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topic 26069

Browning versus blueing of firearms


Can you explain the difference between "bluing" and "browning" of firearms? I understand that many older muzzleloading firearms were browned, whereas newer firearms are blued. I know that real "bluing" cannot be done at home, but how about "browning"?

Alex DeCaria
firearms hobbyist - Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

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

from Abe Books
info on Amazon

Plum Brown Barrel Finish


I have several buddys that are into antique firearms and they regularly "Blue" & "Brown" at their home shops. The blueing process for home use is not a "factory" blue and may not be as durable but, none-the-less, it has a very nice appearance. Factory blue is a hot process and blueing at home is normally done through a "cold" process. Browning was the precursor to blueing--used primarily on antique weapons to prevent corrosion (same as blueing) and the process is very doable at home via commercial products or home made recipes. A lot of my friends have their own recipes for browning which include soaking walnut hulls in solvents and many other various methods--all from old recipes created by our ancestors.

Hope this helps,

Bill Miller
- Shinnston, West Virginia, USA


Brown for iron and steel:

15 gm iron chloride
1 lit water or alcohol

Good luck,

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

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