• Friends, our 2nd Amendment rights are always under attack and the NRA has been a constant for decades in helping fight that fight.

    We have partnered with the NRA to offer you a discount on membership and Muzzleloading Forum gets a small percentage too of each membership, so you are supporting both the NRA and us.

    Use this link to sign up please; https://membership.nra.org/recruiters/join/XR045103

220 or 320 for barrel browning prep ?

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


50 Cal.
Dec 25, 2021
Reaction score
I plan on rust bluing the barrel of my Hawken project by browning with LMF browning solution then boiling. I assume the 320 will produce a higher sheen finish than 220 , but what are other recommendations or things to consider ? Some say 320 is to fine to get the "bite" you need while other think 220 is to coarse. -Thanks
Well it's up to you, 320 wet is pretty easy to do, just be sure to use a good block to keep the flat edges square.
If that finish isn't what your looking for, blocking back to 220 is even easier.
It's that simple, ✌️
LMF is pretty easy, there can be a learning curve about using too much, or over applying, but there is enough in a single bottle to do the process to several barrels.
Ya really can't rune a barrel with the stuff, it's too easy to just start over with LMF, so don't worry,, experimenting is good.
Last edited:
No more than 220 if finishing by hand. 150 if I'm finishing on the lathe.

Personally, I like more tooth for my finishes to grab onto.

Those little nooks and crannies keep the finish in place better.
Last edited:
I've done #240, #320, and down to #600. The rust that is formed has a certain texture that is about the same regardless of #320 or finer (IMHO) so why go finer than #320. I agree that the roughness increases surface area and rust. NEVER scrub the surface, just one wipe and if you miss a spot- get it the next coat. In any event I think the #320 gives a little better finish but #240(#220) is also perfectly okay. Try the underside of the barrel and see how you like it, do half 220 and half 320.
The best thing is to always build a "damp box" This can be scrap materials with a lamp inside and some wet rags. Really guarantees a good result.
i go 220 and card with 0000 steel wool. gently.
my damp box is the down stairs shower stall. i hand the barrel from the exhaust fan cover.


  • 20230110_080155.jpg
    840.2 KB · Views: 0
  • 20230110_080206.jpg
    944.5 KB · Views: 0
  • 20230109_204235.jpg
    762.5 KB · Views: 0
For ML barrels I draw file then blend with maroon sctochbrite. After browning file strokes are not or only slightly visible, like original guns often are.

I do remove the file marks on locks. I take sandpaper to about 150 then blend with scotchbrite.

Over polishing does not look right to me. You will only find a super hihg polish on Weatherby rifles and such. I think they looks tacky. It has no place on a ML for sure.

If you like the soft eggshell look, and I do, try polishing to 320 then bead blasting to blend. That looks really sharp with a slow rust blue or brown.