The Distressed Finish

A different take on custom finishing customer firearms.

by RK Campbell

When a customer wants a gun refinished, they usually want it brought to a bright, new luster as a general rule. However, some shooters, particularly cowboy action shooters, want a distressed or “battle-worn” finish. The end result of such a finish when properly applied gives the appearance of either hard use in the field or of firearm that appears much older than it actually is. If this is among your first finishing efforts, take it slow and easy and follow the steps exactly.

It is important to have a solid idea of what the firearm will look like before you begin. Your customer may have seen an example of a distressed or battle-worn finish. I can always tell the difference between a finish job done and a truly worn and used gun, but all the same, make certain the customer is aware of what the finished product will look like. Also, note that this type of effort produces individualistic results. While the job may be similar, this isn’t like the art of bluing an old Colt. Sometimes the process makes for less-than-identical results, but that is the charm of it.

Read more in the September 2017 issue.

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