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Original or Refinish Model 55
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February 2, 2024 - 2:44 am
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OK fellas what say thee?  I picked up a Model 55 that is in about 95+%, one of those to good to be true guns.  The wood only has a couple small nicks and wood to metal fit is perfect.  The muzzle has some pitting and appears blued.  Here are some pics.  I realize the pics are pics but any thoughts on original or refinished?

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February 2, 2024 - 2:53 am
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Positively buffed, polished, and reblued.

Bert

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February 2, 2024 - 3:02 am
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Bluing is way too black. 

What is it in modern bluing that makes it so dark black? Is it simply too much salt? Or some alternate chemical that is no longer used or substituted?

Sincerely,

Maverick

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February 2, 2024 - 3:15 am
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Maverick said
Bluing is way too black. 

What is it in modern bluing that makes it so dark black? Is it simply too much salt? Or some alternate chemical that is no longer used or substituted?

Sincerely,

Maverick

  

And the rainbow on the side of the receiver.

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February 2, 2024 - 3:19 am
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The purple color is caused by the bluing solution not being held to the correct temperature during the “in tank” time.

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February 2, 2024 - 2:25 pm
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Handsome gun however

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February 2, 2024 - 4:33 pm
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The M55 is prone to having badly flaked receivers. A lot of this model have been redone. I have a takedown and sold frame and both exhibit a certain amount of receiver flaking. I just accept this as the norm. I would never think of re bluing these rifles. I would rather live with the flaking.  Big Larry

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February 2, 2024 - 6:09 pm
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The gun was purchased with fingers crossed. Seller is a dealer who felt pretty certain it was original. Pictures he sent were of low quality. He agreed to refund full amount if I was not happy with the gun so I took a chance. It is handsome but it’s going back. Thanks for the input.

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February 2, 2024 - 8:40 pm
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Good move! I would send back also, one with some bluing loss, but honest with no sanding of wood and no out of factory add ons would be a better investment

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February 2, 2024 - 8:59 pm
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mark minnillo said
 Seller is a dealer who felt pretty certain it was original.

  

How many thousands of guns have passed through his hands, yet he felt “pretty certain” about a reblue as obvious as this? 

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February 2, 2024 - 10:43 pm
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I agree with Clarence. It’s a pretty obvious re-blue. I would be very wary of that dealer if you still deal with him. 

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February 4, 2024 - 5:09 pm
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clarence said

mark minnillo said

 Seller is a dealer who felt pretty certain it was original.

  

How many thousands of guns have passed through his hands, yet he felt “pretty certain” about a reblue as obvious as this? 

  

“When in doubt, do without.”  And stay away from a dealer who would say “pretty sure” about this particular metal finish.  Is this M55 in a serial range where the receivers were still heat blued, as opposed to Dulite?  To some extent, the level of polishing affects the “blackness” of a hot salts tank blue. 

- Bill 

 

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February 4, 2024 - 5:49 pm
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Zebulon said

clarence said

mark minnillo said

 Seller is a dealer who felt pretty certain it was original.

  

How many thousands of guns have passed through his hands, yet he felt “pretty certain” about a reblue as obvious as this? 

  

“When in doubt, do without.”  And stay away from a dealer who would say “pretty sure” about this particular metal finish.  Is this M55 in a serial range where the receivers were still heat blued, as opposed to Dulite?  To some extent, the level of polishing affects the “blackness” of a hot salts tank blue. 

  

The Model 55 was never factory Dulite blued.  Winchester did not adopt that type of bluing until several years after the Model 55 was discontinued.  The Model 64s were Dulite blued.

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February 4, 2024 - 6:01 pm
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My M55 has the wood finish chipping off so I knew it was original.Wink

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February 4, 2024 - 10:19 pm
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Bert H. said

Zebulon said

clarence said

mark minnillo said

 Seller is a dealer who felt pretty certain it was original.

  

How many thousands of guns have passed through his hands, yet he felt “pretty certain” about a reblue as obvious as this? 

  

“When in doubt, do without.”  And stay away from a dealer who would say “pretty sure” about this particular metal finish.  Is this M55 in a serial range where the receivers were still heat blued, as opposed to Dulite?  To some extent, the level of polishing affects the “blackness” of a hot salts tank blue. 

  

The Model 55 was never factory Dulite blued.  Winchester did not adopt that type of bluing until several years after the Model 55 was discontinued.  The Model 64s were Dulite blued.

