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Brian Arthur 09-10-2018 03:53 PM

I had the same concern, but the barrel rings like a bell, and after 4 rounds of boiling I've noticed the leaking rib is confined to a single 1/16" section near the breech.

This is going to be my shooting Parker, so I will see what happens...

Jerry Harlow 09-10-2018 10:49 PM

It will be fine in my opinion. I would not worry at all.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 08:13 PM

Gentlemen- The rust bluing process went exceptionally well through the first 5 cycles (rust/boil/card).

Cycles 6 and now 7 are not turning from rust red to black.

Suggestions on causes for this?

I am using Brownell's Classic Rust Blue solution, a stainless steel tank and house water (RI water is pretty neutral). I have no problem maintaining a rigorous boil.


Brian Dudley 09-16-2018 08:14 PM

I would strongly recommend using distilled water. Just buy it by the gallon. I can do a set of barrels with 6 gallons.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 08:29 PM

I will try that, Brian, thank you!

I assume you keep using the same water then if you can do all the boils with 6 gallons?


Tom Flanigan 09-16-2018 08:51 PM

I guess my first question is why you are doing so many iterations. Did the barrels not blacken properly and therefore needed more iterations? I have never used the Brownell’s formula so I don’t what results to expect using it. I have used Pilkington’s and Laurel Mountain Forge. With both of those rusting agents, you should never need to go more than five iterations and I have done barrels with four. I just finished a set of Trojan barrels with four iterations. You don’t want the barrels to be a deep black. Parker bluing was not dark black but more of a black bluish color in sunlight. This is what you should shoot for.

I would have thought that a problem caused by not using distilled water would have shown up before you got so far into it. But, I don’t know for sure. I use well water and have never had a problem. I’m not sure what is going on with your barrels. Are you sure that the rust you are seeing on the barrels is not from contamination from the rust in the water? If so, just card and the red rust will disappear.

My biggest question is what did the barrels look like after five iterations. Were they black / blue? Or were they gray and so more iterations were needed? It is best to stop when the barrels are black / blue. I always compare my barrels to a benchmark set. It makes it easy to know when to stop. But on average barrels, five iterations is standard with four sometimes sufficient. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to go more than five iterations. I’ve never gone beyond six. But your situation is hard for me to judge since I have never used Brownell’s rust blue. Laurel Mountain is a strong agent with Pilkington’s a bit less so.

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 09:21 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hi Tom-

The instructions with the Brownells' Rust Blue solution stated it would take 6-20 that's where my head has been at.

Based on your observations, I just carded the rust off and compared it to my reference DHE. I think I may be done.

Attachment 65681

I've been known to overthink things...


Brian Dudley 09-16-2018 09:31 PM


Originally Posted by Brian Arthur (Post 253801)
I will try that, Brian, thank you!

I assume you keep using the same water then if you can do all the boils with 6 gallons?


I use Mark Lee express blue. So I can do a set of barrels from start to finish in about 5 hours. And that is with 6-8 cycles. The tank never cools down in-between cycles. My tank holds 5 gallons and about 1 gallon evaporates in the process.

I find that the water does not start turning orange and dirty until maybe 4 cycles in. Since you are using the slow method, you should change your water more often. Maybe every 2-3 cycles.

One note about your red not converting to black. I observe the same thing after about 5-6 cycles. What I am carding off is more rust colored than black. This is normal once you reach when the barrels are pretty much done. They are not taking much more. So, you may not have a problem. As long as your barrels are black, even and have good coverage without thin spots.

Tom Flanigan 09-16-2018 09:32 PM

You are definitely done. The barrels look nice. If Brownell's said 6 to 20 iterations, it must be a weak rusting agent. If you plan to do more barrels, I would recommend Laurel Mountain Forge. It is a strong agent that some dilute, but I've never had a need to do that. With 5 iterations, you are done most of the time. And Laurel Mountain is a lot more forgiving if you touch the barrels or other contaminants get on them.

Nice job Brian!

Brian Arthur 09-16-2018 10:07 PM

Thank you Tom and Brian!

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