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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a 2nd Gen Colt SAA made in 1973 and all of the case coloring has faded out and now is just a silvery color. I mean it's totally gone. Rest of the gun has pretty decent blueing. Looks like a speckeld pup the way it is and trying to figure out what to do. Not a parts gun as I bought it from the origional owner and even have the origional sales tag. It's a great shooter and locks up tight just looks awful with the two tone look. Looks like one of the alunimum framed Scout's. Can't really afford at this time to send off to have the case coloring redone so that's out. Would make a great project to be engraved but can't afford that either. I don't really want to blue the frame as I never liked that look. Thinking about (forgive me) using muratic acid to take the finish off the other parts to make it more matching. What do you think about the acid treatment? Any other suggestions about what to do other than just leave it as it because it hurts me to look at it the way it is. Thanks


 

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I'm probably in a small minority, but I prefer the look of a working SAA with muted/faded case colours while retaining decent blue on bbl, cyl, back strap and tg. Post an image, I'd like to see how bad you think it is.

Best regards,
 

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I can't help myself either. While I like looking at pristine examples I also very much like guns with character. Flaws, nicks, chips, dents, grips that show handling, finish that shows holster wear. I guess I'm very utilitarian (or making excuses for getting wrinkles and wear showing on me). Pristine is pretty, character tells stories, just like us, we lived, we aged and we can spin a story or two ourselves.
 

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Well if it really bugs you take the gun apart. Get a lidded iron pot, pack leather and bone meal around your frame, pack the lid gap with clay heat to 2000-2400 degrees. While hot, remove the frame, drop it in an oil bath. You will have original case colors. Not the phony acid stuff everyone does now. This is an old recipe I found in an old gunsmith book. I wish I had a kiln I would try it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pictures added.
 

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That does not look like normal fading to me-almost looks like the gun was damaged with a solvent somehow. Between that and the filed front site it only really has shooter value at the present time.If you are unhappy with the gun I recommend selling it and putting the money towards another example.
 

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That's pretty bizarre looking, definitely not just typical muted/faded case colours; something in the past certainly happened to this SAA. It also looks like the bbl doesn't match the general condition of the rest of the gun. Personally, I'd leave it alone and shoot the heck out of it.

Best regards,
 

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Be very careful with the Muratic acid, make sure it is very diluted! Or better yet, get a bottle of Birchwood Casey "Blue & Rust Remover", and remove the remaining finish on the gun. I agree with you, it would look better "aged", to a grey patina, than that "speckled pup" color!
 

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You want to DUWHAT?.

Hehee sorry couldnt resist.

I know what you mean about finish. Im particular about mine as well, but id leave it as is and work on getting the barrel to match through honest wear.....some how.
 

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That does not look like normal fading to me-almost looks like the gun was damaged with a solvent somehow. Between that and the filed front site it only really has shooter value at the present time.If you are unhappy with the gun I recommend selling it and putting the money towards another example.
I agree. That spotty frame is not from pure wear. None the less, I really like it as is. I'd buy it and leave it alone.
 

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If you treat a metal (like the SAA frame) with acid you will generate some Hydrogen gas. Hydrogen is a very small atom which allows it to actually penetrate the steel and this usually results in the phenomenon known as Hydrogen embrittlement. This means the steel will lose some, or a lot, of its strength. In order to overcome the Hydrogen embrittlement one can simply heat the recently acid-treated frame in an oven at 400-500°F for about 1/2 hour. That will drive out the Hydrogen and eliminate that problem.
My advice is to 'leave well enough alone.' Your gun does have character.
 

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For various reasons this might or not work for you. Strip the gun down to its barrel & frame. Give frame a high polish. Send it to Turnbulls and pay about $350 to have the color case restored.

It all depends on the preparation, that it be done by someone qualified and experienced to do it without dulling the sharp edges, cratering around the holes, etc.

A phone conversation with Turnbulls would be in order before getting into the project. There are others who do color case work and the beforehand discussion and preparation info applies in any case.

I recco Turnbulls because I've had quite a bit of experience with them. You may find lower prices elsewhere but their work has always been excellent and turnaround time quick - whatever they estimated.

Couple years ago job Turnbulls did for me as described above.

 

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That frame does look strange. Almost like it flaked off. I would strip the gun down to just the barrel and frame. Then tape off the barrel and use some "blue and rust remover" (follow the directions) to clean off the frame. That will leave it an even gray. Then put it back together and shoot it. Or, if you just like to waste, I mean spend, money, you could have the frame re-casecolored. Then you'll be unhappy with the rest of it. Then, you'll have to have the other parts re-blued. Then, ..........
 

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Oakridge is right that new case color next to old blue won't be believable. OTOH I wasn't trying to write a tutorial -- but to make it look more like original I'd probably dull the new color to look more like it is old and tired like the rest of the gun.
 

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I think short of full restoration (which doesn't make a lot of financial sense), anything that you do to this SAA is only going to make it look worse. Leave it alone, get some original grips for it, and enjoy the heck out of it; it's got a certain charm to it.

Best regards,
 
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