View Full Version : Question,How to "antique" a firearm ?

Richard Schimenti
11-12-2006, 09:08 AM
I have an older cap 'n ball revolver that I want to make it look as if it had been carried for several years.

I thought about taking some of the blue off would help generate the proper look, but i do not want to completely strip it.

I have been told that using Brasso with a piece of burlap would work, but before I do anything, i wanted to see if anyone had any better methods.

Richard Schimenti 2nd Ken. Cav. Co. D Morgan's Raiders

11-12-2006, 09:55 AM
You can choose to ignore this message as I have no advice for your query. Nevertheless, I have to wonder: why you want it to look older?

I'm asking because many living historians want their kit to look older as thought it was really used 140+ years ago. The problem that a surprisingly large number of folks fail to note (it just happened again yesterday betweeen two SUVCW members after the Veteran's Day parade) that all the gear we use as living historians/reenactors was more or less new, yet dudes want to 'antique' their gear.

You wouldn't be one of those guys, would you? :)

11-12-2006, 10:06 AM
My thought process would be slightly different.
Why if you were to use a pistol several years before the conflict, neglect taking care of it? I had the same thought process as you when i got my 1816, being over 40 years old before i would have been issued the gun. But alas the gunsmith and armory would have not neglected the gun in that time. Id say take care of it, an in the field it will get its own marks, nicks and love.
Drew Gruber
Buttonhat Boys
3rd Batt USV

Western Blue Belly
11-12-2006, 02:20 PM
Natural ageing is the only way to go. Remember, the CW soldiers gear and weapons were new and shiny at one point too.

Richard Schimenti
11-12-2006, 04:06 PM
Gentleman, in my post i had said that i wanted to make it look as if i had carried it for several years. I did not and do not want to make it look like it is 140+ years old.

I was looking for a way to take some of the blue off, with out having to carry it for seveal years.

11-12-2006, 04:13 PM
I was looking for a way to take some of the blue off, with out having to carry it for seveal years.

Personally, I would not want to do that but if you do indeed want to do that, get some Naval Jelly for removing rust, put some on a rag and dilute it down to weaken the strength and then rub it over the blueing. You will probably need to play with the dilution, but the phosphoric acid in the Naval Jelly will definitely take off the blueing. The diluting will just make sure that you do not totally strip all the blueing off.

Richard Schimenti
11-12-2006, 04:22 PM
Thank you Tom, I think that i will just go with the natural aging process. I was just looking for a way to take down some of the shine on the blue..

11-12-2006, 05:00 PM
Step 1. Remove your pistol from it's holster.
Step 2. Return your pistol to it's holster.
Step 3. Repeat step 1, and 2 several hundred times.
You might even clean it with something slightly abrasive, to simulate field cleaning with less than ideal cleaning supplies.
I wouldn't do anything beyond that.

11-12-2006, 09:05 PM
I was just looking for a way to take down some of the shine on the blue.

Heck, that's easy. Throughly clean and degrease the finish with rubbing alcohol. Get a 3-pack of fine- or medium-grit 3M abrasive pads. Rub the shine off the finish until you're happy or you develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

11-13-2006, 10:44 PM
I am definetly on the side of avoiding a 140+ look. Sure, new or somewhat used but well cared for is the look we want to maintain. However I see no problem with someone wanting to slightly age weapons, equipment or clothing as long as the result is slight and natural looking.
My reasoning is normal wear, care and tear is the best look to have, however we all do this anywhere from 6 to 20 weekends a year. Our ancestors wore and used their things 24/7/365 for 4 years and they marched everywhere. It would take the average reenactor about 6 years or more to have an item wear as naturally as it would have in a year during the war. Plus many of our items are made from modern steel and other materials that wear even better that the artifacts did. Many of us will retire from the hobby before our things ever see the mileage there stuff did.
Now there is no telling what the well cared for revolver looked like a couple years out the box on July 2nd 1863 or on that day at Appomatox after 4 years of use. But I bet any of our pistols look a **** sight better on it's 4th birthday after a cushy life of part-time work and easy travel to the battle on the back seat of your Chevy.

11-15-2006, 06:54 PM
I agree with Mr Davis...h-ll they age themselves but anyone who has carried a revolver for any length of time will tell you holster wear is inevitable.Remember this blue-black on Italian repros isn't something from the Colt Custom Shop!!!Watch how quickly the end of barrel ,sides of cylinder and backstrap begin to shine. Bud Scully 13th NJ and 69th NY