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Old 05-26-2010, 12:36 PM
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Default Bead blast refinish

I have accumulated in the past 6-8 weeks all four calibers of 3rd Gen Smiths. (9mm, .40, .45, 10mm.) A couple of them show some handling marks and a couple are pretty much like new with only a very few very light scratches in the matte finish. The only one that is a TSW is the 4566, and it really doesn't need anything finish wise. I suspect the TSW billboard wouldn't survive a refinish attempt.I am wondering if anyone has tried a home grown bead blast "touch up". Harbor Freight sells a basic bead blast cabinet for about $120. I would be willing to invest in one of those if I could do a credible looking refinish on matte stainless guns. I also have a 627 Pro revolver with this same finish. It's pretty new and has no handling marks as of yet, but it is bound to accumulate some sooner or later. Anyone tried an amateur refinish on any of these matte stainless guns?
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Old 05-26-2010, 12:44 PM
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The only draw back is the need to completely disassemble the pistol before blasting. You do not want glass beads left behind anywhere. Other than that it is easy to do.
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:06 PM
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I have one of the stand alone harbor freight cabinets and a Sears compressor. I use Brownells #270 glass beads for a very fine/silvery matte finish, very similar to S&W's factory bead blast finish. I have done some of my 3rd. Gen. S&Ws and my stainless Colt , ( carried on duty/gets scuffed up ) a couple times. I use about 60 psi and the finish comes out like new. If you are careful, once you do it a time or two, your results may impress you. I have owned guns from several well known custom gunsmiths and my efforts at this look as good as most of theirs, and better than some. I have tried other media, including Brownell's Fine aluminum oxide. This produces a darker, coarser, grayer finish that is probably more "Tactical" looking, but I don't especially care for it. I now use the Brownells #270/very fine glass beads almost exclusively for all of this kind of work.

As RobG5589 pointed out, you MUST completely disassemble the pistol and clean it, then clean it and clean it again before reassembling it. Make sure you get the media out of every nook and cranny. You definitely Do Not want any abrasive media left in your gun when you're done.

Years ago, I had a major, nationally known, "Professional" gunsmithing shop beadblast and blue a rather expensive,for the time, custom pistol. They left abrasive media inside that I did not discover until firing a couple magazines through it. The results were Not Pretty !!!
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Old 05-26-2010, 03:16 PM
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Great info. Thanks.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:49 AM
ShoeShooter ShoeShooter is offline
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I've been thinking about trying this, and have been picking up bits of info here and there. The Brownell's beads are the only ones I've found. Keeping in mind I've never used them, that big ole bucket seems like a lot, plus it ain't exactly cheap. I think the beads are a one-time thing, that is you can't reuse them. Correct? How many guns can you do with that bucket? Also, is a cabinet necessary? Can't you just go outside and blast away?
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Old 05-27-2010, 02:20 AM
john traveler john traveler is offline
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The glass bead media is also available from Harbor Freight at nominal cost. I recall paying less than $20 for a 40 lb bag.

The reason for the blasting cabinet is that the blasted blasting media gets into EVERTHING dozens of feet from the blasting location! Parked cars, car finishes, lawn mowers, ANYTHING that can be contaminated with blasting media WILL be contaminated!

The beads shatter on impact with the blasted object, and and continuing to blast with exhausted media will give a finer and finer "frosty" surface rather than the desired textured one.

An important part of blasting is that you mask or remove ALL parts that you do not want blasted: barrels, feed ramps, muzzles, black oxided front and rear sights, and also all non-metallic parts such as magazine bumpers, followers, grips, and backstraps. The soft, non-metallic parts are easily damage or deformed by overblasting.

The emphasis on final cleaning and inspection is important. Any blasting media left in the gun mechanism is bound to chew up critic sufaces like sears and bearings. I prefer solvent cleaning followed with air hose blasting and relubrication.
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Old 05-27-2010, 01:19 PM
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I also have the Harbor Freight cheapo blaster and a Sears compressor.
I used it on this 639 and then used scoth brite on the flats.
I bead blasted all the controls and the sight protector also.
I only regret not taking some before pics.

Last edited by Sod; 06-21-2010 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 05-28-2010, 02:07 AM
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That Smith is beautiful !
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4566, 627, 639, brownells, colt, solvent, tactical

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