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topic 10134

Nitrate for bluing guns

Q. I am looking for some nitrate acid for bluing a gun, can you help me find a place I can buy some.

Thank You,

R.B. Lawson
- Novenger, Missouri

A. I don't know about the nitrate acid, (maybe that's what I need) but you can buy a kit for reblueing your gun at most sporting good stores.

However I haven't found one that will blue stainless steel, which happens to be my problem. (Is that what the nitrate acid is for?)

P.S. The main chemical in the gun blue I have purchased is SELENIUM DIOXIDE.

Jeff Cochran
- Hermiston, Oregon

Birchwood-Casey Gun Bluing

Plum Brown Barrel Finish

A. Hi. There is no chemical called nitrate acid, and nitric acid is not part of the gun bluing process. But some nitrate compounds can be one part of the formula for "hot bluing". You can find formulas in the Metal Finishing Guidebook.

Selenium compounds are used for "cold bluing", sometimes called "cold blackening", and they are more of a coating of selenium than a process that actually blues steel. You can read about the differences in our FAQ: Black Oxide and Cold Blackening.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. I use a caustic soda solution, but it is for hot bluing at 295 degrees and takes special tanks, etc. and a lot of caution.

Good luck.

Ed Kay
- St. Louis, Missouri

"Firearm Blueing and Browning"
by R. H. Angier

from Abe Books
info on Amazon


A. I believe the acid you are looking for is part of one of the many formulae for "rust" bluing. Rust bluing is used on double shotguns with soldered barrels as it will not attack the solder as does hot bluing. It requires little equipment, making it handy for the occasional home blue job.

Good luck.

George Schwoboda
- Richfield, Minnesota

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