A few weeks ago I picked up a 1894,
.357 and have been doing some thinking. Is it possible to remove the bluing and give it the smokeless steel looked to match my 1936, 30-30. Is it even possible to do a smokeless steel type finish with basic tools/supplies?
Any blue will come off if the steel is soaked in a tub of ordinary supermarket white vinegar for 20 min to a half hour. Wash very thoroughly to get all the vinegar off. Then you're left with bare steel to refinish. That's the hard part.
The color case hardening is the one color that can,,'t be replicated at home,at least not without a layout of cash and an infusion of knowledge or training ,normally if you want this a trip to a gunsmith who does it or a trip to the bank( depending on your personal resources of course!) Unless the part is not a critical part ,say a buttplate, it can be faked with a torch,but it is obvious to most gun guys,but looks ok.but a receiver has to be baked in an airtight container with a carbon source for a long time at a spec.d temp or a cyanide method is used( sort of know what your doing here!).but this is the gist on case hardening colors.
Read up on the color case hardening process. Originally it was meant to harden the outside surface of the steel, to reduce wear, and to reduce friction between contacting surfaces. It just happened to look pretty when they were done.
Parts to be case hardened are separated and tightly packed into a sealed (airtight) box containing various types of charcoal, including animal bone charcoal. The sealed boxes were then heated for a number of hours in a furnace (red hot temperature range). During heating, the carbon molecules migrate into the top few thousandths of the steel, increasing the carbon content and thus, the hardness of the steel.
Precision parts tend to warp under this harsh treatment, and must be supported inside on a fixture to prevent distortion. This is probably the biggest hurdle to replicating the process at home. That and composition of the charcoal, proper temperature, and duration, ability to weld the box shut, proper furnace, and a few dozen other little details.
This is why fire arms being produced today use color case hardening merely as accents, rather than treating bolts and barrels. Typically, it is only the receiver frames and small parts that are treated, butt plate, finger lever, fore end piece, etc. On auto loaders, sometimes the slides are treated.
Turnbull Restorations Company is tops in this field. They are not cheap, but their work is stunning. There are others who also color case harden and will do it for a bit less cash, but without the assurance of Turnbull's results. The cost of such a treatment will at least double the cost your investment in your fire arm.
As said above, Turnbull's process does not require extreme heat as does traditional cynide process. (Older S&W triggers abd hammers) Turnbull's colors are more vivid as well. Not cheap. Absolute perfection. Currently closed.