Brownell's Rust Bluing Formula


Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2004
I just finished rust bluing a Mauser receiver that I've had for several years. I'd intended to get it to someone who could hot salt blue, but never did. The bluing solution was only about $15 for a small bottle, but now I know that it's probably a lifetime supply. Took less than a teaspoon to do this receiver. It is time consuming, though, and absolute de-greasing is essential.

The finished product is a very nice semi-gloss dark blue / black. Should be very durable also. Each complete rusting cycle includes a serious carding with 4/0 steel wool, and the bluing appears to be impervious to it. A barrel or barreled action would be much harder to do than the receiver, and small parts would be somewhat easier. If I was smarter, I'd post a couple of pictures. However, if anyone is interested, I can email pictures. Learned about a year ago.

This process appears to me to be a viable and pleasing protective finish on steel and cr-moly (if you don't need hi-gloss).

Good hunting, Tom
i've rust blued a few times i've found somethings that are crucial to it working well. one is to not polish over 320 or it wont really adhere to the metal, make sure you have the part nice and hot with a propane torch after it's been taken outta the hot water and blown off, you want it hot enough that as you wipe the solution on its drying right away, if it runs or something it'll come out as a more uneven finish. also it can't hurt to let it cook in the boiling water for say 10 min a time. just thought i'd share. glad it worked for you!
Savagebien, I did quite a bit more this time. A complete Mauser action, extra firing pin shroud, the base and handle of a bolt, and an extra set of bottom metal. I was wrong about the small pieces being easier. They're harder to hold, degrease, and handle while applying the rusting solution. It was a lot of work, but I do like the satin black finish, and it's good to be able to do it myself. It's way too slow to do it for someone else though, except as a favor.

If anyone is interested, I have a few more pictures now. email only though.

While the solution is inexpensive, it sounds like it is time consuming and tedious...something that I probably wouldn't enjoy. So my question is, what's the going price to have a vendor do this?
Chas, I don't have a clue, but it would be costly. I have about 12 hrs invested in this last go around, and that is time that you are pretty much tied down, unless you want to stop after one of the boiling cycles and pick it up later. You can't go off and leave it while the pieces are rusting because if you let it rust too long, it will etch the metal too deep. I used to do hot salt bluing for a friend, using his setup, and it was twice as fast as this process. I would guess based on the time it took me, that a professional might charge $200 - $300 to rust blue an action, and maybe $500 - $700 for an old double gun. Personally, I wouldn't try one for twice that much.

An intangible is that when it comes out nice, you feel quite a bit of pride that you could do it yourself.

If you want to P//M me your email, I'll email you a few pictures and you might decide to give it a shot.

Tom, thanks for the response, sounds like it's a little more expensive than I thought.
Warning! This thread is more than 14 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.