Revealing the pattern of Damascus barrels

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Barry Gregory 440
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Nov 05, 2019 3:24 pm

Revealing the pattern of Damascus barrels

Post by Barry Gregory 440 »

I have very recently bought an 108 year old, 12-bore, S x S, sidelock shotgun with ‘browned’ Damascus barrels. I don’t think the barrels were ‘browned’ when the shotgun was new.

Overall, every aspect of the shotgun is in stunningly good, even beautiful, condition. I’m wondering if there is a process whereby the pattern of the Demascus can be revealed to complete the appearance.

I have already spoken to one very competent gunsmith who does ‘blacking’ and ‘browning’ but they do not know how, without experimenting, to reveal the pattern. I don’t want to risk spoiling the barrels.

Can anybody help?
John 39
Posts: 364
Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 5:30 pm

Re: Revealing the pattern of Damascus barrels

Post by John 39 »

Have a look in our "Archived Forum" for "browning" or "Damascus". A chap named "Wabbitbosher" is an expert on this. Basically, you should rub down the areas to be browned with very fine steel wool then look on the internet for suppliers of browning solutions. These are acids with maybe an additive or two. Block the barrels and chambers with corks and paint the barrels with the solution several times over 3-4 days. Stand muzzle down on newspaper to let them dry and rust. Next day or two lightly rub down with steel wool then repaint with acid. Do this as often as necessary until you get the colour you want. Wash off with hot water then apply an oil, call me old fashioned but I've used the old .303 oil which dries nicely but has a matt finish. I've used Jade Oil on a brass bowl which I had to re-stain but almost any oil will do. Some people varnish the barrels to get a glossy finish and the protection from damp and fingerprints which varnish gives.

Browning is not difficult, it is just time consuming. The pattern cannot be destroyed, rubbing with wire wool removes rubbish and shines the steel rather than the iron so you can see the difference. Your wife may complain if you splash acid all over the kitchen. In cold weather putting the barrels in somewhere warm will speed up the rusting.
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