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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
See attached photographs.

The photographs depict a Colt 1877 revolver I picked up recently at a fair price. Overall a nice 1877, except someone cold blued the backstrap. Rather odd as the rest of the firearm looks good.

I have seen it suggested that Flitz polish can remove cold blue. Not sure if what is underneath would look respectable if Flitzed or not??? Note this applies only to the backstrap. The rest of the gun is original. Note the vivid nitre blue finish of the back of the hammer.

So should I Flitz the backstrap, or just leave it alone?
 

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Not sure if others would agree with me but to me it's an easy fix...

Take off the backstrap
Fill up a bowl with white vinegar
Let the backstrap soak in it for about 30 minutes and check as needed

It WILL come out looking like the trigger guard.

Here is a brand new gun I did the whole thing in to "age" it. Only thing I did is not let the color case come completely off. It's all about monitoring the progress. You can always go further but you can't back it up.

 

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Was there supposed to be a photo? "Here is a brand new gun"

Not sure if others would agree with me but to me it's an easy fix...

Take off the backstrap
Fill up a bowl with white vinegar
Let the backstrap soak in it for about 30 minutes and check as needed

It WILL come out looking like the trigger guard.

Here is a brand new gun I did the whole thing in to "age" it. Only thing I did is not let the color case come completely off. It's all about monitoring the progress. You can always go further but you can't back it up.
 

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Flitz should indeed do the job on cold blue with very little rubbing (one way of telling it's cold blue). A Q-tip is a good way to do it.
 

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That has a nice patina to it, so I can see why you want the back-strap to match. Looks kinda like what a working gun is supposed to !
To hear it told, "cold blue" will just almost fall off with a harsh glance, but truth be told some methods, (with some cold blue types), is nearly as durable as factory blue.....Nearly

Point being, if it is a poor job of cold bluing, just some handling will take it off soon, and if it was a great job the Flitz will bring it to just the amount of matched "aging" you want.

On a side note;... in a deliberate attempt to remove some factory bluing, (Ruger Blackhawk), there was more than a little bit of "sweating & rubbing" going on to get it to bare steel, and in fact after about 40 minutes of firm rubbing with fresh Flitz applied often, I gave up;...moved to "Mother's" polish, (also no help),... and ultimately to Birchwood-Casey blue remover paste..... Now that stuff will take off blue with just the slightest wipe with an impregnated rag.

I realize a Ruger "ain't" a Colt; nor is everybodies' results with Flitz the same, so please tread lightly. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So, the general consensus is that I should give this a try with Flitz? Or white vinegar? Anyone out there think that I potentially could worsen the appearance? If not, I will give this a try soon. Have white vinegar on hand...would need to purchase Flitz.
 

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I guess I'm not understanding what is wrong with the gun as is? It looks good to me, why take bluing off? Are you SURE it's not original?

It looks to me like an original finish gun, that may have had the frame and triggerguard area damaged somehow...like sitting in a wet holster. Proceed with "artificial aging" with caution.
 

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So, the general consensus is that I should give this a try with Flitz? Or white vinegar? Anyone out there think that I potentially could worsen the appearance? If not, I will give this a try soon. Have white vinegar on hand...would need to purchase Flitz.
Thats the point I was trying to make. Just follow the steps I laid out and you will get the results you want.
 

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Yahoody turned me onto the Birchwood Casey Lead removal cloth that he used to remove the blue from several of his guns. I bought one off of Amazon for $8+ and found it is great for removing blue or even for removing varnish from wood without damaging or roughing up either the metal or the wood. The whole job of doing that back-strap should take no more than 15 minutes, at most. You will be able to stop at any intermediate point if the back-strap looks more like the rest of the gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Again: why remove the blue? Are you SURE it's not original finish? Finish is everything in collectible Colts and Tiffany lamps.
The backstrap bluing is not quite of the same hue as Colt bluing of that time frame. Also, look at the abrupt change from the patina of the trigger guard to the 100% remaining finish of the backstrap. This is not a normal wear pattern. Cannot be anything other than reblued.
 

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Not sure if others would agree with me but to me it's an easy fix...

Take off the backstrap
Fill up a bowl with white vinegar
Let the backstrap soak in it for about 30 minutes and check as needed

It WILL come out looking like the trigger guard.

Here is a brand new gun I did the whole thing in to "age" it. Only thing I did is not let the color case come completely off. It's all about monitoring the progress. You can always go further but you can't back it up.

Not to hijack the thread, but I have a 1905 32-20 SAA that is in pretty nice shape except at some point in it's life the entire gun was professionally blued. After many decades the blueing is only about 90~95%. I've often thought about removing the blueing completely but am afraid of what I'll end up with. Will it end up looking like this or am I pushing my luck? Opinions?
 

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Not to hijack the thread, but I have a 1905 32-20 SAA that is in pretty nice shape except at some point in it's life the entire gun was professionally blued. After many decades the blueing is only about 90~95%. I've often thought about removing the blueing completely but am afraid of what I'll end up with. Will it end up looking like this or am I pushing my luck? Opinions?
Sure it will. You just have to do a few things.

