Saturday, August 13, 2016

Rust Bluing a Browning Hi-Power

This month's guest post is by a long time forum member, he goes by the screen name: Old11bravo.
This Belgium made Browning Hi-Power was presumably a military side arm in Israel before it was shipped off to Texas for resale in the U.S.

The italicized words are those of the owner:

The serial # dates mine to a 1994 manufacture.

Initial impressions were that it was indeed not going to win any beauty contests. However, the internals appear very clean and operational. I finally have an FNH Browning Hi-Power (this is my third) that I can literally do anything I want to it and not feel bad or remorseful about abusing it. I will shoot the heck out of this gun and I've no doubt that if it's like my other BHP's it will be a tack driver (range report will be next). That said, I have already removed the magazine disconnect and replaced the grips with some old Pachmayrs. The grips that came on it seemed to be the worst for wear of anything on the specimen I received. The finish on the frame and slide is worn, scratched and missing in places but no apparent pitting so refinishing is an option although I doubt I'll go that far. The barrel looks great with strong rifling present and little wear both inside and out. It would appear there is a lot of functional life left in this otherwise beat up looking gun. I would buy it again if I had the choice to make again. I would also recommend to anyone that wants to get into the entry level BHP game.

The comments above were made when he first got the gun, after some prodding and the offer of help from a fellow forum member (and talented amateur gunsmith) he decided to rust blue the Browining.

Looks like the opening scene to a James Bond movie....seriously though, it has what you want in a good bore, shiny metal (meaning no rust or pitting) and sharp, defined grooves.

The first step in any bluing job is the disassembly

  The metal stripped and polished with a wire wheel

Laurel Mountain Forge Browning solution was used, the process involves swabbing the acid solution on the bare metal and allowing the metal to rust, then boil the rusted parts turning the red iron oxide to black iron oxide, carding off the loose scale (with steel wool, wire brush or a rough material like denim or burlap). The process is repeated somewhere between 6 and 10 times.

The rusting phase

 After boiling, the red iron oxide turns black

Then card the loose scale to reveal the bluing underneath

After the gun quits getting any darker (which is difficult to tell sometimes), most people perform one more round, then oil and reassemble the gun

Before and after, you may notice the color is not as dark as the original finish. This could be due to a couple of things, 1. the level of polish, the smoother the finish, the darker it appears (this gun was just burnished with the wire wheel) 2. They may not have done enough cycles of rusting.