I had previously mentioned in the ‘Bluing techniques’ thread that I had 2 pistols in need of refinishing. The first I’ll be doing is a Pre-WW1 FN 1905(06) vest pocket 25ACP. It is nearly impossible to find the exact manufacture date as it is a first variant with a 5 digit serial number(28,XXX). No records I could find seem to go back that far.
Sadly I failed to photograph the pistol in its previous state but I’ll try to describe it as best possible. The slide DID NOT move and the magazine was stuck. The parkerizing had certainly seen better days and the surface rust seriously obscured any marking. By feel it seemed deeply pitted and likely not all too salvageable.
I began by soaking the pistol in PB Blaster penetrating oil and fighting with the stuck slide/magazine until they finally worked loose. After degreasing with brake cleaner the parts were soaked overnight in plain distilled white vinegar. This was followed by carding with a stainless steel brush, a second night in fresh vinegar and more carding. The following photo is its 3rd and final vinegar bath. So far the results are promising.
There is certainly some pitting, most prominent on the magazine, but none appears deeper than the original markings. The next step will be breaking the pistol down completely and sanding the flats, likely with 400 grit followed by 600 grit and oil. This should get me close enough to begin HAND polishing with 0000 steel wool and some Flitz(no Dremel on this job) in preparation for bluing.
If you have a pistol or other firearm in need of stripping, I give vinegar
It’s not as fast as some chemical strippers or media blasting but works surprisingly well. I’ve tested it out on a small piece of blued steel(hammer from a .380 I had laying around) and it worked even faster than on the century+ old parkerizing this go around.