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S&W Revolvers: 1961 to 1980 3-Screw PINNED Barrel SWING-OUT Cylinder Hand Ejectors


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Old 07-17-2020, 06:14 PM
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Default Factory Rebluing for a Model 10

The first firearm I ever purchased for myself was a well-used Model 10. It's a fantastic shooter and is truly a joy to have around, but I've been contemplating sending it off for a factory rebluing job. The finish is particularly worn on the barrel, cylinder, bottom of the trigger guard, and backstrap. Being that it was my first, the gun has sentimental value. The cost of the reblue exceeding the value of the gun isn't a concern (especially considering I bought it for $325).

I was mostly curious as to whether or not anyone had a gun from this era (the serial number narrows mine down to 1969-1970) sent back for rebluing to see how the new S&W blue compared in terms of luster and color to the older bluing, and if they were satisfied with the results. I primarily clean with Ballistol and would also love to know whether or not it plays nicely with the new bluing.









-----

On another note, I've noticed a small bit of wear and a metal burr around the bottom left side of the forcing cone. Is this any cause for concern? The cone seems to be in perfectly fine shape otherwise and all of the range shooting I'll be doing will likely be with standard pressure 38 special.


Last edited by NY-1; 07-17-2020 at 06:40 PM.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:48 PM
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Have you looked at the factory refinish price list? I would contact them to see if they have an example of what to expect.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:17 PM
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I wouldn't worry about that burr since it obviously doesn't affect the revolver's shooting qualities.

There are a lot of those around. I would just look for one with a better finish if I didn't like the looks of that one.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:23 PM
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I sent in a model 28-3 to be tuned and reblued but it hasn't come back yet. It's going on 2-1/2 months and getting a little anxious.

I've seen other posts in the 1980 to modern revolver section from people who are having blueing issues with the guns they are getting back from S&W. Mottling and blotching and "thin" looking.

As for the cone, have you tried the Lock-Up test on your revolver? Pull the hammer all the way back, hold the trigger in and let the hammer back forward all the way while holding the trigger back. Then use the free hand to move the cylinder and see if you have any play.

If it's tight, it could be a timing issue when the cylinder comes in to line with the barrel and it's slightly off to one side. That is something S&W can check and fix for an additional cost. Hopefully the cone isn't damaged to the point that you'd need a new barrel.

I believe I'll eventually be charged $270 for the full package tuning and $225 for the rebluing. If they ever get to it.
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Old 07-17-2020, 08:03 PM
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The usual critiques we see are that the current blue isn't the same deep color of the older blue, actually blacker if I'm remembering the criticisms. And that the new process won't stand up to ammonia type cleaners (Hoppes #9, specifically).

There are other companies that can do an arguably better job (better color, apparently) but they run into more money and the wait times are months, at least. For some it's years.

I'm parroting what I've read here repeatedly over the years. I'm hoping some with direct experience will chime in.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:50 PM
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I had an old model 14 reblued a few years ago and was happy with it. They also returned it to spec with a new hand and Springs. I had no problems with it and had no idea that it needed anything.

Don't worry about Hoppe's #9 damaging the new finish.

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Old 07-17-2020, 10:03 PM
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If Bobby Tyler works on double actions, I'd check with him for pricing. His work is excellent and reasonable last time he did something for me.
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Old 07-19-2020, 06:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Flash View Post
I wouldn't worry about that burr since it obviously doesn't affect the revolver's shooting qualities.

There are a lot of those around. I would just look for one with a better finish if I didn't like the looks of that one.
Thanks for the input, and I just might end up going that route. Throw some Pachmayrs on this one and find another, prettier one to put the Altamonts (or OEM magnas) on. Maybe even something with a tapered barrel.

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Originally Posted by Pine_Worker View Post
Have you looked at the factory refinish price list? I would contact them to see if they have an example of what to expect.
Might give them a ring or shoot them an email to see if they can furnish any examples of work that's been done in the past. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Originally Posted by Tytan01 View Post
I sent in a model 28-3 to be tuned and reblued but it hasn't come back yet. It's going on 2-1/2 months and getting a little anxious.

I've seen other posts in the 1980 to modern revolver section from people who are having blueing issues with the guns they are getting back from S&W. Mottling and blotching and "thin" looking.

