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Can a blued receiver, on a lever action rifle be stripped, then color case hardened? I'm no gunsmith, so if it can be done, what would it cost? Thanks.
 

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refinishing M94 Winchester receiver.

Mad Dog,

See my post in reply to your question in Lever Action Rifles.

Color case hardening refinishing generally falls under two categories: bone charcoal (the traditional way) or the potassium arsenide method (more recent and less spectacular colours).

The cost is variable, depending on the degree of polish and the preparation needed. The receiver must be stripped down bare.

Typical costs are probably half of what your rifle is worth: close to $200 for the teardown, barrel removal, polishing, and treatment.

Now, if it is still worth that to you, then look up some gun refinishers on the Web. Try "color case hardening", "gun refinishing", or check your Shotgun News for advertisements.
 

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Mad Dog

Color case hardening using 'Bone', colors as well as harden the metal surface. Colors are usually very interesting.

The potassium arsenide method is coloring only.

see http://groups.msn.com/BPCR/jeffsstuff.msnw?action=ShowPhoto&PhotoID=106

This is an example of clasic color case hardening using bone. Cost for action, lever and buttplate was $225 including return shipping.

Hope this helps you.

jeff
 

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It would be possible to case color your receiver. There was a period where M94 receivers compostion may cause problems.. The receivers for a time were cast of an alloy that contained a significant amount of silicone and chromium.. That made them nearly impossible to blue in a normal fashion. Some were indeed plated but not with black chrome, the were 'iron' plated and the iron plating was then blued. The same procedure was used on some pre-64 winchester stainless steel rifle barrels to allow their bluing also. If the plating is removed or damaged these rifles are very difficult to reblue. I usually recommend they be re-plated. Some commercial bluing operations are now advertising they can blue these guns as well as some stainless. I have also seen advertising for solutions that would color(blue) stainless and post 64 M94's. I would bet money the case hardening colors on any modern action are in truth case coloring. Case hardening was a process that provided a thin hardened layer over mild steel. On a rifle using any modern type steel of about 4140 composition the case process would leave the material brittle. A case coloring process colors the metal but does not materially affect it's hardness... Contact several refinishers and ask... good luck from the gunnut69
 

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John, and Jeff, you guys mentioned potassium arsenide being used to create case colors. I've done some extensive reading up on the processes used to case harden and case color metals. Potassium cynanide is commonly used, but I've never come across any mention of using potassium arsenide. Potassium cynanide can be used to harden and create case colors at the same time or just create case colors without hardening. Could you guys possibly be confusing the names. If not I'd sure appreciate a reference on how potassium arsenide is used or a reference to someone that uses the process. Thanks.
Wayne
 

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potassium arsenide

Texas Mac,

My sincere apologies! Potassium cyanide is indeeed used in color case hardening work, and not the potassium arsenide I listed.

I stand corrected!
 

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Thanks John. I was wondering if I'd missed something.

Jeff, I understand where your comment "The potassium arsenide method is coloring only. " came from. Several leading firearm manufacturers use a potassium cyanide process for only case coloring (case colors) because of its suitability to volume production. With the modern availability of strong high-carbon metals hardening is not as necessary as it was several decades ago. But gun owners have come to like and expect to see case colors on special firearms. For an example Browning uses it for their firearms (single-shot rifles, etc). I've discussed the process with the fellow that developed the process that Browning licensed. He says it produces more durable colors than the old traditional carburizing "bone and charcoal" process. I personally do not know which is more durable but prefer the more brilliant colors created by bone and charcoal.

But also note that potassium cyanide is used quite commonly to harden metals. In fact it is one of the main processes manufacturers use to harden metals. Just as in the old "bone and charcoal" process, case colors created by using potassium cyanide are a byproduct and can be enhanced through special techniques. This is one of the areas of firearm manufacturing where artistry is used to appeal to the gun buyer.
Wayne
 

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It can be color cased hardened. If you want to have it color cased hardened check this guy out. He uses the chemical method that has been mentioned earlier. A shooter from another forum sent me the information. Find out when your Winchester was made. That way you can let him know.

I contacted him and he quoted me a price of $125.00 plus S/H for the receiver, hammer, lever, and buttplate. Mine is a Winchester 94 "Antique" and the receiver is color cased. It is starting to fade and the flashing is starting to show.

