Having a firearm professionally blued is expensive–and for good reason. It is a lot of work. A poorly maintained firearm can fail at an important moment, costing you that trophy buck or resulting in injury or death from a misfire that fails to stop a charging animal. While bluing may seem to be all for appearance, it protects your firearm’s surface from pitting and oxidation.
1. Disassemble your firearm. If this is the first time you have ever taken your firearm apart, lay each piece on a sheet of poster board, as if it were an exploded diagram. This will make it easier to reassemble later.
2. Don wrap-around eye protection. Open windows and turn on a fan or work outside with the garage or shop door open. Clean all parts thoroughly with acetone on a cleaning rag, inside and outside. Use pipe cleaners and your bore brush to get into all holes and other hard-to-reach places.
Bob Moloney Jr. of Miracle Products International recommends: “If the weapon is extremely dirty, use a hair dryer to heat the metal and open the pores before degreasing. If after applying the bluing, you see spotting, or light areas, try changing to another degreaser. Some synthetics cannot be cut by all solvents. If you are using an acetone, switch to a keytone, if you’re using CitriGun, try switching to the PVC pipe cleaner, etc…No solvent or cleaner will remove 100% of the synthetics 100% of the time.”
3. Rub all pieces with cold gun blue on a polishing cloth, until the finish seems a little darker than your desired final color. According to gunsmith Jon Moran: “I rub the bluing on as if I were polishing brass. Firm pressure and scrub it on. Pressure helps keep the application even and reduces the spotting.”
4. Submerge all parts in a baking soda and water bath, using one large box of baking soda for every two gallons of water.
5. Dry all parts with paper towels and clean the parts with penetrating oil. Allow penetrating oil to dry completely and clean all parts again with gun oil. Reassemble your firearm.