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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone know the proper name for the characteristic bright blue finish on old Colt handguns?

I have done black oxide and Herter's Belgian Blue and Brownells Oxpho Blue cold blue, but even over a high Matchless finish none of them have that special color. Is it what is refered to as "Charcoal blue" or is it something else? I am thinking that it is not done much anymore because of the chemicals involved but I don't remember any more about it. Thanks
 

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You mean pre WW II guns? That was the Carbona finish. Polished parts were degreased in hot gasoline, and placed in drums (in racks so they didn't rattle around.) The drums were loaded with a mix of bone charcoal and a proprietary primer, heated to 650 degrees and rotated to distribute the heat and gases. The charcoal was not to touch the parts, but just tumble around the rim of the drum, slowly oxidizing in the air left behind after the primer burned. Treatment time was five hours. See Haven and Belden for more description. I can see several reasons they don't do that anymore.

Doug Turnbull offers Carbona/charcoal bluing. He says it is the same finish as on prewar Colts.

Cimarron offers a charcoal blue on their SAA repros. That finish is pretty, looks like blue glass, but is very fragile, and wears off under a hard look. It is obviously not the same as the Carbona process.

[This message has been edited by Jim Watson (edited 08-22-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, so much for setting up a little home bluing set up in my 10 x 10 workshop! Thanks for the info, it is much appreciated.

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I checked the website, very reasonable for what he is doing. Thx again.

[This message has been edited by RonS (edited 08-23-2001).]
 
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