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Posted: 9/22/2004 5:00:05 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 6:09:09 AM EST by GonzoAR15-1]
I recently had occasion to pick up a well beat Spanish made 1911 clone (yes, one of those... the "L" word!), for a trunk and general purpose beater gun. I dealt with a young fella who took it all apart and couldn't get it back together, and it was rusty and badly in need of refinishing. Long story short, I got the handgun for well less than $100.00.

After cleaning up the rust and replacing a couple internal parts (sear spring, firing pin spring, firing pin safety plunger) and carefully checking all the fire control parts, I range tested the gun to see whether it was worth saving. It was. Groups were decent (better than I expected from a "yamma"), centered on the target, and feeding (with a good magazine) was reliable, as to my surprise was ejection and extraction.

So, I decided to "two tone" the gun -- blackened slide and operating levers/parts, with the main frame, grip safety and spring housing done in a stainless steel look.

For the Black, I used Brownell's Teflon/Moly Oven Cure Finish in the spray can. It worked out OK, although it does come off at sharp edges somewhat easily.

For the frame, grip safety and mainspring housing, however, I used John Norrell's Moly Resin Gun Finish. In the "stainless" variety, they achieve coloring by actually suspending extremely finely powdered stainless steel in a clear version of their resin. It ships in 8 ounce bottles, which run about $21.00 plus shipping.

Metal prep was as follows. (I didn't have access to abrasive blasting equipment, and decided to try without it).

First, all metal parts were stripped of original blue finish and rust with Birchwood Casey Rust and Blue Remover. ($3.00 at Wal Mart). I applied the remover with an old toothbrush, scrubbed it into the nooks and whatnot, and let it set for about 10 minutes (the bottle says to wait only 2 minutes, but I wanted the phosphoric acid to really rough up the surface so the new finish would adhere well).

After that, I ran the parts under very hot water while using mid-roughness steel wool to remove the rust and whatnot. I wound up with very clean parts "in the white," which were then fully submerged in acetone to remove any final traces of oils, etc. While submerged in acetone, the suspension wires for the refinishing process were attached, then the parts were dried with a clean lint-free cotton rag (i.e., old t-shirt).

I pre-heated the parts in a toaster oven to 100-125 degrees.

The Norrell's Moly Resin was applied with a cheapo "Testers" brand hobby air-brush ($14 at WalMart a few years back). I set the flow and coverage rate about in the "middle" of the range as to which this airbrush is capable. I agitated (i.e., shook) the finish in its original container for about 5 minutes before spraying to make sure it was properly mixed.

Holding the parts by the wire suspension, and working about 6 inches away from the surface, I sprayed two nice even coats on the pre-heated parts. Coverage was good, and the finish did not try to clog the airbrush, which was something I had worried about given the finely powdered stainless steel.

From there, the parts were hung from a highly placed rack in a 300 degree oven for an hour. They were removed and allowed to cool, after which the gun was reassembled.

This Moly Resin stuff is VERY HARD and extremely scratch resistant. I tried to scratch the finish as applied to a test piece of steel (an old SKS receiver cover that had its metal pre-treated just like the gun parts), and found it took a LOT of effort to break into the finish. This stuff is hard, and durable. (I wish I could say the same about the Brownells stuff I used on the slide and control parts, but alas it is quite good, but just not in the same league).

Finally, a word about appearance. The stainless looks is VERY VERY good. Until you pick up the gun, you cannot tell that it's NOT stainless steel. Its very bright, and extremely even. There are no areas where you can see even the slightest variation in color or coverage. It looks just like a low polish stainless steel!

Cleanup was easy with acetone, and it took less than an ounce of finish to put two coats on the 1911 frame. I would guess that one 8 ounce bottle could easily finish a couple of rifles, depending on how much steel is involved.

I showed the finished product to a buddy, who had seen this poor pisser of a gun when I got it home from the FFL in its "worst" shape, and his comment was: "Holy shit!"

I agree. The Norrells finish is very good stuff. I've been thinking of doing an AMD-65 build, and am now toying with the idea of doing a "stainless" look weapon with a regular (not folding) synthetic which should look nice with the black furnature. I'll probably even refinish 3 or 4 of the 20 round mags with this stuff.

Highly recommended!
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 5:13:02 AM EST
PICS! WE NEED PICS!

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 5:14:01 AM EST
Pics will follow... I've just got to set down with the digital camera tonight. Didn't have a chance this AM.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 5:24:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/22/2004 5:25:00 AM EST by pdxshooter]
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 9:18:19 AM EST
Btt.

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 10:10:06 AM EST
yeah, that stuff kicks some major ass. i sent my stainless beretta 92fs to norrels place to have it refinished in a flat black, and it came back looking great. i love the durability of the stuff...
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 10:28:50 AM EST
Great post, I've been thinking of sending some stuff to them to get finished. Glad to hear that it works well.
Link Posted: 9/22/2004 10:35:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By Jeepster:
Great post, I've been thinking of sending some stuff to them to get finished. Glad to hear that it works well.



Well, I think the point of my post is that you shouldn't fear doing it yourself. It was easy, and I was stunned at how well it turned out!

Link Posted: 9/22/2004 11:02:49 AM EST

Originally Posted By GonzoAR15-1:

Originally Posted By Jeepster:
Great post, I've been thinking of sending some stuff to them to get finished. Glad to hear that it works well.



Well, I think the point of my post is that you shouldn't fear doing it yourself. It was easy, and I was stunned at how well it turned out!




My thing is that I'v got a few AK muzzle brakes I want to get painted to match the finish of the gun. It's cheaper in my case just to send the parts to them. Although, I may consider doing it muself in the case of my Springfield Commander.
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