Is the finish on my Model 28 fixable with cold blue?


August 4, 2011, 09:53 PM
Bought this Smith & Wesson Model 28-2 not too long ago for a good price because it has some corrosion on the barrel. A lot of it rubbed off with an oily rag except for the barrel finish. Otherwise it looks like a fine and well maintained revolver. I think it might have been left in a leather holster.

Anyways, is this fixable without sending it off? I've never tried to touch up a gun's finish before. Or should I just leave it alone and shoot the thing as is?

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August 4, 2011, 09:58 PM
Cold blue ain't gonna fix that...

August 4, 2011, 10:06 PM
I was thinking I could rub it down to metal with some 600-800 grit sandpaper to get the corrosion off, then cold blue it. But I don't want it to look like bubba did it.

I got this gun for $330, is it even worth fixing or should I just leave it alone? I'm not opposed to letting someone work on it, but I don't want to spend a lot of money. I bought this gun to shoot.

August 4, 2011, 10:09 PM
It looks mildly pitted to me. At any rate, cold blue for the most part is not so great. In my experience, if you can rub it on, you can rub it off.

357 Terms
August 4, 2011, 10:10 PM
Don't worry bout it, as long as it shoots fine I would be alright with it.

August 4, 2011, 10:13 PM
There is some pitting there, and it requires refinishing. Rubbing it down with sandpaper will put scratches in the finish which will show up in the bluing.

Best bet? Send it to Smith and Wesson; they can redo your bluing for a reasonable price, and their turnaround is pretty good.

August 4, 2011, 10:33 PM
S&W will return it to good as new for around $250. Then it will be too nice to shoot and you can't get your money back trying to sell a refinished gun.

I'd just keep it oiled up and enjoy shootin' it.

August 4, 2011, 10:52 PM
Awesome, thanks for the replies iggy, powderman, 357! I definately don't want it to be a "too nice to shoot" gun. I'll just leave it alone and shoot it.

Anyone know who makes a reaonable priced holster for this thing? Most of the ones I've been able to find are all for full underlugs.

August 4, 2011, 11:09 PM
keep it oiled lightly and just enjoy it. If the bore is very good and the mechanics are solid WHO CARES? and yes it does appear to be leather damage. I have S&W 19 same thing though it is very little, but it to, was in a moisture absorbing holster. Enjoy it

August 5, 2011, 01:19 AM
I got this gun for $330, is it even worth fixing or should I just leave it alone? I'm not opposed to letting someone work on it, but I don't want to spend a lot of money. I bought this gun to shoot.
Considering you paid only $330, if you can't live with the revolver as it is you could send it to S&W like suggested above. S&W does an outstanding job on their revolvers that are sent back to them. For Standard Blue and Polish they charge a reasonable price to, only $200. Your M28 will look brand new and worth much more than the $530 you will have into it. Check out the services available for the S&W Performance Center (

August 5, 2011, 02:38 AM
I agree that a cold blue is not going to hold up even if you use the best available (Oxpho) since this area is subject to holster wear. There is a way to fix it and not send it off to S&W for $250 bucks. The pits have to be removed and you are fortunate that the damage is confined to the end of the barrel. Polish out the pits by hand (NO Power tools) with small squares of progressive grades of abrasive wet/dry paper and proper backing.With those pits 150grit would be the starting point.You need to take it to at least 400 grit.The scratches from pit removal will be polished out.Confine your polishing to just the damaged area and leave the rest of the barrel alone.When you have a smooth pitless surface degrease well with lacquer thinner and acetone .Be sure to degrease the bore also. This will be a spot Rust blue procedure. If you are not familiar with this it is a simple procedure that you can do on your kitchen stove.Use an old pot and boil some water deep enough to submerge the end of your barrel past the damage.Heat the polished area with a propane torch too hot to touch and apply a rust blue solution ,Mark Lee`s Express Blue available at Brownells is my favorite. There are several different brands out there, all are similar chemical(acid) combinations.The polished area will immediately rust and be reddish in color.Submerge the end of the barrel in the boiling water for a few minutes.The reddish color will change to black and be sooty.Now with degreased 0000 steel wool (use the acetone to degrease the steel wool and let it dry throughly before using) gently remove the sooty residue.This is called "carding" and there are special brushes for it but with this small job the steel wool will work fine.At this point the polished area should be a dull gray.Do the procedure again:Heat,apply,boiling water dunk and card.How many applications? Different steels take the finish differently.Probably 4 or 5 or until you see no difference in the darkening of the finish. The last step will use the cold blue (Oxpho creme formula also available at Brownells). To help blend the finish and impart a bluish color to match the rest of the barrel again heat the newly blued area with the torch and liberally apply the Oxpho creme.Don`t let it dry out but let it work for a minute or two.Now burnish the Oxpho with a wad of the 0000 steel wool.Really bare down and polish it. If the brightness does not match up with the rest of the barrel after this, burnish again with a small square of cardboard. Oil with a good quality gun oil and you are done. Don`t forget to run an oiled patch down the bore.One last thing be careful not to touch the affected area during the procedure with your bare hands as it can leave oil residue.You have a fine revolver for the price and with a little effort it will be even better. Good Luck. Joe

