Just like a kid with his first Jeep, I can’t seem to leave my firearms alone. Cepek tires & wheels, lift kit, winch, light guards…you get the picture. They all seem to need the “special touch”. This goes for customers also. One could call it “pimping” or perhaps “personalization”. Case in point; I get a NIB pre-lock S&W 442 air weight with the black anodized finish. After a couple of weeks living on my ankle, I get the itch to make a duo-tone mirror finish showpiece. Don’t try this at home, kids. Let a pro take over or you’ll be making a $525.00 goof.
Step #1 is to fully strip the gun to the raw frame & remove the barrel. For the next step, you’ll need the following:
- a. Bottle of “Naval Jelly”.
- b. Pyrex pan.
- c. Bottle of distilled water.
- d. Buffing wheel, #200 – #400 buffing compound.
- e. Rotary tool or selection of fine files and SKILL.
- f. If the barrel, cylinder, extractor components, are good, fine. If they are worn, Master blue or hard chrome matte or polished, whichever appeals to you. Step #2 is to make-up a mixture of 75% jelly & 25% water. Mix thoroughly. Once the barrel is off and you are left with the anodized frame, lay in the Pyrex dish For 5 -7 hours or until lite finger pressure smears the anodizing. Leave in another hour, remove and rinse completely.
Dry and rub vigorously with a rough cloth shop towel. Most of the anodizing will come off. You can always lay in the mixture again if the finish is being stubborn. Any which remains can be buffed off with the #200 wheel. Now the final finish is up to you. Leave #200?, progress to #400?, or satin finish by gently whisping in one direction with #400 Alox.
Now is a good time to polish the hammer, trigger, & to bevel & polish the rebound friction points. You may want to respring, stone the boss bases and get your Monogrips ready. Also, this is a good time to clean and/or refresh the forcing cone. check & repair any muzzle dings, measure barrel clearance which ideally should be .005 +/- .001, stone the recoil plate flat, & true the yoke. Inspect for friction marks on the hammer & trigger & repair. Reinstall the barrel as per factory instructions, reassemble the cylinder components, check everything twice, lubricate, and reassemble the works. Check function, test fire and enjoy your new gun.
On the subject of forcing cones, note that most manufacturers use a cut of approx 18 de. for general use. If you shoot wadcutters, you may increase accuracy & lead buildup by recutting to 11 deg then lapping to a fine luster.
I’d like to add that there is a plethora of finish options. Think this out well ahead of time. What do you want your gun to look like in it’s completed form? If you have any questions, just give me a holler and I’ll walk you through any problems you may experience. Otherwise, it’s a rather straightforward process.
Good luck, & happy shooting.
Adrian J. Canton