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When do you reach a determination to refinish a pistol or leave it alone? For example, I have rebuilt this 1877 Lightning, made in 1898 from a stripped frame. The finish was removed long before I received it. I lettered the gun, because its something I do with all matching serial number guns and it was shipped to Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Company in October 1898. The letter indicted the original finish was blued. This one also has the * stamp on the rear trigger guard indicating it was sent back to colt. The front sight has also been altered

I am currently running out of projects and thought about rust bluing the loading gate, trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder and barrel. I am thinking one or two applications so that there is a little color, nothing bold. I wouldn't touch the frame since most of the case hardening has long wore off.

I don't have a problem bluing my mismatched Colts, but don't know if bluing a matching gun will change the collectabilty or value. Is it better to leave it alone?
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It's your call on what You do to Your firearm! But like most on this forum the patina of honest wear over the 100+ years of being used says a lot and is cherished very much. Once a reblue is put on it...you can't ever go back. You might even regret it once you do it and look at it, knowing you just wasted all the old finish off it. BUT it IS YOURS!
 

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I have refinished guns in the past, so I am not "anti-refinish". I look at each gun and base my choice on a number of factors. Since you asked for an opinion, in this case i would NOT refinish. I believe it would lessen the value.
 

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Either way it can be appreciated. Though I would consider all out for a refinish. To include CCH frame, dark blued main parts and fire blued small parts.
That said, I only have one 1877 and it looks much like yours. Don’t plan to refinish.
Vic
 

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don't know if bluing a matching gun will change the collectabilty or value.
Just answering ONE of your questions you'd have to know what it's worth as is. I'd guess it's worth about $600 like that. If you reblue parts of it, or even all of it, it will be obvious it's not original Colt finish. So then it would be worth about $600. You haven't reached the reblue-brings-back-value threshold yet.
 

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Never (almost) refinish. Short of an expensive Turnbull restoration, where you might only lose a few hundred on an unpopular model, low value model such as this one, most refinishes reduce the value by about the cost of the refinish, so you will have paid money to reduce the value. Makes no sense to me.

Sell it and put the sale price with the cost of a refinish, then add enough to get a gun in the condition you want.

Leave this old soldier alone with its life scars as a record of its service.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Never (almost) refinish. Short of an expensive Turnbull restoration, where you might only lose a few hundred on an unpopular model, low value model such as this one, most refinishes reduce the value by about the cost of the refinish, so you will have paid money to reduce the value. Makes no sense to me.

Sell it and put the sale price with the cost of a refinish, then add enough to get a gun in the condition you want.

Leave this old soldier alone with its life scars as a record of its service.
I rebuilt this 1877 from a frame, trigger guard, backstrap, cylinder and loading gate. I rebuild 1877's as a hobby, and fire them with black powder cartridges I reload. I won't likely ever sell it.

I rust blue parts myself, so there is no loss to me. I dont hesitate to re-blue a mismatched 1877, but this one has given me a pause. I will most likely leave it alone now...
 

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I know (knew) this was sacrilege but I re-finished a 1957 Colt SAA and I think it looks darn nice. The gun had no finish, none, no case colors at all. Gun was mechanically perfect and no rust and I think someone almost had to chemically remove the finish. Anyway dis-assembled, rust blued it and had the frame case colored by DantheGunman for about $250. I like it and it always gets favorable comment at the range. Probably will never sell it until I get moved to the nursing home. Having paid around $800 to $900 for it a few years back I doubt I'll lose any money in a resale.
 

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I think the gun looks good right now. I mean no disrespect regarding your bluing skills, but absent a restoration, I would venture that it will look like a refinished gun. I think it's more desirable as is.

If you do reblue it, don't do the loading gate. It was originally case hardened.
 

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Definitely a question that has different answers from many perspectives. I myself like your gun as seen. IMHO it has that been there done that character. Thanks for sharing your gun with us all here. I like it the way it is now myself.
 

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Looks good the way it is---that being said. This is not a collector piece never will be. If you want to restore the finish do it and enjoy it!
 

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I can see the appeal of having a 100+ year-old matching numbers gun looking like it it was shipped last month. It would get a lot of attention if done well but would also need explanation if you wanted to sell it.
I like the way it looks now.
 
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