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Thread: Two simple rust blue questions

  1. #1
    Boolit Master


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    Two simple rust blue questions

    I have two simple questions about the boiling water part of the process.

    1. When you boil the rusted part, how long do you leave it in the boil? Is it an instant thing, or is it more like a few minutes, or longer?

    2. Do you re use the water, or use fresh water for each boil?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I’ve seen it written 15 minutes in the boil and you can keep using the water as long as you care too.

    But I have had little to no experience.

    I used a pvc pipe plugged at one end and poured boiling water in and left it for half an hr to cook.
    I used tap water but I think I got some mineral or fluoride contamination.
    So used our filtered drinking water and it seemed to cure that.

    All the best .
    I didn’t have success till I got really anal about cleanliness and letting things sit around for long enough to work and not try and get it done or worry about times so much.

    I drove a few nails in to a length of wood as x’s to hold the wooden plugs driven into the ends of the barrel.

    This gave me a rotatable bearing surface and the new gloves and cotton swabs each round kept thing sterile.
    I put my solution into an glasses cleaning bottle and squirted a little on a cotton ball than rang it out real good.
    This kept me from contaminating the solution and you use very little.
    Last edited by barrabruce; 01-28-2022 at 09:31 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Buddy
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    I use distilled water. When clean you can see the rust turn black just a few minutes after putting the barrel in the water. I usually boil for a full 10 minutes to make sure the metal is up to full heat. I use the same water until I'm done with that batch of bluing. I like to run at least 3 barrels plus small parts thru at a heating. I usually need to add water at the start of each heating. I don't plug bores. The barrels dry almost immediately after removing them from the tank. I blow them off with compressed air to clear holes and dovetails, etc. and then run a clean dry patch thru the bore to make sure it is dry. Let it cool and card if off and start over. The 1st coating or two often look spotty or streaked. Don't worry, it gets better the more times you do it. Best of luck to you. If you have any other questions, just ask. someone here will help you.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I too use distilled water to boil my parts.
    And I too reuse the water to boil other parts later.
    But when I start to reboil the water for reuse, I skim off a lot of the rust and contamination by just using a folded up paper towel as the skimmer.
    The parts need to boil for at least 10 minutes.
    I boil my parts for about 20 minutes.
    Now this does not have to be a full Raging boil.
    The water just needs to have bubbles coming up and it steaming just a little bit.
    You loose water as your boiling.
    So make sure your parts stay below the water level.
    I also do not plug the ends of the barrel.
    I card the metal after every boiling Except my Last coat of bluing.
    When I feel that I have done enough layers of bluing.
    I pull out the parts from the water , dry out the bore for the last time , and let it cool a bit , and do not card off the parts.
    Then rather than Carding , I apply light Oil like 3 in 1 oil to all surface with a tooth brush and do not wipe it off for at least 10 hours.
    That helps the bluing Cure and not rust.
    When you finally do wipe off the oil the next day.
    All the Black sludge comes off and the finish seems to be darker.
    I do a Minimum
    Of 5 bluing operations on all metal parts.
    On some guns I do up to 10 coats of bluing .
    Last edited by LAGS; 01-28-2022 at 01:07 PM.

  5. #5
    Moderator Emeritus / Trusted loob groove dealer

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    For boiling, I think 25 minutes is necessary. If you steam it, 20 minutes will do it. The high temperature needs to be maintained for the full time to get a long lasting blue.
    The solid soft lead bullet is undoubtably the best and most satisfactory expanding bullet that has ever been designed. It invariably mushrooms perfectly, and never breaks up. With the metal base that is essential for velocities of 2000 f.s. and upwards to protect the naked base, these metal-based soft lead bullets are splendid.
    John Taylor - "African Rifles and Cartridges"

    Forget everything you know about loading jacketed bullets. This is a whole new ball game!


  6. #6
    Boolit Master


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    Thanks for the replies, this is very helpful.

    I'm surprised to hear about not plugging the barrels, but this would certainly make life easier. I assume you are just careful to not get the rust blue solution inside the bore?

  7. #7
    Look up Mark Novak on YouTube. He has several videos on rust bluing. Here is one I found with a quick google search.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4QOcRTZv2Q

    All of his videos are full of good info.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    The metal only Rusts in the areas where you put the acid.
    But dry out your Bore after boiling or it then can start to flash rust.

  9. #9
    Boolit Master


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    Good to know! Thank you!!

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    I too use the PVC pipe trick for barrels and barreled receivers. I suspend the parts in it, pour it full of scalding hot distilled water, and let sit until the water is tepid. Remove, dump the water (we have a water distilling apparatus in the lab so I have a limitless supply), card the part, repeat the cycle. 5 to 7 times seems to be the magic number.

    Small parts get boiled in a stainless receptacle on a hot plate for around 20 minutes. Exact time doesn't seem to matter. Again, fresh distilled water each time.

    Cleanliness (oil-free) is next to Godliness. It pays to be anal in that regard.

    I started out plugging the bores, but experienced the expansion of hot air in the tube to push the plugs out so I abandoned it and just push a patch through between cycles to keep the flash rusting at bay.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check