Project gun - what to leave to the profesionals?


December 11, 2007, 03:53 AM
I acquired a Remington 514 .22lr rifle a while ago, the stock was classic bowling pin finish that had worn through in spots, the metal had light surface pitting in a few spots as well as a lot of wear, the barrel had a liner installed, and the bolt was a bit bent. It was cheap and came with glass, and I needed a gun to learn on.

I've stripped and refinished the stock, and am now looking at what else needs to be done. The original factory butt pad is in poor shape, and I'm going to get an after market one and cut/shape it to fit. I figure I can handle that one. So onto the quesitons:

First off the metal in general. My main concerns are getting the pits out and getting a good finish on the metal. I know I can get gun-kote or the like, but I much prefer blued. Everything I've read indicates hot bluing is not a home operation, and the opinions seem to be evenly dived on whether cold bluing can do the job. I'd love to have a bluing job equivalent to a vintage colt python, but I know that will require a professional.

I used to be a certified welder, and also studied jewelry making so working with metal, and specifically polishing things are not new to me.

So several questions:

1) Is it possible to get a quality how bluing job done without a major cost expenditure? Hot water blue, cold bluing, heck even hot bluing, just for cheap and with good results. I've already got the stuff for polishing, so the cost would be for the bluing only.

2) If it is possible, what kind of time frame would I be looking at roughly?

3) Are they're alternative metal finishes that I'm not aware of that can provide that same kind of gloss and luster?

If I end up going the professional route, what are questions I should ask the shop to ensure I'm going to get quality work? Are there particular "methods" that are used in the industry, and some are higher quality then others?

Finally can anyone recommend anyone for a good bluing job? I'd prefer to not pay an arm and a leg.

Second I know opinions are just as evenly divided on bedding vs free floating vs not messing with if it shots okay. I'm going to go ahead and bed it, just to get the experience. Is this something I should do before or after the metal refinishing?

Third, I'd like to jewel the bolt, as I've always found this quiet eye catching. Plus it's something I wanted to learn how to do. I've always seen the tools needed for it include a drill press. Well I don't happen to have one of those, but I do happen to have a miniature drill press, the kind used for building scale models (the expensive machine the parts yourself kind of models). Do I actually need the HP of a full size drill press or do I just need something to hold everything at right angles? Is this something that I can screw up bad enough to affect the function of the rifle? I'll polish the rest of the bolt (handle, knob, etc) to a high gloss to go with the bolt body.

Last, I've had a dickens of a time finding any kind of documentation on doing a complete disassembly of this sucker. I'd like to be able to strip the bolt down to give it a good cleaning, polish things, etc. I've found a diagram or two, but if anyone has any tips on how to take it apart, and much more importantly how to get it back together I'd appreciate it.



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December 11, 2007, 03:57 AM
bump! I too wonder about these very same questions...

The Gunman
December 11, 2007, 10:26 AM
The actual bluing is a chemical process to color the outer layer of steel. The high gloss comes from the metal preparation. If you spend the time sanding(you said it was pitted), and then polishing you can get a good blue from cold bluing solutions(I didn't say great). You will need to degrease it and be anal about handling the steel to keep any contamination off until bluing is complete. Be extremely cautious about polishing around the roll marks and any screw or pin holes so not to dull the markings or funnel out the holes. I too have bought old ugly guns to learn on and restore to good looking firearms, I don't have any power tools to polish with so everything was done by hand. I used cold bluing to learn with because the polish and finish come from your preparation of the steel not the bluing process, that only gives the color. If you get a good result with the cold bluing and still want a deeper blue, send it in to a shop, you have the hours of sanding and polishing done.

December 11, 2007, 12:51 PM
You can do all the surface prep yourself. All it takes is elbow grease, a few files, and various grades of Emory Cloth, and "Wet or Dry" sandpaper.

Draw file the pits out of the barrel with a 12" smooth file.
Then "Shoe-Polish" the metal with progressively finer grades of Emery cloth and finer wet or Dry, followed with Crocus Cloth.
When you get done, the barreled action should look like it has been chrome-plated. At that point, a bluing shop should cut you a break on price, because you have done all the hard work yourself.

IMHO: All brands of cold bluing are a total waste of time & effort for a complete blue job.
You can get a pretty nice looking job by using several applications.
But it won't last long enough to bother doing it. If you use the gun, it will need cold bluing again after just a few months to keep it looking half-way decent.

You can do Rust Bluing at home with a minimum cash outlay. It is the finest bluing ever done, and is what was used on the finest double-guns and custom rifles.

Bolt jeweling is easily done with a small drill-press, or even with a hand held Dremel tool if you have a steady hand and calibrated eye-balls.

You can use the rubber eraser from a cut-off end lead pencil for the "tool", and any polishing compound or fine valve grinding compound from the auto parts store. Just clamp the bolt in a drill table vice and polish over-lapping circles in a row from end to end.
Then go back and continue doing it with the circles overlapping each row, until the bolt is covered.

If you make a mistake, polish it off and start over again.

December 11, 2007, 06:42 PM
Thanks for the advice so far, I'll have to look into rust bluing some more. I've been thinking about building a kit percussion cap gun and I thought I might try that out for that. I think I'll get a bottle of rust bluing from brownell's and try it out on the trigger guard and see how it works and go from there.

Great advice on using a pencil eraser, that'd save me some cash :)

Hmm looking more and more possible to do things myself, which is what I was hoping :)

Okay now for something I started thinking about as I was going to bed last night. It's mean re-stripping the stock, but oh well. How hard is good checkering to do? What kind of cost outlay am I looking at? Do I need the motorized tools, or is that something to use if I'm going to be doing a lot of it. Are the hand tools just fine so long as I'm not trying to do production amounts of work?

Thanks for the help so far,


December 11, 2007, 08:36 PM
I have checkered stocks for about 40 years with nothing more then an old set of Dembart hand tools.
Brownells has them also.
You don't need power checkering tools unless you are a full-time stock-maker.

And order the big #60 catalog from them while you are at it.

It is the gunsmiths Bible!
You'll be getting all kinds of do-it-yourself ideas just from looking through it.

December 12, 2007, 07:25 PM
RCModel: What irks me is that I had a copy of #59 that I tossed out when house cleaning a month or two ago. So of course now that I could use it...

Couple more questions again :)

1) What finish should I look for if I'm rust browning? Most of what I've read said a 150 is perfectly adequate, though a few say 320. I know normal bluing is the highest grit you can get the better. If I'm willing to put in the time is going higher then 320 worth it, or will it cause any problems?

2) Recommendations on basic checkering tools and maybe a book? Or can I just in general work on scrap wood and figure it out?



December 13, 2007, 12:49 PM
I would recommend you keep going finer until all scratches are gone.
Even with rust blue, if there is a visible scratch from course paper left, it will still be a visible scratch when you get done bluing it.

The Dem-bart tools probably still come with a good set of instructions, but Brownell's sells some good books on checkering also.

But practice makes perfect, in checkering, as well as most other things!

The main thing to avoid is starting out with too fine a line spacing. The finer the line-per-inch, the harder it is to do right.
I'd suggest getting your first set of tools in no more then 18 LPI.

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