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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just bought a used Python 51140E. It is in rough shape as for the finish. Rust spot on back strap and long light scratch on the left side of the barrel. Blueing is faded also. This weapon was carried a lot and shot little.

Here is the question... What is entailed in the reblueing process? Can Colt get the rust spot out?

FC
 

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FC, there are 'volumes' written on the 'bluing process' as to what involved, but basically, the gun is stripped down, the surface worked over to remove any finish , defects, wear, pits, etc., , as much as possible, as it depends on where the "pits" are and how deep, etc., then buff and polish to blend it all in, then 'blue' the guns parts. Reassemble, test fire and it'd "done".

The "prep ' is the time consuming and costly part of the process and the the "experience" needed to do properly takes time to get 'good' at.
having the right equipment to use to buff and polish or in this case, may need MORE hand work AND then there is the problem if any writing (rollmarking) is removed due to 'pitting' etc., can get involved and costly.

I'd call Colt , get an idea, as to what they can or can NOT do, I've been hearing they "contract" out a lot of this work, especially 'plating'. I cannot say for sure.

There are MANY other gun shops and gunsmiths out there that do a GREAT job and you'd need to find them, talk with them ,"show" them the gun or at least have pictures to "Know" what may be involved.
Get references from 'others' who have had work done, I've seen pictures on some of these Forum, in fact lately there was one over on the S&W forum of an old 50's model and I though it looked like "crap" and they were "Proud as a peacock" at how bright and shiny the gun was. Did NOT look anywhere NEAR original to me and others.

Part of the problem is , many of these "custom" gunsmiths" want to do a 'complete conversion or build-up of YOUR gun and the "finish " is part of the "cost/value". They do NOT like to "Just sell a blue job", many will not even do it and the time lag is LONG.................

You can try the American Pistolsmiths Guild and find someone in your area. www.americanpistol.com
 

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Recent refinishes from Colt are reported to be as-new in appearance.

Apparently, Colt is now able to "refresh" faint or degraded stamps on demand.

Colt will be almost certainly able to completely remove the rusty and scratched areas, and make your Python look like a brand new gun.

Due to the uncertainty of trusting other sources, either send it in to Colt and talk to them after they've seen it, or send it to a KNOWN high-end refinish service like Ford's.

Personally, I'd go with Colt.

I don't know what Colt is using now, but they used to be famous for making their own polishing wheels from wood, with leather covers.

They disassemble the gun, reattach parts like the crane and side plate and polish them as a unit.

A Master polisher with years of experience uses various "grits" of polishing media to hand polish the steel,
During the polishing, he will polish out imperfections like the scratch and the rust spot until their gone.

The polisher will continue polishing with finer and finer media until the final polish is done with media about the consistency of flour.

After polishing, the metal will be super-cleaned and run through a hot salts bluing system to give it the deep blue color.

The only difference between the glossy deep BLUE of the Python finish and something like the satin black of a Ruger is the level and amount of polishing done.
Long after the Ruger has been boxed and shipped, the Python is still in the hands of the Master polisher being polished to a finer and finer finish.
 

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The picture of the 'Smith' I questioned was done by 'Fords' and really was taken by how "high" a polish and rounded off the corners were.

I know I apprenticed for two gunsmiths to learn how to polish and it is a LONG and drawn out process, we too polished with the sideplates, in place, using "dummy' flat sideplate screws. They MUST be polished as a "set".

