Gun Blued Metal Cleaning

The information below describes and shows the process of gently, thoroughly, and efficiently cleaning blued gun metal without harming the factory blueing and optionally blueing without affecting the factory blueing. The guns used for this demonstration follow:
1. Winchester Model 37A Shotgun (1974-1980) serial number C523878
2. Winchester Model 37A Shotgun (1974-1980) serial number C074434
3. Winchester Model 480 Shotgun (1970-1980) serial number CE12520
4. Winchester Model 37 Shotgun (1936-1963) from Zane Wilson's Collection

Winchester Model 37A serial number C523878 makes an excellent demonstration example because approximately half of the factory blueing on the receiver has been damaged where light rust has formed. The Winchester Model 37A Shotguns make excellent demonstration examples because the receivers have factory engraving. Note the differences in the engravings. The Winchester Model 480 and Model 37 Shotguns have very little factory blueing remaining on the receivers. Neither have factory engraving or gold plated trigger as the Winchester Model 37As do.

The receiver of the Winchester Model 37A serial number C523878 shown below will be cleaned of all rust without harming the factory blueing:


To protect the bare metal and to give the receiver a uniform color, the receiver will then be blued retaining all the existing factory blueing.

Cleaning

The gun metal is gently cleaned by first thoroughly cleaning with Cleaner-Degreaser and then brushing with a fine bristled brass brush. The brushing process is performed thoroughly and efficiently by bolting the brass brush to a Palm Sander. The photo below shows a Palm Sander with attached brass bristle brush:

Note that the brush may be extended to clean difficult to reach areas such as inside the barrel of a Blunderbuss. For heavily rusted areas, a fine bristled stainless steel brush may be used, however, the stainless steel brush is capable of removing factory blueing. For deeply rusted areas, light sandblasting may be performed, however, this too will remove any original finish.

For cleaning the inside of smoothbore barrels, the cleaning rod may be attached to a Drill as shown in the photo below:

The cleaning rod may be attached to a Reciprocating Saw as shown in the photo below:

Rifled barrels need the cleaning rod to be pushed and pulled in and out of the barrel to prevent harming the rifling.

Cleaning Results

The photos below show the receiver after cleaning with the brass bristled brush attached to the Palm Sander:


Optional Blueing

After cleaning, the bare metal may be protected and a uniform color obtained by optionally blueing without affecting the remaining factory blueing. The author has found that the best procedure for obtaining the best blueing results follows:
1. Clean thoroughly as indicated above.
2. Clean thoroughly again with Cleaner-Degreaser.
3. Brush manually and thoroughly with fine bristled brass brush.
4. Clean again with Cleaner-Degreaser.
5. Scrub continuously with clean soft cloth saturated in blueing till desired shade of color is acquired. This should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow dry spots to form anywhere while scrubbing.
6. Rub continuously with 0000 steel wool saturated with blueing to produce even distribution of color. This should take approximately 5 minutes.
7. Wipe continuously with clean soft cloth saturated in blueing till desired color is acquired. This should take approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow dry spots to form anywhere while rubbing.
8. Wipe with paper towel, rinse in water, and dry thoroughly.
9. Apply liberal coat of oil and allow to cure for at least 12 hours.

Optional Blueing Results

The photos below show the receiver after blueing:


It may be worthy to note that these particular shotguns came from the factory with a stock pistol grip cap.

Winchester Model 37A With Different Engraving Example

The photo below shows the receiver of a Winchester Model 37A, with different engraving, cleaned and blued in eactly the same manner as above:


The photo below shows the receiver after cleaning:


The photo below shows the receiver after blueing:


It may be worthy to not that these particular shotguns came from the factory without a stock pistol grip cap.

Winchester Model 480 Example

The photo below shows the receiver of a Winchester Model 480 cleaned and blued in eactly the same manner as above:


The photo below shows the receiver after cleaning:


The photo below shows the receiver after blueing:


The photos below show a portion of the barrel before and after cleaning and blueing in eactly the same manner as above:



Winchester Model 37 Example

The photo below shows the receiver of a Winchester Model 37 cleaned and blued in eactly the same manner as above:


The photo below shows the receiver after cleaning:


The photo below shows the receiver after blueing: