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Rust Bluing



Rust Bluing

A Brief History on Rust Bluing

In the early history of firearms, weapons were often exposed to the elements, which covered them with a brown coating. This brown coating was a result of red rust. When the brown coating was rubbed, the loose, top layer of rust came off, leaving the brown stained metal. Every time the gun metal was rubbed, a deeper and more even hue of brown was revealed. This coloring process provided a functional camouflage since the reddish-brown metal did not flash or reflect light.

The concept of “browning”, coloring the gun brown by letting rust collect on the metal, was very popular by the 1700s. To achieve this desired look, a salt-water solution placed on the metal accelerated the rusting process. The rust was then removed using steel wool, which was known as a process called “carding”. Numerous coats of the solution were applied to the gun metal, and the resulting rust carded until the preferred color finish appeared. The basic rust bluing process is still used today to restore old firearms to their original finish.

Shotguns with twist steel or Damascus barrels or muzzleloading firearms require browning as a part of their restoration. Rust bluing is a process normally reserved for double barrels and/or very old firearms. Original bluing on these pieces commonly used a bluing chemical containing Cyanide. This was the agent that produced the blue/gray or blue/black color. Modern “Hot Blue” combined with high heat can destroy a set of barrels that were soft soldered together, since the heat will weaken the solder leaving only pieces. This is one of the reasons a “rust” process is used on older firearms. This process produces a color closer to the original finish and does not affect the soft solder.

The time to apply this process is more labor intensive and can extend to 10-12 applications. As you can imagine, this extended effort directly affects the price.

Bose’s Guns uses an extensive process to create or recreate a new and durable finish intended to last for years

Slow Rust Blue 

Rust Blue Double Barrels (barrels only this process is used for barrels that cannot be hot blued such as Damascus barrels)
(strip, polish, blue, clean parts, oil and reassemble)


Rust Blue Pistols


Rust Blue Rifles & shotguns


Rust Blue Doubles


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