Recognizing Refinished Guns

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Axehandle

Buckeye
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Feb 5, 2008
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Dudes.... Lets talk about refinished collector guns... The butcher jobs are easy but sometimes these guns can really look good... The gun below is a factory lettered original brass grip frame Super Blackhawk... While I do not have what I would call a trained eye in such matters IMHO this gun looks to me to have been carefully buffed and reblued... The most significant refinish evidence I see is in the letters on the left side of the cylinder frame... Take note that this gun is MINE and it is NOT for sale or trade... Refinish or not this one lives here with me... ;D
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revhigh

Hawkeye
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Aug 31, 2005
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I'd think it has been refinished. Look at the 4th pic, and notice how the screw holes have been 'pulled' to the left. This is caused by the buffing wheel being used in the hole area when the gun didn't have a screw in it. On one side, it's normal, and on the other side it's 'pulled', probably caused by the wheel being on the downstroke on the right, and on the upstroke on the left, if you can visualize what I mean.

I was taught about this 'tell' on the Colt forum where people were talking about refinishing Pythons.

Still a beautiful gun and not a bad refinish job, but those screw holes are a dead giveaway. On the Colt forum the consensus is that it's better to have a Python in ANY condition rather than a refinished one, even if it was done by Colt themselves.

REV
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
Joined
Jun 18, 2001
Messages
6,784
I see several clues that certainly point to "refinished". The polished "ding" on the underside of the cylinder frame and the many worn spots on the rear sight, including the top of the sight blade are two additional "red flags" to be added to REV's observation.

One can also look at the base pin since it's often set aside and not refinished and it's condition can be a clue, which, in this case, just may be another "red flag".

Then there's the breech surface.....

flatgate

PS Great Pictures, Axe!
 

Axehandle

Buckeye
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Interesting perception... I know the effect you are taking about... What you see here is not what you think you see... These holes are NOT "pulled"

Good catch on the polished ding and the basepin.... Those rear sight marks are an excceptional catch too!

Oooh... Looked back at the holes in the pic and I think I need to pull the gun back out and look at these holes harder...
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
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Messages
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One more observation, however it may just be camera angle.

Does the cylinder have recessed/counterbored chambers or not?

Is that toe sore?

:D

flatgate

357690092.jpg

Factory reblued OM Super with it's original cylinder. Note the small gap at the breechface.....
 

Bear Paw Jack

Hawkeye
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Dec 19, 2001
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I think it's been poished also. Hard to tell from the screw (holes) though do to the angle of the photo. Biggest tell is the rounding of the letters and numbers. IMO
 

Axehandle

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Now flatgate's last remark got the gun pulled out... I can't believe that that aspect got past us... The chambers are NOT recessed... FWIW there is some pulling of those screw holes...

This is a late production OM SBH. We see the recessed chamber cylinders on the early NM SBHs.. Have we ever seen an original cylinder on an OM SBH without recessed chambers?
 

revhigh

Hawkeye
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THe serial number(s) are also slightly pulled, in the same direction if you notice, indicating that the gun was held the same way for that entire area during polishing.

By the way ... GREAT pictures !!! What camera did you use ???

REV
 

Axehandle

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Little Canon PowerShot A530. The trick is the Macro Zoom and a bright cloudy day...

The auto focus can be a battle at times.... Snapped the pic below for the same discusson over on Single Actions...

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Cholo

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I agree, excellent pics! My camera is about the same but an A540. I need to locate the manual, but is the macro zoom the M letter on the top dial?
 

Axehandle

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On my camera it is on the ring on the back... Says "MF" and has a little flower image beside it. When selected the camera will auto focus when held much closer..
 

EarlFH

Single-Sixer
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Dec 17, 2007
Messages
361
I seem to remember Flatgate telling me one time, that you can pull the cylinder, and check the blueing inside the frame. If it's completely blued inside, then it's a reblue. The cylinders aren't fitted to the gun at the factory until AFTER they are blued, and some of the blueing gets removed by the fitting process.

I hope I remembered that correctly. :?

EarlFH
 
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many signs of the typical Ruger "high polished" job, yes, over polished as to letters ,numbers, (rollmarks) as well as the any and all the screw holes...this does NOT happen when you polish by hand or with a flat surfaced tool.........the recoil shield looks fine, my question is the direction of the polishing on the cylinder itself....it's angled?? also the marks (dings or divots) not a good sign.bottom line tough to tell in the pictures, I'd have to see the gun in natural light as well as under a bright light to see the finish within the actual blue...hard to explain, but this tells one a LOT as to the surface prep ,before it was dipped in the salts.............
so by these pictures and the nature of the guns era, its a crap shoot, but I lean to a finish that was overdone the first time out ,or redone by them before it left ( maybe even returned.......)they did lots of stuff to guns that they were not happy with the finish at the time...look at all the nickel (chromed) SC's............as well as their so'called "high polish" for the Supers...Ruger was NOT the best at finishing their guns, compared to all the other 'big names' back then...................
 

Axehandle

Buckeye
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Yup... and based on the above pic that clouds the issue more... One of the old heads over on Single Actions remarked that at the end of the OM SBH run a lot of ad hoc fitting happened and that cylinder frames were known to have been fitted to brass grip frames instead of the standard fitting the grip frame to the cylinder frame. Ruger letter says this gun shipped September 1972.
 

contender

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I too think it's a refinish. However, no one has mentioned that many of the brass framed guns that letter will have factory polishing marks that align on both the main frame & the grip frame.
 

Unconverted

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 1, 2005
Messages
172
Yes, it's a refinish... but still a pretty SBH. I keyed in on the finish of the cylinder.

Axehandle":22w3zwc3 said:

It should not have the fine polishing lines at an angle. Actually, you shouldn't see the lines at all on an original high-polish gun. On much later guns, you should see the lines running parallel to the cylinder face.

This observation corresponds with the cylinder being the wrong vintage.
 

Axehandle

Buckeye
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Okay... here are a couple more shots... Don't see a "r" anywhere and the bottom is completely blued..

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Dreamer002.jpg
 

flatgate

Hawkeye
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Very interesting! I'd say it was repolished and not reblued except for the dished out screw holes....... which is puzzling at this point in the discussion.

The all blue cylinder frame lower surface certainly fits within the S47B status, however the two different polishing styles are telling us something.

flatgate
 

weaselmeatgravy

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The check for bluing at the base of the cylinder frame under the grip frame only applies to steel grip frame guns or to tell if a brass frame was added later to a steel frame gun. The S47 with the steel grip frame was blued with the grip frame installed, so blue under the grip frame will be spotty and incomplete. A fully blued bottom of the cylinder frame is proper for a gun that letters as a S47B brassie since they were blued without the grip frame installed. So it tells you nothing about re-bluing.

This used to serve as a good check for the un-verifyable brass frame Supers but is now nearly moot since most of those can now be verified.
 

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