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  #1  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:45 PM
TwoThirtyBall TwoThirtyBall is offline
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Wilson Combat "Blue" Parts

Hi all,

I have seen various photos in old Wilson Combat gun galleries of really nice 1911s they had with "blue" parts. I don't mean the traditional blue, I mean that the slide stop and safety lever were actually BLUE.. like ELECTRIC BLUE.

I tried to find examples of these parts, but of course a google search just turns up their blue/black standard parts.

These parts appeared to have the same color as anodized Titanium.

Anyone know where to buy these parts, if they are available, how much they cost, anything?

Thanks,

Aaron
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  #2  
Old 08-27-2013, 04:48 PM
La Grenouille La Grenouille is offline
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It's called Nitre Blue - beautiful finish, but not very durable

EDIT:

Here's a video that explains the basics of how to nitre blue. Of course, every 'smith has his own variations (different metal prep, etc.) that will yield slightly different results. Only carbon steel parts can be nitre blued, as it's a form of rusting, and the finish can be somewhat fragile (it'll wear faster than other forms of blue).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vF3zKiUIkY

Last edited by La Grenouille; 08-27-2013 at 07:01 PM. Reason: Add video link
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  #3  
Old 08-28-2013, 11:57 AM
TwoThirtyBall TwoThirtyBall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by La Grenouille View Post
It's called Nitre Blue - beautiful finish, but not very durable

EDIT:

Here's a video that explains the basics of how to nitre blue. Of course, every 'smith has his own variations (different metal prep, etc.) that will yield slightly different results. Only carbon steel parts can be nitre blued, as it's a form of rusting, and the finish can be somewhat fragile (it'll wear faster than other forms of blue).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vF3zKiUIkY
Thanks for the info. I will have to check it out. So I assume these parts are not commercially available? Seems easy enough to make them if you have the right equipment.

I just think they look really nice with a color case hardened Wilson frame and was curious if they were available to those of us who haven't had the money to get a Wilson Custom in our holsters yet.
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  #4  
Old 08-28-2013, 02:39 PM
chrysanthemum chrysanthemum is offline
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Nitre blue is much beloved finish among those who appreciate artistry in firearms. I'm one who is mostly focused on functionality (thus many Armor-Tuff finished Wilson 1911s), but who also has a strong appreciation of artistry.

Nitre blueing work is best performed by artists ... because that's what it is. And there are available artists to do this work. Just look 'em up! Personally, I'd start with Doug Turnbull, but there are also others with excellent skills as well.
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  #5  
Old 08-28-2013, 03:52 PM
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Army Chief Army Chief is offline
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It may indeed be Nitre bluing, but it might also be anodizing, as that has become more commonplace of late, and one can now buy "colored" small parts from a variety of vendors. (Don't expect them to be Wilson parts, of course.)

Normally, Nitre bluing is done to the pins and screws of a fine -- we're talking museum-grade -- 1911, but not to the controls themselves (i.e. safety, slide stop, etc.). Not saying it has not been done, or cannot be done; merely that it is not the classic approach. Whether or not such a thing appeals to you or makes a lot of sense depends upon the gun, your purposes for it and how the work is done.

AC
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Old 08-28-2013, 03:54 PM
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For the sake of clarity, if you're seeing bright blue parts on a true Wilson gun, I'd wager it is Nitre bluing. If you're just looking at random 1911 photos on Google images, it could be something else. Just depends upon the gun, level of refinement and who built it.

AC
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:26 PM
TwoThirtyBall TwoThirtyBall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Army Chief View Post
For the sake of clarity, if you're seeing bright blue parts on a true Wilson gun, I'd wager it is Nitre bluing. If you're just looking at random 1911 photos on Google images, it could be something else. Just depends upon the gun, level of refinement and who built it.

AC
The parts I saw were on a Wilson 1911 and they were in a Wilson image gallery on their old website. I can't seem to find the same image gallery on their new site, so I can't provide an example.

I wouldn't likely put these parts on just any old gun, I just was interested more in the process because they look so similar to Titanium anodizing. They also look really cool with the color case hardening process that Wilson does on their frames.

I am thinking about doing a really high-end custom build and I was just interested in everything they offer.
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Old 08-28-2013, 04:46 PM
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I think I am familiar with those photos, as I was surprised to see the fire control components given this treatment; that said, if this is what the customer specified, then I'm sure this is what the customer got. It didn't strike me as hideous, but if the gun sees any use at all, those Nitre blue parts are likely to start color-shifting a bit, and the net effect might not be quite so attractive. Again, all in the eye of the beholder.

