Metal and Wood Finishes
Parkerizing is a surface treatment used on carbon steel to inhibit rusting. There are two types commonly used for firearms: Zinc Phosphate and Manganese Phosphate.
This is the lighter gray finish originally used on US WWII era rifles. It provides decent rust prevention and will darken with age, eventually turn a greenish color when exposed to petroleum based lubricants or preservatives (grease and cosmoline). The main disadvantage is that it will highlight pitting and other imperfections on a well-used firearm.
This finish became the main U.S. firearm parkerizing late in the Korean War. It is a dark grey-black and will provide superior rust prevention to zinc phosphate. Post-war M1 Garands including International Harvester and Harrington & Richardson were originally finished in manganese phosphate, ans our M14 line is finished in this manner as well.
HOT SALT BLUING
This is a controlled "rusting" which provides a bluish-black finish on carbon steel. It is a labor-intensive, time consuming process that provides some rust protection, but not as much as parkerizing. It is best to keep your rifle well oiled to prevent the degradation of the metal finish.The finish was phased out of U.S. production around the end of WWI but some WW I and WW II 1903/03A3/03A4 have a mix of blued and zinc phosphate components. Bluing continued to be used on German K98's throughout WWII. The Communist Block used this finish on their AK rifles into the 1980's.
Stainless steel, due to its high chromium content, cannot be blued, nor can it be zinc or manganese phosphates. It can, however, be blackened using Du-Lite, which is a black oxide treatment used for stainless components. Generally speaking, We use it to blacken replacement gas cylinders on M1 Garands.
Many people have asked us, "What stain do you use on your stocks? They look incredible!" It would be nice if we could just point them to a standard stain from a box store, but we can't. Our wood treatment is a proprietary, 6-step process, the result of which is a wood stock that looks old, but not neglected.
To care for your wood stock, you need to wipe it down periodically with boiled linseed oil, which can be found in almost any hardware store. Use a clean, lint-free cloth, and follow this simple and time proven schedule for oiling your stock. Wipe it down:
- Once a day for a week
- Once a week for a month
- Once a month for a year
- Do NOT put on a heavy coat - just enough for the wood to absorb, and wipe off any excess within 5 minutes of applying.
- It's always best to oil your stock with the metal (rifle) removed, so you don't get linseed oil on the metal.
- The used rags have been known to spontaneously combust. Take this seriously, and dispose of them properly.