Case Hardening Bisley Revolver

Watched a video concerning a Ruger Bisley the other day that I think was a bit inaccurate.
The creator commented that the CH on Italian Revolvers he had seen appeared as if it was painted on.

I just want to let you decide.

Uberti 45 Colt 1873 Bisley:


Let me start by saying I DO NOT KNOW Uberti’s manufacturing process. I tend to trust guns coming out of the Gardone Valley, as those people have, literally, been making guns for centuries.

That said:

There is a “patina” process that can be used to make guns appear case hardened. Given steel qualities 130 years ago, case hardening was something that needed to be done. With the steel that is available today, it’s really more of an aesthetics thing. So, it’s not a huge issue. The patina process isn’t paint, it’s actually chemically staining the metal. So, it isn’t going to wear off.

The short answer: Is it case hardened? Probably not.
Is it paint? Definitely not.

Either way, it’s pretty. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that all that really matters?


Your right it looks great either way.
The subject and comments just tweaked me a bit.
(And before you say anything I hang my head in shame…)
But I did find this on uhhh YouTube (Bad taste in my mouth yes)

It is actual case hardening.
I personally love the revolver and busted my arse to get it.
So I guess I was a little butt hurt.
Ill get over it.


I think it’s an acid treatment that both hardens and gives the patina. I am not positive. Just vaguely remembering something I read about somewhere.


Does the case hardening also act to prevent rust? What about the chemical treatment?


From my understanding of Case Hardening it does not act as a rust preventative in the normal sense.
It is used to harden the outer layers of steel and allow the inner layers to be less brittle allowing the item to be less fracture prone.
We do Brinell hardness tests on Landing Gear items all the time that use exotic steels that are fracture critical.
Most cracks we find are in sharp corners that has to do with force flow through an item.
It is a kin to water flow in a lot of ways.
A ditch that makes a sharp turn tends to eat the corner away faster in really simple terms.
Since the outer layers are harder they are less prone to corrosion because the corrosion will need to penetrate the harder surface.
And since the inner layers are softer they will flex easier under force thus making them less brittle.
So overall the item is stronger with more resistance to cracking.
Bluing on the other hand is rusting (in color) over the outer layer of steel. The rusting is harder than the steel so is also rust resistant, but does not penetrate the steel layers it is applied too. More it coats the steel.
Browning is even harder than bluing and IMO much prettier than bluing and smoother, but again is a surface coating.
You can blue or brown over case hardening.
But Case hardening requires a preventative over it to further provide corrosion resistance. If corrosion gets under the case hardening it will travel faster through softer steel and start flaking the case hardening off.
There is very long winded short version.
Sorry I got on a roll and probably added more than I needed.
Just the type of guy I am…


short answer no
love the explanation :+1:


Not long winded at all! Very informative. Thanks!