This is a discussion on Anyone polish their barrel with white vinegar? within the LCP Technical forums, part of the LCP Pocket category; Originally Posted by bigdogdaddy I am enlightened and cultured too. When I drink my beer from a can I stick out my little finger. do ...
I used the white vinegar treatment on my barrel too sincethe slide was causing wear on the barrel. I use Militec-1 metal conditioner to keep rust at bay.
So vinegar does nothing to "polish" a barrel. It just acts as a corrosive to remove the microscopic layer of blueing, the dark surface of the barrel oxidized which traditionally provides a minimal amount of protection from the elements. The only polishing that is done is by use of abrasive papers, compounds, scotch brites. Vinegar is often used to add a bit of patina itself, a natural coloring agent and oxidizing protectant to blades and other metal objects. Depending on the metal composition, it may require direct contact for long periods of time to achieve a color change.
I polished my barrel and hood for contrast on my LCP, no vinegar, just elbow grease,and realize it will take a bit of extra care, oiling, to preserve the finish. That's OK as I have no intention of neglecting it for months on end.
The middle ground
After fewer than 300 rounds, my LCP's chamber and muzzle were looking kind of ragged, from powder blasts wearing away the black finish. So, I got the Dremel polishing kit w/compound, and some white vinegar. You know, after doing the vinegar, and getting a fairly uniform, dull, battleship gray appearance, I decided to stop right there: no polish, no buffing. It looks 200% better than it did, but, it's not so purty as to look like I care what it looks like. It has the appearance of the patina that an older firearm might have.
You know, I did use foam ear plugs to block the ends, while I brushed on the vinegar for about an hour. It was cool watching the black finish slowly disappear. For future reference, though, I'm wondering if using foam plugs is really a good idea... they will soak up some of the vinegar, and just hold it against the inner surface of the barrel, creating some of the exposure you're trying to prevent, in the first place.
Last edited by eezz; 01-25-2013 at 04:20 PM.
OK, my vinegar-stripped barrel did not maintain its nice patina after use. Maybe the heat, oil, etc... but, simple cleaning did not get it back to the look I liked. Sooo, I had to get into the polishing thing.
As I sort of expected, the tool marks on the ejection side of the chamber are too deep remove. I mean, doing so with 400 / 600 grit would take off too much metal. As it is, I can barely make out the "380 Auto" engraving. What are you guys doing if you have tool marks, or flat area with dips? What about your "380 Auto" engraving? If you take off metal, won't that effect barrel alignment as the slide cycles?
I didn't worry about any tool marks when I polished mine, so I didn't remove any significant amount of material to affect alignment or function. When my barrel was finished, the imperfections in the surface were barely noticable due to the shine. After a few hundred more rounds you will have more imperfections in the polish job than before, but the shine will still be there.
I kind of like the contrast between the blue slide and polished barrel, but I don’t know if it is a good idea to use vinegar in the process, considering what it may do to the bore… I have experience using diluted vinegar to bring out “hamon” of Japanese style production swords. You’ll be surprised how much acid even diluted vinegar has and how it will tarnish and eat naked steel continuously (even after washing it off with hot water). That is why you must soak the sword in ammonia for a while to completely neutralize the acidity of vinegar if you ever use even diluted vinegar on it. If you must use vinegar to polish the barrel, I would also soak the polished barrel in ammonia for an hour or so to completely neutralize the acidity from vinegar.
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