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Well Worn Colt Lawman MKIII (PICS) Need Advice.

1495 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Redcrow
My new to me Colt Lawman MKIII,

I picked this up in trade a few days ago for a CZ-52, I'm a sucker for wheel guns and since the 7.62x25 ammo dried up in this area, the CZ had to go. I got it home and right away I could smell the pervading odor of "cold blue", it was evident that it had been cold blued poorly at some point and the finish was what you can see in pictures (looks like it may have gotten damp in an uncle mikes holster at some point). Upon dis-assembly I found the internals caked with black sludge, which came off with some good scrubbing. Mechanically this gun is excellent (can I say better trigger than my nicer 1993 S&W 686), but the rough shod finish leaves something to be desired.

I have some questions.

Is the smell of cold blue ever going to go away? It's driving me crazy because the smell won't come off my hands, even after my zealous cleaning a day or two ago. Is there a way to neutralize this smell?
I'm not particular about the rough finish, but I wouldn't mind fixing it up a little. I'd like to have a little project and I'd appreciate some suggestions about which way to go with it.

My options are:
Leave it as is... only if I can remove the smell!
Try my hand at "Rust Blue"? (does anyone have a good tutorial)
Take the gun down to the white and let it gray into a finish (does anyone have a good tutorial)
Can I case blue it?.. (does anyone have a good tutorial)
Other suggestions...

While we contemplate the fate of this gun, I figured i'd share some photos...

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I would solvent wash it, dry it good and wax it if that doesn't clean the smell up send it out for refinishing.
The finish looks like honest holster wear so I would leave that as is. Clean and Renisance wax it.That will take the smell off and shine it also
Heck, try you own cold blue, I had pretty good luck with Van's. While the sideplate is off, drop some lube in there and make sure you put it back together correctly without binding anything. Like others have stated, wax it when done and the smell should go away. Carry it in the car so you always have it if you can (legally) and don't worry about. Oh and shoot the heck out of it.
I like it. There is (or was?) a 2" Lawman barrel on ebay.
Or for $300 and a one year wait Colt could make it look new again...
Right now this one is slated for my Bug Out Bag, but it would make a nice car tote.

WB, I saw that one, it's nickle, but priced well. I'd like to avoid any gunsmithing fees on this one, can I install a 2 inch barrel myself without much trouble?

Aircraftman, I'd love that option but the wife says that this one is a WECSOG (Wile E. Coyote School of Gunsmithing) project only...
FWIW, I have a 2 in lawman just to have a 2in. .357. While its raises eyebrows when firing full power .357 ammo out of it and often a ball of flame also goes out the barrel, it doesn't get carried due to its weight. It is twice the weight of a agent or cobra 38 and for me that is a big deal. The 4 in. gun handles the .357 much better. The gun would not be correct as a 2 in. lawman as the grip frame was also rounded on the 2 in. gun. just my .02
Hey Red Crow, nice to hear from you again if you are who I think you are. You probably already have new stocks for this piece, but given it's condition that's sort of like putting white walls on an army tank.
I have never owned a gun in this condition, but given that it's a tank, I would make sure the internals and lock-up all work correctly and just keep it as a shooter in places you would never carry your nice stuff. Shoot it like you stole it. Dwight
There is nothing wrong with a gun that has character,even if it does have LOTS of character.Rebarreling takes a little more expertise than WECSOG could handle.You will need a lathe,a good dial indicator and turning or facing tools.The ability to shave a little off the end of the barrel to set cylinder gap once you get the sight to line up right by moving the barrel shoulder back,then the ability to recut the forcing cone.I may have left some small detail out but you get the idea.It might cause Wile E.'s head to 'splode.D*
The gun was used as it was intended to be used. Why destroy that character?
LKN, Sir, its good to hear from you, I've not got a lot of experience with stocks for these pieces, but I am in the market for a nice honest worn set of service grips (I've got small hands). I'm no gunsmith but the mechanicals seem excellent, lock-up and timing is top notch.

d.a.r.y.l, thanks for the insight. I can run a lathe and milling machine, but I lack that equipment and tooling... and I think my wife might 'splode on me should I suggest I get one for this project... so I reckon this one is gonna stay a 4 inch...

The smell is starting to make me pukey, (it's sitting here on the desk as I type) and I figured if I did a dis-assembly and solvent wash, I might look at finish options while I was at that stage.
This one has "truck gun" written all over it. Hose it down with brake cleaner spray and oil it up good and go happily on your way. The MkIII guns are tank tough and will handle a lot of full torque loads. As noted above, nothing wrong with a gun that has character.
The other option for a homegrown finish is duracoat
The gun was used as it was intended to be used. Why destroy that character?
I'm with ya on that. As mentioned, soak it in solvent. The best thing you can use is diesel. I was shown this in the police academy by the firearms instructor in the 80's. Put the gun to soak in a plastic container filled with diesel and slosh it around from time to time. You can leave it soaking for a few days. Shake it off and use an air compressor to blow off the excess diesel. The diesel has a solvent that cleans and also leaves a light film of oil that penetrates the metal and all of the internals without damaging anything. I'll bet the diesel soak will rid of the smell :p
The local gunsmith says RemOil and 4/0 steel wool does a pretty good job on cold blue short of complete refinishing. 4/0 steel wool won't hurt any remaining original finish if used reasonably.
I change my verdict to: Leave It Alone". I hope that doesn't cause any riots. It's a great modern (by my standards) D.A. Colt that could serve about 85% of most people's practical needs. And the well worn look is nice. This gun can brag about having something a Python doesn't have. That clean cylinder rim that gives a "recessed chamber" look.
I've dropped it into some solvent for the night (some brush cleaner), Ill pull it out and re-oil it in the morning.

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