The Finer Points of Parkerizing

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Feb 16, 2020
I've had bad luck with blued guns kept in storage, living on the coast with high humidity and salt air condensation etc.
Without exception, even blued guns that were fairly well looked after, just oiling wasn't enough and I ended up with the steel being attacked by moisture and rust sneaking in and doing damage.

I bought a parkerizing kit and ended up finding out that it's pretty easy to get a fairly nice finish.

I have some auto engine parts that are parkerized and on the parts that are parkerized there has never been an issue with rust, but those are cast iron parts.

So what I'm wondering is: Can I expect parkerizing to offer the same rust protection when used over steel as cast iron?


Here is a 1911 slide that I parkerized over a surface that was finished to a 400 grit semi polished surface - If that surface would be more rust resistant in storage than bluing, I would repeat that treatment on my remaining blued guns.
Or does parkerizing need to be done over a sand blasted surface to be effectively moisture resistant?

Thanks for any input on this
Happy Holidays!
Sand blasting helps the Parkerizing take hold but isn't required for a good finish. And you did a really good job on that slide. Parkerizing was used for just about 100 years on military firearms before better finishes like nitrocarburizing were invented. There are many M1 Garands and M14s that have Parkerizing jobs that only start to rust through after decades of neglect. Just remember there are some things that can't be parked. Stainless steel (barrels, some bushings etc), brass, aluminum etc. I would also recommend a good bluing remover to strip the bluing off the metal you want to refinish. Brownells and the like have tons of products but BC Blue and Rust remover works really well too and much cheaper than others. One thing of note with this stuff, it is quite noxious so make sure your work area is ventilated and wear gloves.
I like Parkerizing, but it has to be kept oiled to be effective at preventing rust as it is porous and moisture will absorb if the part is not saturated with oil.

I have friends who have kept blued firearms (for sharks) on their salt water fishing boats for years with no issues. They kept them heavily paste waxed with Johnson's or Renaissance wax and stored in large plastic bags. Cleaned, inspected, and rewaxed 2 times a year. RIG grease is also great for rust prevention in storage.
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