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How to Blue a Revolver the Right Way: Step by Step

Many gun owners around the world have enjoyed the practice of bluing through the years. The benefits of this process have been great for revolvers too. You may be wondering how to do this the right way on your revolver.

To blue a revolver, start by cleaning thoroughly every part and piece you plan to blue. Then apply the solution to the parts or dip the revolver into the solution. When cold bluing, you will now wait a day before cleaning the revolver. When hot bluing you rinse right away and clean any excess solution off.

As a revolver owner, you will have experienced many aspects of gun care. This one may be an unfamiliar one to you. If you are interested in bluing your revolver, here’s a step by step guide of the right way to do it.

What Is the Process of Bluing?

Gun bluing has been used by gunsmiths for centuries. This practice reached a peak during the 19th century, mainly thanks to the protection it lends against corrosion. It also has the added benefit of increasing the aesthetic appeal of the gun.

The process of bluing entails the treatment of a gun with a solution. This solution turns red iron oxide into black iron oxide. Treating a revolver with this solution also gives it a protective layer that prevents damage from particulate pollutants.

Black iron oxide gives guns a blue sheen. You can use this treatment on the barrel on your revolver, on the body, and on various components including the magazine and the frame. Gun experts recommend keeping the treatment away from the gun springs of a revolver.

The most popular types of bluing are cold and hot bluing, which involve different techniques. The steps to follow for bluing a revolver will vary depending on the chosen technique.

Here’s an instructional video for bluing a revolver, with written instruction below:

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.

Can I Paint My Revolver?

Painting a revolver can be an easy job.

You will need some knowledge about how to disassemble your revolver, as you will very likely need to paint some parts on their own. Using paint appropriate for revolvers is also essential.

The most popular paints used for revolvers are Krylon and Rust-Oleum (links to Amazon), which offer great adherence. These easy to use paints are an easy way to customize the look of your revolver and to add to a polished finish effect.

Can You Blue a Stainless Steel Revolver?

Traditionally, bluing has been used primarily on revolvers made from carbon steel. This has led to the generally-held belief that bluing isn’t as effective on stainless steel. Despite this belief, it is possible to blue a stainless steel revolver when taking some things into account.

Classic bluing won’t work on a stainless steel revolver, but hot bluing is a great method to try. It makes the process much easier and much more effective, while providing far more protection against damage.

Cold bluing can be used too, but it may offer less protection and it may not offer as much shine on the finish.

How to Blue a Revolver the Right Way

Bluing a revolver can be a straightforward process, but you should be aware of the steps involved in doing it the right way. Here’s how to cold blue or hot blue a revolver, depending on your preference and circumstances.

How to Cold Blue a Revolver

Cold bluing can seem more straightforward, as it requires no heating. The downside of this technique is that it makes it less durable. It is not recommended to use cold bluing if you want to restore a full revolver. This method is ideal for small fixes.

Clean the Revolver

Before you proceed with cold bluing your revolver, you must first clean it. You should also polish it, remove any grease from it, and fully dry it. This priming before the process is essential in ensuring the best result from the cold blue.

Apply and Wait Twelve Hours

Once you apply the cold blue solution, you will have to wait twelve hours. After that, you can scrub all the rust from your revolver, and you will start seeing the effects of the bluing. However, one application of cold blue on a revolver is rarely enough.

Reapply and Repeat

After scrubbing the rust, reapply the cold blue solution and wait another twelve hours. Repeat this step until you get the desired bluing result on your revolver. You can stop once you notice that the revolver has been restored as much as you wanted.

How to Hot Blue a Revolver

Hot bluing is a more complex process, but it is highly effective. This method is recommended for steel and stainless steel revolvers and for those seeking a full restoration with long-lasting effects. Here are the steps to follow.

Clean Your Revolver

You should make sure to fully clean your revolver before you hot blue it. This will prime the gun and make it ready for a great application of the solution. If you are seeking to restore the whole revolver, make sure to polish it and to degrease it before hot bluing.

Apply the Solution

After cleaning the revolver, dip it into the hot blue solution. If you are only using disassembled parts, dip them and make sure they are covered in the solution.

Rinse the Revolver

Once the revolver has been dipped in the solution, it is time to rinse it. Get all of the bluing solution off the revolver before proceeding to the next step, while checking that it has the sheen and finish you were looking to achieve.

Clean the Revolver

After the bluing is finished, you should clean the revolver once more. This will also serve to buff the revolver and make the hot bluing effect even more apparent.

Can You Take Bluing Off a Gun?

After bluing a gun, you may not like the final effect you achieve. You may also get bored of this new look and decide to revert to the original. In this case, you might stop to wonder how to take the bluing off a gun.

The easiest method to take bluing off a gun is to soak the blued pieces in white vinegar. You should make sure the parts are fully submerged, then let them rest in the white vinegar for about half an hour.

After half an hour, you should notice that the vinegar has turned orange and that the bluing is coming off the gun parts. If the gun still has blue on it, keep it submerged a little longer, making sure to check on it every few minutes.

I use either Brownells, Palmetto State Armory, or Optics Planet to buy parts, that way I always know what I’m getting and that it will actually show up.


To blue a revolver the right way, there are a few straightforward steps to follow. The most popular bluing methods involve easy and quick steps once you know what the process entails and how to go about it.