Just bought a used SIG 226 off GB site. 97% condition - $355. In just about every respect this pistol shows little evidence of having been shot much and little to no holster wear. The slide is marked Tyson's Corner, VA. if that helps. I called SIG and they advised that the pistol was manufactured in 1991. The pistol has German proof marks. The SIG tec advised that these pistolls were extremely well made. The perplexing thing is that the barrel...particularly the chamber section has that distinctive reddish (some call it plum) color that is often a sign of having been re-blued where the solution was either too hot or the alloy not correct for the solution being used. They indicated that they were not aware of any of their blued pistols or components thereof leaving the factory with a plum color. I would bet a goodly amount of money that the carbon steel slide has not been reblued. With the exception of the color, the barrel shows absolutely no evidence of any buffing or hand polishing. The interior of the barrel is mirror bright with very sharp lands and groves. Depending on who owned them at the time, I've seen some new in the box Smith and Wessons with a plum color. The S&W experts will tell you this never happened but I HAVE SEEN IT WITH MY OWN TWO EYES! So how 'bout it guys? Anyone ever seen a SIG factory barrel with a very nice plum blue? What do you think of the price I got this pistol for?
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Full Metal Jacket
September 3, 2010, 06:00 PM
you got a good deal. never heard of a plumb colored sig, but i'm no sig expert. :)
September 3, 2010, 06:13 PM
I have seen many Sig 226's with plum barrel hoods. No big deal.
September 3, 2010, 06:24 PM
The plum color comes from very hard steel, it doesn't take blueing like milder steels, and ends up plum in color. You see it on HK P-7's and some older Rugers too.
Sounds like you got a great buy, I used to have an older West German P226 9mm, sweet, sweet gun, I should never have sold it, one of my biggest gun regrets.
September 3, 2010, 07:10 PM
The plum color on Sig barrels is very common. I have a P225 with that very thing. In fact you might notice under bright light that the locking block and the breech block insert both have a shade of plum. Worry not...it is normal on the older versions. The new products don't have that shade of color.
I personally look for that plum color when evaluating a Sig for purchase as it normally indicates an older one....that will likely be a great shooter! :D
Shhhhhhh.......don't let that out.....ooops I think I just did.
September 3, 2010, 07:55 PM
I agree the plum colored barrels are more desirable as they indicate that the steel is harder
September 3, 2010, 10:00 PM
The plum color comes from very hard steel, it doesn't take blueing like milder steels, and ends up plum in color.
This is the first time I've seen the "plum" color attributed to the hardness of the steel (though you do see it a lot on cast parts).
I've seen it attributed to steel composition with higher nickel content receiving mention:
"Plum Colored Trigger Housings
A fair number of the M1 carbines that served in Bavaria and/or Austria have been observed to have a plum colored trigger housing. This color was not used by any of the U.S. M1 carbine manufacturers or their contractors.
The answer to this mystery comes to us from Joseph Bruch, who served with the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Germany 1976-1979. Joe was already very experienced with the M1 carbines before he went to Germany. While in Germany he encountered carbines that had been reblued by the Germans. He learned that some of the later trigger housings have a high nickel content that caused them to dry to the plum color when they were reblued."
The subject gets discussed on Ruger forums quite a bit, with improper bluing considered as a leading culprit:
Iowegan wrote: "The "plum" color comes from a combination of metal alloy, condition/mix of the bluing salts, and age. Basically, Ruger just didn't take the time to maintain their bluing process. Bluing continues to ionize the surface for many years if they aren't neutralized properly so when you see a "plum" Ruger, it simply means the bluing salts were "worn out" or the factory didn't neutralize properly. Most of Ruger's blued guns maintain an excellent blue finish for decades. That means they got it right most of the time."
Improper bluing has been seen as the culprit on this board as well:
dfariswheel wrote: "A reddish or purple tinted blue job is a factory defect, usually related to bluing chemistry or improper operation of the tanks."
September 3, 2010, 10:10 PM
I draw my experience from the slides of the H&K P7
September 3, 2010, 10:29 PM
The "plum" color is much more desirable than the typical orange color Sigs are known for. :)
Seriously though, my friend has one and it shoots just fine. I'd say you got a great deal; his was $500 with night sights and one mag.
September 3, 2010, 11:26 PM
The plum color on Sig barrels is very common. I have a P225 with that very thing.
My P225 barrel is the same way.
September 4, 2010, 12:00 AM
Is the top of the barrel hood, bare steel or blued?
September 4, 2010, 03:25 AM
I've seen a number of Sigs with plum parts on them. It's no concern, IMO, unless you just hate purple.
My Dan Wesson .44 Magnum has a plum/barney'ed frame. Doesn't seem to bother it a bit.
September 5, 2010, 01:49 AM
Purple is as purple does! Took the 226 to the range today...consistently shoots groups under 2" when I do my part. I'm starting to like purple better and better!
September 5, 2010, 04:44 PM
Could someone post a pic of a plum colored SIG? Google didn't turn up anything with my brief search.
September 5, 2010, 05:39 PM
Not my gun - but compare slide color to black frame and barrel color (Plum)
Ah thank you. I'm guessing you can get a P220 like this?
September 8, 2010, 04:37 PM
I'm guessing you can get a P220 like this?
Here are a couple of photos of the barrel and slide of my German made P220. You can see the plum tinge of the barrel compared to the black of the slide. The P220 Combat and Carry models that I bought this year appear to be black throughout.