this process is protective, decorative and restorative.  This consists of a multi-stage process wherein the piece is first derusted in either a solution of hot alkaline or an acid. Determination is made by the severity and depth of the oxidation.

This is followed by the mechanical removal of the etched surface by means of multiple-grit felt and cotton wheels.  Extreme care at this stage has to be given to any lettering or proofmarks originally found on the piece.  A veteran polisher can work between the letters giving a quality overall effect.

Depending on the final grit used, this depicts the final finish, or luster.

Ex. A 400 grit final polish is the approximate grit of a factory finish.  To proceed above a 400 grit, for example to a mirror polish would result in a very reflective, high-luster blue.  This is known as the custom and is only achievable after many hours of hand polishing.

The bluing process consists of a five-stage system: a hot degreaser followed by a rinse, a mechanical scrubbing, then back to the degreaser, back to the rinse, then into molten salts.  These are classified as molten because the boiling point is 290 degrees.  After the appropriate amount of time, followed by a hot water rinse, the part is placed in a spray rinse and sprayed with vast amounts of water. It is then immediately quenched in a water-displacing oil.

At this point, the oxide film is very soft and has to be left untouched for approximately 24 hours.  Then the oxide surface is mildly polished. It is then possible to offer another service of a wax seal which gives an even higher luster.  The piece is then packaged and returned to the customer.  This finish also meets military specifications C13924BAM1 Class 1, Grade A.

A very high level of attention to precision and quality should be given to each piece for the best possible outcome.

The recent flooding has affected many of these very heirlooms. Bluing can restore these items to their original condition.

Precision Bluing offers a service that will take the metal surface of a weapon to a higher level of beauty and durability.  This is a much desired finish.  Gun enthusiasts, owners of family heirlooms, and war re-enactment participants utilize this process to:

  • restore a weapon to its original condition
  • customize the weapon
  • optimize a weapon for a specific function such as flat gloss for low reflectivity or high gloss for a presentational piece
  • polishing specific trigger parts enhancing the weapon's function, such as smooth trigger pull, smoother cocking, burr-free, bolt placement
  • provide the weapon with a long-term corrosion-resistant protective coating

With proper care and handling, this process need not ever be repeated, making this a valuable investment to a weapons owner.

Other services offered are general polishing for "white" guns such as antique muskets, and bead blasting, which offers a flat matte finish.  All services can be offered complimentary to one another.

A Short Note on Cold Bluing

First, let us just say that not all cold bluing is created equal.  There are some products out there that people have been very happy with.  There are some products that could just as easily be replaced with Kool-Aid.  However, I think it would be very safe to say that a quarter to a third of the guns that we've had here to reblue were first cold blued.  Then they were taken out in their first rain and the blue simply melted away.

In fact, here is a direct quote from Wikipedia:

"Cold" bluing is generally a selenium dioxide based compound that colors steel black, or more often a very dark gray.  It is a difficult product to apply evenly, offers minimal protection and is generally best used for small fast repair jobs and touch-ups.

We use a four-tank hot salts bluing method.  When we blue your gun, we send it back to you with a care sheet.  If you follow the simple, common sense directions on this sheet, you won't ever need to have your gun blued again.  Now wouldn't that be far more economical?