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Lauer custom DuraBlue.

The folks behind the Bloomberg Gun bring a bluing revolution. If your primary business is rebluing, you may be tempted to scrap your tanks.

Never heard of The Bloomberg Gun? Surely you jest. If not, then you're likely among the multitude who prefer not to remember Michael Bloomberg, the multi-millionaire, TV channel owner, and a former mayor of New York City. For no reason not attributed to pure party politics he was elected thrice. In retrospect, many feel this was twice too often. He is no longer mayor, having recently been replaced by an individual bent on a crusade to render the 35,000+ member NYPD ineffective. Politics strikes again.

Of course Michael B. had crusades, too. His first was anti-smoking. He was almost demonic in his determination to eliminate smoking regardless of the major tax loss to the city forbidding lighting up would cause. For example, indoors everywhere became a no smoking zone. Any puffing had to take place outdoors and a minimum of 15 feet away from the entrance to any building. So it was ordered, so it was done. Cigarette butts, well-chewed cigar stubs, and dead ashes from pipes piled up at the specified distance all over town. This eyesore was offensive to shop owners and building occupants as well as passers-by. Any lasting complaints were resolved by already over-worked maintenance people but the rules remained along with the tax loss. By the time the first crusade concluded, smoking outdoors had been banned. The ban even included open spaces like Central Park!

Mike's second crusade soon followed. Based on no scientific fact, he announced consuming more than eight ounces of soda or similar non-alcoholic refreshments at a sitting was dangerous to the health of all living persons within or visiting the Big Apple. See here, Mr. Mayor-nanny, it simply isn't politic to mess with any major contributors to the city council. That fact and a noisy, media-supported public protest signaled a quick end to his second crusade.

Chalking the defeat up to a "vast right wing conspiracy," Hizzoner set off almost immediately on his third crusade, even more vindictive than crusade number two, because it was about guns. Bloomberg deeply believed guns were evil. All guns. The most evil were guns of a color other than blue, blue-black, dull grey-green, dull grey, or chrome as those were how the guns being carried by the personal bodyguards and state troopers charged with protecting New York City's Chief Executive looked. No mistake about it, those looked like guns. The third crusade might have ended there but Mayor Mike had seen pictures of red, bright green, yellow, pink, orange, and even purple handguns. His exquisite logic leaped into action. A toy gun could be painted to look like a real gun and a real gun could be painted to look like a toy. These conditions might cause a first-on-the-scene investigating law enforcement officer to bring his or her gun into immediate, possibly fatal, action or fail to do so and be seriously wounded or killed.

To The Mayor, the solution to this ever-arising concern during his administration was to outlaw all products used to paint guns. Overlooked or deliberately ignored were any of the portable paint products sold in hardware, home improvement, hobby, and craft stores that could be used to paint a firearm. Most certainly it would include any coating, aerosol or otherwise, primarily intended for servicing guns. While the resulting prohibition allowed the continued availability of many other aerosol paint products at the mentioned sources, it ended up to being very specific. It flat outlawed one product well known in the gunsmithing/customizing business for strength, surface integrity, and prevention of rust: DuraCoat. The final decision was that DuraCoat is intended for guns, so it was banned.

This was taken personally in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, the home of Lauer Custom Weaponry (, 800/830-6677) and DuraCoat headquarters. In particular, Bloomberg had teed off Steve Lauer, the founder and half of the brains behind the company. The other (and far better looking) half belonged to his wife, Debbie.

Lauer Custom launched a lawsuit against the prohibition of their product but didn't stop there. Lauer carried the company's highly successful combo of DuraCoat and DIY camouflage templates to unmatched heights by converting a standard AR-15 into the Bloomberg Gun, intended as a gift for the Mayor. As far as I know, he rejected the offering while undergoing a snit. As a result, more unwelcome honors were subsequently heaped upon Hizzoner by LCW and DuraCoat. The Lauers have combined several of their coatings into the Bloomberg Collection. Each unique color in it represents a borough of New York City. There is Manhattan Red, Bronx Rose, Brooklyn Blue, Queens Green, and Staten Island Orange. Take note, those specific tones are only available as just described here. They cannot be imitated.

The monotone photo of the Bloomberg Gun accompanying this article does it little justice. When it made its introductory appearance at SHOT Show and the NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits it drew gleeful crowds to the LCW booth. The overall background is red brick with grey mortar joints. Each of the five boroughs is spelled out in its dedicated color. What can't be seen in the photo are the imitation bullet holes and graffiti in the brick pattern. Among the most memorable of the graffiti is "For a good time call 212-xxx-xxxx", the x's here substituting for what was the actual direct number to the phone on Bloomberg's desk. So the best laid plan to commit DuraCoat to dinosaur status back fired big time on city hall. What it accomplished instead was a business boom at Lauer Custom Weaponry that is still booming.

In my opinion and of others having seen the results, an even louder boom awaits the success of DuraBlue. I first saw it at 2015 SHOT. For a moment I thought I was looking at decade-old Colt revolver still proudly wearing its original finish. The senior citizens among our readership may recall the bluing on older Colts appeared to have "no bottom" as the finish appeared infinite, often called "fire blue." It required a highly polished substrate, high temperatures and highly dangerous chemicals to achieve. Most of those compounds have been outlawed. One of them was known to generate cyanide gas, the same used in a gas chamber! A close match for the old Colt blue could be earned today by using a nitre bluing process, however, this requires temperatures high enough to negatively affect receiver and barrel temper while completely neutering springs. Even with half a brain, Steve Lauer knew all this and more. There had to be another way of getting that old Colt blue look. Could it be done with DuraCoat? He set to work.

