What is a Blued Finish?
If you type “blue steel” in your internet search bar, you’re going to get two main results. The first is Ben Stiller’s character from the movie Zoolander, and the other involves the finish on a gun. Bluing is a passivation process of treating steel to prevent rust. The chemical process results in a blue-black finish, hence the name. Not only does bluing provide rust protection, but it leaves a cosmetically pleasing finish on the gun.
Some of the other functional aspects of bluing include scratch resistance from normal use as well as glare reduction in the eyes of a shooter. Of course, all blued gun components still must be oiled to maintain effectiveness.
The modern standard in bluing procedures is hot bluing. Hot bluing involves immersing steel components in a solution of potassium nitrate, sodium hydroxide, and water that is then heated to a range of 275-310 degrees Fahrenheit. Thin coatings of black oxide produce a lighter grey finish, while heavier coats produce a darker black finish.
For more on blueing, check out this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La501c2WzCA&t=448s
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