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Removing paint from a blued sight?

This is a discussion on Removing paint from a blued sight? within the Gunsmithing forums, part of the Firearm Forum category; I recently traded into a S&W 36. A previous owner painted the front sight and I would like to remove it. What is the safest ...


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Old November 11th, 2016, 04:31 AM   #1
 
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Removing paint from a blued sight?

I recently traded into a S&W 36. A previous owner painted the front sight and I would like to remove it. What is the safest way to do this without damaging the bluing?

It looks to be Testors gloss model paint but I can"t be sure.

TIA




Last edited by Raydog; November 11th, 2016 at 04:36 AM. Reason: Edited for clarity.
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Old November 11th, 2016, 05:01 PM   #2
 
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I have used a brass brush to remove the paint that I had installed on my Ruger SP101 that I didn't care for. After the removal of the paint I did touch up the front sight blade with cold bluing again and it turned out great. I would think this would work for you even if you have a small brass brush from a gun cleaning kit would work. Good Luck!!!
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Old November 11th, 2016, 05:14 PM   #3
 
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I use diluted turpentine.
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Old November 11th, 2016, 05:42 PM   #4
 
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Paint thinner or acetone.

Jeff

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Old November 12th, 2016, 02:38 AM   #5
 
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Thanks for the replies. Weaselfire, do you let the Acetone set for a while on just wipe it immediately?
I don't want to damage the bluing at all if possible.
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Old November 12th, 2016, 04:29 AM   #6
 
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I think the easiest method would be to remove the paint by mechanical means and just use a bit of cold blue to re-blue the ramp of the sight.

If you had a Dremel tool and a small brass wire wheel it would take about 15 seconds to remove the paint from the ramp and you could be very selective as to where you applied that wheel. A bluing touch up pen followed by a Q-tip and a drop of oil and you're done. I would hold the small wire wheel at a 90 degree angle to the ramp so that the wheel went with the striations on the sight ramp and not against them.

I'd be a bit leery of attempting to dissolve the paint without damaging the surrounding bluing but that might work if you were very careful.

I routinely touch up black front sights with cold blue and it works fine.

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Old November 12th, 2016, 05:18 AM   #7
 
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I would try dabbing the sight with something like G96 CLP or Hoppe's #9. It will act on the paint as a solvent without eating away at the bluing. Acetone should also work well without damaging the bluing, but it will damage any plastic or wood it comes in contact with.

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Old November 12th, 2016, 05:43 AM   #8
 
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Hoppe's may be the way to go. I'm going to try it since I already have some.
I'll let you all know how it does.
Thanks guys.
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Old November 12th, 2016, 06:45 AM   #9
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raydog View Post
Thanks for the replies. Weaselfire, do you let the Acetone set for a while on just wipe it immediately?
I don't want to damage the bluing at all if possible.
Bluing doesn't dissolve in paint thinner or acetone, but polymers such as frames and grips will be affected. Q-tip with acetone on it, swipe and the paint is gone.

Keep in mind that some sights have plastic inserts and this process would ruin them.

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Old November 12th, 2016, 07:17 AM   #10
 
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OK, Hoppe's did the trick. Acetone ect. may have been quicker but I had the Hoppe's on hand.

The reason that I was so concerned about the finish is that it's a 1971 revolver and it has the vintage environmentally unfriendly bluing that you don't see on the new Smiths.

No plastic on this baby!
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Old November 12th, 2016, 08:24 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weaselfire View Post
Paint thinner or acetone.

Jeff

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I agree. I'd start with acetone. Some guys don't actually paint their sights with paint. Some use nail Polish and acetone is nail polish remover. If you're worried about the bluing getting damaged try coating the exterior of the barrel with Vaseline first. (Though I really don't think regular paint thinner/turpentine would damage the bluing) Then use Q-tips to apply whatever you're using and let it soak awhile and reapplying a couple of times if it dries out.

Good luck!

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Old December 31st, 2016, 08:01 PM   #12
 
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Hi Ray,
I have done this a couple of times and had good results with lacquer thinner.
wiped right off with a dampened rag.
Best to use gloves.
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