New (to me) Star Model B - Question about condition of frame and bore


January 12, 2013, 07:27 PM
I received my WWII era Star Model B from AIM this week. When it came in, I quickly examined it. First inspection indicated the frame around the grips had darker black (what I would almost describe as permanent marker) on it, as if someone (AIM?) had tried to cover up some wear. My other thought was that they had tried to blue over the wear and it just didn't match the color of the rest of the frame. I didn't have time to mess with it, so I went ahead and put it away until I could get it out this weekend and take it down for full inspection and cleaning.

Well, I took it down this afternoon and started to clean/inspect. First thing I did was break it down completely, including removing the grips. It did indeed look like permanent marker or maybe some bluing solution on the frame that was covering some wear and pitting. In fact, there was some excess that I intended to clean up. I broke out the Hoppes solvent and started to dab away. Immediately the q-tip started turning purple and the "black" started to rub off. Here is a picture of what was underneath:

While I was at it, I went ahead and gave the bore a thorough cleaning. There was some gunk in it, so I started with some Hoppes solvent and wire brush. After a few passes, I switched to CLP to finish up. My concern was that there appears to be minor pitting:

After clean-up, I went ahead and re-assembled:

So, my questions are:

1. Should the minor pitting in the bore prevent the pistol from being shootable? I intended this to be a range gun.

2. I assume that the minor pitting on the frame under the grips was the result of service use and possibly moisture getting trapped between the grips and the frame. As such, I'm guessing it won't get worse and I probably shouldn't be too concerned about that. Would it hurt the value of the pistol if I were to reblue the hole gun? I'm guessing not, given the condition of the remainder.

3. Candidly, I expected the condition to be a bit better. In fact, I paid an extra $10 for the "handpick" best of 5 option. Should I reach out to AIM customer service and see if they would be willing to replace/refund? Or is this condition to be expected given the picture/description from AIM:

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January 12, 2013, 09:22 PM
Answers -
1. No
2. No
3. Your call. If you think that they were careless in picking or deceptive in their description, may be worth a call.

January 13, 2013, 10:28 AM
I've had good luck with Cold Blue but you have to apply it the right way. Get the part absolutely degreased (Simple Green, Brake Cleaner, etc...), and cleaned/scuffed up with 0000 Steel Wool. Then get the part HOT with a hair dryer or by dunking into very hot water. Apply the cold blue on a cotton square let it sit for the time specified on the bottle and then redunk into hot water. Pull it out, hit with some 0000 Steel Wool, and repeat the cold blue process a couple more times. After 3-4 times, rinse, dry, then wipe it with some Gun Oil like CLP and let it sit oily for a day or two. I did this on some K31 and Mauser parts (butt plates, barrel bands) that were all beat to hell and they now look like new.

Chances are someone tried to cold blue it or used one of those blueing markers but didn't do it the right way. Clean parts and HEAT is the key.

You could reblue the whole gun but that's going to be a bit pricey given that its only a $400 gun.

January 13, 2013, 10:41 AM
I've read good reviews on Brownell's Oxpho Blue. I already have a planned re-blue project on an old beat up Romy M69. Depending on the success of that, I may consider it for the Star B as well. If I do, is there anything I can use to fill in the pitting on the frame prior to blueing?

January 13, 2013, 01:50 PM
The only filler that will take bluing is weld. If you are that serious about it, find someone who is really good with TIG welding. You will have to remove all of the rust, so cleaning out the pits is critical. Use bead blasting, chemical stripping, etc to ensure that it is all gone, have it welded, dress the welds flush, and reblue. Oxpho (or any other cold blue) is good for touchup, but it is not real bluing. It is only a chemical coloring of the metal and does not passivate. Suggest if you are going that far, that you do a real rebluing job as soon as possible.

January 13, 2013, 03:37 PM
Degrease and use Oxpho-Blue on the bare spots. The black you removed was applied by Ivan, it is the same stuff that RC Mausers are "finished" with. The pitting will cause no problems under the grips. The bore looks shootable. Might benefit from a re-crown which you can do yourself with a big brass round headed screw and grinding compound. Search this forum for detailed instructions.

January 13, 2013, 04:52 PM
1. no
2. no
3. You're too fussy... the rest may have been dogs, this being a WWII pistol.

January 13, 2013, 09:43 PM
It never ceases to amaze how quickly some High Roaders go straight to personal insults.

Thanks everyone else for the productive feedback.

Jim K
January 14, 2013, 04:06 PM
The pistol shown has been heavily buffed and reblued. If you want to complain to the seller and see if you can get a better one, fine, but I advise not wasting any time or money on trying to improve its appearance.

I see no reason it should not be a good shooter. The Star B is a good pistol and those I have seen and owned were very reliable.


January 14, 2013, 04:31 PM
Ok, that pretty much answers my two primary questions. It should be fine to shoot, and the condition is probably as expected. I didn't buy it for a safe queen. I just want it to be functional. I'll try my hand at oxpho blue for the worn part, but will ignore the pitting on the frame.

Thanks all! :D

January 22, 2013, 06:01 PM
CZ, how's your barrel to bushing fit?

I'd try the Oxpho and be happy. I like Star pistols.

January 22, 2013, 09:20 PM
From what I have read, this batch of Star B's was captured by the Soviets and "refinished", then stored for decades. The Russkies stripped all the pistols down into parts, reblued them and then slapped all the random parts together, so I would check function thoroughly to make sure that you don't have any issues with parts fitting.
Also thanks for giving me the heads up. I was thinking of ordering one from AIM and paying for the "handpick" option, but I think I will pass now. Don't need another firearm waiting to be refinished, got too much on the backburner as it is. :)

January 22, 2013, 09:50 PM
Twmaster, fitting seems fine. Actually took it to the range over the weekend and ran 50 rounds through it. All I can say is wow. Most accurate pistol I've shot out to 15 yards. And comfortable too! Very smooth. Only complaint is FTE every 3rd round. I need to try different ammo with it to see if it is just a diet issue.

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