Back when guns were first invented and up to the late 1800s, when a hunter was done hunting he would put the rifle in the corner, and unfortunately, it would rust. He would have to scrub the rust off with a coarse piece of steel wool or something similar. After doing the same process 8 to 10 times, a pretty brown or light blue finish would show up and protect the rifle from rusting again. This is known as Rust Bluing.
In more modern eras, factories could not spend this amount of time to rust blue a gun, so they came up with a hot (300 degree) bath of salt and lye to make the gun parts blue in minutes instead of days. This is known as Hot Bluing.
The military wanted a finish that was non-glare and better at stopping rust, as well as, faster and easier to accomplish. This is where zinc or manganese phosphate became popular and is better known as Parkerizing. This finish is done in a bath which is 190 degrees and is very fast to work. Parkerizing would produce a dark black or a dark greenish color depending on the type of phosphate being used.
Today, we have many different types of finishes in many colors. DuPont and Whitford were the first companies to start selling us a really different finish in several different colors. The finish was called Teflon (a different grade from the well-known cooking pans) and it stopped the rusting of guns. Teflon also made parts slicker, so moving parts would work without oil or grease, bolts would not freeze up in the cold and you could coat your gun in an array of colors or any color combination. We still do Teflon on guns and in many circumstances, Teflon is a better finish than many other finishes.
The most popular finish being used now is Ceramic. CeraKote has made this famous even though there are several other companies like K&G offering ceramic finishes. Ceramic finish is an extremely high-grade paint with ceramic and xylan with several other chemicals added to it. The finish is slick, rust-resistant, and quite hard. CeraKote is made in over 100 colors where K&G is available in about 40 colors.
The way we do Teflon or CeraKote is to take the gun completely apart, remove all the springs, plug the barrel and chambers, then sandblast all the old finish off – down to the bare metal, then all the parts are cleaned again. Next, one of our finish guys applies the ceramic mixture to the parts in the desired color and bakes it at 350 degrees until it flashes. Once cooled the gun is reassembled, test fired for function, and returned to the customer. A CeraKote job can take anywhere from 4 hours to 20 hours depending on how wild the design is.
For me, there is nothing more beautiful than a high polish blue job. They are great to look at but require proper maintenance to remain gorgeous. A ceramic or Teflon coating will keep the rust from ever forming on the gun. I didn’t even mention Nickel or Chrome Plating, as well as, Gold Plating gun finishes. So if someone wants special work done to their firearms or even just general repairs and maintenance, give MG Arms a call, they can handle it for you.