Bluing and Case Color

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Bluing and Case Color

Postby Dustman47 » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:00 pm

I will soon begin restoration of a neglected but not badly abused Sterlingworth 12 ga. I know the receiver and bottom plate and screw were case colored, the barrel and trigger guard blued but do not know how the forearm iron was finished in the late 20's to early 30s. I have seen some examples, restored and not, where the forearm iron appears blued and others that were case colored. It is my experience with many other shotguns that the forearm iron was case colored. I don't know about the Sterlingworth guns and they may have been different and different times of production. If you know for sure, please don't speculate, then advise.

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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Fox20obsessed » Sun Sep 20, 2020 5:05 pm

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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Researcher » Sun Sep 20, 2020 6:47 pm

While the barrels should be rust blued, the trigger guard and its screw should be nitre blued. Use the search function to find Brian Dudley's comments of nitre bluing the small parts.
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Brian Dudley » Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:11 am

Yes Dave, Nitre would be the technically proper way of finishing the guard and screw, but if he wants to go through the effort of rust bluing them, the more power to him. The end result will be pretty much the same. Rust bluing is just a lot more work. And rust blue will be more durable in the long run.

If he determines that the frond parts are to be blued too, I would nitro those as well if it were me doing it. But, yes the later guns had case colored forend metal. Cyanide case color of course. The same is true for the frames after the Mid teens.
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Dustman47 » Tue Sep 22, 2020 1:00 pm

I regularly do rust bluing and have for a number of years now. I have the process and results down pat now and it is no big deal for me and do barrels regularly. I know the process for nitre bluing but haven't done it preferring the rust blue even though the colors are different. Rust bluing is much more durable if maybe incorrect for the small parts. Thanks for the input but no-one really answered my question as to whether the forearm iron was blued or case colored. Early and late doesn't define much without knowing the transition point. Would say, 1928 to 1932 be considered early or late?
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby vaturkey » Tue Sep 22, 2020 7:01 pm

Dustman47 wrote:I regularly do rust bluing and have for a number of years now. I have the process and results down pat now and it is no big deal for me and do barrels regularly. I know the process for nitre bluing but haven't done it preferring the rust blue even though the colors are different. Rust bluing is much more durable if maybe incorrect for the small parts. Thanks for the input but no-one really answered my question as to whether the forearm iron was blued or case colored. Early and late doesn't define much without knowing the transition point. Would say, 1928 to 1932 be considered early or late?


I think that would be considered quite late. For some reason I'm thinking the transition point was during WW1 time frame. Falling into the FWIW, category, Dan Rossiter who has restored a number of Foxes Rust Blued the trigger guards, but polished them to about 800 grit. I think he said the additional degree of polish enabled him to get a darker almost hot blue effect.
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Foxnut » Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:10 pm

Interesting thread on “nitre blue” vs. “rust blue” trigger guards. Do we have a specific source on this information specific to Fox Guns. I’ve had this conversation twice recently w/double gun smiths after a poor job of nitre blue of a trigger guard I have. Thanks for info
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Dustman47 » Fri Sep 25, 2020 7:11 pm

I incorrectly assumed that early and late might refer to the earlier Fox guns made in Philadelphia as opposed to the later Savage guns made in Utica. 1928/29 would definitely late in Fox production as Savage bought Fox in 1929.

When I actually received my gun today I was able to answer my own question as to whether the forearm iron was case colored or blued. When I remove the forearm from the barrel the exposed side of the iron as well as underneath was beautifully case colored. Sadly it is all gone on the exposed portion of the iron as it also is on the receiver. I was delighted that overall the gun was in much better condition than pre-purchase pictures would have indicated. Still nothing close to a collector piece but probably not a bad task to restore.
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Pudgy1975 » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:30 am

Just acquired a Sterlingworth 12 ga. sn 78181. Butt stock is busted, everything else needs minor/moderate repair, mainly cleaning.

Question is, can the barrel be hot blued? Been told both ways, just want to get facts from people who know what they are doing.

Thanks for the help. Brad
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby fox-admin » Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:50 am

They CAN NOT be hot blued!!
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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Silvers » Sun Jan 03, 2021 4:35 pm

In modern practice and realistically speaking I totally agree with Craig (Fox-Admin).

Further on this subject and fwiw I learned through vintage double gun tech studies there was a period expedient method whereby a certain chemical salt could be added to the hot caustic bluing solution to severely retard or even eliminate reaction of its caustic soda component with lead in the soft solder. Reportedly barrels could be hot blued for 15-20 minutes as typical and without ill effect, depending on the hardness (alloy %) of the solder. I once worked out the chemistry of that reaction - or better said the lack thereof - but I don't have my notes handy. That chemical salt is extremely poisonous even in minute quantity and virtually unobtainable nowadays for good reason but I hesitate to cite it here anyway.

With all this in mind I often wonder if we're correct in quickly dismissing and/all vintage double guns with obviously hot blued barrels even though they ring well?

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Re: Bluing and Case Color

Postby Brian Dudley » Thu Jan 07, 2021 11:41 am

Pudgy1975 wrote:Just acquired a Sterlingworth 12 ga. sn 78181. Butt stock is busted, everything else needs minor/moderate repair, mainly cleaning.

Question is, can the barrel be hot blued? Been told both ways, just want to get facts from people who know what they are doing.

Thanks for the help. Brad



NO!!!! Whoever told you otherwise should have no business being near a vintage double gun.
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