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Polishing scratches out of stainless steel?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by greyhound, Aug 11, 2003.

  1. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    So my S&W 64 was bought used, and has some very minor scratches on the stainless frame. I could just let it go, but I guess my German heritage means everything must be in order. :D

    Any suggestions from more experienced folk on how to buff them out?
  2. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Well-Known Member

    If the frame is bead blasted, only bead blasting will restore it.
    If it's brushed stainless, go down to the local hardware store's sandpaper department and buy several synthetic polishing pads.

    These are similar to the green pot scrubber pads sold in grocery stores.
    They come in various "grits", and the usual match for guns is the "0000" equivalent. The green pot scrubbers are a little too coarse, for most guns.

    Rub the scratched area in one direction until the scratch is either gone or blended enough to be not so noticeable. Finish up by gently pulling the pad over the area to eliminate any circular scratches left by the pad. This will restore the grained finish, which should show the grain running in only one direction.

    If the scratches are too deep, the frame will need a professional buff job.
  3. bountyhunter

    bountyhunter member

    Depends How Crazy You Want to Get

    On some of my SW stainless guns, I have rubbed the "brushed" stainless all the way to a mirror shine. It's a lot of work. I use 600# then 800# sand paper and oil (sanding in a linear direction) until the steel is smooth.

    Then, I switch to a corase runbbing compound like is used to rub out lacquer paint on cars. Then, keep switching to a finer grit compound and finish up with the finest compound (the white stuff that says "clearcoat polish" and has the consistency of cottage cheese). I use a soft wheel on the dremel for the very final polish only, and be careful to move it around so the metal doesn't get too hot.

    Be advised: it can take a couple of hours to mirror finish a barrel and cylinder this way.

    From what I've learned: a beautiful mirror finish shows fingerprints too much and isn't worth the trouble. It also shows the slightest nick or scratch. Sometimes, I will just take the 800# sandpaper and lightly "brush" a finish onto it and leave it at that. That actually looks pretty good and gives it more of a "matte" finish so it doesn't look like a pimp owns it.
  4. Jason Demond

    Jason Demond Well-Known Member

    pencil eraser!!!!!

    If the finish is the brushed finish, try the pencil eraser first. I used one the other day on one of my 64's, with great results.
  5. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    Wow, a regular old pencil eraser? Any special technique or anything?

    Also, is there a way to tell if its a brushed or bead blasted finish? Its a police trade so I doubt if any extra work was done to it.

    As an aside, boy have I turned all the way around about revolvers. As of 11/02 never owned a gun, got my 64 after the sniper shootings, got pretty good with it.

    But unfortunately, at the same time I was reading a bunch of sites and all the tactical stuff, i.e. "gotta have a Glock with Tac-Lite", "if 12 bad guys break into your home you'll need a semi-auto with 8 loaded magazines for extended firefight", etc.

    So even though I was comfortable with my revolver, I went out and got a new Ruger P97 .45 (hey, nothing wrong with a .45:D ). Put 375 rounds through it (while at the same time neglecting my revolver practice for my new favorite).

    Well, long story short, yesterday out of the blue my Ruger starts getting malfunctions. Now I think I was "limp wristing", but you better believe I put those Glasers +P back in the S&W and its back to its normal place as the "get me to the shotgun" handgun.

    I learned a nice lesson as fairly new gun owner: have a plan and stick to it.
    Even if the new semi-auto goes 1,000 rounds w/out a malf, I think I'll stick to my trusty revolver and make the Ruger my fun toy.

    I guess all this is kinda why I wanted to get those little scratches out of the 64.

    Thanks to all for your suggestions, I'm sure to try all of them.:)
  6. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Yep. I found that out the hard way. I spent many hours polishing my pre-agreement model 60 to perfection, only to discover touching it would leave visible marks. It was good experience; the gun looks considerably better, however, for having been sent for bead blasting, barrel crowning, and hammer and trigger polishing to http://www.magnaport.com
  7. Jason Demond

    Jason Demond Well-Known Member

    This is an example of a satin or brushed finish.

    This is an example of a bead blasted finish.

    A pencil eraser has a mild abrasive in it, and will be effective in blending small scratches to look like the original finish. If you have gouges in your gun, that you can feel with your finger nail, the eraser will not work very well.

    I have used this little trick on several firearms, and never been disappointed.:)
  8. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    Thanks again for all the help.

    Looks like I have the brushed finish, I'll try the eraser first and if I stil want to keep going I'll give "0000" polishing pads a go.

    Good, a weekend project!:D
  9. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

    Let us know the results. I'm curious whether the eraser can "erase" the scratches.
  10. Hand_Rifle_Guy

    Hand_Rifle_Guy Well-Known Member

    We've HAD this conversation!

    Here on TFL.

    Hope this might give you some insights. The advice aleady presented is mighty good.

    You might go down to Pep Boys and get some 1500 and 2000 grit wet-or-dry silicone carbide paper. That stuff works great, also.
  11. greyhound

    greyhound Well-Known Member

    Well, yetserday I did the pencil eraser thing (Sanford Magic Rub 1954, got from Staples if anyone cares).

    It did the trick! Now granted these were VERY small scratches, but thank s to Mr. Desmond for the advice.

    (And was very quick - bout 10 minutes).
  12. Jason Demond

    Jason Demond Well-Known Member

    Glad I could help!:)

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