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Thread: Black nitride older rifle actions?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master

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    Black nitride older rifle actions?

    In my "stuff" bin I have three rifle actions, all of which need work and then refinishing. These are: Lee-Enfield No. 4 Mk. 1*; M1898 Krag; and non-case hardened Winchester 1886. None has any [additional] value as collectible. I want to eventually metamorphose each one into a useful open-sighted hunting rifle. I have been informed that many semiautomatic pistols being made have dark, nearly black finishes or coatings that are called "black nitriding" or [something to do with] ion finishing. These finishes are claimed to be extremely wear and corrosion resistant. The finish is not on the metal. It is in the metal, having penetrated a surface.

    1. If there is such a finish available after market and compatible with my older actions that use simple steel alloys, please identify it.

    2. What parts, excluding springs, can be finished without harming a part's heat treat?

    3. When parts are finished, do parts reassemble without any "issues?"

    4. If you have had a firearm refinished with this process, have used the gun for at least a year, and are satisfied that the finish does what it is purported to do, please identify who did your refinishing job.
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
    Shooter6br's Avatar
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    Blacking using Drain O . Warming use outside . Look up in search in this site

    Read about using "Tree stump" removal. Tree removal compound for gun blacking stump
    Last edited by Shooter6br; 02-08-2018 at 01:12 PM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    black nitride is a heat treat, ie surface hardening, and the black comes as a result of the process. i would discuss in detail whomever you find to do the nitriding exactly what they do, so they do no ruin what you have.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master

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    Send me your E mail and I will send you pictures of the SMLE I just finished with a Dura Coat finish. It looks like a black blue and filled all the machine marks and pits.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    Shooter6br's Avatar
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    Like to do Mod 10 police trade in. May lose its charm.
    What color is it?Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Boolit Master
    2ndAmendmentNut's Avatar
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    1). For at home refinishing you might want to consider slow rust bluing (or browning).


    2). Rust bluing never gets the parts hotter than the temperature of boiling water, so no need to worry about removing the tempering.

    3). The parts reassemble without issue.

    4). Highly satisfied. Rust bluing is more durable than standard hot bluing.


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  7. #7
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by KCSO View Post
    Send me your E mail and I will send you pictures of the SMLE I just finished with a Dura Coat finish. It looks like a black blue and filled all the machine marks and pits.
    Regarding DuraCoat, I queried them about three weeks ago. In their reply, I was informed that each surface is built-up 1.5 mils (I had no idea what a "mil" was. The guys here responded by defining it as .001 inch). That translates to .003 inch per surface of every reciprocating part. I was also informed that they were unsure whether reciprocation would cause undue wear on contact surfaces of DuraCoat and non-Duracoated steel.

    Since I have no idea whether such surface build-up can occur and have everything fit together without additional "fitting" and no idea whether coated surface would cause excessive wear reciprocating with non-coated steel, I concluded there are too many unknowns to risk any action.
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by lefty o View Post
    black nitride is a heat treat, ie surface hardening, and the black comes as a result of the process. i would discuss in detail whomever you find to do the nitriding exactly what they do, so they do no ruin what you have.
    Yes, all of those actions lock some way rearward, and are vulnerable to warping in heat-treatment. The thought of harm coming to an early 1886 action... Well, I've got mine.

    I'd think about some kind of inserted piece to prevent warping - a round rod for the bolt actions, and a block milled to match the rails, or screwed together from steel strip, for the 1886. That only controls inward warping though, and anything gripping the outside might interfere with the hardening or colour.

    Nitriding is an extremely durable surface hardening, excellent for reloading dies, hammer and sear parts etc. My first thought is that if it is good for complete actions, and can give a good black finish too, how come they aren't all doing it?

  9. #9
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballistics in Scotland View Post
    . . .

    Nitriding is an extremely durable surface hardening, excellent for reloading dies, hammer and sear parts etc. My first thought is that if it is good for complete actions, and can give a good black finish too, how come they aren't all doing it?
    Aren't some of the black finishes on currently manufactured [mostly semiautomatics??] handguns nitride? You correctly observe that I am confused on this basic facet of my query. I may not know correct identification of a process useful for my needs.
    Itís so simple to be wise. Just think of something stupid to say and then donít say it. Sam Levinson

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    The nitriding that is currently being offered as a gun finish is a hot bath process similar to black oxide except:

    1. it operates at a much higher temperature of about 850-950 degrees with a different bath
    2. it hardens the surface to a depth of about .0003"
    3. it may require a little polishing to bring back the shine desired after treatment, but is easily accomplished by the heat treater.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master lefty o's Avatar
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    there is actually quite a bit of nitriding being done in the firearms industry.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    On the Krag, it’s already pretty hard Iirc and I don’t know if I would do anything to increase it or alter it. Krag receivers have a reputation of being hard and brittle as glass.
    On the 1886 yeah you coul nitride it, np, but if it were mine it would be off to Doug Turnbull for a color case harden, it just looks so beautiful on those actions.
    On the enfield, again it’s a good candidate for nitriding.
    Whatever you decide, have all your machine work done on the actions before you nitride them. After it’s done anything you do will have to be done with carbide tooling and it wears it out fast
    NRA High Master XTC
    DR# 2125

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