I've got a gun with Nitre-blue parts (pins and screws), and after one day of carry, the blue had suddenly become a nice copper tone. Looks fine on a grip screw. Might look strange on a safety lever.

AC
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:04 PM
Live2Ride Live2Ride is offline
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If the bluing on the small parts here is what you're talking about, it's nitre bluing. It was done by Doug Turnbull. I have to say that it looks better in person than what I can capture in pictures. The lighting can really make that nitre bluing pop. It's beautiful.








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Old 08-28-2013, 06:27 PM
La Grenouille La Grenouille is offline
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Originally Posted by Army Chief View Post
It may indeed be Nitre bluing, but it might also be anodizing
AFAIK, anodizing is more for titanium or aluminum, which those parts usually aren't made of.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:37 PM
Doctor Wu Doctor Wu is offline
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Originally Posted by Live2Ride View Post
If the bluing on the small parts here is what you're talking about, it's nitre bluing. It was done by Doug Turnbull. I have to say that it looks better in person than what I can capture in pictures. The lighting can really make that nitre bluing pop. It's beautiful.








That gun is beautiful. Curious: Do you shoot or carry it? BBQ gun? Safe queen? I would love to do one like that, but I would want to carry the thing. My guess is if I carried it, it would start to look like a hot mess after a few months.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:42 PM
Live2Ride Live2Ride is offline
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Originally Posted by Doctor Wu View Post
That gun is beautiful. Curious: Do you shoot or carry it? BBQ gun? Safe queen? I would love to do one like that, but I would want to carry the thing. My guess is if I carried it, it would start to look like a hot mess after a few months.
Safe queen. Actually, it's a safe queen that resides in a Wilson Combat wooden presentation box. With it being only 1 of 5 made, it'll live out its life as a collectible in my collection. I have plenty of others to shoot, so I don't worry about having a couple that I keep as collectibles.
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  #13  
Old 08-28-2013, 07:01 PM
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Wilson Combat "Blue" Parts

Quote:
Originally Posted by La Grenouille View Post
AFAIK, anodizing is more for titanium or aluminum, which those parts usually aren't made of.
You're right, of course. I'm not sure what process is/was employed exactly, but my mental take-away was that it resembled anodizing. The parts I saw were of little interest to me quality-wise, so I didn't give it much more thought. They may have been Ti, but i just can't recall. Either way, good catch.

AC
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:11 PM
.45_ACP .45_ACP is offline
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Live2Ride,

It's always a treat to see your Presidential Classic. Although I prefer "working" guns that particular pistol of yours always catches my eye and knowing the story behind how it came under your care makes it even more special. In my opinion grips made from wood that was planted by the father of our country beats mastodon tooth any day of the week.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:29 PM
Live2Ride Live2Ride is offline
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Originally Posted by .45_ACP View Post
Live2Ride,

It's always a treat to see your Presidential Classic. Although I prefer "working" guns that particular pistol of yours always catches my eye and knowing the story behind how it came under your care makes it even more special. In my opinion grips made from wood that was planted by the father of our country beats mastodon tooth any day of the week.
Thank you. I think the history of the grips is really cool, but the fact that they actually look good makes them even better. They are the focal point of the gun, in my opinion. They are what make it a "Presidential Classic". However, the rest of the gun is complimentary, classy, tasteful, and deserving of being paired with those grips. It's a total package, in my eyes.

As awesome as all that is, the memory of receiving the gun from my dad, wife, and sister on Christmas morning is worth more than the gun itself. I'm smiling just thinking of that memory again.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:25 PM
.45_ACP .45_ACP is offline
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Originally Posted by Live2Ride View Post
As awesome as all that is, the memory of receiving the gun from my dad, wife, and sister on Christmas morning is worth more than the gun itself. I'm smiling just thinking of that memory again.
Live2Ride,

That memory is absolutely priceless! My biological father past away when I was very young and my mother didn't re-marry until I was in my mid teens so I never got experience having a dad to share the tradition of firearms with. Truth be told I'm not sure it would have made that much of a difference if my biological father had lived because I grew up in New Jersey. My mother and stepfather were typical New Jersey liberals and were under the belief that only criminals used guns. It wasn't until I moved out of New Jersey that I finally got to discover how awesome shooting is.

That being said, I really enjoy hearing stories of fathers, sons and guns. Since I never got to experience that in my own life so it's really nice when others share their stories so thank you once again.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Live2Ride View Post
Thank you. I think the history of the grips is really cool, but the fact that they actually look good makes them even better. They are the focal point of the gun, in my opinion. They are what make it a "Presidential Classic". However, the rest of the gun is complimentary, classy, tasteful, and deserving of being paired with those grips. It's a total package, in my eyes.

