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March 30, 2007

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The Future Of Finish Is Putting Rust To Rest

It’s a well-known and dismal fact that any steel suitable for use in firearms will rust. Since rust is bad, all sorts of solutions to the problem have been tried over the last 400 years. Bluing (which is a form of controlled rusting) is the most popular, but many’s the blued gun that has rusted all to hell.

Plating has been tried. Charlie Askins used to swear by Marker Machine Company’s Black Chrome plating. An acquaintance of mine sent them a Ruger Model 77 .338 and they screwed it up completely.

Parkerizing, a form of metallic coating, was developed just before World War I, and the U.S. military made heavy use of it. It was effective because it was non-reflective, fairly rust-resistant (if you kept it oiled) and wore fairly well. It was, however, exceedingly ugly and has not been used on civilian rifles.

Now, we may be at the dawn of the rustproof rifle. A number of top-drawer custom gunmakers are offering steel finishes that are damn near impervious to everything. These finishes vary in their composition, but all are third- or fourth-generation. Earlier versions were either too thick or too soft, or too prone to cracking.

John Lazzeroni was the first in the pool with a coating called NP-3, which is a mixture of electroless nickel and Teflon. All Lazzguns have been so coated from the beginning, and it is terrific stuff. It even looks nice—sort of a dull pewter color.

Mark Bansner uses K-Kote as his standard finish, Charlie Sisk uses Cera-Kote, and Ed Brown offers Gen. III. All are very thin, very hard, zero maintenance, and durned near indestructible. But they are not cheap. It costs about $250 to $350 to apply them.

Having had more than one rifle rust despite taking all precautions with it, I am a big fan. I dislike most of what passes for progress, but not this.


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Is there a "At Home" kit for this??? It would be cool to break out the muriatic (sp) acid to strip the bluing and try some of these out.....



You can do your own Duracoating if the mood strikes you.



Cool. I am always looking to tinker with "tinker quality" guns....... Thanks

Ralph the Rifleman

This Dura Coat stuff seems 2 good 2 be true for a $49 dollar kit?
Has anyone used this stuff on their firearms before? Most of the processing I have read about actually strips the metal down bare, and the finish is baked on. Could this spray on stuff be that effective?

Stece C

Another tradition swirling down the crapper. I’m sure not too far behind will be the gun you don’t have to clean at all.

If you were to look at all of the “progress’ being made over years, the ultimate goal of the hunting community appears to be removing all effort and skill from the sport. Surprising how the majority aren't bothered at all about this.


There is a time and place for blued guns and a place for others. I have been on hunts where it rained for 5-7 days straight, and was happy I had a stainless/synthetic stocked gun......


Im thinking about getting a good hunting rifle that I might also be able to use in some small time competitions. I have a family connection with beretta which allows me to recieve a considerable discount. Any opinions on the Tikka T3 Tactical?


Doug I have only heard good things about the T3. If you could swing a deal on the TRG it would be great, and the used value will stay very high. Its like comparing a Cadillac with a Chevy.


Thanks Tom. I recieve a discount of at least 20% below wholesale on all Beretta products. Sometimes up to 50%. I just wanted to see what was being said about beretta rifles. I appreciate the advice.


To be honest... I liked the T3 Tactical mainly because it just looks bad ass. But the TRG 42 is also an aesthetically pleasing rifle. My 18 b-day is coming up in a couple of weeks and instead of going to the clubs, I would much rather use my age to buy a nice rifle. Again, thanks for the help.


My Father and I have owned over a dozen SAKO rifles. They all shoot under an inch at 100 yards. The TRG holds serious value and if you could get a demo it would be great. If you could find out when the SAKO 85 Deluxe is going to come out.....Many of us are waiting.


Keep an eye out for me to post again. Ill try and give them a call in the next couple of days. we already have orders placed for the new Rx4 rifle.


berettausa says they don't sell barreled- actions for the '85 either, so we're going to have to wait awhile for a nice stick......My crave is an 85 Hunter in 338 Fed..

Galen Burgett

Well, back to the original intent of the thread. I am also becoming a big fan of the new metal coatings and finishes. Aesthetically, the old style deep blue finishes are something to behold when done by the masters. They also required an enormous amount of time and effort to produce and really weren't all that durable. For a hunting or target gun that is going to be used intensively I will opt for the "new fangled" finishes. I suspect that in the near future, some chemical innovator will come up with an impervious finish that mimics the old super high quality blues of the past. While we can decry the passing of the older traditions and appreciate the intense work that was required to produce certain things, the fact is, a finish is supposed to protect the metal. The new generations of finishes do that far better than the old style.


