The Firearms Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The guy that does my firearm "re-bluing" was telling me the other day (I have also heard this from other sources) that re-bluing is sort of a controlled "RUSTING" / oxidation process. This is HOT dip re-bluing that he is doing not cold.

What I am wondering is, if there are better method(s) / media(s) for refinishing firearms to protect them from oxidation, weather, wear, etc., etc.

I have heard of Duracoat, Robar NP3 and some other similar processes for refinishing firearms.

Can I get some input as to what is considered to be the very best process to use to refinish firearms and their advantages & disadvantages as compared to traditional "re-bluing".

I know that this is probably a really big area to cover and that opinions may vary widely but just your brief take on the subject.

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
Rust is ferrous oxide, common(oxidation) red rust on ferrous metal (iron/steel); bluing is a process that causes the formation of ferrosic oxide (black finish) referred to as bluing. Bluing is a "traditional" finish. There are many ways to produce a blued finish and other "traditional" finishes that are accepted. All "old school" finishes, including parkerized, are a chemical process affecting the surface of the ferrous metal.

Duracoat ect.... are surface treatments ( call it paint for simplicity) that are bonded in some manner or by propriatary magic to the steel. There are benefits to each system of finishes regardless of appearance. Some, like Robar, are done to produce a more lubricious (sp?) finish and others to just coat/seal the steel.

There is only one goal; protect the steel from oxidation (rust). In my opinion the largest factor in refinishing a gun is your preference for appearance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Rust is ferrous oxide, common(oxidation) red rust on ferrous metal (iron/steel); bluing is a process that causes the formation of ferrosic oxide (black finish) referred to as bluing. Bluing is a "traditional" finish. There are many ways to produce a blued finish and other "traditional" finishes that are accepted. All "old school" finishes, including parkerized, are a chemical process affecting the surface of the ferrous metal.

Duracoat ect.... are surface treatments ( call it paint for simplicity) that are bonded in some manner or by propriatary magic to the steel. There are benefits to each system of finishes regardless of appearance. Some, like Robar, are done to produce a more lubricious (sp?) finish and others to just coat/seal the steel.

There is only one goal; protect the steel from oxidation (rust). In my opinion the largest factor in refinishing a gun is your preference for appearance.
Thanks for your reply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,133 Posts
Yep, bluing uses salts to oxidize the metal, albeit the result is obviously different than the typical rust you see on bare metal.

IMHO, bluing is nice and traditional but just isn't a very durable finish.

Several years ago I was involved in some projects where we refinished a large volume of firearms. After a lot of research, we decided that the most durable finish was a parkerized finish with Duracoat over that. And here's why. Parkerizing is a process that uses acid and metals such as zinc or manganese in the solution which then bond to the steel. It creates a very porous surface. That porous surface then becomes a base for holding protectants like oil. So when you see a parkerized firearm, the protection against rust is from its ability to trap oil on the surface, in the microscopic pores of the parkerized coating. What we did is take it a step further by using Duracoat to fill those pores. Between the durability of Duracoat and the holding power of the parkerizing, I can't think of a better way to protect a firearm against wear or rust.

Now I'm not going to lie. The process was complicated. Fortunately, we had a rather large team that included people with various skills and knowledge. We built a stainless steel tank for the acid bath, we had a station for sandblasting, a booth for Duracoating, etc. It took us over 24 hours of nonstop work, as an assembly line. But the finished product is excellent.

You can, of course, take a single firearm to a gunsmith and have him parkerize it and then Duracoat it. It won't be cheap, but it's a very good finish.

Here's one of them...

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
332 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep, bluing uses salts to oxidize the metal, albeit the result is obviously different than the typical rust you see on bare metal.

IMHO, bluing is nice and traditional but just isn't a very durable finish.

Several years ago I was involved in some projects where we refinished a large volume of firearms. After a lot of research, we decided that the most durable finish was a parkerized finish with Duracoat over that. And here's why. Parkerizing is a process that uses acid and metals such as zinc or manganese in the solution which then bond to the steel. It creates a very porous surface. That porous surface then becomes a base for holding protectants like oil. So when you see a parkerized firearm, the protection against rust is from its ability to trap oil on the surface, in the microscopic pores of the parkerized coating. What we did is take it a step further by using Duracoat to fill those pores. Between the durability of Duracoat and the holding power of the parkerizing, I can't think of a better way to protect a firearm against wear or rust.

