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Mirror finish - How?

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Glock 1, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. Glock 1

    Glock 1

    Aug 21, 2011
    I am about to get my hands on a stainless Delta elite and possibly a Gold cup. I have seen images of these with a mirror finish. I want this for these two if I get them. I have read in some places this is a nickle finish and some say its polished stainless. How do people get this perfect shiny finish? Also, do you have to start with a stainless gun?
  2. Snaps

    Snaps Hail 2 The King

    Apr 8, 2004
    SWPA sticks
    Sand vertically with one grit, then horizontally with a lighter grit. Keep going with lighter and lighter paper.

    We used to do the same with bluing to give it that look. Those three though all look nickle plated.

    EDIT: if you don't start wtih a stainless gun it'll just be unprotected metal afterwards.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2013

  3. pac201


    Nov 12, 2007
    I had a friend who did a small colt in stainless and he used flitz on it; turned out really nice.

    I have a buffer and use jewelers compound for mirror finishes on knives and other things.
  4. Ive done a number of barrels and actions preping for slow rust and on a few occasion just for kicks I would mirror polish something (not done for slow rust) but I found the high polish is very easy to maintain on non stainless (10/22 barrel) just infrequent light oiling.
    Depending on the finish you start with you'll finish with 2000 grit and cutting oil. Diamond compound and cotton balls in finest grits you can make it look like chrome. Never tried stainless.

    It takes some hours. I always wear clean cotton gloves and and always put on a fresh pair. Hand oils will make things less than perfect.

    Im thinking about striping my 34 and doing it and the KKM barrel.

    Be careful and avoid using any power stuff you will without fail ruin sharp edges, crisp stampings and you will wash out screw and pin holes and it looks terrible regardless of how well the overall polish comes out you'll lose the beauty . It very easy to end up with a gun that reeks of amateurism trying to knock it out in a hurry. hand rub it all. support the emory cloth with wood sticks and dowels.

    One of the challenges is making sure before you step up to the nest grade of emory is to BE SURE all surfaces are free of any telltale of the last grade. Look very close before you advance because it will show instantly and you will have to drop back a grade and re-do.

    If your patient you will really fall in love with the process and its fun to do. Go for it!

    Practice on an old gun. Old shotgun receivers are great to practice on and barrels that are pitted can be "struck" with a bastard file its like milling minute flats the length of the barrel drawing the file to you the length of the barrel rotating until you have removed all pits, You probably wont be doing anything like that. Point is you don't need power tools to make a gun look like its plated, just patients and it will turn out fine.

    Its hard to ruin gun if you avoid power and it only takes a split second to trash one out with one slip. Lose the dremels.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  5. Glock 1

    Glock 1

    Aug 21, 2011
    Thanks. I used to make aluminum cold air intakes for cars and I had to polish raw 6061 aluminum tubing. I buit the machine that turned the pipe and plished it but like you said, it had tell tale signe of a power job.

    It's alot like that but by hand and taking care to take my time. I might give this a try on some spare metal I have laying around before I take the plunge on one of these. lol
  6. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson

    Jul 10, 2001
    The guns in the OP are nickel plated.
    The first one is far too old for stainless.
    Colt did not make any stainless Mk IV Series 70s and the second gun has the sandblasted walnut grips of the model and the third has the early "billboard" roll marks not in the current "reissue."

    The shine comes from the polishing BEFORE the plating. Plating doesn't cover flaws, it emphasizes them.

    You can get stainless just as shiny, look at a Ruger Vaquero or Colt Python Elite.
    The tone is different to a practiced eye, but shiny is shiny to most.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  7. It should go well.

    On a gun that hasn't been damaged by rust and pitting you won't have to spend excessive amounts of time working a surface to get rid of the flaw so you wont risk enlarging radii or washing out screw/pin holes or diminishing engravings or letterings.

    There is a preferable emory cloth but I don't recall exactly which is which. Do a search its been a while.

    Remember to remove all signs of a previous grit before advancing because the next grit will not.

    If your working 600 having advanced from 400 don't go to 800 until all signs of 400 have been removed. Even the slightest scratch of 400 will remain if not caught with the 600 if you advance to 800 too soon. You'll discover in your practice piece if you experiment a little.

    When slow rust bluing I generally stopped the prep at a uniform 400/600 for a good bite by the acids. Too fine a finish gets risky.

    Take pics!!!