Browning a barrel

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I'm doing my first flintlock pistol buld (old Pedersoli kit from the 70's or 80's) and I finished browning the barrel last night

I used the Birchwood Casey Plum Brown (the barrel fit in the oven so I was able to do it warm) and after two passes, I was happy with the color. Following the directions, I applied some Barricade and let it sit over night.

I like the color but I don't like the texture. Unlike my other barrels (which I did NOT build and brown) the surface rust is still very chalky and dry. Looks nice but VERY rusty.

How do I get the barrel surface smooth and maintain the rust color? Did I just mess this up?
 
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I have never used Plum Brown so I am not a good source of info. On a LMF done barrel I card it back after every coat, neutralize with ammonia after the last coat, heat the barrel and apply a coat of motor oil on the hot barrel.

Perhaps you can card the surface back and give the barrel a motor oil treatment.

I don't know what my nephew used on this barrel, I think it was LMF and he let it go way too far. I tried to card the rust back while I was working on the gun and it was a no go, the pitting was too deep. His barrel has a dry appearance as well.

wes browning.JPG


You may have to draw file and start over. Perhaps some plum brown guys will have the answer.
 

rchas

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I tried using Plum Brown once, years and years ago... I was not really happy with it and never used it again. I tend to stick with Laurel Mountain Forge browning solution for both browning and rust blueing.

But that being said; I know folks who use Plum Brown have to lightly polish with extra fine steel wool to card off rust. With any browning or rust blueing project I apply some ammonia or baking soda in water to kill the acid, and then soak in motor oil for one to two day.
 

rafterob

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I have used Plum Brown a number of times with good results, starting about 14 years ago. All the advice was gleaned from this forum. Once you have achieved the coloring and even coating you desire you should neutralize it with a baking soda wash, rinse with warm water and dry well. Then coat the barrel with your favorite oil and let it sit for a week. It may continue to work a little in that time period. After that week, wash the oil off with mild detergent and warm water, rinse and dry. It will probably be "fuzzy" at this point. Now you card back that fuzz by lightly rubbing with fine steel wool or coarse fabric. Be careful if using steel wool because you can take too much off. Rinse it off again and dry followed by another coating of oil. Let it sit another week to "age". Now you may do one of two things; Rub the extra oil coating off to just leave a thin layer or clean the oil off and coat the barrel with a paste wax and buff when dry. I use the waxing method and then as I clean the barrel post shooting sessions I lightly coat it with Ballistol.
 
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I'm doing my first flintlock pistol buld (old Pedersoli kit from the 70's or 80's) and I finished browning the barrel last night

I used the Birchwood Casey Plum Brown (the barrel fit in the oven so I was able to do it warm) and after two passes, I was happy with the color. Following the directions, I applied some Barricade and let it sit over night.

I like the color but I don't like the texture. Unlike my other barrels (which I did NOT build and brown) the surface rust is still very chalky and dry. Looks nice but VERY rusty.

How do I get the barrel surface smooth and maintain the rust color? Did I just mess this up?
BC Plum Brown is about the easiest chemical there is for me. I am sloppy and do not follow directions very well. I de grease the barrel 100%. Heat the barrel with a propane torch hot enough to make the liquid sizzle on contact. You do not want temp any higher! I just keep coating (maintaining heat) until I like the color. While doing this I do change application material/pad so as not to be re applying with old used up solution. Rinse and wipe with clean water, oil liberally. Motor oil or 3 in 1. A few days later I wipe down any residue and re oil. Done deal.
Larry
 

Nobody85

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I haven’t browned a barrel in years, but I remember being taught to use a cold browning method by my grandfather. It took some time if I remember, about three days or so. If I remember correctly the barrel was swabbed down with alcohol, then the oxidation agent was applied. We hung it from coat hangers in the barn because it had to be a little chilly, lest it would rust the whole thing up bad. Every day you’d have to take the rust back down with steel wool. About the third or fourth day it had developed a dark brown coating that had deeply penetrated the pores of the barrel. I’ve seen a plumb browned barrel rust with neglect, but I’ve never seen any rust on that cold browned barrel, no matter how it was treated.
 

