Help support WeTheArmed.com by visiting our sponsors.

Author Topic: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?  (Read 704 times)

Oldsarge

  • Junior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6

  • Offline
Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
« on: August 03, 2016, 06:42:37 PM »
Inherited a .38 special S&W from my grandfather, who kept it on a nail by the back door for decades.  It's color is brownish, rather than blued steel or any other finish I'd expect.

I've no idea how to remove this and restore it to the original finish.  I'd appreciate any help from y'all!
GeorgiaThe LORD bless you and keep you;
the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

WeTheArmed.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Grant

    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 7842

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #1 on: August 03, 2016, 07:50:03 PM »
      Hey there.   This the Oldsarge from falfiles/akfiles?

       I don't know what to advise you other than.....I think it looks cool the way it is, genuine.
    Montana"I’d say the worst part of all this is the feeling of betrayal,           but I’m betting the part where they break in here and beat us to death might be worse.”

    Oldsarge

    • Junior Member
    • *
    • Posts: 6

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #2 on: August 03, 2016, 08:25:02 PM »
      Hey there.   This the Oldsarge from falfiles/akfiles?

       I don't know what to advise you other than.....I think it looks cool the way it is, genuine.

    Sorry Grant.  Never posted on that/those sites.

    Appreciate  your comment.  Sometimes showing your age is a good thing!
    GeorgiaThe LORD bless you and keep you;
    the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
    the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
    Numbers 6:24-26

    MTK20

    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 5339
    • Mind of a philosopher, mouth of a sailor.

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #3 on: August 03, 2016, 08:30:54 PM »
    My premodel 10 looked just like that. All I did was cold blue it. It gave it a deeper colour, but still the finish was rough.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    coelacanth

    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 7138
    • eccentric orbit

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #4 on: August 05, 2016, 02:15:40 AM »
    Well, it shows a good bit of honest wear and finish loss but if the corrosion isn't too deep it can be brought back a bit closer to its original condition.  Probably the first place to start is with a good detail cleaning to assess the situation.  That will give you a better idea of what you are working with and what is possible. 

    How well versed are you in the assembly/disassembly of S&W revolvers?  Do you have the tools necessary to do the job?  You can clean up the outside by removing the grips and using fine steel wool ( # 0000 ) and a detail brush like an old tooth brush.  Any decent penetrating oil will remove a fair amount of the surface rust and general crud when applied with the steel wool and brush but these are methods primarily for the outside of the gun.  To clean the barrel and the chambers you will need properly sized gun cleaning tools.  If you don't already have them I would suggest picking up some if you intend to do this job properly.   Barring that, I have used Q-Tips, old 100% cotton rags and things as mundane as chopsticks from carry out Chinese food in a pinch.  Not ideal but effective enough if used with patience. 

    If the gun is to be restored to full function it will probably need to make a trip to a revolver smith at some point to have the internal parts checked out and cleaned or replaced as necessary.   At that point it will have the sear engagement and the timing checked for safe operation and probably an assessment of whether it is feasible to do a complete restoration.   

    Hope this was helpful as a place to start.   :hmm   
    Arizona"A dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness.  Bad manners.  Lack of consideration for others in minor matters.  A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot."
                          Robert A. Heinlein ,   Friday

    Oldsarge

    • Junior Member
    • *
    • Posts: 6

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #5 on: August 05, 2016, 06:53:12 PM »

    If the gun is to be restored to full function it will probably need to make a trip to a revolver smith at some point to have the internal parts checked out and cleaned or replaced as necessary.   At that point it will have the sear engagement and the timing checked for safe operation and probably an assessment of whether it is feasible to do a complete restoration.   

    Hope this was helpful as a place to start.   :hmm

    Thanks for the suggestions Coelacanth!  I also posted on the S&W forum for some help on date of manufacture.  Between 1919 and 1920. 
    Most of the folks there said just clean it well and don't do anything to the finish.  It shows the "history" of the firearm.  Proudly aged, basically.

    I cleaned it as well as I could and since everything seemed functional we shot it today.  Worked like a champ! (Should have seen your post and followed your advice on a trip to a gunsmith.  But thankfully all went well.  I will take it to one before we fire it again, to ensure all truly is well mechanically.  Very sage advice that I'd not thought of.  Thank you for that!)

     I'm giving it to my daughter.  She fell in love with it and my son is getting all the other weapons as his inheritance.

    I really appreciate everyone's advice and support!
    GeorgiaThe LORD bless you and keep you;
    the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
    the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
    Numbers 6:24-26

    MTK20

    • Senior Contributor
    • *****
    • Posts: 5339
    • Mind of a philosopher, mouth of a sailor.

    • Offline
    Re: Brownish patina on old S&W .38 M&P, how do restore finish?
    « Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 07:37:23 PM »
    Not a problem at all, old sarge. We're happy to have you aboard. I think a K frame is a perfect choice for any of the women in our lives, whose safety we care about. They fit small hands well and the ballistics out of a 4 inch barreled .38 special are quite impressive  :thumbup1.
    Texas
    Do we forget that cops were primarily still using 6 Shot Revolvers well through the mid 80's? It wasn't until after 1986 that most departments then relented and went to autos.
    Capacity wasn't really an issue then... and honestly really it's not even an issue now.
    Ray Chapman, used to say that the 125-grain Magnum load’s almost magical stopping power was the only reason to load .357 instead of .38 Special +P ammunition into a fighting revolver chambered for the Magnum round. I agree. - Massad Ayoob

    Paradoxically it is those who strive for self-reliance, who remain vigilant and ready to help others.

    Help support WeTheArmed.com by visiting our sponsors.