Monday, June 29, 2009

I've been asked a couple of times if I'm going to reblue

the Colt. Maybe.

That's not evading, that's the answer. On the one hand, it'd polish up nicely, and take a lovely blue. On the other...

Kim once wrote about how, if given the choice between a gun 'never issued, never fired' and one that'd been around the block and showed it, but in good operating condition, he'd almost always choose the experienced one. Generally, I agree. There's just something there.

Both my M1 Garand and Carbine were made early in WWII; both probably used in battle. I know the Carbine made its way to Korea at some point, too. Both show the dings and wear of use; the Garand had the barrel replaced at least once. There's something special about holding a rifle used to protect this nation, and save a lot of people, from an evil empire. Maybe more than once.

Looking at this Colt, it was carried. A lot. The finish is worn silver-gray, but there's no pitting. I think that at least some of the carry was tucked inside the belt or waistband; the wear is somewhat greater on the left side of the slide. Just some citizen, feeling the need for a little something in case of trouble in his travels? Maybe spending time in a ladys' purse when the man was away from home, or just by the bed? No telling. It's a tool that was used, as tools are meant to be.

Friend of mine, the gunsmith, has the first one of these I'd seen. It had been in a fire, and was in bloody awful shape; rusted, nasty. He had to soak it in penetrating oil for a week before, with a mallet, he could break the slide free; more soaking and working to completely break it down. Cleaning, de-rusting and de-crudding the inside and parts. Then the exterior. Usually, to polish a worn finish on something like this, you'd start on the flats(assuming you don't have certain buffing equipment and experience) with a file wrapped with wet/dry paper, used wet, and worked back & forth to polish the surface; this was so bad he started with the file, then moved on to paper. No way to get all the pits out, but he was able to work it to a very nice surface, frame and slide, and then blued it. And it's a beautiful job: he took something that could have been thrown away as hopeless and restored it to a working tool with a fine finish.

This one, the finish is worn but that's all, no nasty pitting to deal with, no rust, just honest wear. And I kind of like it this way. Maybe, someday, I'll refinish it; but for now, it stays as-is.

1 comment:

Darlin' said...

I think it looks great 'as is'. Refinishing it could take away the integrity of the piece. But that's just me.