Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Renewing the finish on a S&W model 67

I made a post a while back about polishing stainless steel guns . The post caught a lot of attention. Some purists think it is sacrilege to alter the factory finish, but what they may not understand is that a perfectly smooth finish that has a high polish, can be very easily "knocked down" to a more matte appearance to mimic the factory finish, either way it looks better than a beat-up, hammered gun. 

A perfectly smooth surface, free of scratches will reflect light evenly, which makes it appear shiny (more light reflected to our eyes). Light reflected from a rough surface is scattered and looks dull.

Recently I was asked to perform my magic on a Smith & Wesson model 67-1 that was badly scratched.

The S&W 67-1 was introduced in 1977 as the .38 Special Combat Masterpiece. It is the stainless steel version of the model 15, a K-frame square butt, 6-shot double action revolver.
This is what a new model 67-1 looked like when new:

This gun was made in 1977, about mid year and came equipped with the factory .375" semi-target hammer. .312" grooved combat trigger, both the hammer and trigger are case hardened then nickel plated to match the stainless finish.

On the front & back strap of the grip frame you will find the S&W signature ten grooves. The gun also had the pinned, tapered barrel without the ejector rod shroud. The cylinder lacks the recessed chambers, only the magnum calibers had the chambers recessed (something I just learned...).

The gun had obviously seen some hard use, in places it appears as if someone mistook it for a hammer.

The screws have also suffered some abuse, I will polish those as well.
The gun will get a high polish on the main parts, with the top strap and the cylinder flutes getting a matte finish.

I will completely disassemble the gun, to ensure that no sanding dust returns home with the gun also it could probably use a good cleaning & lube.
 If you have never seen the innards of a modern S&W, here it is, not too complicated.
And stripped
The first internal part that needed some attention was the ejector. Look at the rough finish on this:
Some light sanding with 220 grit and a little time on the buffer couldn't hurt.
We then replace the side plate and crane and begin sanding. We will have to take extra time, because some of the roll marks are a bit shallow. Remember ALWAYS USE A BACKER, like a file or piece of wood when sanding over holes or roll marks.

I had to start with a lower paper than I thought, some of the scratches and dings were pretty deep. In some areas I used 100 grit, then did the whole gun (except the S&W roll mark and the barrel) with 220 grit

 You can see where I sanded around the roll mark
 Then I stepped up to 320 grit

 Then 500 grit

Next I put it on the buffer, when using the buffer remember these things:
1. stay away from roll marks and screw holes
2. use a light pressure
3. use a mild buffing compound
4. take your time and check your work often

this is after the 1st round on the buffer
The black stuff is buffing compound. The buffer will reveal how well you sanded the metal, I noticed a few sanding scratches and a couple of dings that I will have to go back and sand out before continuing with the buffer. When I have it close I will move to polishing by hand with Mother's.

The hand polishing is a tedious process, it is difficult to know when you are finished......

Here it is cleaned inside & out ready for re-assembly
 and finished:

A few before & after shots


  1. The recessed cylinders were only on the Magnum calibers.

  2. Thanks Charles! I didn't know that