The Best Way To Strip & Polish Gun Metal

Stripping and polishing your gun’s metal can improve its appearance and value.

Gunmetal can lose its luster due to routine carrying and use. A poor finish or myriad surface scratches can significantly reduce the value of a gun. Stripping the gun’s finish and polishing out its flaws can improve both a gun’s worth and appearance. Save gun stripping and polishing for winter months or inclement weather, when it’s difficult to get outside and use your gun.


Stripping the Gun

1. Disassemble the gun completely and separate all of its parts. Place the parts you’ll strip and polish into the plastic gun-parts box. Put all other pieces in the zip-lock bag.

2. Apply Naval Jelly or another chemical stripper to the gun parts you’re refinishing. Leave the stripper on for five to 15 minutes. Leaving it on longer can cause permanent dark streaks on your gunmetal.

3. Rinse off the Naval Jelly with water and dry your gunmetal. Stripping the gun’s finish will reveal imperfections, such as scratches and pits, in the metal, so you can concentrate on polishing the areas that need the most work.

Polishing the Gun

4. Clamp the gun piece by piece into the vise, bracing each side of the gun part with the wood inserts lined with cork. The inserts protect the gun’s metal from scratches or dents from the vise.

5. Wrap the small sanding block with a cloth-backed abrasive strip.

6. Apply kerosene to a small portion of the gun part you’re polishing. The kerosene will help prevent metal bits from clogging the abrasive strip.

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7. Sand each gun part with the abrasive strips. Start with the 120-grit strip and move to finer grits as needed, up to 400-grit strips.

8. Wrap a piece of abrasive strip around the wooden dowel to polish the gun’s cylinder flutes. Rub the flutes with the strip-covered dowel.

9. Reassemble the gun after you’ve finished polishing its parts with abrasive strips.