Cosmetic Metal Repair

Rusted, pitted, dented, and gouged steel is the ruin of many firearms. Here are some ways of hiding or removing them.

by Paul Mazan

I’ve heard it said that the two biggest dangers a firearm faces are rust and politicians. Positive results of a given election shows how the latter works. Rust, on the other hand, is sneaky and may strike when you least expect it. I’ve worked on many rusted and pitted firearms over the years and the traditional method of removing pits in the metal has been to draw file the piece until you cut below the pitting, then rebluing or refinishing. That is still the recommended method when such action is possible.

I have come across a few gun parts that could not be saved by the draw file method because they were very thin and removing enough metal would have left little more than steel foil. For example, I did an article for Brownells WebBench about restoring a pitted Remington Nylon 66 receiver cover. After using rust and blue remover to get it down to bare metal, I used three coats of black Brownells Aluma-Hyde II to fill and finish the piece. That worked out extremely well as the self-leveling properties of the Aluma-Hyde allowed the first two coats to fill the pits and the third coat left a smooth clean surface. I was very pleased with the result.

I’ve been experimenting with using auto body repair methods to fill pits, scratches, and the like in non-critical areas to cosmetically repair the surface of the metal.

Read more in the November 2016 issue.

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