Phil Coffins

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The bottle says to rinse with water then apply Barricade. That’s all you need. As you can see there’s no after rust, and it’s durable with normal care.
I have used it to rust blue by adding the boiling step between coats and have been pleased with that as well.
2403B66F-2F84-4AA0-80EB-669B179F6283 by Oliver Sudden, on Flickr
 
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There is nothing to neutralize in BCPB. The oxidizers are salts, not acid. Just rinse it with lots of water. It always has after rust for about a week. I have tried baking soda and ammonia, neither stops the after rust. I have used the after rust to my advantage by encouraging it and and carding once a day.

IF it is rough and nasty it need to be carded. I use soapy water and fine steel wool. IF you use oil you have burned the bridge to an easy next coat.

As an experiment I tried a soft bristle brush wheel for an electric motor. The motor spins at low speed. This rig works really good at removing the flock rust and not hurting the "good" rust.

Although I have used gallons of BC PB I now use Laurel Mountain Forge. For a quickie touch up on a small part the BCPB is still good to have handy.
 

Phil Coffins

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The finish you get is dependent on the finish you give the metal. Some say only go to a coarse grade of paper, I generally do a 400 grit or finer sanding to get these finish’s. A rough and rusty finish looks amateurish to me but some like it. To me it would be like buying a rusty and dented new car.
 
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akroguy

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I really wanted to like the LMF browning solution, but it didn't do jack here in NM. Just too dry and I'm not willing to monkey around with making steam tents or running the shower all day. So, out came the bottle of Plum Brown that is MANY years old and my MAP gas torch. It came out beautifully. After each pass of the solution on the hot metal, I wiped with plain water. Kept making passes and in a couple of hours it was done. Wiped the barrel down again with water, oiled with gun oil and I'm completely happy with it. Has a nice, purplish, deep brown color and not rough or crusty. I didn't polish the barrel beyond draw filing.

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I have found that heating the steel and melting wax or grease on will not stop BCPB after rust. I consider the after rust part of the process and a good thing for evening the finish out.

If you choose to boil the part in distilled water for a while that will do it. It will also make the part blue-black.

I also do not fret over polishing either. After draw filing I blend it with maroon scotchbirte, done. The rusting process will further blend any marks from filing. IF you draw file properly it is at about the 180 grit level of finish anyway.
 

Hawk54

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I did my CVA mountain rifle with Track of the Wolf browning solution. Degrease the parts. I used a heat gun to warm the part I was working on. Put the browning solution on evenly with a cotton ball. Let it set for 24 hours. Take a piece of denim or even a paper towel and wipe down the metal surfaces. This takes the rust scale off but doesn't remove the good rust. Repeat the process until you get the color you want. I used water and baking soda to neutralize. Then dried the parts with the heat gun. Coated the parts with some 5W30 motor oil. Don't use a penetrating oil. Let it set up for a week. Metal comes out a beautiful brown with a nice smooth surface.
 
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I did not use any heat when I browned with LMF. I just applied and let barrel set in bathroom overnight. That is the room with the most humidity in most homes. Next day would card and reapply browning solution. Repeated that until I had the effect I wanted.
 

Sidney Smith

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I use Plum Brown and it's my go to browning solution. Those who got shitty results weren't following directions.

After browning coat the whole barrel in a thick layer of motor oil. Let it sit for a few days, then dry with rags or paper towels. This will get the flaky rust off. Re coat with oil and repeat the process. It may take several applications of the oil before the process is nullified. Then lightly shine with 0000 steel wool, as in lightly. Then lightly oil the barrel with gun oil or coat with linseed oil and your good to go.

I personally prefer the hot brown method over the put the barrel into a humid area and hope it works method. The latter has too many variables that can make the final result look like crap IMO.
 
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