Rust blue?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by sambarhunter, Apr 10, 2018.

  1. sambarhunter

    sambarhunter AH Enthusiast

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    I was offered rust blueing for a BA rifle and its just been completed instead of the intended Cerakote.I okay-ed it as it was a one stop shop rather than another 1.5 hours of travel to the C man.
    Any opinions on rust blue?
    I pick it up later this week.
     

  2. oldhoward

    oldhoward AH Senior Member

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    Hi, I researched rust bluing a few years back. There are several choices you can make. Color can range from blue to blue black. Finish from dull/matte to highly polished. Different bluing salt will deliver different colors, the degree of polish applied to your parts will determine the dull/matte to high polish finish generally speaking. Try to see examples of the companies work to determine if it what you want. Hope that helps.
     

  3. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Hi Sambarhunter,
    Here is what I know about bluing. First of all if your new bolt action rifle is a high end purchase, you do not want a cerakote finish unless it will be exposed to a wet climate a lot. It is not bluing. Your choice of bluing includes hot blue and rust blue. Rust blue being the nicer and more expensive of the two. You can rust blue any gun, but you cannot hot blue doubles. The heat involved in the process can make the soldering used on double barrels and ribs come apart. So in my opinion cerakote is for ARs and guns going to an Alaska type environment a lot. So I am guessing your BA is for bolt action and rust bluing would be more appropriate unless it will be use in harsh wet climates. One more exception could be if you are talking about bluing or re-bluing a fairly cheap used rifle, you make go with a hot blue to save money.
     
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  4. ChrisG

    ChrisG BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Rust Blue is the way to go! At this point in my life I have probably rust blued about a dozen guns. Rust bluing is superior to hot bluing for a number of reasons.

    Rust bluing requires not heating above 212 degrees and it also doesn't change the internal dimensions of the barrel. It is a slow process of applying a hyper thin layer of acid to the thouroughly cleaned surface of the metal which allows the metal to oxidize very quickly. It is then boiled or (in my case) steamed for anywhere from 10-30 minutes. The heat combined with the water turns the red rust that has formed into black magnetite. Magnetite is tougher than the steel beneath it. This entire process is repeated anywhere from 10-20 times depending on the level of coloring desired. Because it is slowly applied and lots of time is involved, a rust blue has more time to penetrate the surface of the metal and produces a beautiful matte luster on the barrel that can't be duplicated!

    Hot or "caustic" bluing is done by immersion in a tank of boiling sodium hydroxide (used to increase the temperature) and a combination of nitrate salts at around 385 degrees. It will blue a rifle in a comparatively short time but the bluing, while in some cases more even and sometimes darker, is not as deep into the steel and therefore, theoretically, not as durable. Hot bluing was developed and used for mass production, not because it is better, but because it was faster and less time=less money. Winchester used to use vast steam rooms to rust blue until the early 1900's when hot bluing was introduced. They could now produce twice as many guns, without all the need for space and steam generation. It also blues the inside of the barrel. As Magnetite takes up slightly more space than steel, it will reduce the internal barrel dimensions by a few ten thousandths. This is a bummer if you have a hand lapped match grade barrel on your gun, because it will mess with that a bit.

    A rust bluing job isn't cheap, but it is worth it! As an aside, if your gunsmith can do it, Nitre Bluing all the screws sets off a rust bluing job beautifully. Somewhere on here I have several pictures of rust blued guns I have done. Check them out if you get a chance.
     

  5. sierraone

    sierraone AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Much better answer and knowledge than I was able to give!!! Where I live $200 for a hot blue and up to $500 for a rust blue depending on firearm!!!
     
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  6. postoak

    postoak BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    Watch a pistol being rust blued here:

     
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  7. sambarhunter

    sambarhunter AH Enthusiast

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    Great detailed reply ChrisG and to the other members thanks also.

    That detail has told me a lot of what I didn't know anything about and I am sort of glad I have gone the rust blue. It was built to be a simple workhorse bolt action (BA) rifle for the bush which btw is often wet! Cal 9.3 x 64 mm

    I pick up a ZKK 600 in 7x64 tomorrow and will take it with me to the gunsmith and if the rust blue on the 9.3 x 6m is to my liking I may even get him to do the same.

    Thanks gents.

    ChrisG all I found were the bear pics.

    https://www.africahunting.com/media/users/chrisg.18344/
     

  8. ChrisG

    ChrisG BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Here is one of the threads I had posted a while back
    https://www.africahunting.com/threads/marlin-336-overhaul.38758/
     
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  9. JTEX

    JTEX AH Veteran

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    This is the method I use, fantastic stuff and a great method.

    http://www.rustblue.com/

    I can do a complete rifle in two days easy, six passes and a beautiful rust blue. And Bob is a great guy to deal with as well.
     

  10. postoak

    postoak BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Enthusiast

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    How do you know which grit sandpaper to use to match the existing polish?
     

  11. ChrisG

    ChrisG BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I usually go with a 320-400 grit. Much finer and the acid doesn't take very well, much coarser and it starts to get very matte and blotchy.
     

  12. GuttormG

    GuttormG AH Veteran

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    Degreases steelwool is often prefered over emery cloth.
     

  13. Butch Lambert

    Butch Lambert AH Member

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    You might consider Melonite, salt bath nitride, if a bolt rifle. Can be done on SS or CM.
    Below is a 40X rimfire as an example of the Melonite. Same as rust blue, finish will depend on the metal finish before treatment. A very good treatment for a CM rifle used in wet or rough conditions.
    [​IMG]
     

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