First: Make sure you want to do this. I can't stress how much there is no going back.
Second: Make double sure you want to do this.

If you still do, I can help you. Here is a Cimarron Richard Mason conversion I did. This is what it looked like new and I just couldn't stand how "cheap" it looked.



No it will never be the real thing but I can assure you after holding it aged it does give you a feel that it's an old old old gun. The same process I used above I used here except that the barrel, trigger guard, cylinder, and backstrap I soaked in Dr. Pepper for about a week or so off and on.







 

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Sure it will. You just have to do a few things.

First: Make sure you want to do this. I can't stress how much there is no going back.
Second: Make double sure you want to do this.

If you still do, I can help you. Here is a Cimarron Richard Mason conversion I did. This is what it looked like new and I just couldn't stand how "cheap" it looked.



No it will never be the real thing but I can assure you after holding it aged it does give you a feel that it's an old old old gun. The same process I used above I used here except that the barrel, trigger guard, cylinder, and backstrap I soaked in Dr. Pepper for about a week or so off and on.







Interesting. Do you prefer Dr. Pepper over vinegar? Is there an advantage to one over the other?
What did you age the frame with?
 

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The backstrap bluing is not quite of the same hue as Colt bluing of that time frame. Also, look at the abrupt change from the patina of the trigger guard to the 100% remaining finish of the backstrap. This is not a normal wear pattern. Cannot be anything other than reblued.
I wouldn't try to "relic" what is already a relic. The replies here are converting a modern replica into some imagined condition. "No it will never be the real thing but I can assure you after holding it aged it does give you a feel that it's an old old old gun. " You have a real Colt from long ago.

There are reasons the frame and trigger guard could have silvered including what I already said, sitting deep in a wet holster, or a cheap holster that was acid tanned. Lots of examples I found searching the internet. If my holster scenario is true, the grip strap was out in the air, not getting stripped. Or the grip strap was replaced with a later one. (you could look for a poorer condition one)

I'd like a few Colt finish experts to weigh in, before you decide to start dunking in Dr. Pepper or abrading that finish off. I'd like expert opinion on if the grip has been reblued. It looks like a Colt finish to me. But I'm no expert. Better to try to fix the frame finish, than to strip the grip finish, to me.

On artificially aging modern guns, that's a different matter. But remember, when a gun was bought new in 1871....it LOOKED new. In 1900, it still looked pretty good, after hard use, but good care. Only 4 generations later, after sitting unoiled in a holster for decades, left in basement trunks, or handled by grandkids playing Cowboys and Indians, does it look like a gray gun. The idea that a "relic'd" gun is somehow more authentic is to believe that everyone in the old West left their guns out in the rain and ruined them in the first 6 months. Didn't happen. (BTW, I don't like "relic'd" guitars either, when a company sells a brand new guitar with horrible scuffs, finish erosion, and dings, so the owner can pretend he's got a 1960s Rock Star guitar).

Don't do anything rash based on trying to do these things. Removing a finish on an 1800s Colt is an anathema to Colt Collecting. About a year ago a new member and new collector showed a pre war 1911 he had recently gotten. He proudly proclaimed that "it cleaned up nice." All the posts here about cleaning, flitzing, using steel or bronze wool to "fix" a finish must have been read. His 1911 showed obvious signs of rigorous cleaning. The blue was thinned, and all edges showed white metal. I found the "before" picture and the gun looked great, a true survivor with just tiny freckling here and there. It was turned into a bubba job "clean" gun with very shiny flat surfaces....but very rounded, white edges. We need to be careful when people start recommending extreme measures on an antique gun finish. Because they often just make it worse, for future collectors. Like people will say, "it's your gun", but I like others to consider what I'm saying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
azshot,

There is no explanation for the abruptness between the backstrap and trigger guard, other than a reblue, unless someone took off the backstrap for decades, used another one, and replaced the little used backstrap later. This is unlikely. Also, the edges are slightly less sharp than they should be, which suggests minor buffing. The reblue looks like Colt bluing, so the quality is good--but not quite!
 

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You know what they say about opinions, but here goes. The only thing I'd rub on that is an oily rag. A year from now, 5 years, ten, you can always get a wild hair and remove the blue then. But once you've done it there is no going back.
 

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IMO you won't get a soul here telling you to take bluing off any Colt. However to me that gun looks to have had the barrel, cylinder, and backstrap reblued. If it were mine I'd slowly remove the bluining on all those parts to match the trigger guard.

Make up a new username, post the after pictures, and those same people telling you not to do it will say the gun looks great! Well used but taken care of. That's JMO YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've looked at enough Colt revolvers over the years to tell, in most cases, a reblue from original finish. Photographs might not be the best, but the cylinder, trigger guard, and barrel all contain the original blue. Also, putting it all together, wear is commensurate with this not being a reblue, other than the backstrap. Look at the case colouring on the frame and the nitre blue of the back of the hammer, plus sharp edges and markings. All make a reblue of these components unlikely.
 
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