My trusty Remington 870 has
been through a lot
here at Brownells since I purchased it. I have disassembled,
cold blued, reassembled, and disassembled again . . . more
than any shotgun
often goes through in a lifetime of use. And, having heard a
Bob Brownell starting this great company offering hot salts
I thought now would be a great time to see how the
traditional, hot bluing
salts method is done, and how it compares to some of the
I’ve been working with this past year. I figured I’d get an
look to my shotgun – and this month’s
WebBench™ article completed
at the same time.
That’s when I spoke to one of our gunsmith techs here, David
and asked him what it would involve to re-blue my shotgun.
He looked me
in the eye, and said, “You are going to get an education.” We
to fire up the bluing tanks on an unusually cool Iowa August
he would give me my education in the art of hot salts
Before the advent of the modern solutions for bluing guns,
giving a firearm
that unique, blue-black finish was an exhaustive procedure
MANY hours of intense, hands-on labor. The gunsmith owes a
debt of gratitude
to Bob Brownell, who revolutionized bluing with the
introduction of Oxynate
No. 7. This solution allows the gunsmith to blue a
of guns with significantly less work. Most importantly, the
is repeatable with consistent results that will make the
in the work they are doing. The blued finish is relatively
easy to achieve. It involves seven basic steps:
1.Clean the properly polished gun and parts in Dicro-Clean 909™.
2.Rinse and scrub in cold, clean water.
3.Immerse in Oxynate No. 7 solution for 15 to 30 minutes.
4.Rinse and scrub in cold, clean water.
5.Rinse in boiling water.
6.Immerse in Water Displacing Oil.
7.Apply optional “after-treatments”, if desired.
David and I started our bluing training
with some safety precautions. Hot bluing salts are very caustic and
must be handled with caution. Proper ventilation, eye protection,
skin protection and fire protection are NOT optional. They are
absolute necessities and CANNOT be overlooked. Read the
directions booklet that comes with the pail of Oxynate No. 7
carefully and make sure you understand everything before you
begin. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact the
Technical Support Staff at Brownells.
After reviewing and following the safety procedures, we began
the tank containing the Oxynate No. 7
. It is
to break up the surface salts and the material that has settled
to the bottom
of the tank. Once this was done, David lit the burners on the
for the Dicro-Clean
Oxynate No. 7
tank, and the boiling water
As we waited for the tanks to heat to the proper temperature,
David told me that, in his opinion, bluing is one of the more
profitable areas of gunsmithing. As we looked at the parts of six
guns that were to be blued (our co-workers found out what we
were doing and chipped in to add to our workload), he suggested
that what we were looking at represented about $400-500 worth
of work. It seemed to me that one could make up the cost of the
bluing equipment in a relatively short time. David confirmed this by
saying that once people find out you can blue a gun and do a
great job, they will “beat a path to your door.”
The Brownells bluing room utilizes the full Bluing
. For those of you who might not have a lot of
room and still
want to blue your own parts, you might consider the Brownells
Roll-Around Compact Bluing System
which will handle up
to 18” barrels
and rolls out of the way when you’re not using it.