HOME / sitemapFAQsBOOKSHelp WantedsAdvertiseContact   you are here: Hotline/Forum => Letter 7892
most fun in metal finishing



Q. I have some black powder handguns I'm bluing with store-bought gun blue (Birchwood-Casey Gun Blueamazoninfo). It didn't come out as good as I would like, and I noticed the main ingredient is "SELENIUM DIOXIDE". A friend of mine works for an aerospace firm and says he can get me some in powder form. I'm wondering if I can add this to what I bought at the store to juice it up a bit, or do I add it to water or what?

Dan Currie
- YORBA LINDA, California

Q. Dan,

I was curious to see how it went. I tried the same bluing from Birchwood-Casey =>
and my job came out black. After contacting B-C directly, they stated that if I wanted to get the bluing BLUE, then send it to the manufacturer I got the barrel from because their formula doesn't blue, it blacks. I have been searching for a "Blue" bluing since. I am in the process for restoring a 1935 8 mm Mauser and want to do the job myself.

Bruce Johnston
- Pontiac, Michigan

Birchwood-Casey Gun Bluing


A. Hi, Bruce. You are more limited in cold bluing than you would be in hot bluing--but hot bluing can be dangerous and complicated. We have an FAQ comparing the two processes.

Something to realize about black vs. blue, however, is that a matte surface will always tend towards looking black whereas a highly polished surface will look much deeper and a more jewel-like blue. See if you can mirror polish something before bluing, and tell us what happens. Good luck!

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey


A. I've been spending years using all the available products available for bluing guns and gun parts as a hobby. I believe I may have the answer to most problems (HEAT)
I've found lists of comments that this is the secret. It is true. This isn't something you do in a hurry or do without precautions. These chemicals are POISON and I've been careless and have been sick and arthritic curling fingers by not taking the proper safety measures. (Lesson learned).

Birchwood works best. Got to be clean. Preparation by removing rust and blue is not an option, it is amazing how it works.Then comes the trick,, Propane torch, not too hot but hot enough you'll burn the crap out of yourself if you touch the area (DUUH) when it's clean and hot you can see the color changes in the metal being very careful - not too hot. Experiment on junk -- very important. Swab the bluing on - one time , one direction big or small area let set for 30-40 seconds - take to sink and rinse it good. don't wipe. Dry with Clean and dry paper towel lightly use small steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] to blend only. Degrease wipe off and do it all over starting with the torch,, over and over. 10-20 times. After the first time you'll say "Jimbo knows his stuff". Very important to use vinyl or rubber protective glovesamazoninfo in all stages. The steel wool sticks into you and hard to pick it out of your skin. Last thing, use a moto tool (Dremelamazoninfo) with a small buffing wheel and polish like crazy. Don't use any abrasive and do it lightly in full strokes. Be careful cause cold blue even with heat is shallow and you may have to get out the torch again. This works and remember is dangerous,(chemicals, torch = danger) Keep chemicals away from torch like remoil, WD-40amazoninfo and bluing solutions. The most caustic is the bluing and rust removal. The smell is of HCl = strong acid. Got to get that off everything and it works fast. Try it and let me know.

Jim Howell
- Bacliff, Texas

Firearm Blueing and Browning


A. I am getting into hunting for my first this fall, and I was given an old winchester 1200 pump, I love the gun but it was in rough shape, so I stripped the barrel and blued it myself, It took a lot of work and time, but I think it looks very good, no problems what so ever and it has a nice blue when out in the sun.
I simply tore down the gun, sanded the barrel with 220 grit sandpaper, till it was nice and shiny. then I rinsed it with water, and used a degreaser to remove and oil left. I put on rubber gloves to avoid oil from my fingers and I used gunslick blue. Put a coat on (be careful it spreads and dries fast) let it dry then I wash with hot water. it will then look like rust, simply take extra fine steel wool and polish, repeat 7 or 8 times, then let air dry and buff with steel wool and cover with oil, looks brand new.

Todd Moase
- Kensington, P.E.I., Canada
April 11, 2008

A. Just a comment about Cold Bluing. I just refinished a 1938 Large Ring Mauser 8 mm with the step barrel. The original finish was completely gone although only a few minor pits.I sanded it with three grades of automotive wet dry paper. First 400, then 600, then 800 paper. I then degreased using brake cleaner, Acetoneamazoninfo works as well as carb cleaner.

Using an old cotton t-shirt cut up to appropriate size I saturated it with Van's Gun Blue rubbing vigorously as the color got deeper and deeper the more I rubbed. I then wiped it dry with a dry old cotton towel. At this point I rubbed with 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] and got the deepest high polished barrel second only to real high grade factory finishes. It was positively better than I ever expected and total time was about two and one half hours. I just finished a Swede 6.5 carbine which I paid $250 and now can expect $600 easily. This Van's is all it's cracked up to be and more. Highly recommended.

Chris Tisch formerly of the Peoples Democratic Socialist Republic of New Jersey. Now safely residing in Arizona where God, Guns and Guts still rule.

Christian Tisch
- Peoria, Arizona

Ed. note: Casual digs beget casual digs, Chris :-)
Your assessment of our New Jersey isn't far off the mark, but at least we've outlawed the possession of shock torture devices even by the police, whereas Tasers are Arizona's proudest, if not only, export :-(

August 14, 2008

A. Older muzzle loaders are browned, not blued. A product called plum brown =>
can be bought on line or at your gun dealer. I did a couple of my friends kit guns and they turned out great. To prepare the metal, I used 0000 steel wool, Then used the steel wool with liquid soap, dry and de-grease to get rid of any oil,I use alcohol. You put the parts in the oven so that when you apply the plumb brown it sizzles, do this to the whole piece until it won't sizzle anymore. Wash with your steel wool and soap. Dry, I use a hair dryer and then oil.

john tdeleted
- salinas, California

Plum Brown Barrel Finish

December 1, 2010

Actually I wanted to respond to a letter written by John T from Salinas, Ca. Normally I wouldn't respond to this type of submission but there is a serious medical concern here. It is alright to heat this product in an oven. One must also bake powder coat in an oven to get the final finish. However, Mr. Thomas failed to mention ANYTHING about NOT baking your chemicals in the oven you may very well be cooking tomorrow's turkey dinner in. You must NEVER use chemicals other than oven cleaner in your old daily user. If you do YOU CAN and LIKELY WILL DIE FROM IT.

Bill Stevens
- Tucson, Arizona U.S.A.

June 19, 2009

A. I recently came across this line of products called Hoppe's =>
. It has gun cleaning solvents. They have a product called Gun Blue and I used it to get blue bluing and it worked. I was using this old French pistol and it came out excellent.


Paras sdeleted
- Mishawaka, Indiana

Ed. note: We'll be happy to acknowledge otherwise, but we think that Hoppe's no longer offers bluing as a separate chemical, although they do offer re-bluing kits with 2 oz. of their bluing.

Hoppe's Gun Blue

March 1, 2012

I just want to say thanks to Jim Howell and Ted Mooney for the tips that they gave.
I tried Jim's procedure for bluing and it's works very well. The steel has been heated at every layer of blue and it's nice and strong.

Jacques Bolduc
- Matane, Quebec, Canada

ADD a Q or A to THIS thread START a NEW THREADView This Week's HOT TOPICS



JobshopsCapital Equip. & Install'nChemicals & Consumables Consult'g, Train'g, SoftwareEnvironmental ComplianceTesting Svcs. & DevicesUsed & Surplus

©1995-2014     -    Privacy    -    Search