Gun refinishing is something that has been going on in my life for over 50 years. Now days I just do revolvers and pistols. It is very tedious work, but the results are stunning if you have an eye for what to look for. To just send a handgun off for rebluing is a crime in my estimation. A crime because after the handgun has been buffed, all the edges are lost, the screw holes dished out and the lettering blurred. This cannot be brought back. The handgun is ruined. I do this work by hand and with elbow grease; not with buffers and rouge, but with files, sandpaper and blocks of wood.
There is also the matter of the gross imperfections the factory leaves in their guns. I just refinished a Smith and Wesson Model 29 made in 1973. It had a lot of bluing wear with not a lot of rounds through it. In other words, used but not abused. The owner wanted it to look new like the day it came from the factory.
There were very few nicks or dings in it, so that was not much of a problem. What was a little time consuming was getting out all the factory imperfections, especially around the yoke / crane area; not very straight at all. The factory finish was rather coarse and polished right over the coarseness.
Carbona has a nice charcoal blue color and is perfect for Smith and Wesson's. I got it all straight and sharp and then had it Carbona blued like Smith and Wesson does. On the other hand, to get as close to Colt Royal Blue as possible, I go to Brownells bluing formula. It comes out the deepest most beautiful blue color of any bluing formula out there. The metal finish has to be flawless though to bring this out.
The owner is extremely happy with it and thinks it looks better than new. I say it does look better, because I have a very critical eye for imperfectly formed metal. I also understand that the factory can’t take the amount of time it takes to get each handgun there.
So if you have a favorite old handgun that you would like to have refurbished, but don’t want it trashed by buffers then allow me to turn it into a thing of beauty to be proud of.