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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all -

Am getting ready to finish my winter project flintlock rifle, and am wondering about browning it. Have decided on a hot-browning method because cold-browning leaves it too rough, I want a smooth dark-brown satin finish. Can anyone advise for or against any particular solution such as Birchwood Casey Plum Brown, etc? Thanks.
 

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Nobody answered so I guess I'll take a stab. I polish everything I want to brown to a 600 gr finish (usually by hand and go slow to avoid rounding over sharp edges). I degrease a couple of times and then heat the part to about 300 degrees (water sizzling) and liberally apply Birchwood Casey Plum Brown all over the part, making sure the whole area to be browned is wet or it can streak. Afterwards, I rub lightly with very fine steel wool to bring the shine back. The roughness you are experiencing is probably due to insufficient polish before browning. Remember that browning is a rust process, which is a natural pitting of the steel surface so it can start as a mirror finish and lose some lustre along the way. Hope this helps.
 

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CWFRITZ, I browned a .45 Kentucky kit rifle about 30 years ago using Birchwood Casey Plum Brown, and it still looks good today and has a rich brown tone, also about 7-8 years ago I did an original Springfield TD at the insistence of a friend (his gun). Both came out very nice.

However, the Kentucky I used the big oven in our county jail to heat the barrel uniformily (your tax dollars at work) and it really came out nice, but being politically correct I used a propane torch to do the Springfield, and it came out ok, but not quite as nice as the Kentucky, my friend was very happy. The main secret, as was stated earlier, is to heat the barrel until the browning solution just sizzles then apply the solution with a small 100o/o cotton cloth (not cotton swabs or cotton balls) in even uniform strokes. Let the barrel cool naturally, then use #4 steel wool and lightly polish off the excess. Let stand for a few hours and if it has the color you want use a light gun oil not WD40, or a cleaning oil, and continue to keep oiled for a few days. Also make sure all the oil is off the barrel before you start and naturally wear clean cotton gloves, have about 3 pair on hand, they only cost about a buck a pair.. Good luck RR:D
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hot-browning metal

Thanks, guys. Using the oven to heat the barrel uniformly makes sense - I had wondered how I was going to accomplish that with a propane torch.
 

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browning a barrel

:D :D Hey guys , my coputer took a dump but i'm back, yes i've done cold blueing hotbluing cold browning and hot browning, i prefer the stuff offered by dixie track of the wolf and a bunch other companyies called
tru-blue and tru- brown, its the esiest process to do fallow the directions and wait 5-10 days depending on humidity and use boiling IMEAN boiling hot water to stop the process and finish off with a good gun oil and if its doe right you don't get the rough texture your talking about , i've done 30 plus barrels for myself and other people.
kevin
 

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I've used Wakkin Bay slow rust browning and Birchwood Casey hot brown. I prefer the slow rust cold browning. It has a soft satiny texture when done, not as slick as the hot brown.

Kevin is right about stopping the browning process. I made a trough and put the barrel and misc. parts in the trough with a bunch of baking soda. I then covered everything with boiling water and swished everything around. I dumped the water and followed up with some plain boiling water. This is a good time, while the barrel is extremely hot, to wipe the bore dry and really put the lube to it to season the barrel. The pores are open and the bore will really soak up the lube. I also put a coat of light machine oil on the browned areas at the same time being careful not to get any on the pan or frizzen (flintlocks). Let air dry and you're good to go. The first barrel I did, I did not get the browning process stopped and about a week later noticed the barrel rusting. I had to take everything apart and try again.
 

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browning yer smokepole

Have done both hot and cold methods with good results. I like the color of B-C Plum Brown best but the cold method is much easier and more controllable and I end up with a more even color with cold. The colored finish will depend on the metal finish and your determination when carding off between treatments with cold methods. You can get a very nice low luster finish by smoothing all surfaces with sand paper to about 400 grit, then run the part lightly over a wire wheel. It seems like cold methods are harder and more durable than hot. Some solvents will stain Plumbrown finishes.
 

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I'm not much for hot browning, but have used it a lot for small parts or for parts that I was having trouble with cold browning. One important thing is to use a lot of ventilation, it can be very bad for your health. If I remember correctly, one of the byproducts is arsnic (bad spelling).
 
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