Do you brown anything besides the barrel?


December 28, 2002, 12:40 PM
I'm about to get started on a lyman kit. .54 percussion.
I bought the solution to brown the barrel, and am going to rig up a peice of PVC pipe with a light in it to get the heat and humidity right (figuring on putting a wet rag in and sealing it up fairly well, not air tight though).
Should I brown the other stuff like the barrel wedges and the eyes for them? Trigger gaurd etc.?
I also have a pretty good heat shrink torch, so I could try to heat color the smaller peices to match the lock.
Or do I just rub a satin finish on them an call it good?

I guess I should have paid more attention when I was checking out a finished lyman. When your surrounded by that much cool stuff, most of your concentration is used up trying not to drool or run around like a little kid ;)

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4v50 Gary
December 28, 2002, 01:51 PM
My knowledge of Plains Rifles is limited, but I would imagine that the users disdained anything shiny on their gun. Bad for stalking, bad for survival. BTW, of the more modern guns I've seen, I don't recall any shiny wedges (keys) and the trigger guards were never shiny (nor would they stay that way if left shiny).

December 28, 2002, 02:17 PM
If the gun has iron or steel furniture; trigger guard, buttplate, ramrod thimbles, bbl wedges, they should be browned too.

December 28, 2002, 02:17 PM
Thanks I don't plan on polishing anything up too much. I'm just trying to figure out if it would be best to rub out nice 320 or 400 grit finish and then let it form a patina on its own, or to go the browning or heat color route.
My torch throws a big enough flame that I could get a nice deep blue over all the smaller peices from the trigger gaurd on down, or with a little luck I might be able to get the nice range of colors like the lock has.
I guess that would be the last step before assembly since their all likely to get scratched a little doing the final shaping and fitting on the stock. So I'll see how well I like the browing solution on the barrel and then go from there.

Do I need to worry about the temper on the keys? I know the lock and barrel and all have to be the right hardness. Would it matter for the keys and stuff? Seems like they should be fairly hard to reisist dings and scratches.

I'd still like to hear what other people have done with their rifles. Or if anyone has a finished great plains rifle, what kind of finish is on all the trim?


December 28, 2002, 02:21 PM
Looks like we were typing at the same time BigG.

December 28, 2002, 02:27 PM
If you have escutcheons (flat decorative plates) in the stock that the bbl wedges pass thru, a neat trick is to put a layer of tire inner tube underneath. the tube has a slit in it for the bbl wedge to pass thru. It holds the escutcheon higher so you don't have to sand down so far and also provides some tension against the bbl wedges so they don't move.

December 29, 2002, 10:02 AM
I may try that. I'll have to see how deep the plates sit in the cutouts right now. The milling on the stock is pretty good, there doesn't seem to be much more than rounding off corners and final shaping left to do. All the mortises and cutouts seem to be right on already.

January 4, 2003, 08:37 PM
Should I try to brown the sights? The front blade would be easy, but I'm not real keen on doing it to the adjustable rear sight. Seems like it would be too difficult to get things cleaned, rubbed out, and neutralized with the little gaps and cracks and moving peices. :confused:

I'm going to leave the dovetails alone, it was hard enougn cleaning the grease,gunk, and rust out of them to begin with. I don't want to end up with sights that slide off the side when you tilt the gun :banghead:

Thanks for all the help. I finished carving the stock (took a lot of work around the butt plate, it wasn't centered) and added a name plate on the bottom of it just behind the trigger gaurd (too bad I suck at engraving) Have to get some stain, rub out the hardware an do all the browning. This is fun and so far things are turning out better than I expected.

cracked butt
January 5, 2003, 08:07 AM
I browned everything on my rifle except the lock, including the screw heads. I simply rubbed the black finish off the screws with fine sandpaper first. I spent alot of time smoothing out the metal parts with a dremmel tool as they all have a rough cast finish from the factory. Are you using Birchwood casey Browning solution? If so You want things as smooth as possible to get a fairly even color without any pockets that will rust. You will need to do 3 or 4 applications wit this stuff to get a nice finish.

The manual mentions drawing a file along the barrel to smooth it out, but tis is not necessary as the barrel is pretty smooth from the start, I did use a file to reduce the all of the obnoxious lettering stamped on the barrel however.

The buttplate also fit croked on my rifle and was probably the most difficult part to straighten out, the barrel cahnnel needed a little inletting also.

I'll post pictures of my rifle later today or tomorow if I have time.

I don't want to end up with sights that slide off the side when you tilt the gun
The dovetails should fit pretty tight. The standard practice is to sight the rifle in and then ping the edge of the dovetail where it meets the sight base with a center punch to stake it in place.

January 5, 2003, 11:46 AM
All the peices on mine are still rough from casting too. I started rubbing them out with some really good 150grit paper from klingspore (spelling?) it eats that stuff up. I figure on taking everything to at least 320 before browning. I'm using some browning solution they had at the log cabin shop,looks like some guy has a business making small batches of it. Came with pretty good instructions and he included his address and phone number in case anyone has questions. Providing he follows through,and the stuff works , seems like a heck of a guy to deal with.
Yeah the butt plate on mine was almost 1/4" off on one side and almost flush on the other. I figured if I used a rasp or file I'd just end up with it rounded off at the edge and awkward looking. So I got out the gouges and starting carving trying to keep the right proportions on everything. It went surprisingly well (I didn't leave any butchered spots :D) That dang english walnut was hard stuff! Much harder than any walnut I'd worked with before.
Almost like rosewood. Carved very cleanly though with a sharp gouge and working at just the right angle with the grain.

Had to inlet the front of the barrel channel a little. the back was already a little loose. Have to put a paper shim underneath to make the rear key snug. Thats just hand fitting everything, when I screw the tang in it might all change.

That would be great to see a pic of your rifle. Might give me some more ideas on finishing mine. I'll have to try and post a pic or 2 when mines done also. That will probably be more of a challenge than building it though, computers an I don't always get along :scrutiny:

cracked butt
January 5, 2003, 10:18 PM

January 6, 2003, 09:28 AM
Although your Lyman is far from period correctness here is some info you might find useful.

In the olden days of the revolution on into the plains days you have to understand that gunsmiths never threw anything away and made use of all the parts that they had.

What does this mean to you?

Well gunsmiths of those areas would rarely make things for the rifles that they built if they had a part lying around off of a old rifle.

For instance,its not to uncommon for a period correct rifle to have various parts on it such as a brass nosecap and browned butt plate with iron thimbles.You even see virginia rifles and tn rifles with weird locks on them.

Of course today most of the custom gun makers and semi custom gun makers are building guns with all matching hardware.You see its really your choice and what you like that will dictate what parts you finish and how you will finish them.

Btw ck out the kits from TVM when you get a chance.They make a great starting rifle at just a few more bucks than a Lyman rifle will cost you.

good luck and I hope this info helps.

January 6, 2003, 06:46 PM
Thanks 1911
I've actually been tossing around the idea of not browning anything but the barrel and maybe the trigger gaurd. I kind of like the idea of leaving the other peices polished to make them stand out a little. Brass would be shiny, so why not steel? It all depends on how dark the stock ends up and how I feel about it after browning the barrel. Might not be best for historical accuracy, or hunting but I'm not real concerned with either on this gun.

Cracked Butt
That looks great. Is that just oil on the stock or did you stain it with something? Nice work.

cracked butt
January 7, 2003, 08:23 AM
I used the Birchwood Casey tru-oil kit with its walnut stain. Its a bit shiny for my tastes but did leave a really nice finish.

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