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Fingerprints and rusting after Bluing of firearms

I am not very familiar with bluing firearms but must do something with a rifle I purchased for my son. We recently tried bluing the barrel with a product called "Hoppe's"...It didn't turn out well at all. Finger prints are always left on the barrel, it smudges , but worst is that any exposure to moisture causes the barrel to rust and pit. I have followed the directions to the letter. There must be a better way. Any help would be appreciated.

pat fogarty
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Pat - Try having your rifle blued by a gunsmith that uses the hot black oxide method. This is the method used by weapons mfrs to impart that lustrous black finish. Also, be sure to use a dry-to-the-touch finishing oil to protect against corrosion. Frequent re-oiling may be necessary depending on the atmosphere that the rifle is stored and used in. Good Luck

Dan Brewer
chemical process supplier - Gurnee, Illinois

My friend and I are interested in the complete process necessary to reblue firearms. Most of the sites we have visited are more concerned with selling their wares than giving full details of "how to do it. " As we are only amateurs all details with regard to equipment, solutions and any other hints would be greatly appreciated.

Graham Itz
- Brisbane Qld Australia

"Firearm Blueing and Browning"
by Angier

on AbeBooks

or Amazon

(affil links)

March 1, 2009

Hi, Graham. It is difficult to find a web page that can provide a person of unknown skill and experience with full details of how to do firearm bluing. Basically, it takes a book to cover the topic.

Plus people are very concerned about you maiming or even killing yourself or a family member with black oxide salts if you haven't received hands-on instruction.

These pots operate at 290 deg, so they evaporate their water content very quickly and constantly. But what happens if you pour make-up water into a 290 deg. tank? -- it instantly flashes to steam (the boiling point of water is 212) and can blow these boiling caustic solutions across the room. A number of people have been killed, and many maimed: great care is needed.

Please try to get to the library for a gun bluing book to see the basics and then we will be happy to try to answer your specific questions. Good luck.


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


In reference to bluing I had a severely corroded 410 single shot that belonged to my late father. It was badly pitted with rust and not even a fine-medium steel wool would remove it all. I took a 100 grit sandpaper and with a Dremel [on eBay or Amazon affil link] tool sanded the entire exterior surface. The internal bore was fine. Prior to bluing I placed the pieces in the oven at 200 F for about 10 minutes to get them well above room temperature. Then as the directions said I was generous in applying the material, waited 3 minutes and then rinsed. With a fine 00 steel wool [on eBay or Amazon affil link] I then polished the pieces and oiled them. Being my first time I have to admit that it worked out rather well considering the lowest cost by a gunsmith was $175.00. The biggest trick I believe is to make sure your room temperature or surface temperature exceeds the recommended guidelines.

Len Grainger
- Leduc, Alberta

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