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Thread: Bluing on Older Guns

  1. #1
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    Default Bluing on Older Guns

    Here's a question for the gun smiths out there:

    What is the name for the bluing on older guns that has a multicolored appearance?

    For example, a lot of "replica" guns like Ubertis have this appearance (http://www.uberti.com/firearms/stall..._bird_head.php). I figure there's probably a more precise term than "that colored bluing" and want to educate mysefl! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    It's not bluing it's color case hardening. It is done (at least originally) by packing the part in ground carbon such as charcoal inside an air tight container then baked at high tempters. This embeds carbon in the outer layers of the steel and with steel the more carbon the harder it can be made. Hence the words 'case hardened' in the name, it’s incased in a surface layer of harder steel. The wave color part was done by adding things like bone to the carbon it’s packed in to vary the color. I don't know how it's done today and I have only used the technique to harden small springs in blacksmithing restoration work myself. It is not an easy thing to do unless you do it a bunch, not a beginner task on a gun that you can't warp, ding, or anneal. They may have some wipe on chemical to do it with now, I don't know.
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    Member gunbugs's Avatar
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    At the shop where I worked we color case hardened a couple small parts as an experiment. It requires a heat treating furnace and the types of charcoal already mentioned, wood, bone, and leather as well. The part to be treated is packed tightly in a crucible surrounded by the mixed charcoal, sealed to be airtight in the crucible, then heated in the furnace. While it is still hot it is dropped into a bucket of aerated water to quench. This creates the "swirls". It's actually more difficult than it sounds, as large parts, such as receivers and frames, must be supported internally to prvent warping or sagging when they are heated. Also handling red hot crucibles and dumping parts is less than fun.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    The type done on inexpensive guns like the H&R toppers is not color case at all. It is done by dipping the part in hot cyanide, when it is dipprd it is done in an up and down motion, giving it the wavy pattern.

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the info! Color case hardening... Very cool. It does sound like a challenge! One of those techniques that can bring a mechanical art up to artistry...

    Thanks for chiming in with the cheap knock-off technique. There's always a way to do something cheaper, if you don't care about authenticity or quality... Good to know that it isn't the same thing!

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