As for the cone, have you tried the Lock-Up test on your revolver? Pull the hammer all the way back, hold the trigger in and let the hammer back forward all the way while holding the trigger back. Then use the free hand to move the cylinder and see if you have any play.

If it's tight, it could be a timing issue when the cylinder comes in to line with the barrel and it's slightly off to one side. That is something S&W can check and fix for an additional cost. Hopefully the cone isn't damaged to the point that you'd need a new barrel.

I believe I'll eventually be charged $270 for the full package tuning and $225 for the rebluing. If they ever get to it.
Thanks a bunch. I wish you luck on getting back your Model 28, and would love to see photos when it finally does arrive. I'm hoping that opting for the high-polish option should mitigate a portion of the complaints that some have had with S&W's rebluing services if I choose to send it off. The lockup on this Model 10 is nice and tight when performing the steps you described. The slight burr on the cone (as well as what looks like an abrasion) does seem to be centered more on the outside left of it as opposed to the inside of the cone though. I'll keep my eye on it - if it worsens I'll stop shooting it and send it off. Surely they still have a few Model 10 barrels laying around.

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Originally Posted by gboling View Post
I had an old model 14 reblued a few years ago and was happy with it. They also returned it to spec with a new hand and Springs. I had no problems with it and had no idea that it needed anything.

Don't worry about Hoppe's #9 damaging the new finish.
I'd love to see photos if you have them, especially a before/after set!

Last edited by NY-1; 07-19-2020 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:28 AM
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I acquired a Model 10-5 revolver with the standard barrel about three years ago. I contacted S & W about having it reblued as the finish was very worn. Long story short, they said that the bluing process they use no longer contains certain chemicals that contributed to the deep bluing normally associated with their older revolvers. As such I might notice a difference. I sent it in nonetheless. When I received it back, I could discern no difference when compared to an older Model 27-2 in my collection. The job was first rate.

I continue to use Hoppe's No. 9 in my cleaning routine with no adverse effects. Sorry, I have not tried Ballistol.

You may wish to contact the factory and speak with a representative if you have further questions. I found them very helpful.

Good luck!

JPJ
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:52 AM
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Here's my K38 (1956) that I had factory re-blued a few years ago. I also use Hoppe's #9 with no problems.


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Old 07-20-2020, 11:54 AM
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It's your gun and you will do as you please with it. But since you asked, here's my thinking.

You are correct about refinishing being a financial loser. Gun's current value + cost to refinish is likely more than what a refinished M10 is worth. But you say you don't care about money because the gun has sentimental value. OK. But if you refinish it, will it still be the same gun with emotional attachment? It won't look like it. All the wear and handling marks reflect its history. If you remove them, what's left?
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Old 07-20-2020, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by just plain joe View Post
I acquired a Model 10-5 revolver with the standard barrel about three years ago. I contacted S & W about having it reblued as the finish was very worn. Long story short, they said that the bluing process they use no longer contains certain chemicals that contributed to the deep bluing normally associated with their older revolvers. As such I might notice a difference. I sent it in nonetheless. When I received it back, I could discern no difference when compared to an older Model 27-2 in my collection. The job was first rate.

I continue to use Hoppe's No. 9 in my cleaning routine with no adverse effects. Sorry, I have not tried Ballistol.

You may wish to contact the factory and speak with a representative if you have further questions. I found them very helpful.

Good luck!

JPJ
Thanks for sharing your experiences, and I'm glad the 10-5 came out great! I'll probably give the factory a call when/if I go this route.

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Here's my K38 (1956) that I had factory re-blued a few years ago. I also use Hoppe's #9 with no problems.
Those photos are just what I was looking for. Gorgeous to say the very least, if not a little bit blacker-than-bluer, but not to a detrimental extent in the least bit.

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It's your gun and you will do as you please with it. But since you asked, here's my thinking.

You are correct about refinishing being a financial loser. Gun's current value + cost to refinish is likely more than what a refinished M10 is worth. But you say you don't care about money because the gun has sentimental value. OK. But if you refinish it, will it still be the same gun with emotional attachment? It won't look like it. All the wear and handling marks reflect its history. If you remove them, what's left?
I greatly appreciate your input, and you bring up some excellent points. The gun certainly seems to have been through a lot prior to it ending up in my possession, and the wear most definitely gives it character.

