Bead Blast or Not


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Cougfan2
August 12, 2009, 01:45 PM
I have two main carry pieces. One is a Ruger SP101 that has been tuned, ported, and had a bead blast job done on it. The other is a DW CBOB that is stock from the factory with the exception of some different grips.

The DW has some little surface scratches on the polished flats on the side of the slide. I've been thinking about trying to polish them out, but then again, it's a carry gun, not a safe queen.

I love the bead blast finish on the Ruger and was thinking about doing this on the DW. Does anyone know if the bead blast finish will hold up better and not show any little scratches as bad? My Ruger so far looks fine except where the cylinder is etched by being turned, but you expect that on any revolver. Also, I don't carry it as much as the DW.

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LaserSpot
August 12, 2009, 07:21 PM
I wouldn't bead blast it; that wouldn't look right on a .45, and it will get scratched just as easily.
You should be able to polish out the scratches if you can find the right grit of emery cloth. I think I used 400 grit, but you could also try 320, or 600. Try this: tear off a small piece of emery cloth and glue it to the eraser end of an old pencil. Brush this over the scratch in the direction of the original finish.

Bead blasted stainless gets scratched too, but it's harder to hide them. I've had some success by laying course sandpaper over the scratch and tapping with a brass hammer.

LaserSpot
August 12, 2009, 07:46 PM
Actually, I was thinking of a sand-blasted finish when I mentioned tapping with course sandpaper. I don't know how you would take scratches out of a bead blasted finish.

The only way to prevent scratches would be chrome or some other hard finish: http://www.thegunzone.com/diamond_like_coating.html

Oro
August 12, 2009, 08:53 PM
Does anyone know if the bead blast finish will hold up better and not show any little scratches as bad?

The bead-blast will show the scratches and wear more quickly (more contrast between the finish and the scratch). Like LaserSpot said, you can take a rag or 0000 steel wool and some mild compound and restore a polished or smooth ss finish; with bead-blast you can only strip it down and re-blast it. If you have the media and equipment yourself it's not so bad.

I've had some success by laying course sandpaper over the scratch and tapping with a brass hammer.

That's a bright idea.

fireman 9731
August 13, 2009, 02:40 AM
I had the slide of my Colt Defender bead blasted. It had a few light scratches that totally disappeared and there hasn't been a single new scratch yet. I definitely prefer it for CCW so my gun isn't flashy.

Cougfan2
August 13, 2009, 11:41 AM
Thanks all. I think I will try to polish the little scratches our first and see how that goes. If I don't get the results I want there, I may try the bead blast route.

medmo
August 13, 2009, 01:58 PM
Primary carry guns tend to get little scratches, holster wear and other visible signs that they get carried a lot. If it is being toted around daily it will never stay in "Like new in box" condition. I recommend the option of leaving it alone.

ZO6Vettever
August 13, 2009, 04:16 PM
I polished the bead finish to a mirror finish and it was pretty easy. Scratches should be no problem! 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000, 2500 grit, wet sand. Took about 4 hours and it's a pimped put Sigma. I can get 40 crack rocks and a crack Ho for the evening for it in the Ghetto. LOL Eye protection recommed before viewing! :cool:Sorry, but I can't get the pic to upload.

AK103K
August 13, 2009, 07:17 PM
I bead blasted my Colt Commander. I picked it up from a boy at work who was getting divorced for a good price, but its polished flats were scratcjhed in a few places.

This is how it came out.....

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7d700b3127ccec27ee26d395200000010O00CYuWbdo5bsQe3nwk/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7d700b3127ccec27fc6b098e100000010O00CYuWbdo5bsQe3nwk/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

If you have access to a blast cabinet, its a fairly easy thing, if your used to striping a 1911. It is the easiest and best way to do the job. With SS, all you need do is blast it and reassemble. I've never had good luck with SS and sandpaper. Not saying it cant be done, but I dont see how its going to be as nice a job as the bead blast.

As far as durability, the matte finish is more durable than the polished finish, and generally shows wear better.

Cougfan2
August 13, 2009, 07:30 PM
If you have access to a blast cabinet, its a fairly easy thing, if your used to striping a 1911.

I think there a couple of guys in my area that may have the equipment to do the job if I decide to. I've only gone so far as field stripping my 1911's for cleaning. How far down to you have to strip them for bead blasting and is it very hard to do?

AK103K
August 13, 2009, 08:14 PM
Stripping a 1911 isnt hard at all, especially once youve done it a couple of times. There are a lot of books around that will walk you through it, as well as some videos. Check Brownells or You Tube, I'm sure you'll find one there.

When it comes to bead blasting, its generally best to strip them to the bare fame and slide. You dont have to remove the ejector or grip bushings, but you do want to remove things like the safety/slide stop plungers and springs, etc. I didnt remove the sights when I did mine, just taped them off, and was careful when blasting around them so I didnt blow through the tape, which is easily done if your not paying attention.

Any little parts you want blasted should be done in a small, metal coffee can. Just put a small slit in the top so the nozzle can get in and shake the can lightly as you blast. That way, you wont loose anything in the cabinet. If you dont keep the little things contained, they tend to get lost.

Make sure when your done to blow everything out well with an airgun, or even an air can in a pinch. The beads will get everywhere, and need to be blown out. Also make sure you wear glasses and dont rub your eyes after handling the gun when you first get it back or get done doing it. Once you clean things up, its fine, you just dont want to get those little glass balls in your eyes. Just ask my buddy. :)

You dont have to necessarily do everything, but I'd do everything that shows. The hammer, trigger, safety, slide stop, grip safety, etc. That way everything matches when your done. You may even just get by with doing the frame a slide, depending on what your other parts look like.

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