Has anyone refinished a firearm before? I recently brought home a Ranger .22 single shot bolt action manufactured in the 1920s or '30s, which I believe was a Sears & Roebuck catalog purchase and likely a Marlin. It spent most of its life standing in the corner of one garage or another, was filthy and had paint spatter on it, bugs living in the barrel. After a little research online I decided it wasn't worth anything to anyone but me and took it apart and refinished it.
The walnut stock was easy, I stripped it with a paste furniture stripper and it came out great. I refinished it with some rub-on varnish and finally buffed it severely with a beeswax and mineral oil concoction, which turned out nice.
I used a variety of wire brush drillbits to get the rust off the barrel and followed with automotive grade sandpaper, then degreased and reblued with decent results.
For a first attempt, I'm okay with it. I have no pictures of how sad it looked before I started, but it was pretty bad. Best part is, it is accurate and works flawlessly. This was the first .22 I ever fired when I was a teenager, knocked a soup can off a fencepost at 25 yards, impressed my brother and my dad!
I'm considering refinishing the Ranger .410 I just picked up from my dad's house last week, but I have to get some shells and try it out first. I doubt it was used much, it's in better condition and the bore shines like a mirror.
I have done a few pinecone70, sounds like you already have the wood straight. The steel has two options, Pro job re blue, which is the best but may cost more than the guns worth, and a do it yourself cold blue, which is what I guess you did.
I have a lot of faith in the cold blue cremes, but the finish wont be as tough as a pro job.
Last edited by TranterUK; 08-08-2008 at 09:39 AM..
It was cold blue, swabbed on and rinsed off. I put four applications on it, and there was only one spot that came out funky. No one notices it but me anyway. I didn't dip it because I was scared to take the end of the bolt apart, it's a pull-to-cock and I thought I'd never get it back together properly.
I think I will try to get some pictures today, but not in my yard! I live in a small town and I'm sure I'd scare the majority of people that walk by here. I don't want them to know I have guns in the house! (People are so sensitive about such things, lol.)
Today's plan is to put some shells through the .410 just for fun, I plan to refinish that one next. I was kind of stunned at the price when I bought shells last night, I'd hate to make a habit of it.
Refinishing old firearms can become a hobby in itself, Pine. It's a great deal of fun. I've done it many times on "shooters-not-collectors." I too have had good luck with high-quality cold blue. Some of the cream products on the market today are quite good. As Tranter mentioned, the finish will not be quite as durable as an expensive hot blue job, but generally it works pretty well, especially if you only need to re-blue small relatively areas.
One product you might wish to try for the stock refinishing is Birchwood Casey Tru Oil. I've used it many times. It is easy to use, drys quickly, and is VERY durable when applied properly. I often will use 5-7 coats, letting it dry thoroughly between coasts, then sanding lightly with 0000 steel wool. With a little effort and patience, you can achieve a butter-smooth finish. It comes in two varieties, a high-gloss and a less glossy satin. Either works very well.
I have had very good luck with "Formsby's Tung Oil Finish" from Wal Mart. Tung oil seems to soak into the wood a little better than polyurithane. I just rub it onto the stock in light coats with a rag. Between coats I give it a quick rub with 0000 stell wool. After about 8 - 10 coats, the stock is beautiful!
I am about to try some metal work. I bought 50 lbs of Potassium Nitrate on Ebay to try and do a hot nitrate finish on a barrel. Guess time will tell.
I wouldn't use polyurethane on anything but a hardwood floor, and maybe certain pieces of furniture. Tung oil sounds good, I have a couple more stocks to refinish here so I'll be trying different things. Funny how obsessive this refinishing process can be.
It is tricky getting photos of this .22, I haven't had any luck so far. Will keep trying.
Probably the most important part of bluing a gun is the finish of the metal before bluing. To get the dull finish a good bead blasting works fine but for a deep blue the surface has to be shined to a mirror finish. Bluing adds nothing that is not already there so preparation of the surface is super important.
Years ago I bought a made in Italy Remington black powder revolver kit. I mistakenly thought the metal surfaces would be finished but they were as forged or as cast ...rough and crude. I spent many, many evenings filing, sanding and polishing to get the surface even acceptable. I had it professionally blued and it looks good but it probably would have looked better if I had polished it a little better. It took several different courseness files, sandpaper of at least four different coarseness, and some polishing with polishing compounds.
The bottom line is I'd not do it that way again! Way to much work! I should have bought the finished blued one and remove the bluing and started from there to get the surface even better then had it professionally blued.
I have had little sucess with home cold bluing and hot bluing costs at home are too high for just one or two guns. Plus today every chemical imaginable is considered toxic and may or may not be bought by you or me or even companies. For example, the local environmental agency in Southern California has eliminated all cleaning agents like common cleaning solvent for use by anyone in the greater Los Angeles area. Even the areospace companies unless their equipment is going into outer space. If its not water/detergent based you can't use it.
You may not be able to buy bluing compounds in your area anymore(??). Some common solutions used for cleaning guns are not available to be shipped to your home! The environmentalist are winning, in the production of oil for our cars, in the areas you can visit and use with Off Road vehicles, where you can shoot, and even what the bullets are made from (No lead bullets for hunting in most of So Cal anymore).
Last edited by LDBennett; 08-10-2008 at 03:48 PM..