Truth be told my sentimental attachment to the gun has always been a bit mixed. On the one hand it's the first gun I ever purchased for myself. I still remember that feeling of awe when I picked it out of the used showcase at my LGS, held it for the first time, and was thoroughly impressed with the Model 10's ergonomics, aesthetics, and simplicity. It was like finally meeting a celebrity in person, haha.

On the other hand, it was always a gun of compromise. The LGS I used to frequent had a very limited revolver section, and this particular example was the only Model 10 they had at the time. I never really liked that the finish was as worn as it was, but the fact that it was one of the cheapest guns in the shop and that I didn't want to leave without a Model 10 pushed me over the edge into buying it. Since then, the wisdom of the words "buy nice or buy twice" has settled in. I think it helped me fall in love with the Model 10, but not necessarily this particular example of one.

I suppose now I'm torn between (1) keeping it as-is and purchasing another Model 10 in better shape, (2) selling it and purchasing another Model 10 in better shape, or (3) keeping it and having it refinished by the factory. I'm hesitant to choose option one because it would just seem like a waste of limited safe space (and a time sink dealing with NYC's regs) to have two identical guns. (Though I could use it to practice assembly/disassembly of an S&W revolver on...) Option two seems like the most sensible thing to do at the moment, but I'll have to rectify precisely what my attachment to this gun is - whether it's the gun or the model. Given the examples I've now seen of factory rebluing I'd be comfortable with option number three, but it would take a significant amount of time and I'd be concerned with the risk of a courier screwing up and losing the thing.

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Old 07-20-2020, 01:10 PM
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Have you thought about just touching it up with some cold blueing?
Iíve done that, not to hide the age of one, but just to remedy some long use and holster wear.
If done lightly and slowly (think spray painting something by layers) it brings some life back without trying to hide anything.
My 1956 M&P looked similar to your finish and thatís what I did.
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Old 07-20-2020, 06:34 PM
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I sent my model 19 to Fordís for their deluxe blue. Iím more than pleased with it.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:05 PM
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My 2cents; Jessy's cold blue job looks like an excellent job. For an older gun that doesn't really justify a re-blue job I think you would
be well served and happy with the cold blue. For the minimal cost and time investment, I think it would be worth a try.
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Old 07-20-2020, 08:36 PM
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Your revolver has the original carbona blueing. This process is no longer used as EPA stuck there noses in it years ago. If it’s reblued it will be with the new salts. The new process doesn’t hold up as well as the old one. It may look nice but doesn’t stick as well.

I’d be most proud to have an old one with real carbona blueing.
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Old 07-20-2020, 09:05 PM
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If the diamond magnas are original do not send them with gun if you send it to S&W
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Old 07-21-2020, 10:27 AM
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Sell the revolver you have now to fund a revolver in better condition.
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Old 07-22-2020, 01:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie View Post
Have you thought about just touching it up with some cold blueing?
Iíve done that, not to hide the age of one, but just to remedy some long use and holster wear.
If done lightly and slowly (think spray painting something by layers) it brings some life back without trying to hide anything.
My 1956 M&P looked similar to your finish and thatís what I did.
Wow! That came out great. Kudos for your excellent work there. I never really paid much mind to cold bluing - I'll have to do some reading up on it. Thanks.

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I sent my model 19 to Fordís for their deluxe blue. Iím more than pleased with it.
Ford's work never ceases to impress. Assuming they've gotten past that rough patch they supposedly had for a little while it seems like they're an alternate option from the factory worth considering.

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Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
If the diamond magnas are original do not send them with gun if you send it to S&W
Those stocks are Altamont checkered classic panels, and they truly do look great. Thanks for the tip though - I'll be sure to remove the stocks from any gun(s) I send off in case.
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Old 07-22-2020, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Narragansett View Post
If the diamond magnas are original do not send them with gun if you send it to S&W
May I ask why this advice is given?