Now I'm not going to lie. The process was complicated. Fortunately, we had a rather large team that included people with various skills and knowledge. We built a stainless steel tank for the acid bath, we had a station for sandblasting, a booth for Duracoating, etc. It took us over 24 hours of nonstop work, as an assembly line. But the finished product is excellent.

You can, of course, take a single firearm to a gunsmith and have him parkerize it and then Duracoat it. It won't be cheap, but it's a very good finish.

Here's one of them...

Sniper:

Thanks for the good info.

Nice looking rifle, but personally, that would not be my color of choice !!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,930 Posts
Industrial hard chrome and nitriding are the two most durable and protective finishes.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
5,428 Posts
Keep in mind that the inside of the barrel is not finished or treated with the exception of some modern barrels that are lined with hard chrome (or other alloy barrels such as vanadium). The inside of the barrel can still rust and will do so. Oiling and regular cleaning along with periodic shooting is what protects the inside of the barrel.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,586 Posts
THIS IS MY OPINION!!!
If a gun needs to be refinished then it should be done to the original finish.
If it was blued then it should be blued and so on.
IN MY OPINION there is nothing like wood that shows the grain and steel that shines blue/black.
Painting a gun is a waste of good wood and steel and is the cheep way out.
On top of decreasing it's value I THINK IT LOOKS BAD and makes the gun look like a toy not a real gun.
Again with the way it has become a normal around here to argue with everyone.
THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!!!
Mike
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,207 Posts
I personally think cerakote is the way to go as far as a working gun finish. Its tougher than the rest, can be done in any color imagineable from matte to semi gloss and is self lubricating.

Bluing has its its place, as does nickel, parkerizing and hard chrome.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,133 Posts
Sniper:

Thanks for the good info.

Nice looking rifle, but personally, that would not be my color of choice !!!
Duracoat has a very wide range of colors to choose from. The tan color was an experiment on our part (I use that rifle mainly for hunting, and I don't hide in blinds), but most of the ones we coated were done with the black semi-gloss (HK), which I used on the trigger guard and bolt handle of the one shown above. It comes out looking like an anodized finish, similar to what you see on AR15s and such.

Duracoat (sold by Lauer Weaponry) also does a variety of templates for camouflage and such. So it can be used for everything from replicating a traditional look/finish to making a truly custom piece. Just thought I'd throw it out there as an option, given the original question.

THIS IS MY OPINION!!!
If a gun needs to be refinished then it should be done to the original finish.
If it was blued then it should be blued and so on.
IN MY OPINION there is nothing like wood that shows the grain and steel that shines blue/black.
Painting a gun is a waste of good wood and steel and is the cheep way out.
On top of decreasing it's value I THINK IT LOOKS BAD and makes the gun look like a toy not a real gun.
Again with the way it has become a normal around here to argue with everyone.
THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!!!
Mike
I'm a collector of vintage/historical rifles, and I tend to agree. Nothing looks better than wood and steel. As for decreasing value, though, even refinishing with an original style finish will decrease the value of a collectible firearm. If collector value is important, that's a different conversation altogether. The OP posed the question as to what types of finishes were better in terms of durability and protection, with no other qualifications. Sometimes we have firearms that we actually want to use for something other than staring at. I've seen guys walk out into the woods in the morning with an old blued rifle and come back in the evening with flash rust all over it. So for me, the firearms that I use as tools (and not collector pieces) are treated with finishes that I can depend on without having to constantly oil them for fear of rust.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,172 Posts
All finishes "have their place" it is called preference; I can appreciate the workmanship in 1952's rifle without wanting to make mine look like it.
Some of the finishes, like Robar np3, can help cycling or less than perfect actions by being quite slick and self lubricating; others like 1952's rifle would protect a gun in the most extreme of conditions.
I personally prefer a classic blue, properly done it will protect quite well against reasonable use and weather; I just happen to like the look. I am thinking of having a hunting rifle parkerized to a dark grey as it has a very worn blue finish and I want it a "matte" aspect. There are ways (acid treating and rough polishing) to get this from bluing, but the rifle I have in mind is one I want to look a certain way. I personally am not in favor of a hard chrome finish unless it comes on a factory gun; it is quite hard to have it plate evenly and make the finish as durable as when done to raw perfectly clean steel.
If there is a specific quality that WPSHOOTER is looking for, post the parameters; we can help narrow the field; otherwise we can all post our favorites.

My opinion only folks, no offense intended.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top