A few years after he did I got my first look at DuraBlue. The precise compounding of the product is patented. Suffice it to say it contains no chemicals capable of generating cyanide gas but should be applied under ventilated conditions. In that one respect, DuraBlue is no different from any other aerosol-applied coating. Any other comparison does not apply.

Using DuraBlue

I'll assume you have a revolver on hand in dire need of refinishing. For this article, I did not. What I did have were two barrels in for small dent removal and an 870 barrel missing a front sight bead that was dented so badly the owner was aiming it toward the town dump. My hydraulic dent remover saved the tube. After raising a really awful dent I continued with a DuraBlue resurrection. This began by removing all of the remaining original blue along with a few rusty areas. You should do the same. If the work piece is a revolver, strip it down to the frame with barrel attached and after removing the cylinder. I used Birchwood Casey Blue & Rust Remover and a Scotch-Brite pad to attack the barrel which was effective.

Polish the components. In my case there was only one. If they are to be included in a barrel deal, add the exposed trigger and sides of the hammer to the project. Remember, the smoother and brighter the polishing the better looking the final bluing job will turn out. Before completing the polishing, apply DuraFil Surface Filler to cover any deep scratches or pits. Flush and wipe away all residue from the polishing and any filling. Mineral spirits, 1-K grade kerosene, and denatured alcohol from the hardware store all work for this, though I prefer the prefer the latter because the alcohol evaporates quickly and leaves little to no remains behind. Go over all concerned parts with Lauer TruStrip Gun Cleaner-Degreaser. It does just as good a job of degreasing and cleaning as trichloroethylene always did, which has been proclaimed verboten by the Feds and is off the shelves.

Surface prep is vital to all bluing jobs. Once the surface is degreased, avoid contacting it with your hands. Have a box of surgical gloves to accomplish this "no hands" policy. There may be some folks who'd suggest a thumb print showing up on a completed bluing job gives it character but I have yet to meet one of those people and probably never will. In this process, sanding or sand blasting are optional. Both will prep the substrate for enhanced adherence of DuraBlue, where-in metal surfaces are not subjected to a very hot bath to keep the micropores open to a sizeable dose of bluing salts. If your decision is to hand sand, use 400 grit paper or 000 synthetic steel wool. If sand blasting is the choice, use 120 grit aluminum oxide. In in either case, mask any openings in the receiver to avoid intrusion of and possible damage to small internal parts by abrasive particles. Painter's tape, in reality just better quality masking tape wearing a blue dress, will serve in the process of avoiding such damage.

Now there's another choice to be made. DuraBlue is available in two configurations. In one, the product arrives in a bottle. The catalyst (hardener) arrives at the same time but not inside the bottle. Instead, there's a mixing ball inside. You shake the bottle until you hear the mixing ball rattle, then shake it for three more minutes. Three minutes, no less. Combine four tablespoons from the bottle with one teaspoon of the hardener. Shake for three more minutes. You have a 12:1 mixture and six to eight hours of product life to apply it. Before application, block the barrel and breech and check the masking. Use an airbrush in thin, even passes. Apply from three to ten coats allowing ten minutes between each. The last coat should be heavier and more glossy as compared to earlier coatings. All coats may not appear even at first but will level out as each one sets up. Clean your airbrush equipment with DuraCoat Reducer and hang the parts up to dry overnight. After the final coating and overnight hang up the parts can be safely handled. With mild caution, any disassembled gun can be reassembled. After three or four weeks cure time the finish won't scratch or chip, will be resistant to all solvents and cleaners, and will never rust.

In the other configuration the product arrives in an aerosol can more than a little different from those you're accustomed to seeing. A mixing ball is inside the can. After the ball audibly makes its presence known, shake the can three minutes. No less. The catalyst is inside the can, too. The translucent cover on the can secures a red plastic cap. Remove the cap and invert the can. See the valve in the base? Place the red cap over the valve. Press down. You have just released the catalyst to engage and mix with the DuraBlue. Shake the can three more minutes to complete the marriage. No less. The substrate has to be prepped as per the previous instructions. Application using the aerosol can is to be performed as it was described for an airbrush but the can provides 1248 hours worth of product life and clean up is simpler. Merely invert the can and press the spray nozzle for a couple of quick squirts. The third squirt will very likely come out clear.

You'll notice the can comes with two spray nozzles, black and white. Either can be used for the DuraBlue application and can provide a vertical or horizontal spray pattern by turning clockwise on the valve at the top of the can with needle nose pliers. It is also possible for these nozzles to clog. To exchange one for the other, pull straight upward on the clogged nozzle to remove it. Introduce its replacement to the valve and, turning it gently back and forth, work it down to seat at the upper valve's base.

If you have ever tried to replace a clogged spray nozzle on the average aerosol can of paint you've already learned the bitter lesson of misfiring a random dot pattern onto a nearby wall, whatever you're working with, and your just-laundered khaki pants. Since you've now been reminded ahead of time, such accidents are less likely to occur with an aerosol can of DuraBlue. They can be totally avoided with the inverted nozzle-clearing squirts previously described. Consider that the wisest course following the application of any pigmented material from a pressurized container. Welcome to the revolution!
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Title Annotation:TECH TOPICS
Author:Blood, Chick
Publication:American Gunsmith
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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