Bert

  

Well, not that there was any doubt otherwise, but even I can tell the receiver is not charcoal blued.  My understanding of the coloring method used on steel Winchester receivers before the Dulite hot salts tank method was adopted, was by baking them in a gas fired oven together with sperm whale oil and bone charcoal, which also may have had the effect of heat treating the steel to some extent.  I have seen this method referred to as either the “Carbona” or “Carbonia” process, a proprietary name.  I’ve read the American Gas Furnace Company manufactured the ovens.  I know that Colt’s and Smith & Wesson employed a similar method but don’t know if it was proprietary to them or licensed from whoever owned the Carbona/Carbonia process.  Please enlighten me, if the OP doesn’t object.  (Earlier I used the term “heat blue” incorrectly – I’ve since read that is the process also known as “nitre” or “temper” bluing and is typically used to color small parts.)

- Bill 

 

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February 4, 2024 - 11:16 pm
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Yes, the Model 55 receiver frames were “carbonia” or more commonly referred to as “charcoal” blued.

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February 5, 2024 - 12:10 am
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Zebulon saidMy understanding of the coloring method used on steel Winchester receivers before the Dulite hot salts tank method was adopted, was by baking them in a gas fired oven together with sperm whale oil and bone charcoal, which also may have had the effect of heat treating the steel to some extent.  I have seen this method referred to as either the “Carbona” or “Carbonia” process, a proprietary name.  

“Machine blued” is a term used to distinguish this process from the much older one of baking parts in an iron vessel packed with ground charcoal.  I believe charcoal dust was blown into the oven to circulate around the parts suspended on wires, or some such arrangement; I’ve got a detailed description of the process if I could remember where I found it, probably in one of my gunsmithing books.

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February 5, 2024 - 3:38 am
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clarence said

Zebulon saidMy understanding of the coloring method used on steel Winchester receivers before the Dulite hot salts tank method was adopted, was by baking them in a gas fired oven together with sperm whale oil and bone charcoal, which also may have had the effect of heat treating the steel to some extent.  I have seen this method referred to as either the “Carbona” or “Carbonia” process, a proprietary name.  

“Machine blued” is a term used to distinguish this process from the much older one of baking parts in an iron vessel packed with ground charcoal.  I believe charcoal dust was blown into the oven to circulate around the parts suspended on wires, or some such arrangement; I’ve got a detailed description of the process if I could remember where I found it, probably in one of my gunsmithing books.

  

Good evening, Clarence.  I’ve got an edition of Dunlop’s Gunsmithing.  Maybe it’s in there.  Yes, I’ve understood “machine bluing” to indicate a rotating gas fired oven that would circulate the charcoal dust over and around stationary suspension rails from which the parts were hung.  Somewhere in a Gun Digest there’s a black & white pictorial essay showing the various jobs in the Smith & Wesson plant, one of which illustrates one of these ovens being loaded with parts.   I’m not sure how the sperm whale stuff was used, or if it was. Maybe that was just the earlier method of packing a stationary vessel.  I know that it made a color closer to blue than black – at least on the receiver of my 1955 Browning Auto-5.  At that point in time, FN was still machine bluing the receivers and rust bluing the barrels (likely because of the barrel ribs, although mine wears a plain barrel) of that model. 

- Bill 

 

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February 5, 2024 - 6:02 pm
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From Dunlop’s chapter on bluing, I’ve learned that “Carbonia” was the name of a pre-mixed powder containing charcoal and other materials,  sold by the American Gas Furnace Company.  

UPDATE: To the contrary, Major D. B. Wesson has been quoted as saying Carbonia is an oil, “Carbonia Oil”, that contains pine tar and was used in combination with charred bone in AGF rotating ovens. Carbonia Oil was sold to S&W by AGF.

- Bill 

 

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February 5, 2024 - 6:19 pm
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Zebulon said
From Dunlop’s chapter on bluing, I’ve learned that “Carbonia” was the name of a pre-mixed powder containing charcoal and other materials,  sold by the American Gas Furnace Company.   

That’s a logical name for their product, but I think the term was in use before the machine bluing process was developed; would be interesting to know if they trademarked, or tried to, that name.  None of my gunsmithing books discuss the machine process, because it’s not suitable for small shops; easier to rust blue a few parts at a time.

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