How to go from shiney back to brushed matte? Need some help/advise...

How to go from shiney back to brushed matte? Need some help/advise...

This is a discussion on How to go from shiney back to brushed matte? Need some help/advise... within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Hi all. Call me fickle but on a whim I polished my 3" Ruger SP101 to a mirror like finish. I also installed a meprolight ...

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Thread: How to go from shiney back to brushed matte? Need some help/advise...

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    How to go from shiney back to brushed matte? Need some help/advise...

    Hi all. Call me fickle but on a whim I polished my 3" Ruger SP101 to a mirror like finish. I also installed a meprolight front sight. Well after having installed an XS standard sight on my J frame, I now HAVE to put one on the Ruger. I like it that much better but my real question is about the finish.

    I think I liked the gun better when it wasn't shiney When it's all polished it's beautiful but touch it once and it's a big smear and full of finger prints. I've read that you can take a scotch brite pad to it and return it to a brushed matte finish but wante to hear from any of you who've ever done this.

    How hard is it to get a nice uniform matte finish? Would it be better just to bite the bullet and send it to someone to have the gun bead blasted? Do you know of someone who specializes in that who isn't too far from Missouri?

    If you've done it your self (the scotch brite pad way) I'd appreciate hearing from you or even seeing pics of your gun after you were done!

    Thanks all
    Gideon


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array automatic slim's Avatar
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    You don't have to bite the bullet, just don't expect "factory" results from Scotch Brite. I have done quite a bit of metal work on my guns and have found that Scotch Brite gives better results if used to touch up a spot here and there rather than a whole gun. The key is experimentation and proceeding slowly. I have found that using various grits of Aluminum Oxide cloth gives the best finish. Starting with a medium grit. Depending on the gun, you might need not go further or might finish using a fine grit. I have done some finish blending using a metal polish called Simichrome. It works well, but remember slow and easy.
    If you want a truly uniform finish, beadblasting works best. It won't match the factory matte finish, but it will be dull. I can't imagine there not being someone in Missouri who doesn't do beadblasting, especially in the larger cities.
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    Senior Member Array Devilsclaw's Avatar
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    You can get a cheapy blaster from Harbor Freight for $15-$20, and a bucket of media for like $30. They work great for small stuff like that. Probably much cheaper than if you have to ship it somewhere. (I assume you know what you are doing, start low and adjust pressure as needed, and plug bore and cylinder)

    You can also get one of those super fine steel brush wheels that can be used in a drill. (NOT the regular type you find at NAPA--Brownells used to have them, about the thickness of a hair) That would give you the factory "brushed" finish.

    I think it would be very hard to get satisfactory results using Scotchbrite, but it also wouldn't hurt anything. You could try and chuck a 12 ga. bore brush in a drill and try that, as long as you go easy, you won't hurt anything either.

    Just trying to give you some ideas. Good luck!

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    Senior Member Array Devilsclaw's Avatar
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    BTW, if you do blast it, one technique I've done, is to put a relief on the gun, IE: decals or masking.....I have some very small vinyl lettering I use for my initials, I've also seen flames, and I have also done some artwork--contact paper like the kind used to line shelving works great----then when done blasting, the relief is removed leaving a very subtle effect. It lookes kinda like reverse etching. And the best part is, if you don't like it, you can just blast it away.

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    Blasting = cheap and easy. Tape off anything you don't want to blast (like the bore)
    It is surely true that you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Nor can you make them grateful for your efforts.

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    The guys here recommending the blasting have the correct approach in my view. Attempting to hand polish to a degree of finish equal to factory is nigh on to impossible without separating major component parts like barrel and frame and paying great heed to "grain" structure of the steel surface in the direction of one's polishing strokes. It also can be a delicate thing to maintain correct appearance of roll markings, screw holes, contours, flat surfaces, and edges unless one is really adept. A stainless firearm inspection trip through the average gun show using a discerning eye will reveal a lot of unsightliness that some former owner thought was an improvement to his gun's appearance. Occasionally owner-polishing unsightliness is even present and detectable in firearms forums photographs.

    Power tools are not your friend when polishing a firearm. Take it from an amateur who has learned. The simple bead blasting will yield a more uniform and "factory-like" appearance with way less effort or chance for a goof. I'm a huge fan of leaving factory finished surfaces alone but wouldn't have any heartburn at all about acquiring a modern stainless steel handgun that had been properly re-polished and wouldn't consider such a re-polish to be reason to devalue the gun. Amateurish polish jobs? Well not so much.
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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Good inputs. I do think my polish job was good. I spend many many hours by hand and with a variable speed (at very low setting) dremel. I used Mother's Mag polish and the slowest speed on the dremel with a felt wheel did a good job but I just really don't like a shiny gun that much.

    I think factory finish brushed stainless is the best but Love a bead blasted look. I think I'll do that when I find someone. I can't find anyone remotely within driving distance and I'd be willing to drive a long way!

    Thanks for the inputs
    Gideon

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