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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Now, I'm not saying I'm right, but recent production of Colt Single Action Army revolvers with blued finish and case colored frames suggest to me that the colors are much too dark and showy relative to what has been the historical norm. Perhaps tastes have changed or the ability to make these gawdy finishes more readily available makes them much more commonplace. And perhaps this style is preferred. I won't post such photographs of current production as they are readily located on the internet, and I don't want to single out someone's specific beloved firearm to use in comparison. However, in my opinion, which may not be necessarily correct, muted case colored finishes were the norm ad are much more attractive. Such as that found on the attached photograph of a Colt Model 1877 revolver I own. Although not a SAA revolver, the case coloring on this frame is of good enough quality to demonstrate what historically has been the case, and what I imagine case coloring on a new production SAA revolver should look like but perhaps a slight bit more vivid to account for any fading that might have occurred over approximately 14 decades.
 

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I really like the current CCH as they have more vivid colors. But it's really just a hit and miss process depending on many variables which alter the outcome each time. Some like the blues, some like the straw and many like the total range of colors. I've had a few different CCH'd revolvers in bone and charcoal, also chemical. It's also true that most people without a knowledge of CCH can't even discern the difference. I've lined them up and shown people all the different treatments and most can't even care. Now throw in today's newest fad of clear coating CCH (Colt does not) which brings the vivid colors out and gives the CCH a little longer lifespan from fading issues.

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I was just thinking how we hadn’t had us a good ‘ol fashion “Darn these flashy, lacquered-up, new-fangled case colors!” thread in a while...grab a seat and enjoy the show folks!
 

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Now, I'm not saying I'm right, but recent production of Colt Single Action Army revolvers with blued finish and case colored frames suggest to me that the colors are much to dark and showy relative to what has been the historical norm. Perhaps tastes have changed or the ability to make these gawdy finishes more readily available makes them much more commonplace. And perhaps this style is preferred. I won't post such photographs of current production as they are readily located on the internet, and I don't want to single out someone's specific beloved firearm to use in comparison. However, in my opinion, which may not be necessarily correct, muted case colored finishes were the norm ad are much more attractive, in my opinion. Such as that found on the attached photograph of a Colt Model 1877 revolver I own. Although not a SAA revolver, the case coloring on this frame is of good enough quality to demonstrate what historically has been the case, and what I imagine case coloring on a new production SAA revolver should look like but perhaps a slight bit more vivid to account for any fading that might have occurred over approximately 14 decades.
and hear is mine, blue a bit dull, but cc is 95%.
tony
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It's been about a month since we last did this?
Was there another thread recently expressing distaste for current case coloring and the appearance of such? If so, I was unaware of it. I just created this thread today after seeing a photograph of a recent production Single Action Army revolver and realizing how much more I prefer the muted appearance that was available historically.
 

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I kind of liked the new bright case coloring and was thinking about pursuing the purchase of one, but now that you got me thinking....
For practical use, you didn't want the outlaws and Indians seeing your gun FLASH from a mile away....... hmmm.
 

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One must remember that Case Colors tend to fade with age and especially so if exposed to sunlight. I suspect some protective oils/greases may also add to the fading of Case Colors.
You might have accidentally added another page or two of replies? Have we discussed the issues of using oil or grease and the effects that it has on CCH? I exclusively use Mobil One High Mileage synthetic oil on my CCH which keeps a protective covering over my firearms.
 

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Just remember that case hardening was done to strengthen what was basically a wrought-iron frame - the distinctive color was as a result of the process - not an intentional finish enhancement.

Had the frame been built of steel in the first place, no doubt the entire revolver would've been blued.

As the design was a keeper, so was the look, and nostalgia kept it alive.

Today - it's a requirement but it never started out that way.

'Personally', I much prefer the more 'muted' colors because that's what they'd always looked like, and besides, 'Clear-Coat' hadn't become a staple when mine were built, like you see today.
 

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Also the metal types changed several times, since the case hardening was really needed in the 1870s. The steels used early in the 20s were probably something like AISI 1020, then pre-war probably 4140. Today, they probably use something different. So each generation has to do a different technique or process to make the color case hardening. I assume it's still bone charcoal, not cyanide color case hardening. But the way you do it must differ for different steels, and the results will look different.
 

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Personally I prefer the somewhat more muted case colours and lower luster blue used for most of the 20th century through the early 3rd gens. I've never cared for the high polish blued used on the 3rd gens from the late 80s on. IMO, the SAA is the ultimate "working gun" and the high polish blue and vivid case colours just look out of place.

Best regards,
 

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Also the metal types changed several times, since the case hardening was really needed in the 1870s. The steels used early in the 20s were probably something like AISI 1020, then pre-war probably 4140. Today, they probably use something different. So each generation has to do a different technique or process to make the color case hardening. I assume it's still bone charcoal, not cyanide color case hardening. But the way you do it must differ for different steels, and the results will look different.
This is very true. I have an 1873 Winchester made in 1887 that had been reblued when I bought it. I figured since it had already been doctored and I got a great price, I would have it case colored again. So here is what 1887 steel looks like when case color hardened in modern day
73 frame 1.jpg 73 frame 2.jpg
 

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I kind of liked the new bright case coloring and was thinking about pursuing the purchase of one, but now that you got me thinking....
For practical use, you didn't want the outlaws and Indians seeing your gun FLASH from a mile away....... hmmm.
I read a journal years ago from a cowboy that was on a cattle drive. They were expecting trouble from Indians the next day so they took sand and rubbed their pistols to a bright luster so that they would flash in the sun, showing the Indians that they were ready for a fight. Kinda made me cringe to think of the damage done... But, he lived to write the tale.
 

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Actually no. Your 1873 would look original with just standard bone and wood case hardening. Someone just didn't know what they were doing .
 
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