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2 stainless steel .357's... can't get them polished enough. Need help

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by donut132, May 14, 2013.

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  1. Certaindeaf

    Certaindeaf member

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    I hear you. I'd still take the grips off for the polishing though.
     
  2. skidder

    skidder Member

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    I think yours look great!

    I recently did 3 of my Six Series revolvers. The top three were done with Mother's Mag (I did not do the bottom Speed Six). I spent about 35 minutes per revolver. The satin brush is still there, but it's just a shinier version. I think I like that better than completely polished.


    Sixes_zpse77b57d8.jpg
     
  3. 1 old 0311-1

    1 old 0311-1 member

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    Keep going. People think my 'Mothers guns' are nickel plated.

    _Preview_.jpg
     
  4. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    Howdy

    Is this for real? Why in the world do you need to polish them so much? As several posters have said, willy nilly polishing can do more harm than good. You not only have to be careful to not round over sharp edges that are supposed to be sharp, you also don't want to remove so much metal that you start obliterating any lettering and stampings.

    Frankly, I have seen plenty of guns devalued by over polishing. Of course, most of these are old guns that have been refinished and were over polished in the process.

    Here is the top of the slide of a nice Browning High Power I own. See how the shield has been partially obliterated by aggressive over polishing?

    hipower_overpolished_shield.jpg

    To each his own, but I'll bet if you bought a few more guns you would not be so obsessed with how shiny they are.

    Shiny don't shoot any better, it just looks shiny.
     
  5. nelsonal

    nelsonal Member

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    Your polish is too fine to quickly smooth the marks. You can polish it for a long time, slowly working it down, or switch to a coarser material (and then switch to progressively finer polishes). To find the right starting grit find a piece of scrap metal with a similar finish and test larger grits (sand paper or other compounds) until you find something that smooths the larger marks and leaves smaller ones (then keep working down, until you've got the surface you want).

    Your task is to remove all the metal above the newly smooth surface (that's likely near the base of the valleys of the current scratches) so you'll likely remove depth on the imprinted markings, their final depth will depend on how deep the current finish is and how careful you are.
     
  6. bottom shelf

    bottom shelf Member

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    DSC01973.jpg

    Here's a 686 I polished. It's so shiny I'm embarrassed to take it to the range. :eek:

    DSC01979.jpg

    Here's a closeup of the area where the logo is with a reflection of the overhead cabinets visible.
     
  7. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    You can have someone do it that knows how and has all of the stuff needed. I've had stainless guns polished to a mirror finish and a carbon steel gun polished then blued by a gunsmith I trust. The results were well worth the cost and the finish can be maintained using Flitz.
     
  8. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    I agree personally.

    Here are the two I've done.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    The only thing I've ever used for is to remove carbon build up on the face of the cylinder. A rotating brass brush works real well for that, and doesn't hurt the gun. Just don't slip and allow the steel conection point on the dremel to hit the gun. That will cause damage, and it is easier to do than you might think when you have the RPM's turrned way up.
     
  9. CraigC
    • Contributing Member

    CraigC Member

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    A few hours spent polishing in the wrong hands can quickly turn a $400-$500 sixgun into something not worth a plug nickel.
     
  10. donut132

    donut132 Member

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    Hmm lots of conflicting opinions. Wouldn't a light scrub of 2000 grain wet dry paper give me a better shine and lower the risk of damaging my gun?
     
  11. gamestalker

    gamestalker member

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    I have a M66 that I polished, so glossy that nearly everyone that has seen it, thinks it is nickel. I took it completely apart, and used two different polishing compounds my Son provided me. I did it completely by hand, which took a good deal of time, but it brought out the shine. I have no idea what those compounds were=, but they sure got the job done nicely.

    Make sure you completely remove all remaining compound, or it will accelerate wear on all the moving parts!

    GS
     
  12. adelbridge

    adelbridge Member

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    You need a buffing wheel and different compounds. I start off with Tripoli Compound and work up to Jewelers Rouge and finish with McGuires Scratch X auto polish. Dremmels will leave ghosting but if you are careful you can use them on a very low speed for tight areas. I wouldnt worry about rounding out stampings and roll marks unless you are sanding- polishes arent aggressive enough unless you really do something stupid. Finish with a automotive wax. If you are attempting to hand polish to perfection will will drive yourself crazy for months when a buffing wheel can be had for $60
     
  13. BCRider

    BCRider Member

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    You need to stop and think about what makes a surface shiney or not shiney. To reach a chrome like mirror shine you MUST remove ALL the scratches in the surface. The ONLY way to do that is to abrade down the surrounding area until the whole surface is at the same depth as the deepest of the scratches. Now you can do that slowly with polishing for just shy of forever or you can do it quicker by using the sandpapers we suggested. It's all about using your time efficiently.

    At this point if the scratches left are not that deep then perhaps starting with 800 to 1000 would be the way to go. But if the scratches you have in your "polished" guns are the deepest of the deep that were in the original finish then it might still take you a while and a few extra sheets of sandpaper.

