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topic 14831

Bluing of double barrel guns


I have a small gun repair shop and I do a lot of hot rebluing. I have had a lot of calls requesting rebluing Double barrels and I have no idea as to what I need to do this. I know hot salts attack the solder on Dbbl's. Are there any products out there that I can use to get the same quality finish as hot bluing? If so Give me Some Help PLEASE.

Question :: the term CARDING in the bluing process. what does it mean and what material is used to do this with? {I think this has to do with rubbing fine steel wool over a cold bluing metal finish}

Thank you for any input.


John Klink
Johnny's guns - Weirton, West Virginia

Editor's note: Please see also letter 10134.

Firearm Blueing and Browning



"Carding" is a process of polishing between coats of bluing. It is done with fine steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] or a very fine wire wheel.

Good luck.

Ed Kay
- St. Louis, Missouri


I have blued soft soldered doubles in hot blueing tanks and gotten a good finish. The thing you have to do is only leave the barrels in the tanks for 1 minute and then rinse in cool water. It usually takes 3-1 minute dips to get a good blue job. You do take a chance doing it this way. What I do is "ring" the barrels when I'm done. This is done by hanging the barrels from a piece of wire and tap the side with a wooden dowel if the barrels ring like a bell your in good shape if they give a dull vibrating sound, your in trouble, the barrels have separated somewhere. the other method would be to slow rust blue the barrels. There are many ways of doing this.


Turron Smith
gunsmithing - Saint Clair, Michigan

I have been trying to blue the barrel of a 1980's 7 mm magnum by Remington. The action took the bluing just fine but the barrel won't take it. It has in just a few spots like almost the size of ball point pen tip. A magnet sticks to the barrel which is suppose to mean that it isn't a stainless steel barrel. Any other ideas as to what could be wrong?

Charles Pitt
Retired - Pleasant Hill, Oregon


I have just begun the process of restoring a early model Remington automatic shotgun. while stripping the barrel and receiver I discovered the receiver was a very light pewter colored metal, not like the barrel. The receiver has a lot of very nice etching of a wildlife scene on it. I was wondering if I could keep the receiver the very light color pewter, but did not know of a finish that I could apply to it to protect the metal. Any help would be great!

Jason Webb
hobbyist - LaGrange, Georgia

Herters Belgian Blue


July 23, 2009


For over 50 years a bluing solution / method has been used just for "soft soldered" guns like double barrels and old over-unders. The Herters company originally introduced the Belgian Blue solution =>
and though they are now gone the solution is still available through Brownells under the same name.

First, finish the steel up to 320 grit, and thoroughly degrease and rinse; Acetone [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] and rubbing alcohol make a good finisher after Simple Green [linked by editor to product info at Amazon], etc. Place the barrel in boiling distilled water for 1-2 minutes to heat, remove and dry as best you can, and liberally swab the piece with the Belgian Blue, using cotton and WEARING GLOVES. You will instantly see the steel darken. Return to the boiling water for another 1-2 minutes, then remove and card (lightly polish) with damp 0000 steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler]. You will see the white or rusty oxidation removed, giving you a grey, blue, or black finish. Return to the water for 1-2 minutes, and continue repeating the boiling, bluing, boiling, carding until you card the steel and like the color. Usually at least four times, and maybe more.

An uncle of mine who does civil war reenactments just turned me on to the Belgian Blue, and the results astound me. This has to be the best thing after hot salts, and is made for soft soldered work like double barrels that aren't safe to hot blue. I hope you didn't take the above advice of "ringing" the barrels because once it doesn't ring, you're screwed.

Xavier Reese
- Pace, Florida

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