Cold blueing an entire gun

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Hot blueing is the process used to “blue” firearms. This involves submerging the steel parts into either a boiling solution of potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide or a mixture of nitrates and chromates. Alternatively cold blueing can be used but the finish is not nearly as robust and it is hard, or impossible, to get a good finish. It is only really meant to be used to touch up scratches.

There is a interesting discussion over at rec.guns about cold bluing an entire barrel and receiver.

Well, I just completed my first bluing project using Birchwood-Casey’s gell
and boy am I disappointed. I had a nice, shiny preped firearm and ended up
with a streaky one -barrel *and* receiver. Man, I can’t figure out what I
did wrong but it ain’t pretty. I slathered on a coat of gun oil to protect
it afterward and it looks like what you get when you lay on an uneven
coating of oil but it’s in the bluing. Any ideas on what went wrong will be
greatly appreciated. I’m glad that this isn’t a good shotgun so I guess
anything is better than the rusted hulk that I was given.

Personally if I wanted to re-blue a firearm I would get a gunsmith to hot blue it.

Read the thread here.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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2 of 3 comments
  • Jdun1911 Jdun1911 on Sep 23, 2008

    He should have went with duracoat.

  • Max Max on Oct 16, 2008

    First you must follow all the instuctions and the peice should be very clean. Then When applying the blueing gel move FAST, put it on the spung they give you and get the whole thing covered. I keep moving during about a 40 sec duration and then rinse it off. Lightly clean with steel wool between coats harded on darker areas. by the 2 to 3 coat it should be very even I use about 3 to 4 coats. I did a whole savage 775a shot gun barrel and it looks unreal.