bluing techniques for firearms and there variations


I’m writing this little post in regards to different types of bluing that are available. I heard of a few like hot and cold bluing. Some interesting ones like hard color casing and rusting closet method.

The one that interest me the most is the “colt bluing” and can it be down at home. I like the look in how dark it is and I want to do it on my, " I know to some it may sound sacrilegious" S&W 500. Was looking for some pointers on how to get this done any advice on the previous other methods mentioned is welcomed as well.


Cold bluing is the weakest form or bluing and protection. Can be done at home.
Hot bluing is the fastest (commercial) form of bluing and is pretty durable. Requires special stuff and is hazardous to do at home.
Rust bluing is the most time consuming but from what I understand the most durable form of bluing. Can be done at home.
Color case hardening is a completely different process and is best done by people specializing in the finish. Do not attempt at home unless you know what you are doing.

You would want to take the revolver completely apart for either of the above.

Just my $0.02.

Much more knowledgeable people will correct me if any of the above is wrong.


Thank you and I really appreciate it. I would have not expect the legendary Mosin virus to answer one of my questions LOL. I’ve been following a bit of your videos for a long time. You have some great 1911 belt and the detail you put into your videos is exceptional. I’m definitely going to look at doing it. I’m possibly sending it off. If you had a choice between trying to achieve that colt bluing look for the 500 or what you do a cerakote job?

The next question for you especially is do you plan on doing a revolver video and Future? If you don’t mind answering that here


I have 3 hammerless safety .32 revolvers that I will be fixing up on video. I will be nickel plating them (learning to do it at the same time).

And once I convert the mini mill into a CNC, I will try to make a couple of revolver frames.


That sounds really dope buy the way. The last thing on my mind is do you know I anyone that has done a video on reworking a marlin lever action 45/70. They don’t make them like they use too. It would be a great topic for a video by the way. Also Midway offers a kit to do hard color casing too. In the future I might give it a try :wink:


I haven’t tried bluing yet, but have some of the stuff that was sent from school. It will be a course that’s still coming up.


Yeah, if you have the space and the tools, you should absolutely go for it. Try on practice pieces first of course.


Would be cool if you shared your experience in the course.


I plan to.


There is Browning (Plum Brown by Birchwood Casey) as well that can done from Home.
It involves heating the metal (Not really hot so you don’t untemper anything) and using a nitric acid solution on it like Cold Bluing.
It is as dark a brown as you want to make it (Layers) and tough as Hot Bluing would be.
I actually like it myself.


have you heard of charcoal bluing by chance. thats what I’m aiming for with my thought project for the 500.


I blue and brown quite a bit.
While I do not have hot bluing tanks, i know how to do it. Costs to much and I do not have the demand for it . Thus Cerakote.
Cold blue is obvious easy and the biggest thing you need to look out for is having clean materials.
I do cheat… i will heat most parts to 300 to 400 degrees. My oven can do this easily.
Depending on the part, i have had to do some very dark bluing. For this, i will heat parts up to 500 and 600 degrees, in bluing solution. Do this multiple times and you can match most finishes well.
Something that I have found is that the quality of the bluing solution is really important. Also the mettle surface prep.
I have done copper patina, gold, bronze, brown, blue, black. It is fun to mix them up too.


Thank you and I really appreciate it. I really like that dark Colt finish. And if I could achieve that without costing me an arm and a leg the more the merrier. The one thing that was on my mind is whether or not to get the action work done first so you have cylinder fitting and no slack and what not with a Chris trigger. And then do the bluing work or should I do the reverse

Thank you for your information was very informative and I was wondering if you ever did a dark blue and job for a 500 magnum?


I like to use my oven and cold blue for restoration projects and safe queens. I have gotten good durability from this process as well as excellent rust resistance. Patience, lots of coats and properly treating the surface before and afterwards are behaviors that will ensure a great result first time. I like Brownelles Oxph-Blue for warm surface bluing.
Remember this isn’t a forever finish and not nearly as effective as a full hot blue but, for most of us it works just fine for patch jobs and restoration.


So i was just thinking.

Is S&W 500 stainless? Did they ever make them in non-stainless steels?


To my knowledge they ONLY come in Stainless steels, the one i own is stainless.


Yes stainless steel they have the one bone hunter version of it that had some black paint on it. but that’s about it.


Then this discussion on bluing is kind of irrelevant.
I know Brownells sells one solution of hot bluing that will do Stainless.

By the way, i wasnt even thinking about it when i replied but you can’t color case harden it either.

With stainless steel you can get it hot blued at places that do that (use that specific solution), surface convert it (nitrocarburizing if you want it black), or coating (like cerakote, dlc pvd, black chrome, etc.).

Forget cold blue, forget rust blue, etc. As far as i know this is the stuff that will blue stainless:


As far as I know, the 500 is only in stainless. Yeah… I cerakote. Hahhaha
Even while I was going to gun smithing school bluing stainless was a hit or miss. Cerakote is a hell of a lot better.


Have ALL work done before bluing or coating.