Tom's Gun Shop
76-6 Rt South Folk
Cody, WY 82414
(307) 587-6949
 

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Yanqui, allow me to clarify your comments. I believe if you discuss the process with Tom Ivanoff who owns Tom Gun Repair, Inc. in Cody you will find the potassium cynanide technique he uses only adds case colors, it does not significantly harden the metal. Tom has been doing this type of work for close to 50 years. In fact the process that Browning and Winchester now use was licensed from Tom. But since Tom is the expert on the process I understand his case colors are of a higher quality than Browning's or Winchester's. I cannot personally vouch for the quality but Tom says his process results in better and more durable case colors than those achieved by the ol' bone and charcoal process. If you do have Tom case color your receiver I'd sure be interested in how it turns out.
Wayne
 

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TexasMac,

Thank you for clearing it up for me. I used the phrase "color cased hardened" loosely. It is in fact a color cased finish using potassium cyanide.

I have a Winchester 94 "Antique" that I purchased not to long ago. I picked it up at GunsAmerica. I have never seen one up close. But I was somewhat disappointed. Some of the parts were stamped out sheet metal. I am in the process of replacing those parts. The color cased finish has started to fade to gray. I heard this could happen. It looks nice but I want the rich color cased colors. The finish has also started to flake off just like my Winchester 94 Wrangler with rolled engraving. The Antique has engraving also. Hmmmm?? It has tiny tiny little pits. A curse to post 64 engraved Winchester receivers I think. Commemoratives have also experience the same problem.

Anyway, as soon as I get my "Antique" set up the way I want I will ship it off. Take off 30-30 barrel and install John Wayne Commemorative 32-40 barrel.
 

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Yanqui, concerning case colors that have faded, as the results of looking into this subject I wrote the following for an article some time ago. In fact I have direct knowledge of the results of a fella that stored a few very fine collector firearms in airtight bags in a safe after wiping them down with a penetrating solvent which does a great job of removing corrosion from blued metal surfaces. When he opened them a couple of weeks later almost all the case colors were gone on some. So be careful when using some of the modern cleaning and preservation oils.

“Regardless of the process to create them, case colors are sensitive to ultraviolet rays and will eventually fade if exposed to sunlight for extended periods of time. Harsh chemicals such as solvents and high viscosity penetrating oils can also accelerate the process and may result in the complete loss of the colors in periods as short as a few weeks. Some gun owners have used various hard coatings such as varnish, lacquers, or even fingernail polish to protect the finish. Museums and collectors of high quality firearms have known for some time that the best method to protect metal surfaces, including case colors, is to wax the surface with a good quality non-acidic microcrystalline wax and store the firearm in a dark and controlled environment.”

As noted in my prior post, in discussing case colors and case hardening with Tom Ivanoff who developed the process Browning/Winchester uses, he mentioned the case colors created by using potassium cyanide are more durable than those created by the “bone and charcoal” process. That may be the case but I’m certainly not willing to test the durability of the case colors on my rifles. After cleaning my rifles I wipe the case colored metals with a thin film of Johnson paste wax (the stuff in the yellow container commonly purchased for use on hardwood floors). It seems to do a great job so far as I have not noticed a lessening of the colors. Paste wax is also excellent as an overall metal protector from corrosion. But if I had to make a choice between protecting the finish of my firearms over using them and risk loosing the finish, I’d use them. I don’t get a lot of enjoyment from just storing them in my safe.
Wayne
 

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TexasMac,

Thanks for the information. You are the second person to tell me to use wax to coat my firearms. The Guncrafter who can reblue the post 64 Winchesters also told me to use wax.

I also have a question. I know that lemon juice will remove bluing rather quickly. What effect will lemon juice have on a color cased finish like I will have on my Wincheste 94 Antique?
 

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Yep, past wax is great stuff for use on guns. I use it on all the metal on my firearms and especially on stocks that are oil finished. It keeps the wood from drying out and possibly cracking over the years.

Yanqui, I have no experience with the affects of lemon juice on case colors. Lemon juice is used very successfully in removing stains from brass when cleaning cases so I would not put it on my guns. I have not tried it on bluing but would expect that any solution that affects bluing would be a good candidate to destroy case colors. Both bluing and the creation of case colors relies on a chemical reaction that creates forms of ion oxides.
Wayne
 
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