Solution to Winchester post-'64 "rainbow" receivers?

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  • Solution to Winchester post-'64 "rainbow" receivers?

    Hey guys, most of you who own a post-1964 manufacture Winchester 94 lever-gun will know what I'm talking about. Instead of using traditional blued steel, Winchester switched to an alloy to form the receivers from 1964 onwards, coated them with an iron compound and then blued them; problem is that the bluing doesn't hold well (particularly in more humid climes) resulting in the receivers of these rifles attaining a patchy rainbow-hue of blues, browns and rusty reds while the rest of the rifle (which is traditional steel) usually retains well its factory blued finish. Was just wondering what different things people are trying to tackle this issue?

    Obviously re-coating the receivers in iron-wash solution and then hot-bluing them is the ideal method however is out of my skills-set for DIY and out of my price range to have it done professionally. Other treatments would I guess include cold-bluing, simply painting the receivers black or even polishing them back to the silver-coloured alloy finish and leaving them at that? Would be interesting to hear what others may have done to make these rifles that have seen better days look a bit better without resorting to a complete strip down and re-blue (which for the cost would make it almost more worthwhile buying one of the new Japanese-made Winnies)..

  • #2
    Try Cerakote.

    If the applicator is clever, you can get a semi gloss finish using graphite black.


    • #3
      Here is an explanation I found some time ago I think on a US site and kept (author unknown) It helps explain what you may be dealing with if rebluing.

      "Winchester started using a steel for the '94 receiver with a composition that doesn't take hot salt bluing at ser# 2,700,000.
      They started iron plating them at that point and hot salt blueing the iron plate coating.
      If they are polished and then reblued, the polishing removes the iron plating, leaving the base steel once again that won't take salt blueing well.
      Somewhere around #3,000,000 they changed to a black chrome surface finish for a while on the '94 but the receiver steel composition was the same.
      Past that I don't know what they did.
      Those will take a rust blue finish pretty good. The steel is not easy to get a high polish on generally but one isn't needed for rust blue.
      I 've seen the technicle name for the steel alloy in print but can't recall it now. Some people used to call it a 'graphite' or graphited steel, whether that's correct or not I don't know.
      Seems like there was a special hot blue salt compound available to gunsmiths/shops a few years back that was supposed to blue these using conventional methods but I never had any experience with it."
      “Dunno, I've never been much for guns. I mean, sure, we have the usual gun by the door, another near the TV, one in the kitchen, and another in the bedroom...and several others lying around. For the most part though, we keep our home free of guns. We are peace loving folks.”