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superc 02-28-2010 05:16 PM

Re-doing an old pistol
I recently acquired an old Colt 32 auto fairly cheaply. Not a safe queen. Over a century old, per the number, it had seen some use. Sadly it had apparently also been stored loaded in a leather holster for several decades. Springs were set to compressed or simply broken, and the gun was heavily pitted. The retaining pin for the firing pin was actually rust welded to the slide. Pics are below. I cleaned it in Hoppes 9 and removed and replaced all the springs (thank you Gun parts and Wolff) and cleaned the rust out of the firing pin tunnel and threw some Jobbo in there to stop that rusting, then burnished the tunnel out (replacing the firing pin too). Test fired (both slow and rapid) yesterday, I am happy to report it now works flawlessly. I will probably go with Novak sights on a spare slide (from Gun parts), however, since there is almost no bluing left, the overall appearance needs an upgrade IMO. Note the slide pitting below (also marks from my efforts to remove a pin that had forgotten the meaning of the word remove).

I wrote Colt and asked if they could refinish it, i.e., restamp it and then reblue it to Royal. Got the old, "the gun is too old, it's discontinued, parts are no longer available, yada, yada" reply with a little printout suggesting I buy parts at Gunparts or Jack First (no mention of parts in my letter, just a pic and can you refinish the exterior). Not what I wanted to hear. I can polish it down and take out those pits, but I am pretty sure, given the depths and location of the slide pitting the lettering would totally disappear. The solution is to deepen the cuts (stamps) so the markings remain behind when the gun is polished before the re-blue. I know there is at least one smithy out there specializing in re-cutting and deepening faded markings on old Colts because I have seen his posts, but sadly I have not seen anything about this recently and don't have the links anymore. Does anyone know the link and what he charges? As stated, Colt was my first choice, but they won't do discontinued models. [What did they do with their old stamps for the discontinued models?]

My third option is of course simply parkerize it over the old markings. Thinking of that too if necessary. Suggestions are welcome.

willfully armed 02-28-2010 05:41 PM

Thats the 1903 Colt Pocket model 32 auto.

I used to have one. Id suggest Brownells Oxpho-BLue. Worked like a charm on my old H&R.

sharps_74 02-28-2010 05:57 PM

Let me see if I may be of some help. Try this refinish page If that does not work then drop me a PM and I will continue the search.

CA357 02-28-2010 06:10 PM

If you're willing to spend some dough and wait a few months, Fords is one of the best there is. They can also redo the rollmarks, but it isn't cheap.

superc 02-28-2010 07:11 PM

It is specifically the restamping or recutting of the lettering and other stamps I am seeking a link for. I can do the polishing and bluing. I do recall a smith a few years ago who specialized in the restamping of horses, VP triangles and other Colt markings, but lost his link. Elsewhere someone suggested I seek out a jeweler who engraves, but I figured I'd start with smiths.. :)
Another example of why this gun needs those marks deepened before the pits are polished out...

superc 02-28-2010 09:04 PM

Okay disregard. I found the key phrase to google for. "Firearms Engraving" I found several places that specialize in early Colt lettering and stamps.

A ballpark price lifted from one (others are pretty similar in price).

"Colt 1903 early & later slide variations. Left side copy $90.00. Pony is $25.00 extra. Right side is $55.00"

Pictures of the work are also shown. That's not bad. What I needed, thanks.

c3shooter 02-28-2010 11:46 PM

The ".32 Smokeless Rimless" guns are fun shooters (my gallery load is a single pellet of 0 buckshot over a smidgen of Bullseye). One note of caution as you work on the frame- be VERY careful not to polish out/ drawfile out the serial number. THAT can result in your meeting the folks in cheap suits with bulges.

My 1903 was a second model- and while purist collectors may shudder, the bluing on one side was about 98%- but on the other side, about 20%- it had been a desk drawer gun, and apparently slid some each time the drawer opened and closed. Blue go bye-bye.

I did the metal prep and hot blue on that one myself- used white rouge on a muslin wheel for final polish, mixed my own caustic blue (lab grade ammonium nitrate and sodium hydroxide) and got a pretty good imitation of the DEEP black bluing of the older Colts. Collectors may wail, but my Colt looks a lot happier than it did. Just remember no blue will cover bad metal prep. Enjoy.

sharps_74 03-01-2010 12:30 AM

I did not even think about a jeweler that does engraving. Funny thing is that I use to be a jeweler. I use to outsource engraving. I never had much call for learning it. If you go that route and can not find somebody close by, drop me a line and I will get you the number to the JBT.

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