August 5, 2011, 02:46 AM
One additional point.Be sure that the surface is completly dry before you attempt to card it.Shake it well and let air dry before you try to card the sooty residue off.Any water present will make a dark splotch and will not come out unless you repolish with wet/dry paper and start over.

August 5, 2011, 04:10 AM
Sarge, I must disagree with you on this point...

.Heat the polished area with a propane torch too hot to touch

What will happen if you do this, is that you wil anneal the metal--you will draw some of the heat treatment out.

Again, I strongly urge you to send the revolver back to Smith and Wesson.

It will come back looking like new. No, you might not get full collector's price--but you will still have a gun that you can sell for more than you have invested. If you don't have any intention of selling, you will have a FACTORY REFINISHED revolver that will serve as an heirloom for generations.

Send it back.

August 5, 2011, 04:15 AM
But I don't want it to look like bubba did it.

Nah, Bubba would just cut two inches off the barrel, TIG weld the sight back on, cold blue the muzzle, and call it good.

August 5, 2011, 06:51 AM
I think for $330.00 I'd leave it the way it is, and shoot the snot out of it.

I've got a six inch 28 that has a big bare spot on the cylinder. The only thing I can think of is it rubbed on something in a glove box or something like that. Still shoots great. I paid more for it than you did.

I will admit that I can hide the blemish when taking pictures though. :D Pretty hard for you to do that I suppose. I think if I was going to refinish it, I'd send it back to Smith & Wesson.

August 5, 2011, 11:56 AM
Powderman...I will have to respectfully disagree with your assessment. No intention of annealing the metal.To do that the temperature would have to be way more than playing a propane torch across it and using 212 degree water to boil it.The temperature of the barrel would probably be in the same temperature range as occurs when six rounds are sent down the tube in rapid succession ie; Too Hot To Touch.The only possibility to anneal the steel would be to hold the torch in one spot till it smoked and turned to rainbow colors. Perhaps I should have used the term "warm it" instead of heat for clarification.
This procedure was to answer the man`s question about what "HE"could do to fix this revolver.If the directions are followed I believe that it will do just that.The rest of the revolver looked to be in great shape and certainly not a candidate for a full polish and reblue.

August 5, 2011, 12:15 PM
RE: Holsters

Take a gander at Simply Rugged. A great holster for the money.

August 5, 2011, 12:19 PM
Cold blue won't fix it and will likely do more harm than good. I would leave it as-is or have it refinished. S&W is not your only option. Accurate Plating & Weaponry would be my first choice and Ford's is also very good.

Then it will be too nice to shoot...
No such thing as a gun too nice to shoot.

David E
August 5, 2011, 01:17 PM
I've had good luck spraying the affected area with G-96 and lightly brushing the area with a bronze bristle brush. Takes the rust right out.

Oil and shoot.

