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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

Yesterday I picked up a old model vaquero in 45 long colt. Apparently it was put up in a gun safe while either wet or the safe had a lot of moisture in it. As a result this pistol has severe pitting. Possibly the worst case of gun neglect I have seen...

While i didn't pay hardly anything for it and bought it mainly for a shooter it would be nice to bring back some of its original luster. My question is how do I need to go about undertaking such a project, and is it even possible given the state of the gun? It doesn't have to be the perfect mirror finish that it came with but would at least like to finish it down to where you do not see the pitting anymore and polish it from there.

I feel confident I could handle the project if it can be done, but if I get over my head or it takes more time than im willing to dedicate what would you guess a gun shop would charge?

Thanks!
 

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You're right ... the Vaquero looks pretty grim. Looks like it took a bath in an acid tank. Hard to tell from the photo but it looks like it would take a lot of buffing with a red Scotch-brite pad to restore it .... it might even be too far gone to restore. I would take it to a local gunsmith and see if they would be willing to tackle it and if so, how much would it cost? You may find restoration will cost more than the gun is worth.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply,

I called ruger about a possible factory refinish. They said a refinish would cost between 60-100 bucks and "usually" gets rid of pitting but can't be guaranteed. Just sent them some pictures to get at least an indication if the process would be worthwhile.

Another option would be a local gunshop i spoke with just now. He said he would tear it down and sand / bead blast it for $30 and see if he could get most of it taken care of. I realized that the finish would be no were near shinny but it would have to be better than the current state..

If I were to have it blasted could i then come back and polish it some? The shop said he has coated quite a few revolvers with duracoat (or some type of similar finish) and had good results. That also would be better than looking at pitting...
 

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The good thing about the option of sending it to Ruger is that you would come away from the transaction well assured that they would look it over for functional issues, and not just cosmetic ones. Sixty to a hundred bucks would be pretty cheap for that peace of mind.

Even if it is cosmetically beyond repair, a lot of people have a need for the so-called "pickup truck gun" that you can keep under / behind your pickup seat, in a tool box, carry in your tackle box, etc. There are worse things in the world than a Vaquero that functions fine but is cosmetically awful. Regrettably, the prior owner may have turned this into a pickup truck gun.
 

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If it were mine I would do one of the coatings and just consider it a shooter to be used hard. As long as the bore and working parts are good I would leave it at that.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It functions just fine and has a very clean and pit free bore and cylinder walls.

I am most likely going to have it blasted and coated unless Ruger gets back with me and is very confident their method will cure it.

Even if its $125 it is basically the same price or a little cheaper than getting it coated. Only gave $100 for the gun so I can't really complain.. Actually gave $500 total for it and an excellent condition stainless blackhawk 6.5 .357 with 4 boxes of bullets in each caliber and 3 holsters. Just couldn't pass it up lol
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Just heard back from a tech at Ruger and they said it wouldn't help to send it to them. Off the the blaster it goes I guess... Will post pics good or bad when i get it back in case anyone else has a similar issue.
 

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If it were mine I would do one of the coatings and just consider it a shooter to be used hard. As long as the bore and working parts are good I would leave it at that.
It would make a great "test" gun, just to see how strong Ruger's revolvers really are.
 

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Interested in seeing how this turns out.
Although it looks like it was dragged behind a truck from Georga to Ohio, it has potential. Consider how many of the first gen Colts SSA look like. A fine Colt Petina with pits is a badge of honor as a shooter.

Well worn grips, maybe with some suspecious notches in them might be the topper

Good luck
 

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That Ruger looks like it spent some time in salt water. Normal "moisture" won't do that to a SS gun unless you live less than a block from the ocean.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I think it had to had been around either salt water or something similar in corrosion abilities. I would first have guess a fire but i have the original black grips and they are fine, as in not burn or anything. I guess its also possible that it sat in a damp basement for a few years untouched. The gun isn't really that old though so I also wonder if just water could have done it.

All i know is I like projects and I like good deals lol. Always wanted one for a shooter and accuracy wise this one met my expectations out of the 15 or so times I shot it.

Took it to the gunshop yesterday and he said they would blast it and call me when its done and we could look at it and decide to leave it as is, blue it, coat it with something etc.
 

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I would just sand the warning paragraph off the barrel, bead blast it, come back with a sandable primer base to build up the worst spots/piting. Then paint /duracoat it maybe cerakote and now you have a beater pistol to toss around and enjoy.
 

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I recently filed off the warning from the barrel of my Bisley, blasted it it with 100 grit aluminum oxide, and Cerakoted a two tone Sniper Grey/Burnt Bronze. My .45 was blued to begin with, and I wanted something unique and impervious to the elements. It's not a range gun, but gets carried on the trail here where there are grizzly, black bear, mtn. lion, bison, moose and other things that can stomp and claw you. All of the internal parts are now protected from corrosion, and a s long as the Cerakote is present, from wear as well.
Had it been a stainless gun, I would have been happy just with blasting it, so it was more of a matte finish.


 

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I recently filed off the warning from the barrel of my Bisley, blasted it it with 100 grit aluminum oxide, and Cerakoted a two tone Sniper Grey/Burnt Bronze. My .45 was blued to begin with, and I wanted something unique and impervious to the elements. It's not a range gun, but gets carried on the trail here where there are grizzly, black bear, mtn. lion, bison, moose and other things that can stomp and claw you. All of the internal parts are now protected from corrosion, and a s long as the Cerakote is present, from wear as well.
Had it been a stainless gun, I would have been happy just with blasting it, so it was more of a matte finish.
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I Like It !!!:D
 

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Please post photos when it gets back from the sandblasting. I'm very curious if that will get rid of that severe pitting.
 
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