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Refinishing Barrels?

Discussion in 'Blackpowder' started by mdauben, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    I had my eye on a Lyman Great Plains rifle in .54 cal. The only thing I don't like about it is the blued barrel, I'd much rather have a browned barrel in a gun like this. So, I'm wondering if its possible to "refinish" a gun barrel? How would you strip the old finish off? Could you just "brown" over the blue? :confused:

    I suppose I could just get the gun in kit form, but I currently have limited "shop" facilities to do the whole fitting and finishing process.

  2. frontiergander

    frontiergander Well-Known Member

    birchwood casey blue remover, clean it well with soapy water, hit it with some 220 sand paper, clean again and then birchwood casey plumb brown. The plumb brown needs a propane torch to heat the barrel so the acid sticks and rusts the steel.

    Some guns & barrels i have done
  3. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Well-Known Member

    The kit guns have had blued barrels for a while now.
    You'd have to find a really old kit.
  4. frontiergander

    frontiergander Well-Known Member

    what kit guns come with blue barrels? CVA, traditions and lyman, every one ive worked on was bare steel.
  5. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    Cool! I used the Birchwood Casey browning a number of years ago on a kit Hawken that I had to sell, so I'm familiar with that process. I didn't realize they had a "blue remover" though. Thanks!

    The Lyman kits? I know that some kits come with pre-blued barrels but the photos of the Lyman GPR I've seen showed an unfinsihed steel barrel. I suppose they may have been old photos, though.
  6. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    My GPR kit was purchased in 2007, has a proof date code of CB (2007). It came with an unfinished barrel, which I rust browned using the Laurel Mountain system. I've seen three other GPR kits since, and all had unfinished barrels. I don't believe they've ever had blued barrels.
  7. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Well-Known Member

    Blue or Brown is simply a layer of chemically accelerated rust applied to the steel. So..., a rust removal substance will take it off. I have seen plain old liquid Drano poured from the breech toward the muzzle, while the barrel was suspended by a coat hanger through the tang bolt hole, rinse the blue right off a barrel (put a cork in the muzzle and wax at the touch-hole on a flinter..., or remove the nipple and put wax there). I've seen Naval Jelly applied, and the finish wiped off, or actual blue remover used. Be careful as they are pretty strong chemicals, so old clothing, eye protection, and gloves.

    Then the metal parts need to be rinsed with water, and many folks mix some white vinegar with the water to neutralize the akalinity of the chemicals, then rinse with water again.

    At that point, a browning agent is used. IF you use Birchwood Casey plumb brown..., as mentioned above it needs heat, but I have found if the heat isn't really even, you get different colors. Laurel Mountain is a cold brown solution, and takes some time, but works well.

  8. mdauben

    mdauben Well-Known Member

    It was a while ago, but when I used the BC product on my last gun I used a propane torch to heat the barrel and furniture, applied the browning, went over it with steel wool, and repeat. IIRC when I was done with several "coats" I had a fairly even brown color.
  9. mykeal

    mykeal Well-Known Member

    mdauben is correct. You can deal with the uneven heat problem with Plum Brown by applying additional coats. The coloring reaches a certain level and goes no further regardless of how much or how often you heat and reapply it, so 'thin', uneven areas can be brought up to the full browning with additional coats while adjacent areas are not affected.
  10. arcticap

    arcticap Well-Known Member

    The Pedersoli kits do.

    I checked the details and photos of some Pedersoli percussion kit rifles that are sold by Dixie Gun Works and they all seem to have blued barrels of one form or another.
    The description for the less expensive Pedersoli made kits state that the barrels are blued for rust protection only and not finished.
    Some of the more expensive Pedersoli made kits have barrels that are fully blued and finished such as the Tryon and shotguns.
    And then there are some kits that state that the barrel is blued and "may need" some finishing which would seem to indicate that those barrels have a medium degree of barrel bluing already applied.

    Here are Dixie's listing of Pedersoli percussion rifle kits:

    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  11. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    Customize it

    I did not want a brown gun nor did i want a shiny black gun. I wanted one in between. So i made up a rust black finish.

    grips i mared up with some bolts in a bag then burnt them over the stove then put a miniwax wax finish on them
  12. Mictlanero

    Mictlanero Well-Known Member

    wow, that is a very nice color you achieved there - i really like that. Do you heat treat it with a blow-torch? or apply it cold?
  13. scrat

    scrat Well-Known Member

    this one was a cold blue
  14. Prairie Dawg

    Prairie Dawg Well-Known Member

    Yep, y'all are correct.
    Lyman GPRs come with an unfinished barrel.
    I must have been confusing it with another.
    My apologies!

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