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Clean glass bead blaster. It will come out looking like new, unless you want a high polish finish. You will get a beautiful subtle finish that won't show fingerprints or dust.
 

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I find that the finer grades of Scotchbrite, grey and white (available in good paint supply stores) work pretty well to blend scratches if you're not going for a full refinish.
 

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A full bead blast of the slide and frame takes less than fifteen minutes once the gun is disassembled. Try doing that with a scratch pad, let alone getting the fine consistent results on the whole gun.
 

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A full bead blast of the slide and frame takes less than fifteen minutes once the gun is disassembled. Try doing that with a scratch pad, let alone getting the fine consistent results on the whole gun.
But that overlooks the fact that Colts can have both bead blasted SS and polished SS on the same pistol.

Fine scratches on polished is simple; hand polish with Flitz.
Heavier scratches on polished; lightly water sand starting with 600 and work you way to 1200, then polish with Flitz.

For bead blasted, I have found a sort of solution by taking a piece of 220 grit sandpaper (the wet-or-dry type) and setting it right on the scratched or marred area.
Then tap the sand paper with something that has a little give to it, like maybe the handle of a screwdriver or the wood handle of a hammer.
Do a little, check often. Works for me.

All bets are off if the SS has a clear finish on it, or has a colored finish on it.
For those situations, live with the cleared SS as is, and for colored finished, try a touch of a similar colored permanent marker if you feel artistic.

The main point to make is that these things are just tools, and tools start looking "used" if you use them for what they were made for.
So if a person wants to have a "perfect" 1911, then always buy two of the same model. Shoot one and store the other one (unfired) so that the guy who gets it after you die will get to have all the fun with it instead of you. :)
 
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