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  #1  
Old 09-05-2021, 11:10 AM
fewfeathers
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Colt New Frontier question



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I just scored a Colt New Frontier. Still suffering the ten day wait before being allowed to pick it up.
I have two questions:
Is the frame case colored or case hardened?
There are spots of light surface rust. What's the best way to remove rust without diminishing the coloring?
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  #2  
Old 09-05-2021, 01:32 PM
Bullet Bob
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Case hardened, not colored. Whatta ya think it is, a Ruger (just kidding around, don't hurt me)?

If there's rust on the case hardening, pictures would help. You could try using a heavy oil, and lightly rubbing with the finest steel or brass wool you can buy. This is an opportunty for internet gunsmith experts to say that using steel wool can leave micro fibers in the metal to rust.

Yes, I'm in a capricious mood today.
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Old 09-05-2021, 04:22 PM
NVaVettes
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Use light oil and Big 45 pad.

https://www.big45metalcleaner.com/

(lots of RFC posts about Big 45 pad.)
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  #4  
Old 09-05-2021, 05:03 PM
fewfeathers
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Thanks, I'm OK with moods. I cop a mood once in a while myself.
I had Ruger in mind when I asked the question. I haven't been able to find an old Colt ad to clarify one way or another. I don't know if one is more problematic than the other to maintain. I know that colors from case hardening fade over time. I don't know what causes it. Whether it's chemical or wear, I don't want to accelerate it.
I don't plan to use anything more abrasive than soft cloth.
I won't be able to take photos until I pick it up. The rust is very light and may not show in photos anyway. It' a beautiful little piece. I plan to spiff it up like new and and then use it-a lot!
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Old 09-05-2021, 05:12 PM
Highmiles
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0000 steel wool won’t hurt it.
Sunlight has the most effect on making case colors fade.
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  #6  
Old 09-05-2021, 05:44 PM
fewfeathers
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Thanks to the posts here on RFC, I've gotten a lot of good use out of Big45 pads.
I've not seen anything on using it on CCH. Was thinking of using it, with oil of course.
Maybe, I'm being over cautious. I'd like to hear from folks that have, use and maintain CCH guns. What works and what mistakes to avoid.
I appreciate all input. RFC is a tremendous resource. I visit and learn something new almost daily.
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Old 09-06-2021, 09:51 AM
azshot
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You will get a lot of bogus information if you ask strangers on the internet.

"Color case hardening" is the old term. So it's known for both it's colors, and for the very thin hardening effect on the surface. It was needed with cast iron and mild steel frames of the 1800s, but Colts since then continued doing it just for tradition.

You WILL damage color case hardening with any abrasive, including the proverbial "big pad" everyone always bandies about. The colors of case hardening are only a few thousandths thick, even rubbing them often with an oiled cloth will fade them. Holding the frame in your hand will also wear the colors down to a faded gray. Sunlight won't hurt them - rubbing them will.

Trust me, if you try to take steel or bronze wool to any surface rust on your case colored frame, you will wear that part down to muted colors/gray colors/white metal in that order. Don't do it. I saw a very senior gunsmith try to "clean the shipping grease" off a brand new Colt SAA I was considering buying last year. He sprayed some carb cleaner on that spot and rubbed it behind the counter before I could stop him. He handed it back, and what was indeed just a surface smudge of grease or oxidation, was now an "eraser mark" to white metal. I passed.

I've been collecting guns for many decades, you don't want to try to buff or clean case hardening.

Last edited by azshot; 09-06-2021 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 09-06-2021, 11:22 AM
Highmiles
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You will get a lot of bogus information on the internet if you ask strangers.
Lol, sure do!
From Turnbull restoration, who know a little about color case hardening:
“Color case hardening will degrade over time from exposure to sunlight and wear.”
P.S. Turnbull did the case color on my SAAs, and after 17 years they look like new in spite of the fact they have thousands of rounds through them from practicing and shooting SASS. They are kept out of the sun in a safe when not in use. As for wear, kept oiled and not abused.
Case hardening can be protected from wear by having a coat of lacquer sprayed over it. Nothing can protect it from UV rays except keeping it out of sunlight.

Last edited by Highmiles; 09-06-2021 at 11:40 AM.
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2021, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highmiles View Post
0000 steel wool won’t hurt it.
Sunlight has the most effect on making case colors fade.
The jury is still out on if sunlight hurts. I could care less what Turnbull says, they have their own problems. But there have been studies that show sunlight does not hurt case colors, as well as other experts that say it does not. If sunlight did, how do you explain the good case hardening remaining on places that are not touched, like the back of a hammer? It's in the sunlight like the rest of the gun. It's not rubbed on.

You want to address what YOU said though, about steel wool not hurting case colors?

To the OP: Someone could try an experiment on case colors to test the bogus claim. Take the grip strap and trigger guard off. Then go at a spot that is normally covered with steel wool. But just so you know, it will hurt it. Simple rubbing it with your hands will wear it off and "fade" it, which is really the only cause. You can put an umbrella over your gun at the range, or hide it in a dark safe, but it's superstition. If you just touch the stocks, and very lightly keep oil on the frame, it will retain its colors for generations.

Last edited by azshot; 09-07-2021 at 02:07 PM.
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2021, 07:06 PM
Highmiles
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azshot View Post
The jury is still out on if sunlight hurts. I could care less what Turnbull says, they have their own problems. But there have been studies that show sunlight does not hurt case colors, as well as other experts that say it does not. If sunlight did, how do you explain the good case hardening remaining on places that are not touched, like the back of a hammer? It's in the sunlight like the rest of the gun. It's not rubbed on.