As awesome as all that is, the memory of receiving the gun from my dad, wife, and sister on Christmas morning is worth more than the gun itself. I'm smiling just thinking of that memory again.
Wonderful.

You are blessed to have these memories.

Last edited by scw2; 08-28-2013 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:03 AM
66Park 66Park is offline
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I love the look of nitre blued pins and screws, and I have a CQB on order like that. It is a very traditional look. Nitre of "fire bluing" was popular for accents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and you see it on some of the very early Colt automatics as well as Colt revolvers like the Single Action Army. Lots of other manufacturers in those days did nitre blued accents as well.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:38 AM
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Here's another example. Nitre small parts on my TSG. Concur with the remarks above by those commenting on durability. That said, it may be the easiest finish to redo so no big deal if you have fading or a color shift in 5 years. They aren't meant of a carry gun as I'm sure is clear to all.
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IMG_0094.jpg  

Last edited by BigHat; 08-29-2013 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by BigHat View Post
They aren't meant of a carry gun as I'm sure is clear to all.
While I find your assessment to be entirely accurate, I'm carrying a Nitred gun pretty much every day of late. My sons can handle whatever refinishing might be warranted when the time comes, but I don't intend to hand them down a collection of untouched, pristine, display case curiosities. I intend to hand down guns that they knew their dad loved, carried and shot without reservation.

AC
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:40 AM
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Yes, we're aware of your personal views on safe queens.

About the only nitred part that I might go another direction on is the grip safety. There can easily be rubbing on the sides as its depressed into the frame and that's hard on the nitre finish. But as I said and you seem to agree, it's a "nothing burger" to refinish those parts and a determined hobbyist could do themselves.
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:00 PM
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So my subtleties are not lost on the masses? lol

I'm actually fine with a safe queen or three. I've got an old Luger that I'll never shoot, and a couple of inherited shotguns that stay fairly well-protected. I just get after the guys that only have an interest in safe queens, because that makes about as much sense as collecting chainsaws, despite having never felled a tree.

I know that you were just busting my bollocks, but although I have strong feelings on a few issues, I don't necessarily have strong negative feelings to go along with them. Just want folks to vet their interests a bit.

AC
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:45 PM
TwoThirtyBall TwoThirtyBall is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Live2Ride View Post
If the bluing on the small parts here is what you're talking about, it's nitre bluing. It was done by Doug Turnbull. I have to say that it looks better in person than what I can capture in pictures. The lighting can really make that nitre bluing pop. It's beautiful.








Oh my good god... That is a gorgeous gun. I have a young and attractive girlfriend I will trade you for that

Good thing she doesn't frequent the gun forums cause she might not appreciate me selling her into slavery for a pistol...

I just got my Springfield Armory Loaded Stainless worked over by SACS and love it, but I think I am going to do a full Wilson Custom. I am considering all options for customs, but that gun may have just put me over the edge.

I realize the gun you have there is very very very rare, but can Wilson do engraving and blue Nitre parts on one of there standard customs?

Thanks for posting that, Live2Ride. Very impressive.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:27 PM
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So my subtleties are not lost on the masses? lol

I'm actually fine with a safe queen or three. I've got an old Luger that I'll never shoot, and a couple of inherited shotguns that stay fairly well-protected. I just get after the guys that only have an interest in safe queens, because that makes about as much sense as collecting chainsaws, despite having never felled a tree.

I know that you were just busting my bollocks, but although I have strong feelings on a few issues, I don't necessarily have strong negative feelings to go along with them. Just want folks to vet their interests a bit.

AC
Yes, take it as a harmless wisecrack -- as it was intended.

I have only one such pistol I have yet to shoot, and I'm not sure how long it will stay that way. That said, I have other 1911s of the same quality that are AT finished and stainless so it's not like I'm depriving myself of shooting opportunities. Additionally, like you I have plenty of other pistols, rifles and shotguns that deserve a workout too. Only two other items that don't get shot, but certainly have wear on them are my great grandfather's Winchester 1897 12 ga and my grandfather's Winchester 1892 32-20 lever gun.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:30 PM
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Not so coincidentally, both of the shotguns I mentioned are W1897s ... one from my paternal grandfather, and one from my maternal grandfather. The P-08 was sourced directly from the vet's family (Wehrmacht), and will remain just as it is.

AC
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