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#594894 04/02/21 12:18 PM
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What would you budget to polish a freckled set of sxs barrels and have them rust blued? I'm looking at a sxs that is in fairly good condition other than the freckling, and I'd consider having the work done if I can get the cost of the purchase and the reblue into a reasonable amount. I know I'll be a bit underwater, but I'd like to know how far before I leap.

Thanks.

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Just how bad is the freckling? If it is a gun that you plan to use a lot, maybe accept it as-is and save some money. Obviously, it's bothering you, though. What is it?
JR


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God bless America, long live the Republic.
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John:

It's not terrible, more cosmetic than actually pitted, but just one of those things that would annoy me every time I picked the gun up. The case colors have probably been redone, as they are very nice and the stock has a better figure than usually seen on guns in this price range, although the head has been pinned, but that's nicely done. It is a European gun and the swivels have been removed, but I'd fill the holes with headless screws and call it good or reinstall a set of swivels.

Rem

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It's been awhile since I've priced a rust blue from a truly good practitioner of the trade, but I'm guessing $350 or so if the prep work isn't too bad. If this is a field-grade gun, I would leave it alone.
JR

Last edited by John Roberts; 04/02/21 01:20 PM.

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Call Kirk Merrington and ask him. The labor is the largest part of any project, the bluing costs will depend on the hours needed for the polishing prep work. This day & age I would say the low side would be $500.00 with a high of around $1000.00 + or - for the bore clean-up & complete rust blue.

dogon #594928 04/03/21 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by dogon
Call Kirk Merrington and ask him. The labor is the largest part of any project, the bluing costs will depend on the hours needed for the polishing prep work. This day & age I would say the low side would be $500.00 with a high of around $1000.00 + or - for the bore clean-up & complete rust blue.

I looked, but couldn't find anyplace where the OP said the bores needed a clean-up. A freckled, but not pitted surface would likely require minimal polishing. The total cost of materials for rust bluing a single set of double barrels (once you have the boiling tank, burner, damp box, etc.) is typically less than $10.00 to $12.00 for the chemicals, abrasives, steel wool, etc.. Most of the cost is in the hand labor for removing the old finish, polishing, applying rusting solution, boiling, carding, etc.

I do my own rust bluing, so haven't checked prices for quite a while. There are a number of practitioners who list their price on the internet. It seems that nowadays, prices start at around $250- $300.00 and go to around $400.00 for a standard finish, which would typically be a polish no finer than 320 grit. So it appears that John Roberts estimate was right in the ballpark. Naturally, there will be additional cost for dent removal, repairing loose ribs, or a higher level of polish. And it will cost more to properly prepare and blue a high grade gun that has engraved breeches and other detail that must be preserved. It would be wise to do some research and/or get references to make certain that you do not hire some jack-ball who would power buff lettering or engraving, and ruin your barrels.

There are a few practitioners who make some wild claims. A couple said that slow rust bluing is "a lost art." It certainly is not a lost art. Lots of folks do it, but there is a bit of a learning curve. It is more efficient, thus cheaper, to blue several sets at a time. It does get tougher to achieve a glossy finish. In fact, many say that is impossible, and a total waste of time to polish beyond 320 grit. And it gets harder (and more expensive) to properly do Damascus with the correct color and contrast. As with all aspects of gunsmithing, some practitioners are better than others. There are some who do not list a price, and you must request a quote.


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I have seen mention of bottle blues that work pretty well, but don't remember what they were. That would be my first choice to keep the price low.

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Rust bluing, from what I have learned over the many years, is not real difficult once the prep work is done, and that is a BIG thing. Just as in stock finishing, everything done to prep for finishing determines the final product.

I have seen rust blue jobs that were so thin it could have been said they were not even halfway finished. Light grey with sanding underneath still showing. Others were so rich and dark, regardless of hue, they had depth and patina that shouted.

It seems that some doers of this art do not use the best rusting solution, do not let them rust long enough, do not boil in clean distilled water properly, and do not card the barrels correctly to achieve the depth of color that really shows a true high-quality end product, but that's only a guess having never done it myself. I just know that when you've seen it done right, you know it, and vice versa.
JR


Be strong, be of good courage.
God bless America, long live the Republic.
keith #594954 04/04/21 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by keith
Originally Posted by dogon
Call Kirk Merrington and ask him. The labor is the largest part of any project, the bluing costs will depend on the hours needed for the polishing prep work. This day & age I would say the low side would be $500.00 with a high of around $1000.00 + or - for the bore clean-up & complete rust blue.

I looked, but couldn't find anyplace where the OP said the bores needed a clean-up. A freckled, but not pitted surface would likely require minimal polishing. The total cost of materials for rust bluing a single set of double barrels (once you have the boiling tank, burner, damp box, etc.) is typically less than $10.00 to $12.00 for the chemicals, abrasives, steel wool, etc.. Most of the cost is in the hand labor for removing the old finish, polishing, applying rusting solution, boiling, carding, etc.

I do my own rust bluing, so haven't checked prices for quite a while. There are a number of practitioners who list their price on the internet. It seems that nowadays, prices start at around $250- $300.00 and go to around $400.00 for a standard finish, which would typically be a polish no finer than 320 grit. So it appears that John Roberts estimate was right in the ballpark. Naturally, there will be additional cost for dent removal, repairing loose ribs, or a higher level of polish. And it will cost more to properly prepare and blue a high grade gun that has engraved breeches and other detail that must be preserved. It would be wise to do some research and/or get references to make certain that you do not hire some jack-ball who would power buff lettering or engraving, and ruin your barrels.

There are a few practitioners who make some wild claims. A couple said that slow rust bluing is "a lost art." It certainly is not a lost art. Lots of folks do it, but there is a bit of a learning curve. It is more efficient, thus cheaper, to blue several sets at a time. It does get tougher to achieve a glossy finish. In fact, many say that is impossible, and a total waste of time to polish beyond 320 grit. And it gets harder (and more expensive) to properly do Damascus with the correct color and contrast. As with all aspects of gunsmithing, some practitioners are better than others. There are some who do not list a price, and you must request a quote.

I stand corrected after re-reading the original post. I would think $500.00 would be on the high side for a good polish clean-up & re-blue.


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