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Old 01-09-2016, 10:56 PM
pappa
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Old Colt Blue



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I have always thought the old Colt BLUE bluing to be truly beautiful.
Even people I know who favored it never could achieve that color in their work.
I know rust bluing can be spectacular, but don't know if that was part of it.
Anyone know how it was done?
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  #2  
Old 01-10-2016, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappa View Post
I have always thought the old Colt BLUE bluing to be truly beautiful.
Even people I know who favored it never could achieve that color in their work.
I know rust bluing can be spectacular, but don't know if that was part of it.
Anyone know how it was done?
Don't know how accurate this information is.....but, could be true:

" The big difference is in the hand polishing that Colt did.
Colt always made their own polishing wheels from large wood disks, covered with leather.
They polished the metal with much finer polishing media than anyone else did, and this gave the final finish a deep blue mirror-like shine that was unique to Colt.

"While guns like the later Detective Special and Trooper Mark III had a very glossy blue finish, only the Python and Custom Shop special order guns had the "Royal Blue" finish, which was always known inside the factory as "the Python finish".

Happily, Colt STILL can do a Royal Blue Python finish or re-finish on pistols, and even offer re-stamping services for faint or over-polished stamps and Colt logos.
Recent re-finished Colt Pythons have come back looking like the old Pythons of the 1950's with that deep blue mirror look."
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  #3  
Old 02-23-2016, 09:10 PM
matchgrade
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pappa View Post
I have always thought the old Colt BLUE bluing to be truly beautiful.
Even people I know who favored it never could achieve that color in their work.
I know rust bluing can be spectacular, but don't know if that was part of it.
Anyone know how it was done?
I read a great article in an old Colt collector book that believe it or not I found in the Public library. I guess they figured it was harmless since it had a black powder revolver on the cover. Anyway this book was published in 1940 as I recall and featured a truly fascinating account of a tour of the Colt factory circa 1939. The author followed a revolver through the entire production line from raw materials to test firing and packaging. Bluing was accomplished via heat and smoke: they placed a rack of 8 revolvers into a gas furnace along with sperm whale!! oil. The combustion of the oil produced a mass of smoke which along with the high temperature colored the steel. Cylinder holes, bore, it all got blued. The rack was pulled and quenched in oil. One can only imagine the smell and smoke in the bluing shop but it did produce a beautiful finish! Winchester used a similar process pre-war and called it "machine bluing" Smith and Wesson called it "carbonia bluing". This was all prior to the introduction of chemical salt hot dip bluing which is still the process used today albeit with safer chemicals.
Rust bluing is a completely different process. I know Winchester used it for rifle and shotgun barrels, primarily pre-war but don't know about Colt. It produces a velvety, silvery gray - black - blue finish, said to be the most durable type of bluing but very labor intensive, $$$$.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:53 PM
eveled
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I have a revolver with this stamp on it, it is very faint. I wonder if they can restamp it.

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  #5  
Old 10-01-2019, 10:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matchgrade View Post
I read a great article in an old Colt collector book that believe it or not I found in the Public library. I guess they figured it was harmless since it had a black powder revolver on the cover. Anyway this book was published in 1940 as I recall and featured a truly fascinating account of a tour of the Colt factory circa 1939. The author followed a revolver through the entire production line from raw materials to test firing and packaging. Bluing was accomplished via heat and smoke: they placed a rack of 8 revolvers into a gas furnace along with sperm whale!! oil. The combustion of the oil produced a mass of smoke which along with the high temperature colored the steel. Cylinder holes, bore, it all got blued. The rack was pulled and quenched in oil. One can only imagine the smell and smoke in the bluing shop but it did produce a beautiful finish! Winchester used a similar process pre-war and called it "machine bluing" Smith and Wesson called it "carbonia bluing". This was all prior to the introduction of chemical salt hot dip bluing which is still the process used today albeit with safer chemicals.
Rust bluing is a completely different process. I know Winchester used it for rifle and shotgun barrels, primarily pre-war but don't know about Colt. It produces a velvety, silvery gray - black - blue finish, said to be the most durable type of bluing but very labor intensive, $$$$.
Very interesting
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  #6  
Old 10-11-2019, 05:46 PM
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Colt used the open hearth charcoal blue method til late 1911/early 1912.
Labor intensive, parts were individualy covered in charcoal embers, the heat of which will produce the heat temper color of deep blue (800/830F) There is more to the process than just covering the parts in the embers. Occasional rubbing down to even up the color and burnish the parts. Some methods use chalk as a burnishing agent. Some call for a rub down with oil.


In 1912 the company signed on to use a more effecient and somewhat automated process offered by the American Gas Furnace Co.
This is the so called Carbona Oil Bluing process (sometimes called Carbonia Oil Process). That for the name of the proprietary Oil used in the bluing process.

(The very earliest of the M1911 45acp production pistols (1911/early 1912) were charcoal blued.
Place an early prod 1911 that is orig charcoal blued next to a slightly later one that is Carbona Blued and you can tell the slight difference in texture and color.)

The rotating gas fired furnaces (several were used at one time) were 'charged' with a mixture of bone charcoal and the Carbona oil.
The polished and cleaned parts were wired into place inside the rotating drum of the furnace (think of a cement mixer.)
The charcoal & oil 'charge' mix rotated with the drum as it heated again to the 800/830F range. The drum was sealed except for a tiny exit port to allow the smoke from the smoldering charge to force air(oxygen) out of the drum and not allow any outside air back inside.
The idea was to produce the blue/black oxide finish in an outside atmosphere free environment.

If outside air leaks in, the finish is spoiled with reddish haze and other blemishes.
Unclean parts, oil especially causes tiny white specks.

The rotating drum slowly scoops the fine charcoal charge and drops it over the parts as the process is on going This both acts to evenly distribute heat and also burnish the parts to even the color.
All the things that hand labor had to accomplish in the older Charcoal Blue open hearth process.

A couple hours of running and the process is complete. The parts are allowed to cool on their own before opening.

Even with careful work and prep, some color mismatch will happen especially when different heat treatment of parts is in play.

Winchester used this same process up till 1939 when it switched over to hot salt (DuLite) bluing. They had problems with things like matching color on the Model 42 side plate with the frame and the Model 21 trigger plate with it's frame.

Small parts like pins, screws and the like were often blued in bulk canisters in the drum but an oil like common Linseed was used to save $$ and a separate Furnace used for such things.

Most factorys switched to HotSalt by or during WW2.
S&W supposedly still used the Amer GAs Furnace system into the 1970's on some of their premium revolvers, but in looking at them I think they are simply hot salt blued.
Carbona Blue and Charcoal Blue have a very definate look to them and is unmistakeable once you've worked with it.
It wears quite differently that hot salt blue too.

Most all the factorys reserved rust blue for long gun bbls and SxS shotgun bbls. The latter becasue of their soft soldered assembly method.
Though Winchester did rust blue some early production Model 61 .22 pump rifle frames. Perhaps they did some others as well.

The only long gun bbl I can think of off hand that was charcoal blued at a factory was the Henry Rifle bbl. Probably others though.

Some muzzle loader rifle builders are now reviving open pit/hearth charcoal bluing on bbl's with some good results.

We were getting good results back in the early 90's with a form of Carbona bluing just starting to try and bring it back for restoration work. There are a few shops that offer it now.
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  #7  
Old 10-11-2019, 07:26 PM
NVaVettes
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2152hq . . .

. . . great post, very informative!



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