Are there reports (or better, firsthand experience) with S&W damaging stocks or "upgrading" them with current inventory?
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Old 07-22-2020, 09:43 PM
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It’s a valuable commodity that’s hard to replace and they do not need them for their work.
I was told by S&W to remove mine from a model 28 I was sending in.
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Old 07-22-2020, 11:07 PM
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I started using Ballistol years ago when it was recommended for use in several Heckler & Koch firearms I was using. I never had any problems with it in anything I used it for including long term storage or damage to finish. The only firearm I've had any trouble with firearm finish was the "squid ink" finish applied to a certain company's AKM products. If brake clean will remove the finish it is nothing more than paint.
When I got back into black powder muzzle loading and cartridge firearms I learned that black powder does not work well with petroleum (oil) products or at least petroleum products that do not mix well with water. Ballistol was highly rated by most of the well informed black powder people I knew then and does to this day. It is the last patch I put down a barrel and the last brushing (I use a shaving brush) before I put something away. A good way to tell if you are doing a good job cleaning is whether or not you have any rust colored residue on the first cleaning patch you put down a barrel after resting for a period of days or weeks, etc. When mixed 50/50 with water and shaken it makes a very good patch lube, far better than spit. I use teflon coated patching material now but used to use the "moose milk" lube on all my patches.
Some people I know will not use Ballistol because it was developed by the Germans during WWII, it is a by product of the mineral oil or coal. To my way of looking at it, its not much different from using Lube Guard which was developed as a replacement for Sperm Whale Oil. By the way Lube Guard is the absolute best thing to add to your black powder cartridge lube, once again because it is not a petroleum (oil) by product.

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Old 07-23-2020, 09:48 AM
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For my .02 worth, Ballistol leaves a greasy feeling that I couldn't tollerate, and it never cleaned the barrel and chambers as well as either Hoppe's or Break Free did.
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Old 07-23-2020, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hogblue View Post
Your revolver has the original carbona blueing. This process is no longer used as EPA stuck there noses in it years ago. If itís reblued it will be with the new salts. The new process doesnít hold up as well as the old one. It may look nice but doesnít stick as well.

Iíd be most proud to have an old one with real carbona blueing.
--------but it just doesn't stick as well

That's an unfortunately common misconception, perhaps fed by the belief bluing is something applied to the surface. Bluing IS the surface. Another name for it is black oxide------oxide, as in rust. Bluing can be and is most commonly removed by wear. Aside from that, anything that removes common rust from ferrous metal will remove bluing/black oxide. (That's why we keep harping at folks to stay the hell away from their gun with steel wool!!) If I recall my book learnin' correctly, black oxide is a tougher finish----more difficult to remove.

The money you pay for refinishing breaks down like this: Perhaps as much as a nickel out of every dollar goes to pay for the bluing itself------dump the gun and some corrosive chemicals into a container, put some heat into it, and go on break. It'll likely be done when you get back. The other 95 cents goes for the preparation of the surface----polishing. The preference for a factory refinish is (or at least was) fed by the fact the preparation for finishing is done by the same people using the same equipment (formed polishing wheels) that do new guns. The preference for Fords is fed by the fact they do the surface prep BY HAND----------and the results are superior (vastly superior) to anything done by anybody with polishing wheels. (That which is "vastly superior" is Fords' best (Master Blue?) compared to S&W's Bright Blue----or whatever they call it nowadays. You can see the difference across a good size room------much finer polish, slightly darker color. I've never seen Fords' regular, everyday finish; so I can't speak to that-------but I will anyway. I suspect the difference is in the polishing----much finer grit for the Master Blue.

End of mini-rant!

Ralph Tremaine

Last edited by rct269; 07-24-2020 at 02:34 PM.
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Old 07-23-2020, 01:13 PM
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Fords for refinish Please.
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  #26  
Old 07-23-2020, 03:16 PM
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For many years, my philosophy has been that in most cases, if you want a old gun to look like new again, you are much better off buying a new gun. I have numerous reblued old guns (of all kinds), but the big difference was that I blued all of them myself, so it didn't really cost me anything out of pocket. And none of them were in collectible condition before bluing.
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:34 PM
2152hq 2152hq is offline
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Master Polish,,Bright Blue,,what ever anyone might call their (re)bluing,,the process of Hot Salt blue is the same.
The preparation of the surface is what makes 95% of the difference in the final look of the job.

