Blueing and Browning
The part of your shotgun that needs the most maintenance from you is the barrels.
Over the years your gun may fire many thousands of shots and every shot that is fired wears the insides of the barrels very slightly. A modern shotgun can wear eight thousands of in inch internally (four thousandths each side) before it is “out of proof” at which time it should go to the proof house to be “re-proofed / re-proved”.
The process involves two over-charged cartridges being shot though each barrel. This puts the gun under huge stress and afterwards it is inspected to see if the barrels have bulged, rivelled or even split. The action, too, is inspected and if no faults are found it is re-stamped to a new internal size.
Every time you use your gun you should clean it afterwards. This will remove lead, plastic or fibre deposits and any rain water or condensation that may have formed.
The outsides of the barrels usually have a blue/black or brown finish and it is often thought this is some kind of paint. The application of this finish is in fact a very lengthy and time-consuming process. First comes the preparation, in which all the old finish must be removed. This process often shows all sorts of nicks, pits, scratches and rust that may not have been noticed. As with so many things, the better the preparation, the better the end result.
The ribs of some barrells are soldered on, while on other they are brazed on. If brazed, the barrels are very highly polished, then chemically blacked in a very hot bath. Soldered barrels are not polished to the same extent because the finish is applied several times a day over many days and the chemical application needs a finish to key onto.
Damascus barrels go through a similar process to soldered barrels (with some exceptions), to show the beautiful pattern.
We have been fine-tuning the process for over 40 years and are proud to say we don’t know of anyone who gets a better finish.