Re Blueing, Parkerizing and Black oxide

I am sure all you milsurp guys must have some experience in this area. It doesnt take a lot of cleaning to remove a bit of blueing if it had any left. so what do you do?

Well I did some research and the options seemed to be cerakote, which is a bit modern for old milsurps and I was looking to help out a 1916 smle, Parkerizing seemed to be a very military coating although it came in a bit later like for WW2 but that seemed like a good compromise. So I started looking into it the method not too hard and chemicals available from Brownells all seemed good. Then came the stumbling block chemicals pre mixed are not in Australia and a bit hard to come by, at least at first glance.

I then found this site www.caswellplating.com.au they have a chemical mix that at only warm temps does the job of turning the steel black in 3-5 min. it actually turns black as soon as you drop it in. The process like any is to prepare the metal well back to bare metal and free from grease, sand blast optional depending on finish wanted. Then drop in a mix of 1-9 to water of the acid/selinum mix, rinse and then put in a sealer for 24 hours. I looked at the MSDS and it was just Mineral Turps 79% and motor oil 8% so I mixed my own. This was consistent with the Parkerizing method often using WD40 a light oil others using motor oil so I made a mix of about 80/20.

So it was easy enough will let you know the results later and put up some pics. The Black Oxide was a bit $$ at $80 for 500ml so it makes 5L.

I just made up 1L and did the parts separately easier to manage and have stored the used solution as it can be used again.

So if you’ve already done it, what’s the question?

Have you done something similar if so what did you use? There is also Birchwood Casey Perma Blue in kits by itself or paste. So there are a few different ways and all would give different results.

Another one I looked at was KG Gun Kote looks good not sure how well it replicates old Milsurp finishes.

@sungazer - what’s the gun and what was the objective of bluing for you? Restoration or preservation?

Id cerakote everything if i had my way, love it!

even your 303, @AusTac ?

Yep! Can pretty much match blueing and parkerizing, its proved itself to me on my 12g and lithgows, tough as nails

No, just no!

The blueing had gone in a few parts and the rest was just really built up old gunk. In my over zealous self I placed a lot of the parts in the ultrasonic cleaner. I used a mix that I often use on my scuba gear that has a dash of vinegar in with a dash of dishwashing liquid. Turns out that Vinegar is a great remover of blueing.

So to answer the question it was both they needed to be restored and preserved as the parts were as good as bare metal. Doh But it has turned out great and I wonder if anybody will ever know the difference.

Oh, they’d definitely know the difference :stuck_out_tongue:

I’ve only ever DuraCoated, which is a parkarized finish. On an old 22. I am definitely not planning on rebluing any milsurps, that’s a big no no. I just wipe them with an oily rag for storage.

I used Birchwood Casey cold bluing. I am not a fan. It comes off very easily, it’s not really rust finish.

At some stage though, I want to try rust bluing. I haven’t seen anything yet that does the same job, all cold finishes seem to come off too easily with 000 steel wool (my ultimate test).

And I guess that brings up the big question. When do you restore and when do you leave it as it is? I am sure this may be a lot of personal preference. Certainly sometimes a restoration job can devalue things other times you can increase the value 10 fold (I am referring to stuff in general with the last statement).

Restoration: if it’s a non-milsurp you’ll most certainly increase value. If it’s milsurp, you will decrease.

Preservation: milsurp - maintain. Non milsurp, no change, may as well restore.

There are a couple of very good videos on just this topic, I’ll find them when I’m on my way home.

Depends on several factors when considering refinishing, restoring or preserving milsurps.
First and foremost you want to maintain its longevity. Any rust or ongoing issue that is causing deterioration of the rifle needs to be dealt with.
Is the rifle in reasonable or better condition?, if so clean it up a little bit, clean off just dirt and grime don’t remove any patina. A light oiling of the stock and leave her be.
Some will say “don’t touch it!, Just leave it as is.”, I strongly disagree with this line of thought. Unoiled timber dries out and cracks, keep the metal work oiled, treat your slings with leather balms etc. Do the maintenance on a Milsurp as you would any other rifle.
If it’s in poor condition or worse then in my opinion a restoration , done respectfully, can really bring a mistreated old warhorse back to life.
I don’t see why there is an obsession with leaving milsurps, that have obviously been mistreated outside of military service, alone and kept in a state of neglect.
The trick with a good restoration, don’t try and make it look brand new. Just clean it up and wind the clock back a few years. Don’t try and sand out every dent and scratch.
Contentious issue , Milsurp restoration. Everyone has an opinion on what is ‘right’

I’m with you @Supaduke on all points. But rebluing, unless it’s completely fucked, it’s a no no.

It is interesting, I am more on the side of dont touch it if it is in good condition. perhaps even fair if you want it as a collectable.

Otherwise I am more leaning towards some amount of restoration esp if rust or some other destructive is a t play. With milsups I find it ironic that during their working life they may have had many restorations and repairs. many have butts with serials that dont match the other components and they may also not match. so in a way you are just doing the same thing as was done in the past. Extend their working life.

@sungazer here you go:

Watch this 2 first: (part 1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQFxUNQOYKo&t=64s and (part 2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrAJr8o3fDU

Then this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHyoUF50rF0

All questions should be answered. @Supaduke you may like this too.

Regarding the second video, I actually emailed them and trying to track down the oxidation priming solution. Will keep you posted. I have the rest of the equipment, so fingers crossed.

@sungazer sorry to revive an old thread but what are your thoughts on that Caswell stuff?

I have a cheap shotgun on its way to me that I might restore for funsies. Its perfectly functional but very little bluing left and certainly not worth getting done professionally.

It is very easy to use and I think it gives a pretty good result. It at first turns the part nearly black but after a stint in the oil bath it comes out a gunmetal grey.