Anyone can make the steel look shiny.

But soft edges, rounded corners and even ever so slightly dished out screw counter sinks and factory lettering are the signs of less than quality job.
The polishing job can look like a chrome plated Caddy bumper, the bluing job on that steel will look like deep blue water.
But the 'bluing job' is second rate overall because of the polishing job.

Polishing is one of the most difficult things in gun work to do well and to do well with in a timely manner to make $$ at.

Enter the machine buffers and even machine polishers with hard wheels and belts.
They still take ungodly amts of time to learn how to hand hold the parts and maneuver them across the spinning surfaces to polish them and not cut down corners, destroy lettering and dish out pockets.

Yes hand polishing is always an option. But it'll never do if the aim is to make money and a timely turnaround. It is slow tiresome work and usually set aside for custom and one-off restoration type jobs.
Many hand polished jobs fail to meet the high luster demands of some items.
Machine polishing is sometimes the only way to get that and then the danger of damaging the surface and edges once again is there.

Hand polishing won't do on many restorations because the guns being restored were not hand polished to begin with. They were machine polished by master craftsmen at a belt or hardwheel. To restore that look, you have to do that type of polishing.,,and keep the grit lines running in the orig directions. This latter point is something a lot of custom refinishes seem to like to change. Especially the polishing grit lines on things like bbl's, the sides of Winchester L/A's, the flutes on the revolver cylinder,,ect.

The factorys had people in the polishing rooms doing just that for hours on end, most for their entire career. The polishing wheels and set-ups made and formed, balanced and prepped just for the specific parts they made.

That's hardly an option for the average refinisher that takes in most any make firearm for refinishing. He/she has to still do a 'great job' of polishing,,everyone wants that.
But still do it in short time so as to not be too expensive for the customer and still make a profit for themselves.
Plus be able to handle all the polishing that'll be thrown at you in the different types of guns out there. But with minimum equipment so you don't have to equip a 'polishing room' like a factory which would put you under quickly and still not be enough.

So when someone says they can 'polish & reblue' your pre-27 and make it look just like it did when it left S&W and do it for $400,,,,

They just told you they are going to Restore the metal finish.

I would not expect it for that price in todays world.
Perhaps a nice polish and reblue with some soft edges and lettering,,
but not a restoration and that is what most people seem to think they are going to get.

IMO, S&W's that were blued at the factory in the late 60's, 70's and on were nothing other than Hot Salt Blued.
They look like it, they wear like it and they strip off like it.
I know the official word is that S&W was still using the Carbona Oil bluing process,,but I don't see it.
Perhaps for some special revolvers? Maybe?,,but not the common everyday off the line stuff.
Carbona Blue (American Gas Furnace Co Bluing System) has a very distinctive look to it, as does the earlier OpenHearth-Charcoal Blue.
Hot Salt Blue does also.
DuLite has been around in the US gun industry since the late 1930's.
It's been known how to mix a nitrate bluing solns before that.
Mauser switched to a Hot Salt Bluing mix from Durferrit in the mid 1930's ( Durferrit Co is still around and still makes all kinds of heat treatment salts and compounds).
The process was certainly not an unkn or secret.

It's still the prep and quality of the polishing underneath that is the key.

JMO of course.
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Old 07-23-2020, 05:36 PM
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Spending very much on reblueing a model 10 doesn’t make sense; kind of like paying someone restore a Toyota Corolla.
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Old 07-28-2020, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessie View Post
Have you thought about just touching it up with some cold blueing?
Iíve done that, not to hide the age of one, but just to remedy some long use and holster wear.
If done lightly and slowly (think spray painting something by layers) it brings some life back without trying to hide anything.
My 1956 M&P looked similar to your finish and thatís what I did.
I would agree with touching it up with a cold blue. I did this with a couple of police trade-ins I bought, and I was pleasantly surprised. I think it will improve it enough that you will be surprised. It's easy and cheap. Perfect for a shooter that you don't want to spend a lot of money on.
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Old 07-28-2020, 06:50 AM
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I like my Revolvers to look good. If your Model 10 is special to you, then go ahead and have it refinished!
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