Something all too rare these days: slow rust blue


April 4, 2003, 10:02 PM
Here's a picture of my CZ 550 Magnum that's just been slow rust blued. It took 16 rust/boil/card cycles and almost 3 weeks to build up this finish, but it should last for at least 100 years.

Unfortunately, almost no one does slow rust bluing anymore. :(


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April 4, 2003, 10:21 PM
Looks nice!
Have you thought about putting the pieces into a stock? :neener:

April 4, 2003, 10:49 PM

Stocks are for pansies. Real men just hold onto the barrel! :D

Here's the stock:


April 5, 2003, 12:35 AM
That's quite a wasp nest you have there. :what:


April 5, 2003, 12:51 AM
Did you do this yourself? If you didn't how much did it cost? It looks very nice. I saw an article in Guns&Ammo about how to do this once, but I've lost the magazine.:(

April 5, 2003, 01:43 AM

It's not my wasp nest. That's my gunsmith's house. He's a weird dude :)


I didn't do this job myself. The gunsmith who's building the rifle did it. It's possible to do your own rust blue, but it's *very* tricky. My gunsmith said it seems to be related to voodoo and the phases of the moon.

The actual process is fairly straightforward, but there are a lot of variables to take into account and you have to be VERY careful about handling the metalwork because any grease will ruin the finish.

I usually see prices of $200 and up for a rust blue job. It takes a LOT of time and skill, and it's possible to completely ruin the job at any point. Then you have to repolish all the metal and start over. :banghead:

I might experiment on scrap steel someday and then try a cheap rifle, but I have way too much in this rifle to risk it to my ineptitude :)

If you want some names of 'smiths who do rust bluing, go to and download the member directory. Several Guild members specialize in rust blue.


April 5, 2003, 07:46 PM
Real nice work.

Rust bluing is a combination of alchemy and witchcraft- you have to compound the rusting solution with rarified ingredients and stand over a boiling cauldron cussing and cursing for days...

Notice the iridescense on the grip cap and how even the finish is- first class... True art.

April 5, 2003, 08:13 PM
Looks very nice.

One of these days... :p

April 5, 2003, 08:29 PM
Ahh, I truly lost art. I am afraid a few of the finer arts are falling by the way side
Slow rust bluing
True case color hardning (thanks to the epa)

I am lucky enough to have some fine examples of each. I wish I could take some pictures that would due my 2 3 screw blackhawks that were slow rust blued coupled with Doug Turnbulls color case hardening. I can't look at current "applied case color" finishes ever again.

April 5, 2003, 09:05 PM

I agree that some of the old ways are endangered. Fortunately we have the Custom Gunmakers Guild and the Firearms Engravers Guild working to keep true quality alive.

I think the bigger problem today is that too many shooters simply aren't aware of how guns used to be made and how they've been cheapened over the years. It's a shame.


April 6, 2003, 03:01 AM
It is a shame. I was looking at some of the info at the Luger forum where they discussed the differences in production. IIRC every Luger made sometime before 1940 (1937, I think, but now I can't find it) was rust blued. How many makers today even offer it as a custom finish? It isn't just rust bluing either. I've seen wartime production guns that had better fit and finish than some modern commercial guns. It seems to me that with all the technology available today you would see the quality of modern items surpassing the old stuff in every way.


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