I wish I had .02 cents for every Smith & Colt I had to take apart and polish and put back together in almost 40 years.
Any spots (pits) we did by hand first , then blended in with the wheels and grit changes.
Flats, such as slides we also did by hand, Now they have aluminum, split wheels that will hold a piece (strip) of emery or aluminum oxide paper and are around 2 inches wide. The knife makers use these and work great for the 'flats' ,slides, shotgun receivers, whatever.
Ruger and many of the other companies today use 'black oxide' as it's more favorable to 'industry' but NOT getting the 'lustrous' blue of the old nitre blue solutions. So color and hue are also affected by this as well as the degree of polish. There are quite few different shades of "blue" over all these years, from soft German(Belgium blue) the old nitre process, then later the medium blues and today they are darker, and as I said in many cases, often 'black'. Rust blue is actually the "finest" n but also the most expensive AND time consuming. So agai, I said there are "volumes" written out there on this subject, Brownells sells many if not most of them and I still have copies of some of the 'originals' like Walter Howes, book on 'Gunsmithing' for one.
You can also go to the web site of the suppliers like : www.dulite.com

I agree, if Colt will do the job for you, by all means, I just questioned as to just what they are or are NOT doing ,
"in house". As I heard, they say one thing and do something else( it was in fact a plated gun the owner told me about.)

Yes, there are folks out there that can and will do as good as a job as ANY of the factories ever did, but find them and are they "consistant" and what do they charge. You will always find and certainly hear about the guy who is "unhappy". The trick is finding one who will work with you, does GOOD work , is affordable, and in a timely fashion.
 

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Some great "answers" here,especially about the "polishing" and the time it takes which equals a lot of money.

There are really "3" levels; The "reblue",or what I call just a "dip job",minimal polishing,if any,reblue over pits/ scratches and bluing of case hardened parts. I equate this to the $200 quicky paint job that a nationwide auto body chain used to advertise. On nickle guns,it is often called a "bumper job",ala rechromed scratched bumpers(when cars had them!)

Refinish,if done right,means carefully polishing,removal of pits etc,and hopefully,the correct type of blue.

Restoration is just that,to try and restore the gun to when it left factory "as new". Lettering recut,grips restored,new or reslotted screws etc. More expensive obviously than the other two.

But,to have any of these done,is a "personal choice".

First,some people are just more "anal" about their possesions,and I DON'T mean that as a put down. They just can't stand seeing something not 100%,and I have known guys who have actually suffered anquish after buying a gun,and finding a tiny scratch they didn't see before. In short,the gun is giving them "negative pleasure"! Trade it-or have it "redone"!

Next is the "economics". I am 63,and see absolutely NO financial gain in spending big money in having a gun restored. I won't be the "custodian" of my guns for that much longer,in some cases refinishing would LOWER the value,and I could care what they will bring in an estate sale(unless I wanna sell them,and use the funds to buy another Corvette,and run off with a 30ish playgirl for one last fling!)

I shoot all of my guns,and and try and keep them in the best mechanical shape.

Learning about "guns" in the 1950's from a neighbor,he ,and his fellow collectors,totally frowned on ANY refinishing,as they were into percussion pieces etc. So,like learning to shoot,at bullseyes,with 6 o'clock hold,this "don't refinish" has stayed with me and is an influence.

I guess I have seen too many reblued guns,poorly done,just for cosmetic sake to make them more attractive for sale. But,it has usually LOWERED the value,and we all know how you(or seller) can use "it's reblued",as leverage in a deal. Got a few very nice shooting and "rare" S&Ws and Colts that way,from a deceased dealer/friend who would look for these reblued guns on the show circuit,and get them for me at prices that were in my means,and in a condition I wasn't afraid to shoot,or even handle!

So,if you are "anal",trade it or have it refinshed/restored(no reblue "dip jobs" please!). If not,"do the math",after asking and inquiring around as dant wisely suggested. Like "cosmetic surgery",its a personal choice!(and hopefully,the gunsmith you choose,will be a competent surgeon-with no complications!

Bud
 

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well said Bud. Yes, there is nothing wrong with having "nice stuff" ,BUT one must weigh ALL the cost/value factors before doing so.
Yes, the is a BIG difference in "bluing" jobs both price and quality and you get what you paid for.
My analogy and feeling is to ME, any "good ,quality" job, should NOT look like the gun has been "just reblued" if it "looks " like it was reblued, then it is NOT a "proper restoration"........