August 5, 2011, 06:22 PM
I would call S&W to see if they have any new barrels for it and how much to install one.
The barrel that is on it is never going to look good, ever. Way to much pitting.
That will never come out. What does the inside of the barrel look like?
If it was left in a holster as you think then the inside must look just as bad.
The rest of the firearm looks to be in very good shape.
Then if you wanted you could have S&W reblue it and it would look great.
But what do I know:neener:

August 5, 2011, 08:09 PM
This is what I would do if I were you..Just today I worked the actions of both my 28-2's (a 4"+a 6") and installed Wolff springs..They ARE shooters+NOW the actions are SLICK..Bill..;)

Blue Brick
August 5, 2011, 09:56 PM
Send it to Smith and Wesson; they can redo your bluing for a reasonable price, and their turnaround is pretty good.

+ 1

David E
August 5, 2011, 10:31 PM
Barrel thru S&W is going to start at $200 + shipping. Suddenly your good price isn't so good anymore.

August 6, 2011, 12:06 AM
OP you can not fix it easy. But you can make it look better for a few bucks on the cheap. Go get you a cheap BC cold blue pen/dobber. Gently clean the rust out of your pits. and when clean take cheap-o rubbing alcohol to it. very sparingly. Slow is the key. Treat it like a work of art! Applie the cheap-o cold blue. Don't let it set more than 20 or 30 sec's and have a hod water tap running full blast close by. Rinse your work area good then towel dry. If it did not take as you wanted or it's light in color, hit it again. If its to dark, work it with a clean dry towel. If the towel wont get it. Forget the over priced carding brush. Use some #0000 steel wool on your finger tip. Genital is the word! If sone right you will look at your cool beater and wonder why it looks good. Once you get the finish you want and it's been washed in hot and cold clean water oil it up. WD, Motor oil, Rem oil, lard, corn oil it does not matter. Lather up the repair and let it soak. Maybe take the hair dryer to it now. Oil works magic on cold blue for finish and stability. Then clean it up,,, oil it up concerning normal blue care and move on. Done right the pitting will still be there. But the contrast in finish will be better. Even around gun snobes, done right they will say good job stabilizing a problem. :)

Above all else,,, enjoy you Smith. It was built to shoot! :)

August 6, 2011, 12:56 AM
Excellent advice yall!!! Thanks!!!!

August 6, 2011, 01:33 AM
Genital is the word!
gentle is the word? I hope!

August 6, 2011, 01:36 AM
Or gentle with the genitals! :neener:

Sorry, I just had to... :uhoh:

August 6, 2011, 09:32 AM
Last year I bought a Colt Trooper 357 built in 1965, it had been stored in a drawer in a leather holster for a little over 30 years. The left side was rusted and pitted worse than your smiff. I had to stop the corrosion and there was no way it would ever buff out to be reblued, by Colt or anyone else. The frame and cylinder were affected also. Internal lock work was absolutely pristine, nice as when it left the factory. I stripped the lock work out, removed the rear sight and stocks and had the gun refinished with Lauer Duracoat in dark blue. The pits and rust was chemically removed and glass bead basted enough to accept the new finish. After all was said and done I had an absolutely magnificent 357 belt gun that will last forever and it looks "ok". It was the best solution I could find and I like it, after all it is still a "COLT".

August 6, 2011, 10:34 AM
How much did that duracote finish cost?

The Lone Haranguer
August 7, 2011, 06:39 AM
Cold blue is not meant for coverage of large areas, let alone to fill in pits. An example of where it might be used is filing down the front sight of a fixed sight revolver to correct low POI, then touching up the now bright metal where you filed it. If you use it on a large area, a large scratch, etc., it will be mismatched to the rest of the finish and look obviously like you tried to cover something up.

August 7, 2011, 09:38 AM
I paid $80.00, but I stripped the lock work out of the frame. If he had done that there would probably have been another hour, at least, bench labor charge. Colt internals don't scare me so it was the logical thing for me to do. My Colt is an "I" frame so the firing pin is in the frame, had to dismount the rear sight to get the firing pin retainer out, but that is just as well, I wanted the sight left original. I cleaned any over spray and then left it to cure for 8 weeks before I reassembled and tested. At room temperatures the Duracoat continues to cure for several months. It seems to be a workable finish, the pits are still visible but the rust and corrosion has been neutralized. It shoots like a new gun.

August 7, 2011, 10:43 AM
It's already been asked but I'll ask again: how's it look on the inside??.

Fixing the external appearance is a moot point if the bore is pitted.

If the bore is bad you could think about having the barrel shortened.

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