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topic 15174

Gun Bluing / Cold bluing

A discussion started in 2002 but continuing through 2019


Q. I am looking for the steps to blue a gun without heating it. If there isn't one, then I want to try a store-bought method. Any information anyone has would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Chris Duffy
- Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada


A. Chris,

Cold bluing is fairly easy. The most important item is clean metal. The metal must be free of all oil, etc. Even a fingerprint will leave enough oil to prevent good bluing. The surface of the metal must be polished before bluing the way you want it to be when finished. Bluing only colors what is there. There are many cold blue solutions available. Just follow the directions with the product. Cold blue does not hold up like a good hot blue job, but can come out nice.

Good luck.

Ed Kay
- St. Louis, Missouri


A. Hi,

I have blued several guns the cold way. I used G96 [affiliate link to product info on Amazon] gun blue. The trick is to completely remove all the old bluing then highly polish, removing any pitting with a file then polish with 180 grit paper wet sand after till you get a mirror finish.

Then insert a wooden dowel into barrel to use as a handle so you do not have to touch the metal. Clean and degrease with rubbing alcohol or any commercial degreaser. Once degreased it is important that you do not touch the metal with bare hands.

Apply the G96 with cotton balls or sterile pads . It should turn a sort of green colour when dry insure you have an even coat, and when satisfied you do, wash the gun in hot water hot enough that it dries upon removal from water lightly polish with the finest 0000 steel wool [affil. link to Rockler] then give it a good rubdown with an oilcloth (Barricade wipes [affiliate link to product info on Amazon]) you will be pleased with results.

Final note if you are not happy with the evenness of the blue apply more G96 before washing.

Hope this helps,

Shane Cluett
- Neepawa, Manitoba, Canada

affil. link
"Firearm Blueing and Browning"
by R. H. Angier
from Abe Books
info on Amazon


A. For a given steel I may have to experiment to find what cold blue process works best if at all.

The products I have been using are:

1) Oxpho-Blue [affiliate link by editor to product info at Brownells] cold blue

2) Dicropan T-4 [affiliate link by editor to product info at Brownells] [liquid] cold blue

3) G96 [affiliate link to product info on Amazon] [solid] cold blue

4) Simple Green [affiliate link to product info on Amazon] [liquid] degreaser

5) Scotch Brite [affiliate link to product info on Amazon] [green]

6) Motor oil [liquid]

Typically I will:

1) Degrease and then not touch with hands.
2) Rub on Dicropan for a dark but not durable blue
3) Degrease
4) Rub on Dicropan
5) Degrease
6) Put round objects in lathe, spin, and apply Oxpho blue with Scotch Brite while pressing hard enough to apply but not hard enough to remove too much.
7) Degrease
8) Put round objects in lathe, spin, and apply Oxpho blue with Scotch Brite while pressing hard enough to apply but not hard enough to remove too much.
9) Lightly coat with motor oil over the Oxpho blue.
10) Let stand over night to get darker.
11) Wipe off oil

The idea is that the Dicropan get into the micro grooves of the steel and rubbed off the micro ridges. The more durable but less dark Oxpho is then applied to the micro ridges.

The Dicropan or Oxpho Blue or G96 may not work on some steels, so trying different things in different orders is then best.

Clark Magnuson
- Mercer Island, Washington


Q. I would like to know if there is anything you can put on a gun receiver to bring back the case coloring or to put new on at home. I would like to do this myself even though there are people out there that do this for others

Virgil Hudson
hobbyist - Racine, West Virginia


Q. What is your opinion about butch's gun bluing and mother's? Will this acquire the same smooth quality finish as the heated methods? David.

David Rickard
beginner - Washington

A. Cold bluing is no match for hot bluing, David: please see our FAQ on Black Oxide and Cold Blackening for an introduction to that.

Based on letter 34769, we do not think there is such a product as Mother's Gun Bluing.

We don't compare one brand to another on this no-registration-required site (why?) :-)
Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

July 4, 2010

Q. Is there a difference in cold bluings as far as active chemicals. Which different ones might give a deeper blue like a colt python blue or which one might give a blacker look?
What is the content of the different bluing solutions.

Chris Ladue
do it yourselfer and gun enthusiast - Amarillo, Texas, USA

July 7, 2010

A. Hi, Chris. I think the principal ingredient in all of the cold blues is probably selenium. I think you will discover that the polish of the parts has much more effect on the perceived color than which brand you use. Very highly polished metal will look quite jewel blue while matte metal will look quite black.

I hypothesize that the reason is that the highly polished surface has little surface area and therefore gets little saturation, whereas the matte surface, with all its little nooks & crannies will absorb a lot of bluing and become far more saturated in color.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

August 27, 2012

Q. I have a Winchester 1890 my father reblued using cold blueing. Is there any way it can be removed to restore it to the original condition?



Bruce Cook
- Bethalto, Illinois USA

August 27, 2012

A. Hi Bruce. If you know what it is supposed to look like, I think a finish that looks like that can be obtained. But it's not really "the original condition" because the original finish probably wore away a hundred years ago.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha

Bluing a Colt 1902 Military Version

affil. link
Birchwood-Casey Gun Bluing

June 3, 2015

Q. I got my hands on Colt 1902 Military Model Lately. I know Colts have a worth while it has the amount of original colt blue on it. However, since I won;t be selling it off, I thought of re-bluing the gun.

In Pakistan, we don't have good quality bluing for any product let alone guns. What I'm planning to do is to give a try on Birchwood Casey Perma Blue (cold blue).

But before the process, I would like expert opinion on whether I should de-rust and buff it to an extent that a glossy metal comes out at the end?

Or I should just apply the rust remover and go ahead with bluing the gun?

Ezaz Khan
Hobbyist - Peshawar, Pakistan

June 15, 2015

A. *IF* It were my gun, I would not attempt to refinish it at all. Refinishing, no matter how well done, always detracts from the value of old guns.

I'd use a good quality rust preventive, rub it with a cloth, and leave it alone.

jeffrey holmes
Jeffrey Holmes, CEF
Spartanburg, South Carolina

April 30, 2019

Q. I have a display-only MG34 receiver that currently has a parkerized finish and would like to try cold bluing it to match the parts kit I have. Does the current finish have to be removed prior to doing this? The metal is 4140 steel. Would I just be better off "biting the bullet" and having someone costly hot blue this? Any help with this would be appreciated.

Craig Gilge
- Gig Harbour, Washington, U.S.A.

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