Help with "old style charcoal bluing"


August 22, 2005, 03:23 PM
I have a Cimarron Model P (their version of the SAA) The frame
is a Uberti but it's assembled and finished in Texas.

Anyway, I bought this a couple of years ago and it's a joy to shoot.

It is finished in something called "old style charcoal blue", photo below.

Mine is developing rust stains on the finish, especially on the backstrap
and cylinder. Not so much on the barrel.
Is this just typical of this finish? Is there any treatment I can do to preserve
the stuff or is it just junk. It sure was pretty when it was new though.......


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August 22, 2005, 03:41 PM
You are oiling it, correct? Blue holds the oil to the surface, it doesn't actually do anything to rustproof it.

August 22, 2005, 03:46 PM
I do keep a light coat of oil on it when it's in the safe, and after each shooting.

This light blue just seems to be very thin. Would some steel wool perhaps
remove the bit of rust or would that go through this stuff?

I've never had a blued gun do this before, this is a strange bluing technique
and I'm not sure of it's properties.

Standing Wolf
August 22, 2005, 06:00 PM
Unless I'm mistaken, the lighter colored blue is nitre bluing. The frame appears to be color case-hardened.

If it were my gun, I'd contact the manufacturer. Nitre bluing is almost impossible to find in the United States.

August 22, 2005, 06:16 PM
It sure looks like nitre bluing to me. I have a gun with a few small parts nitre blued. It's beautiful but not at all durable or protective.

August 22, 2005, 06:21 PM
The bluing was done at Cimarrons place in Texas, the case hardened
frame was done by Uberti at their Argentina plant. The case hardened
portions are in great shape.

I don't know what nitre blued is, all the paperwork says is "charcoal blue".

This is what they say on thier website:

CHARCOAL BLUE WARNING: DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH UP CHARCOAL BLUE. This is a heat oxidation process. Chemical cold blue compounds will discolor the finish. DO NOT USE CLEANING FLUIDS such as lacquer thinner, acetone or bore solvents on charcoal blue, this will remove the finish. Use only lubricants such as WD-40, Tri-flow, Break Free, 3 in 1, Hoppes or Outers gun oils, Havoline, etc. Beer or Coca Cola will remove the delicate finish. Charcoal Blue is extremely delicate and with use will cause the firearm to appear aged and worn. If you do not desire an aged look we do not recommend this finish.

So, I guess it's supposed to start to show rust as part of the aging
process. Don't know. It was sure pretty when it was new.

August 22, 2005, 06:39 PM
How many guys had to spill beer or coke on their pistols to get that put in the disclaimer?

August 22, 2005, 07:08 PM
It will age, thin, and turn blue-brown with age and use.

It should NOT rust.

This type of bluing is very delicate and can't be used as roughly as modern hot-salts bluing, and keep looking like new.
This type of finish will rust more easily than hot-salt bluing.

Rusting is a indication that you're not keeping a coat of a good lube on the metal.

After handling the gun or even touching it, wipe down with a clean patch with a drop or two of lube on it to neutralize fingerprints and put a rust resistant barrier on the metal.

August 22, 2005, 08:01 PM
First the gun is blue, then that blue wears off - leaving you feeling blue! There's a moral in there somewhere... :D

August 22, 2005, 08:12 PM
dfariswheel, thanks for the info.

I have tried my best to keep it lubed, but I guess I missed something somewhere.

Now that there is a little surface rust, can anything be done?

August 22, 2005, 08:18 PM
Here's a trick I was taught a long time ago to deal with light rust spots on blueing...

Try using the edge of a penny to remove light rusting, the copper won't scratch or damage the steel or remaining blueing. Just scrape the rusted area with the edge of the penny and the rust will mostly come off - the bluing is breached at this point, so it will need to be kept oiled to prevent further rusting.

Standing Wolf
August 22, 2005, 10:10 PM
I saw a pistol just like yours in a gun shop an hour or so ago. The fellow behind the counter didn't know whether "charcoal bluing" is the same as nitre bluing, but did say he's seen a few come strolling back to the shop with "various different problems."

It looked pretty on the shelf.

August 23, 2005, 10:47 AM
Well underneath it all it's just a Uberti SAA, and they have been known
to have problems here and there.

Mine shoots really well, the sights are not crooked (which is VERY common on the Ubertis) and it shoots point of aim (another miracle for a Uberti).

I dug through about a dozen of these at a local distributor before picking this one to buy, but I guess the finish just doesn't hold up.

I'll try the penny rubbing and see. Otherwise I may just
have the thing hot blued and be done with it.

August 23, 2005, 01:13 PM
Until I found out that Charcoal Bluing is really pretty, but not nearly as protective as other types of blue. Too bad, they sure are nice to look at.

August 23, 2005, 02:10 PM
I think that sort of finish is as much a heat treatment as a decorative or protective finish. On the old guns, they heated parts until they turned a certain color, blue, straw, etc. Then they knew the parts had the required qualities for whatever purpose.

Old Fuff
August 23, 2005, 04:31 PM
True charcoal blueing is done using a different process then nitre blueing. Anyone who is interested in the nitre process can obtain information about it from: ( who sell the materials and equipment too do it.

The best way to preserve the nitre finish is to coat the surface with a high-quality automobile paste wax or Johnson's floor wax. Be sure the wax does not have any abrasives in it, and avoid polish that almost always does.

August 23, 2005, 05:02 PM
First the gun is blue, then that blue wears off - leaving you feeling blue! There's a moral in there somewhere...

the moral is to shoot more, right?

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