You want to address what YOU said though, about steel wool not hurting case colors?

To the OP: Someone could try an experiment on case colors to test the bogus claim. Take the grip strap and trigger guard off. Then go at a spot that is normally covered with steel wool. But just so you know, it will hurt it. Simple rubbing it with your hands will wear it off and "fade" it, which is really the only cause. You can put an umbrella over your gun at the range, or hide it in a dark safe, but it's superstition. If you just touch the stocks, and very lightly keep oil on the frame, it will retain its colors for generations.
Color case hardening, done correctly reaches a depth of .004 into the metal. If 0000 steel wool with oil lubricant won’t remove the bluing on a barrel, it is certainly not going to remove .004 thousandths of metal off a frame, on a one time basis for surface rust.
As far as UV light damaging case colors, I have never known anyone in the industry to dispute it, and would be interested in any reputable source other than you to dispute it.
As to Doug Turnbull…. Really? You must be a pretty authoritative figure to dismiss the “go to guy for Colt firearms” when they wanted premium case colors on their firearms.
I don’t really care about your replies, other than your personal insult thrown at me, which I tried to ignore, but I would hate for you to mislead the owner who posted. He deserves better.
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  #11  
Old 09-08-2021, 07:58 AM
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I was told once to try a nickel (has to be a pre 1965) with oil. Use the edge to kind of scrape the rust off. It worked well for me and didn't effect the bluing, but I never tried it on case coloring. Now I keep a couple nickels in my cleaning kit.
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  #12  
Old 09-13-2021, 06:18 PM
fewfeathers
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Thanks for the replies. A lot of good info. Here's what I conclude:
There are three things that damage case colors. UV, chemical and mechanical.
I have no doubt UV has an effect. It effects everything. It makes this world what we know. On it's own, I think it takes years or even decades to make a noticeable difference. However it definitely accelerates any chemical influence.
Chemical: Anything corrosive or acidic will attack it. Especially combined with O2.
Mechanical: Anything more abrasive than a butterfly wing will wear away at the surface. Even the finest metal polish wears away the surface. Where does the black residue you wipe off come from?
So, here's my plan: Soak and blot to get the bulk of it until it's even with the surface.
I fear if removed completely, it will expose white metal. The patina left behind will blend with the case coloring. I will work it until it feels smooth and even with the surface. I've read good things about wax on blued finishes and wood. However, it doesn't seem to work so well on browned metal. So, I'll keep it oiled. Which shouldn't be a problem as seeing and handling this little gun is more comforting than chicken noodle soup.
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Old 09-17-2021, 02:32 PM
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Welcome

I'm using my phone and trying to figure out this format...

But if you are new to toys...keep in mind rubbing/polishing it may remove any coatings/finish.......ECT...and over time too!!,

Polishing is an ABRASIVE PROCESS....NO MATTER HOW FINE!!!

If you are going to buy/collect toys you may want to decide how and what you want to do with them.

A gun has been shot at the factory...so putting some down range isn't going to make much difference...and a used gun more so.

And if you want it as a collector piece...it's a start....unless you have the box and other stuff ..it maybe "just a nice? shooter" to some.

But if you decide to try and remove the rust...chances are anyone will be able to tell since you may not follow any "grain"...and you will probably see a "buffed" spot it or spots/areas.

In the end it's your gun to do as you please too...just understand your results may not be what you really want....think about that crappy paint job on a car that tried to "match" the old oxidized color ...trying and failing looks worse than just painting it any color.

I have/had alot of colts with the cc and some were real perty and some were really muted or gray/patinaed....and if it has not been mentioned ..they made some ALL BLUE too. This was due to the sucky cc process and so the blued them...

And you should keep in mind that things want to go back to the state they came from...so steel to iron ore...or rust. All you are doing is postponing the end.

It's my opinion that the cc will eventually fade over time. Be it from sun light or all or part of the light spectrum...who knows...

If you want it nice and purty...then shoot the snot out of it until you are board and then have Turnbull do his mojo if he's interested...but be ready to open you wallet big time. And if you are not aware of his work...get moving ..

And if you are going to collect more Colts or toys look at increasing your reference library and start reading what you are going to spend your time & money on.

There is a book on Colt SAA 22s by Wilkerson. He did alot of research on them before his death...and the book covers all of the variations , markings, boxes..and other stuff so you can be an informed buyer. And yes, you can always go online and ask this or that...but ask yourself..will anyone be awake or monitoring ..maybe a good deal will walk away while you are asking online.
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  #14  
Old 09-21-2021, 04:15 PM
noelekal
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I'm another for whom it's been proven through observation that steel wool degrades case hardening. If you value the remaining colors in the surfaces don't do steel wool. Chore Boy copper pads, I just don't know. I long ago quit trying to improve impaired case hardened surfaces before I learned of the wonders of copper wool.

Copper wool can be helpful to remove active oxidation on blued steel surfaces if one is not overly ambitious. Don't think I'd venture to try it on case hardening.

Here's the Colt New Frontier that was my dad's when I was a young teen.

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Old 09-23-2021, 11:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyNut View Post
I was told once to try a nickel (has to be a pre 1965) with oil. Use the edge to kind of scrape the rust off. It worked well for me and didn't effect the bluing, but I never tried it on case coloring. Now I keep a couple nickels in my cleaning kit.
Similar to what I was told, but with the variation to use a real copper penny. Put a little oil on the rust spot and use the edge to scrape the rust off. I have used this on bluing. I have not tried it on case hardening.
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