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Chemicals for Grey-Bluing (Not Blacking) Early Winchester and Marlin Barrels.

October 3, 2008

I am a retired 77 year old collector. for the past 30 or so years I have bought up a few Stevens, Winchester and Marlin rifles,all pre 1900 models.
I rejuvenate each fire arm as I get it, making & fitting new woodwork, boring out, sleeving & rechambering the barrels.
I have finishing belts, polishing buffs, hot & cold bluing tanks & have done one rust bluing job, although poorly.
The only caustic salts I can buy here are blackening salts which look nice but modern.
It's very involved, getting parts from the USA to here now & we could never get chemicals posted, so, is there any formula for bluing that matches the original Winchester grey-blue
that I've read was done at pretty high temperature with smoke?

I am seeking the name & proportions of chemicals that may be used, hot or cold,to achieve this (grey-blue) on steel. If it's possible.

Collector - Adelaide, Sth.Aust. Australia.

October 10, 2008

Try to find Angier's book "Firearm Blueing and Browning" [affil. link to book on Amazon] (20 USD).Try internet archive website-there you can find very good and download free book on metal colouring by Arthur Hiorns.Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

October 20, 2008

I have not been able to find answers to the question posted at 50190
I do have the Angier's book

Alex Turley
hobbyist - Adelaide, Sth. Aust. Australia

October 23, 2008

Try lead acetate [affil link]/sodium thiosulphate [affil link] solutions, arsenic based solutions(grauglanz oxid in German) can be helpful too-both solutions are very poisonous. Test it on some scrap iron and if that is ok you can use it on your guns. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

October 27, 2008

Thank you Zagreb,
I'll try and get these chemicals.

Alex Turley
- Adelaide, Sth. Aust. Australia

October 28, 2008

lead acetate [affil link] based flemish gray for iron:sodium thiosulphate [affil link] 6 oz./lead acetate 3 oz/water 1 gal( 20 °C temp.). According to T.Rodgers Professional manual of electroplating(1959.)

Antimony compounds based solutions can be used too (poisonous but harmless if compared with arsenic). Be careful. Try to avoid any form of contact with solutions. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh Croatia

July 2, 2009

Thank you for your answers people. I can get the colour with cold acid etching but no gloss & a bit streaky. I haven't tried the dangerous chems yet. One has suggested that I hot caustic blue then wipe the black with a 10% solution of water & Hydrochloric acid. I have hot blued with caustic & the following, sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, potassium nitrate, all at about 290 deg.F and they all come out black & as shiny as you put them in.

Alex Turley
retired - Sth. Australia

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