    Can you get there with 2000 grit? Most certainly. But it's going to take a lot longer and use up more sheets of sandpaper in lowering the overall area down to the depth of the deeper scratches.


    Now lots of folks are saying to simply use a buffing wheel and compounds. The issue here is that you still need to cut the metal down so it's as deep as the deepest scratch if you want to achieve a truly mirror like polish. At the same time it's stripping that same amount or more off all the sharp and crisp edges found on the cylinder, frame and stamped markings. Which is why the rest of us are suggesting that you at least initially use the sandpaper with backing blocks or flex backings to remove the metal with more control. That way the flat areas when finally polished well will reflect accurate looking images instead of Fun House like distortions.

    The simple way would be to use a grinder set up with felt and cotton buffing wheels and the appropriate compounds. But using a buffer like this in a skilled and sensitive manner is still a skill that only comes with time and practice. Until you get that skill and experience you're at far greater risk of turning your gun into something that looks like a half melted bar of soap.

    You've read all the suggestions. But you're simply fooling yourself if you think there's some sort of magic pill or short cut to doing it right.

    The best suggestion would be to work on some scraps of stainless steel other than your gun. Go around to shops in your area that make stuff from stainless with a 6 pack in hand. Show up near closing and ask for a few scraps of various bits of tubing and flat stock. Take it home and scuff it with coarser papers to simulate the original brushed finish. Then try whatever method you want to reach your final desired polish. That way you're not risking the guns themselves.

    And try a bit of tubing and a piece of flat using the sandpapers with backing blocks as suggested. Work them down to a nice mirror that looks like the image you see when shaving in the morning. Then try the same thing with a buffer and compare.
     
  14. WC145

    WC145 Member

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    Following up on my post, here are before and after pics of a Detonics CombatMaster and a Clark Meltdown Colt 1991A1 Compact that I had professionally polished/refinished. Like I said, if you really want a mirror finish you're better off paying for someone to do it right.

    14862.jpg
    SDC11371.jpg

    SDC11661.jpg
    SDC12065.jpg
     
  15. bluetopper

    bluetopper Member

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    Nothing prettier than an unmarred, unpolished brushed stainless Ruger.

    If you want a pimp gun, get a nickel one.
     
  16. Driftwood Johnson

    Driftwood Johnson Member

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    BC Rider is correct. Polishing metal is no different than sanding wood, the only thing different is the material. If you start with a rough surface, which is what a matte surface is, you first have to remove everything down to the bottom of the pits. Starting with a mild abrasive will only remove the material above the bottom of the pits, that's why you still see the roughness. Starting with the coarsest abrasive removes material quickly down to the bottom of the pits. Then going to progressively finer abrasives will remove the scratches left behind by the coarser abrasive. You go progressively finer until you achieve the polish you desire. But starting with something too light never removes the original surface roughness.

    Of course I completely disagree with needing to polish guns that much, it is too easy for the amateur to round over features that should be left sharp and too easy to dish out holes.

    But they are your guns.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
  17. ID-shooting

    ID-shooting Member

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    Be carefull with the buffer wheel suggestions. I had an old Unkle Henry knife the an ex-gf spilled soda on and didnt say anything. I sand blasted the rust off then used a buffing wheel to try to buff out the pits. Got it too hot and the blade lost the tempering. Now I have a really shiny knife that won't hold an edge.
     
  18. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    All the "Be careful" messages above are exactly why I choose to hand polish only, and just be happy with the shine I have given them.

    If I wanted more, I'd take it to a pro.
     
  19. CraigC
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    CraigC Member

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    A buffing wheel will only make a mess, it won't cut through Ruger's utilitarian finish. It should only be used for the final shine, if that. BCRider's post is correct. The only way to do it right is to start low and use progressively finer grits of wet-or-dry. Preferably done wet.


    Beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. I despise the way Ruger finishes their stainless guns. The brushed finish guns have swirls going in every direction. FA's are okay because they're expertly polished in one direction. The polished Vaqueros are done in a tumbler and it's obvious.
     
  20. donut132

    donut132 Member

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    after reading all the suggestions and actually looking at it.... i've decided I can not do a good enough job and would devalue my gun, nor do I want to drop $50 to get it professionally done. Ill just keep hand polishing it see how far that can take me-
     
  21. ApacheCoTodd

    ApacheCoTodd Member

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    Yes you can "get them polished enough".

    You already have. They look pretty nice to me.
     
  22. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    Wow. $50? Really? That sounds like a bargain to me. I have often spent more and have nothing to show for it (but a hangover).

    If I wanted a shiny (not shiney, not shinny) revolver and a "pro" was willing to do it for $50, I'd be awfully tempted to let him have a go.

    Besides, it's only a Ruger. Not like you'd be messing up a P&Red S&W. :)
     
  23. skidder

    skidder Member

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    Beauty can sometimes only be in the "eye of the beholder".:neener:
    Some of us really like the look of a classic Ruger.


    SpeedServ_zpsa45049ef.gif
     
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