Adventures in Blueing

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Adventures in Blueing

Post by Popeye »

From Mundy

Hey, this was posted in the Enfield threads by Gaston.

It is very well written and deserves to be here as well


Adventures in bluing!

Well, now is about the time you think about bluing the rifle. As most of us have learned, the .303 Indian Re-works have been pretty neglected by their former owners, and although they have pretty nice actions and shiny bores with strong rifling, the outside is a mess. Most people start with the stock furniture. Either they cook the cosmo out of the stock or strip it with furniture stripper, EZ-Off, Brake Cleaner or use the diswasher method. When you're done, some people stain the furniture, especially if you used a method that removed EVERYTHING from the wood like the dishwasher, or, if you prefer the natural look, you sand and steel wool the furniture and add some wood treatment.... either in the form of a nice furniture oil, Tung oil or Boiled Linseed Oil.

So now your stock is looking pretty good, and feeling pretty spunky for doing it all yourself.....but after a while you begin to see that all that nice furniture only emphasizes how awful the gunmetal looks. Time to do something about that, you say to yourself.....but which way to go with this?

Well, like we said, if it's an Ishy-screwed, Indian Paint-job, it's in sad shape.

Fist step before you do anything is to get the metal clean....I mean REALLY clean.

This will, of course require you to disassemble the gun again and place the metal into some solvent to eat off all the accumulated crud of years of neglect. Brake cleaner works well, but some prefer mineral spirits. I found a trough at a home improvement store that is used for wall-papering and it was just the size and shape I wanted. Another guy told me that he MADE a trough out of gutter channel and 2 end-caps.

Soaking the parts will take off all the remaining paint, oil, grease, dirt, Tunisian sand, camel dung and mud from the sub-continent or any place else this rifle has seen action (if they could only talk!).

Soaking it for a day or so should suffice. I aquired some steel and brass wire brushes at a hardware store, and these can be used to scrub off anything else that was left on. Other tools like screwdrivers, Exacto knives and paint scrapers can be used to dig out some of the more stubborn crud in the little crevices. Steel wool can also be used on some tough areas. During this step you'll find more of the makers marks, broad arrows, inspection stamps and various dings that collectors love to brag about.

Choosing a bluing agent is the next step. Most gun bluing is cold bluing, since factory bluing requires a lot of material and hazardous chemicals that will be both expensive and potentially toxic. Cold bluing uses commercially available liquid bluing agents that will oxidize the metal for a nice dark color. Bluing is, as I'm sure that you are all aware, is just another form of corrosion, but a good kind that prevents the destructive kind that we call 'rust'.

I've used a few different products but I tend to favor either Birchwood Casey's Super Blue (BCSB) or OxphoBlue (OB). BCSB gives you a nice dark black-blue and this looks good and lasts. OB will give you more of a gun-metal blue that some people prefer. I recommend the 'liquid' OB because the 'gel' form applies like SNOT and sticks to everything and just makes a mess.

I usually start with something simple. A good place to start is the ammunition magazine. It is sort of self-contained and ammenable to a small project. It helps to get used to the bluing process before you tackle the whole gun, and it's something you can do while the rest of the gun is soaking.

Once you get the magazine totally clean, you have to get it totally grease-free. Denatured alcohol is a great degreaser. You can buy this in bulk in any hardware store. It also helps to get the metal parts 'hot' before you start. It's called COLD bluing but it works better if the parts are kind of warm. I boiled some water and plopped the degreased magazine into the bowl of boiling water. I fished it out with a pair of tongs about a minute later and put it on a towel. The boiling water evaporated off of the hot metal in no time, so now it was clean, degreased, totally dry and very warm. I used some BCSB on a rag and applied it directly to the warm metal. It blued immediately and became pretty dark.

Once I applied it to the whole surface and rubbed it in all over, I went on to the next step which is the detergent bath. This step is important in my opinion, because it really helps the bluing bond to the metal. I had another bowl with warm water mixed with laundry detergent and plopped the magazine into it. The high phosphate content of the detergent helped the bluing take hold. I swished it around and rubbed the magazine and watched it get more blue.

Then I took it out and rinsed it in warm tap water. After I dried the magazine it was pretty blue, but kind of streaky. I next used 0000 steel wool and lightly scrubbed the magazine. This step got rid of the streaks and made the blue pretty homogenous.

I dropped the magazine into boiling water again and then fished it out with tongs and let it dry. The next step was a repeat of everything listed above: Apply blue, soak in detergent, rinse in tap water and dry, steel wool, boiling water and air dry.

I usually repeat this process at least 3 times for a good bluing. Once you acheive the level of blue that you want, you can halt the bluing process by applying gunoil.

I have used OB liquid the same way with similar results, except that the blue comes out much more 'gunmetal blue' than 'black'.

Incidentally, you can use the bluing agents on the metal forend handguard metal areas as well. The brass rivets shine up nice with a little scrubbing from a rag and they make a nice contrast to the dark wood grain and the blued gunmetal.

All this can be done to the other metal parts. Pretty soon, the gunmetal gets all blued and nice looking, and when you reassemble it, it looks like something you should have paid a LOT more money for.

Once you complete your rifle, you'll notice something has changed. The change will be in YOU. You'll actually walk around insufferably smug for several days and offer to show people pictures of your new 'baby' to bewildered colleagues.....1 or 2 of which you may actually get interested in MilSurps!

Finish this job well, and you will be proud to hang this up in your home..... and you will never fear another Milsurp project again....either stock re-finishing or re-bluing metal. If you can do and Indian Re-work can do anything.....

And pretty soon, you'll get another gun to fix up that only a few months ago, you would have thought was WAY out of your league.....but don't be surprised is it's another Enfield!

Have fun,



("End Quote")
The difference between a Communist and a Socialist is; the Socialist doesn't have all the guns yet

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Re: Adventures in Blueing

Post by Zeliard »

Just wanted to say that I followed this guide for bluing a few parts years ago and they turned out great.
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Re: Adventures in Blueing

Post by professrh »

I followed a process a lot like this last month (minus the detergent bath, of which I was ignorant) in bluing the wire-brushed section of my R.FAMAGE sporter. Perma-Blue, seven coats, rinsed before and between coats with boiling water, and degreased with brake cleaner. Finished with G96 followed by high-temperature automotive grease, which I then scrubbed off with a dry rag. Will it hold up over the long haul? We'll see.


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Re: Adventures in Blueing

Post by capt14k »

Re-bluing isn't frowned upon here? I have a wire brushed Colombian as well and it would look nice re-blued but I couldn't bring myself to do it. I feel it's part of the history. Just curious as to the general consensus.

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Re: Adventures in Blueing

Post by B32dominator »

I've been doing something like this for a few years. Ow with great success. I've had the best results with the birch wood Casey bluing pen and lately with Dicropan 4 from Brownells. The only variation I use is that I let the parts sit and rust a bit, then boil and oil.

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