Ruger Forum

Ruger SA w/Case Colored Frames

This is a discussion on Ruger SA w/Case Colored Frames within the Ruger Single Action forums, part of the Pistol & Revolver Forum category; Question for you SA guys - I really like the look of the SA models that have the case colored frames. They appear in photos ...


Go Back   Ruger Forum > Pistol & Revolver Forum > Ruger Single Action

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes

Old November 3rd, 2012, 04:11 PM   #1
 
Waveform's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Waveform has a spectacular aura aboutWaveform has a spectacular aura about
Ruger SA w/Case Colored Frames

Question for you SA guys - I really like the look of the SA models that have the case colored frames. They appear in photos here from time to time with blued barrels and cylinders and look great. My question is how often did Ruger offer those and were they only on Vaquero models? Over the years do they appear in the catalog and then disappear only to reappear later?

An example of what I'm referring to:



Thanks,

Wave



Waveform is offline  
Advertisements
Old November 3rd, 2012, 05:31 PM   #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North East
Posts: 103
NorEaster is on a distinguished road
The process applied to the cylinder frames of those early Vaqueros was a chemical based one. Not a true bone/charcoal process. They are quite prone to rusting.
Most likely because of this, Ruger discontinued the process.
I have a pair of Bisley Vaqueros that are from the first series. They have this finish. It's ok. Some look great and some not so great.
Turnbull and Reeder can case color other blued Rugers like the Blackhawks, and the present Vaqueros in the bone/charcoal method.
It's a special process for them to do as the metals used in a Ruger don't work well with the case color process as it is done to a Colt.
Uberti revolvers use a chemical based process as well.
NorEaster is offline  
Old November 3rd, 2012, 05:53 PM   #3
 
Waveform's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Waveform has a spectacular aura aboutWaveform has a spectacular aura about
NorEaster, thanks for the info. I watched the video of the Uberti manufacturing process with interest. I always liked that show - "How It's Made". I would guess the investment casting process produces a frame with different properties than a forged frame and that affects the color case hardening. I still like the look and I would assume rusting is not a problem if you are very careful with storage and environment?

I really love the Colt New Frontier but don't have that kind of money. Is it safe to say only some of the earlier "old" model Vaqueros had the color case hardening? The ones I have seen serial numbers on seem to be from the 1990s.

Wave
Waveform is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 03:12 AM   #4
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North East
Posts: 103
NorEaster is on a distinguished road
Yes.. .their investment casting and metalurgy is what makes their metal different.

The first series of Vaqueros and the early New Vaqueros had the finish you are looking for.
Early New Vaquero CCH 45 Colt : Cowboy Action Shooting at GunBroker.com

I keep silica gel packets in close proximity to all my guns to help keep any moisture issues at bay.
I use only American Pioneer Powder in my loads as all my shooting is SASS related.
I had owned a 4 5/8" pair of bisley vaqueros originally and one of them developed a big rust spot on the side of the frame just sitting in my case.
I'm pretty a-retentive about how my guns look... with a little work and a cold blue pen, I was able to touch it up and make it look good again; but was initially surprised at the lack of durability in the finish.
True bone case color finishes will wear and fade over time too.
Turnbull offers to put a clear coat finish on theirs.

I agree with you Waveform... they are cooler looking with that 1800's era looking finish.
I just wanted to give you the heads up about the issues that come with that finish.

I keep my guns wiped down regularly with an oily rag system that my grandad taught me when I was a kid.
Now that I am using a BP sub all the time I have modified that recipe to work for me.

For smokless powder guns: take an old flannel shirt and cut out a 12" -16" square out of the back of the shirt or use a bandana
in an old sauce pan slowly warm a few tablespoons of vaseline over the stove to liquefy it
place the piece of flannel into the liquefied vaseline and let it soak it all up
let it cool and store it in an enclosed container (I use the old vaseline container)
For BP guns: follow all the steps outlined above; but use TC Bore Butter instead.
In time, those rags will need to be rejuvinated and can be done so by following the same process over again, just using less vaseline or bore butter

Last edited by NorEaster; November 4th, 2012 at 03:16 AM.
NorEaster is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 09:21 AM   #5
Retired Gunsmith
 
Iowegan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Blair, NE
Posts: 8,624
Iowegan has a spectacular aura aboutIowegan has a spectacular aura about

Awards Showcase

Here's the deal with "Color Case" Vaqueros ... The "color" is nothing more than a special ink that is rolled on a bare metal frame then covered with a layer of "clear coat". Once the clear coat has been breached by wear or by using cleaning chemicals, the frame will rust very easily. Looks great when new but NOT a durable finish. Ruger had a standing free offer to refinish any Vaquero by removing the "color case" and hot bluing the frame.

It's not cast versus forged that lends itself to a true color case finish ... it's the alloy. As proof ... there are tons of break barrel shotguns with cast receivers that have true color case finishes. Ruger uses quite a bit of molybdenum in their frame alloys, which does not respond well to the color case heat treatment. Molybdenum does make the frame much stronger than normal steel but it also has a tendency to turn "plum" colored with age. In the past, it was very common to see plum colored frames and loading gates but since Ruger changed their hot bluing process, you seldom see a newer Ruger SA with plum coloring.
Iowegan is online now  
Old November 4th, 2012, 11:02 AM   #6
 
Waveform's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Waveform has a spectacular aura aboutWaveform has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorEaster View Post
Yes.. .their investment casting and metalurgy is what makes their metal different.

