Besides cosmetics, what do you hope to gain from bead blasting?
April 30, 2007, 12:43 PM
I've only seen it on a few revolvers, but the more I see the more I like the finish. The only benefit for me personally is cosmetic.
For other people it's not as bright or shiny as a factory brushed finish, so that might be a "tactical" benefit. How bright or shiny a gun is doesn't detract from it's usefulness for me personally.
Bring on the gun porn :D
April 30, 2007, 02:22 PM
Most custom gun makers will bead/grit blast either revolvers or pistols. The bead blast does nothing more that change a shiny finish to a less than shiny finish. I personally love the look of the bead blast finish. I just recently sent my GP-100 to Gemini Customs to have it reworked and beadblasted. Here is their website so you can get a taste of the look of their work.
I had the whole slide of my Wilson Combat Professional bead blasted to match the frame.
April 30, 2007, 07:39 PM
I don't think that you'd damage the finish by cleaning it w/ a brass brush. Bead blasting results in a dense pattern of microscopic dings - you're not applying a coating that could wear off. The surface may actually be a bit harder afterward due to peening.
If you don't mind telling, how much were you quoted for bead blasting? The prices that I've seen are all over the place (e.g. from $40 - $150).
At our shop, we charge $75 to bead blast a stainless revolver.
Have a great day!
May 1, 2007, 01:38 AM
I have a 640 on its way and I was thinking about having it bead blasted as well, thanks for the info. I'd be interested in seeing some more costs on having this done.... would it be cheaper if you dismantled the gun yourself first? any way to achieve this look yourself at home? that is without having to buy an entire bench, etc...
May 1, 2007, 02:58 AM
One issue: bead blasting increases the surface area. IF the "stainless" steel is only borderline stainless, bead blasting can increase it's capacity to rust.
Now. In guns, I doubt this is often an issue except maybe in marine/salt air environments. This afflicts knives more often; some grades of good-quality knife "stainless" steels such as ATS-34 are "barely stainless" - they're really bordering on tool steel. You need to view stainlessness as a "spectrum" rather than "it's either stainless or it's not".
Anyways. Bead-blasting stainless knives is well known for being a bad idea. I have personally had to clean rust off of a "stainless" bead blasted blade and swore off the concept.
In guns...not as big a deal because the steel isn't as hard, but watch out for high-rust environments.
I personally would rather have a brushed satin finish - if anything goes wrong with it, it's easier for me to fix myself with standard polishing stuff used in the same direction the original finish was applied. And if it goes really bad, the conversion from brushed satin to full-on bright polish is easier than getting bright polish out of bead blasting...far more work in the latter.
But. Keep in mind that I flat do not "collect" guns. I buy only what I need, shoot and carry. And I have little interest in cosmetics.
May 1, 2007, 05:45 AM
You can do it at home. You will need at least a table top beat blast cabinet, an air compressor that can sustain a minimum of 85 psi contant and a parts cleaner filled with a mild cleaner (a bucket and tooth brush will work if you only do one gun).
It’s the prep work that can take the most time because the gun needs to be 100% dismantled. The cylinders and barrel need to be plugged. I use the foam ear plugs. You will also need to tape off all bearing surfaces with a good strong tape that will withstand the blast media. There are different techniques for holding the revolver in the cabinet so just find the angle that works for you and do it consistently. It goes without say that everything will need to be super cleaned when you are done.
You asked if you could save money by disassembling it yourself. I’m sure there are shops that will take your gun that way. I think it all depends on what type of relationship you have with your shop. If it was a long term customer of mine that I knew was competent with complete disassembly/reassembly and prep, I would probably say “yes”. If it was someone I had just met, I would probably say “no”.
If you decide to go at it on your own and you need any kind of long distance assistance, feel free to call or email.
Have a great day!
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