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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I’m looking for help on how to clean up and remove light scratches on a stainless finish colt revolver. This is for an original 1980s King Cobra. I’m not looking to polish the finish just hoping to clean it up and bring it back to an original factory look. Thanks
 

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Use a Gray Scotch Brite pad and gently go over the scratches until they fade. This should blend the scratched areas back to the dull satin Stainless steel look which would be the original on most King Cobras. Before you start clean the gun from any oils and look closely to get an idea of which direction the "grain" flow in the Stainless Steel keeping with that same direction. For deeper scratches you may need to use some metal polish then go back to the Gray Scotch Brite as mentioned above to dull the polished areas out. Go slow, don't get in a hurry, and check the progress often. Good luck.
 

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I've had very good luck with the gray Scotch Brite pads. I've used them on pistols. I cut strips and glue them to small blocks of wood to ensure even pressure and a straighter line in the direction of the existing polish.

If the scratches are deep, I've started with 2000 grit wet/dry sandpaper and then finished with the Scotch Brite.
 

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The final trick when using Scotchbrite pads is to finish by "stroking" the pad in the direction the original grain ran.
By stroking the pad you prevent those tiny circular scratches left when you reverse the pad while it's on the metal.

Buy Scotchbrite pads from auto supply houses that sell car painting supplies or online.
These are sold for use in painting cars and come in a number of grits.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I got some of the gray “ultra fine” scotch brite and gently rubbed a small area and then brushed it in one direction. I’m not seeing the results I had hoped for. It looks as though I’m adding more fine scratches while making the area more shiny. I tried this with the scotch brite pad dry at first and then added some oil to see if that made any difference but I couldn’t see any. I was hoping to go over the entire revolver to bring it back to new. Is this an unrealistic expectation? Here is a picture of the small area I played around with. Any insight is greatly appreciated.
 

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Well that didn't turn out good. I've used scotch brite pads on many stainless steel firearms and even regularly on Stainless steel Rolex wrist bands. Looks like you may be out of your depth here and should let a professional gun refinisher do it. It will save you from any more damage.
 

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Yes, pressing down too hard on an area with new Scotchbrite pads will leave some fine scratches like the ones in your photo. The good news is that you can polish those back out with some metal polisher then try again. Use small strips of the pads gently stroking the metal surface. It’s a technique that takes a little practice and patience. Also as you use the pads they will soften up a bit giving you more of a softer look as you work the metal. You can dull up a new pad on a piece of scrap metal before you start on your pistol. Again, good luck.
 

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As above, you're pressing too hard, a gentle touch is required.
Fortunately, all you have to do is go back over the area using less pressure and that will restore the original type grained finish.

There's one other technique I've used to even up the finish after using Scotchbrite pads, but it probably shouldn't be used on a Colt.
It does work on S&W and Ruger guns that have a less bright polished finish then Colt. Colt's satin grained finish has a little smoother, slightly brighter look......

This requires full disassembly.
After using the Scotchbrite pads on a S&W or Ruger to return it to the less polished look they had, mix up a paste of Bartender's Friend and water or other cleansing powder and gently scrub the exterior with the paste and a brass toothbrush.
This will dull the brighter look to what the S&W and Ruger factory finish looks like,
 

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i have used dark grey scotch bright pads before with good success ....looks like either the wrong pads or wrong technique
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I have some liquid flitz. If I go over it lightly, will it help hide the scratches or will it make it looked polished?
 

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It will do both.... help blend in the scratches, AND make the metal shinier.

Many people actually convert satin stainless steel to a bright polish type finish by using a metal polish to make it shiny.
 

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Having built marine hardware for many years which including polishing a lot of stainless. With a finish like on these revolvers where a complete pass is the final result it is sometimes hard to make a blend.
 
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