The first series of Vaqueros and the early New Vaqueros had the finish you are looking for.
Early New Vaquero CCH 45 Colt : Cowboy Action Shooting at GunBroker.com

I keep silica gel packets in close proximity to all my guns to help keep any moisture issues at bay.
I use only American Pioneer Powder in my loads as all my shooting is SASS related.
I had owned a 4 5/8" pair of bisley vaqueros originally and one of them developed a big rust spot on the side of the frame just sitting in my case.
I'm pretty a-retentive about how my guns look... with a little work and a cold blue pen, I was able to touch it up and make it look good again; but was initially surprised at the lack of durability in the finish.
True bone case color finishes will wear and fade over time too.
Turnbull offers to put a clear coat finish on theirs.

I agree with you Waveform... they are cooler looking with that 1800's era looking finish.
I just wanted to give you the heads up about the issues that come with that finish.

I keep my guns wiped down regularly with an oily rag system that my grandad taught me when I was a kid.
Now that I am using a BP sub all the time I have modified that recipe to work for me.

For smokless powder guns: take an old flannel shirt and cut out a 12" -16" square out of the back of the shirt or use a bandana
in an old sauce pan slowly warm a few tablespoons of vaseline over the stove to liquefy it
place the piece of flannel into the liquefied vaseline and let it soak it all up
let it cool and store it in an enclosed container (I use the old vaseline container)
For BP guns: follow all the steps outlined above; but use TC Bore Butter instead.
In time, those rags will need to be rejuvinated and can be done so by following the same process over again, just using less vaseline or bore butter
NorEaster, thanks for the tips and the "rag recipe". Can I assume you are shooting (or did shoot) your case colored Vaqueros a lot in SASS? Do you think it holds up well enough if you exercise care and are willing to live a problem now and then or do you think it is better avoided? I wouldn't likely shoot a case colored Vaquero all that often but I wouldn't want to be constantly fussing over the finish either.

Wave
Waveform is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #7
 
Waveform's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Waveform has a spectacular aura aboutWaveform has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iowegan View Post
Here's the deal with "Color Case" Vaqueros ... The "color" is nothing more than a special ink that is rolled on a bare metal frame then covered with a layer of "clear coat". Once the clear coat has been breached by wear or by using cleaning chemicals, the frame will rust very easily. Looks great when new but NOT a durable finish. Ruger had a standing free offer to refinish any Vaquero by removing the "color case" and hot bluing the frame.

It's not cast versus forged that lends itself to a true color case finish ... it's the alloy. As proof ... there are tons of break barrel shotguns with cast receivers that have true color case finishes. Ruger uses quite a bit of molybdenum in their frame alloys, which does not respond well to the color case heat treatment. Molybdenum does make the frame much stronger than normal steel but it also has a tendency to turn "plum" colored with age. In the past, it was very common to see plum colored frames and loading gates but since Ruger changed their hot bluing process, you seldom see a newer Ruger SA with plum coloring.
Iowegan, thanks for the insight. I'm sorry to learn the Ruger color case is basically a paint job. I was really getting excited about hunting down an older Vaquero with the color case finish. Hmmmm.......now I'm not so sure.

I have seen the plum color - I see it on my old Blackhawk when the light is right. It's hard to capture it in a photo but I see it on the loading gate area.



At certain angles in certain light it really looks plum. This Blackhawk is a 1982 gun and I assume pre-dates the change in the bluing process you referred to?

Wave
Waveform is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 11:26 AM   #8
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: North East
Posts: 103
NorEaster is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by Waveform View Post
NorEaster, thanks for the tips and the "rag recipe". Can I assume you are shooting (or did shoot) your case colored Vaqueros a lot in SASS? Do you think it holds up well enough if you exercise care and are willing to live a problem now and then or do you think it is better avoided? I wouldn't likely shoot a case colored Vaquero all that often but I wouldn't want to be constantly fussing over the finish either.

Wave
I think it holds up fine with proper care
NorEaster is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 11:48 AM   #9
 
Waveform's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 4,969
Waveform has a spectacular aura aboutWaveform has a spectacular aura about
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorEaster View Post
I think it holds up fine with proper care
NorEaster, those are really nice! I love the stag grips. Do you shoot them often? They look like they're in great shape.

Wave
Waveform is offline  
Old November 4th, 2012, 12:14 PM   #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 1,415
Ale-8(1) is on a distinguished road
The imitation "color case" is OK as long as you understand its propensity to rust. Keep your guns lightly oiled in storage and you'll have little trouble.

Don't be surprised, however, if you get wear in the finish just like with bluing . . . easier, even.

Ale-8(1) is offline  
Reply

  Ruger Forum > Pistol & Revolver Forum > Ruger Single Action



Search tags for this page

case color

,
heat treating ruger blackhawk frames
,
ruger blackhawk case hardened frame
,
ruger blackhawk with case hardened frame
,
ruger color frames
,
ruger colored frames
,

ruger frames

,
ruger vaquero case colored discontinued
,
ruger vaquero color case hardening
,
ruger vaquro 357 case-colored frame
,
ruger+blackhawk+45+colt+case+color frame
,

rust bluing a ruger blackhawk

Click on a term to search for related topics.

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Ruger Forum Discussions
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Colored dots on Ruger pistols? gspdavis Ruger Pistols 42 April 26th, 2013 06:36 AM
ruger single action grip frames lafflin rand Ruger Single Action 3 June 7th, 2011 07:59 PM
Ruger Grip Frames? Ron123 Ruger Single Action 2 October 14th, 2010 05:43 PM
Ruger Medium frames aalmcc4 Ruger Single Action 2 August 4th, 2010 11:50 PM

Top Gun Sites Top Sites List  
Powered by vBulletin 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1
Copyright © 2006 - 2014 Ruger Forum. All rights reserved.
Ruger Forum is a Ruger Firearms enthusiast's forum, but it is in no way affiliated with, nor does it represent Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. of Southport, CT.