What about the bore? Do Cera-Cote, NP-3, etc. protect the bore of the rifle as well as the exterior? I think not, but I may be wrong.

Dave Petzal

TO MJK: The only thing that protects the bore is hard chrome. I believe that some of the first Weatherby rifles had chromed bores, and it's fairly common among military rifles, though more for the chamber than the bore.


Hey all.
If you still use a blued rifle and wish it not to rust ever with even the slightest maintenance, use Birchwood Casey's weapon wipes. They are approved for use by the military and they are absolutely wonderful if you can get past the smell.


Scratch that it's Break Free. This old age and memory thing is really overrated.

Roger Reeves

Most firearms rust due to lack of care. every time I handle my firearms, I wipe down with Rem oil prior to going to bed. If hunting season is on, I wipe down and swab teh bbl as well.I always keep a piece of elec. tap over the muzzle to keep out the elements,rain, snow, dirt, grim, etc. Only problem I ever had was I bought a handgun many years ago, wiped now and then, bujt never shot it. One day looked at the gun, and had rust on the front sight. This handgun was stored in the orig box,, which had a cut out in the styrofoam for the gun to lie in. I learned that styrofoam will build condensation over time and then you got rust. So take your stored guns out of a styroform bvox and look it over, goos luck. I had to have the entire bbl reblued on mine. I threw away the foam. Again, always wipe your guns down with quality oil, cleaner after hand prints have been placed on them.The salt in your fingers will rust any gun, regardless of finish if not wiped off. I also use Birchwood Casey gun scrubber to clean the bbl's and actions often, especially during hunting season and about once a month between or when handled, then wipe with a oily rag with quality protector oils. A re-blueing job cost too much to let rust gather on your fine weapon and will never look as orig.


...chrome chips.


Well guys I may be old, cheap and poor but buy a $2 can of flat black spray paint and a can of trichloro cleaner, wipe off all the old oil with the trichloro and spray a few coats of paint on it, letting it sit in the sun to bake dry between coats, and then after a good hot day of baking in the sun (the Black really absorbs heat) I then wipe it down with Break Free oil, it doesn't look bad and as long as that paint's there it will never rust, also the oil seems to hold well to the paint and gives it a semi gloss look, heck it worked for years on Lee Enfields, and touch up if needed is cheap and easy, if you want to get fancy you can use a grey metal primer under the black, just a few bucks more for a can of primer and it does hold up better with the primer.


Roger Reeves

To Zermoid:Your suggestion is interesting. Would you please go into more detail on how you do this painting. Do you paint the entire metal parts and do any fine steel wool sanding prior to painting or cleaning with the Trichloro, and where can this be purchased. I assume you tape off and cover with paper or plastic prior to using the mdse you suggest. Also, does it damage the nice wood, if any of the cleaner get on the Walnut wood. A blueing job of entire gun or parts at a Gunsmith, now cost a arm and leg. I buy some used good guns inexcellent working order, but the finish of the metal is terrible in places, especially on the action and metal floorplates. Would appreciate you responding t my request. Thanks for good solution to rusty guns. Roger

JA Demko

A few years back, I came into possession of a 1970's vintage Llama .45. It had spent the preceding several years in a cheap leather holster under the seat of a pick-up truck. Internally, the piece was fine. The bluing, though, was a loss. I refinished the gun by removing what remained of the bluing with auto-body "rust destroyer." I gave the frame and slide a coat of gray metal primer, followed by two coats of bronze-colored Krylon and two coats of clear polyurethane. I baked the components under a heat lamp between coats.
I gave the gun to my brother who carries it occasionally and shoots it pretty often. My "paint job" has held up very well. Purpose-designed firearms finishes can only be better.


as to the rusting problem i have a cousin who stores his guns in his closet. anyway after hunting season he cleans them all and stands them up in a pan of 30 weight motor oil, barrel down. this cause the guns to "self oil", to pull the oil into themselfs throughout the year. he doesnt seem to have any problems with rusting and hell since we live in the nice humid state of louisisana that saying something. when hunting season rolls around he just wipes the guns down with hoppes no. 9. i have never none of him to have rusting problems.

E. Butler

While we're on the subject--how bad IS it to leave a pistol in a holster. Does leather or nylon have a discernable difference?

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