Many , if not 'most' pictures I have seen on some of these Forums are just that, pictures of guns that were "obviously reblued" to even the slightly above average gun person.
Then when you have to place it next to another , you know is correct example of the same vintage to now "make a value/assessment judgement". Thats a GOOD job.

Comes to mind a few years ago a 'friend' of mine bought at a small gun show over in in Mentor ,Ohio and old Colt 1905 that was "beautiful", to me, "too good" best looking gun I had seen in years. I had my "doubts" it was that good. Next OGCA meeting we had gone to my friend was set up not far from where I was and bottom line he sold the gun to some "Dr." who was a Colt auto collector for BIG bucks and n the mean time there was another collectors in the 'last' row ("W") who has a small display of these guns, all original. AND "yes" my doubts were confirmed , it was in fact "redone". yes, he had seen the gun and laying side by side, NO comparison.............color was completely wrong.

Lesson learned and was surprised the "buyer" never came back to see him after the sale, it's been years now, BUT, I still "remind" him. Yes, that would have and does bother me, no caveat there, when you "knowingly" do that.........
Me,I would have given the guy his money back, but he never came back. Food for thought and my 'friend' does carry this 'stigma' as 'others' knew of it and what he did. It's NOT worth risking your reputation or values for a "few extra dollars". Sorry , I got off track........... here...............
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The one I just purchased wasn't as bad but it does have some rust on the back strap. I agree with you on the finish though, the Pythons deserve a better life.

FC
 

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While I agree that a top of the line revolver like the Python,should not look as bad as the one in the GA photos,IF someone wanted a Python for a carry piece,a woods or BUG for hunting,this would be an ideal revolver,assuming the gun is in correct timing,bore fine etc.

Only problem is that seller has about $200 TOO high a price tag!! They are probably assuming someone will buy it and have it reblued,and find "correct stocks". So,NOW we have added another 4-500$ to the price tag!

But,in 50-75 years,who will know that the gun has been refinished??

When is the LAST time you have seen a blued,or old style nickle Python in DAILY holster use????

Too bad,like a "working,or hound group dog",they deserve to be carried and shot-but like many of these dogs,they are confined to the "show ring",much like Pythons have become "eye candy".

USE EM'-and here is a good example of one to buy(but NOT at that price!!) and enjoy USING/Carrying!!

Bud /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
 

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I agree, I'm all about shooting each and every firearm I own. Especially the Pythons, but I hope you don't mind if the majority of my shooting with them is with lighter 38 Special ammo. Mine was bought recently for $480 with the original stocks. Sure I could have saved up another $500 and bought one that was like new, if I could have found one. But with my luck, as soon as I get that kind of cash together I'm either thinking adding to my Omega watch collection or buying another Gibson Historic Les Paul. Buying a beater Python, which as luck would have it has a perfect barrel, and then saving up for the reconditioning worked out jez fine for me. My '67 Python is no where near as blue worn but needs action work so the finish *may* stay original. I say *may* because depending on the results of my refinished '61 Python I may be too tempted to have it done on that one as well. By then I'll have the cash stashed away for it if I need it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
You folks who are lucky enough not to live in Kalifornia have the luxury to pick and chose your Pythons a whole lot easier then we do. The laws that the DOJ enforce concerning weapons not on the "Drop List" limits the items available to us residents. The only Colt wheel guns that I can purchase are from a private party who lives here and the transfer has to be made face to face at an FFL holder. Colt wheel guns that are not in California (6" Python Elite Exception until 7/24/06) cannot be purchased or transfered into the state.

My point is that we Californians are forced to paying what the market will bear and that is usually 800 - 1300 for a shooter and 1400 - 2000 for a NIB.

The one I recently purchased is indeed in need of a refurbishment. I plan on shooting her but need to address the finish and flaws so that she can live a longer life.

Damn Kalifornia. /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
 
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