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hello, i recently got my mini-14 stainless steel. when i first saw it in the dark plastic wrap, i thought it was blued and the factory had just made a mistake because the finish was so dark. anyways, i was wondering how i could polish the finish to make it look better. or do you think i would be better off with the darker finish.
 

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I would leave it alone.You can polish a stainless mini to a mirror polish"like a nickel finish",but do you want a rifle in the field that any animal "2 or 4 legged"could see for 3 miles!If you want a camo or dark finish,there are at least 5 you can go with.Checkout www.brownells.com for the different types that can be applied to a stainless gun.Aldo
 

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I like my Stainless matte. Wheather I use it for hunting or defense, I do not want to be carring a flashing mirror around giving away my position. It just a personal pref thing.;)
 

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Unlike the newer Minis, my older SS Mini was somewhat light in color. I glass bead blasted the entire exterior, and painted it with Brownell's 'Dark Park" Aluma-Hyde II Epoxy paint.
The color is now a totally flat medium grey, much like a new AR-15 magazine. I'll probably re-finish my SS mags in flat black for contrast.
A bit of work, but it sure beats 'stand-out stainless"!
 

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Raf, how do you use the paint? Does it require primer? Why did you need to glass bead blast it before painting?
Does paint interfere with barrel cooling? How durable/chip resistant is the paint?

Voruzon.
 

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As with any surface finish, preparation is key. Glass bead blasting the surface is far more uniform than sanding, and yields a perfect base to which the paint can adhere. It also slightly surface-hardens the steel, a minor plus.
Immediately prior to painting, wipe down with a degreasing agent. I use acetone. No primer is required or needed with this paint. Of course, complete directions are on the can itself.
Since you have already masked off the portions of the firearm that you do not want painted, such as the innards of the trigger group and receiver as well as the tip of the gas piston, apply the epoxy paint in a dust-free environment. One can will do two Minis. Wouldn't hurt to buy a cheapo can of paint to practice with on some similar object.
As for durability, the epoxy paint from Brownell's is formulated to be highly resistant to common firearms chemicals. Its chip and scratch resistance should be akin to most modern kitchen appliances, which are also painted with epoxy paint.
The Mini is still curing, so real-world eval will have to wait for a week or so.
As long as the barrel is uniformly covered with paint, I do not foesee any cooling issues. If one were to paint only a portion of the barrel, there might possibly be some temperature differentials that could have slight adverse effects.
 

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Great, thank you. I will probably go with a stainless one myself and paint it too.
Speaking of cooling issues I was more concerned about barell overheating in general due to paint's thermal insulation properties rather than uneven cooling effects.

It would be nice if someone tested it - by heating the barrel in boiling water and then measuring how long it would take to cool off to say, 80C at the same ambient temperature before and after painting.

Come to think of it - no need to boil the actual barrel. Could you possibly do that experiment with two equal chunks of steel - one painted - if you have any leftover paint?

Some recommend to chemically etch the surface - with Naval Jelly or plain vinegar.

I know that regular Pepsy works great as rust remover/etcher due to phosphoric acid contained in it. I tested it while restoring old straight razors for use - it works very well on rust but leaves dull surface.

Voruzon
 

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Well, I could heat up two lumps of metal, but I suspect that any cooling differential would be so small as to be unmeasurable by the crude instruments at my disposal. I seriously doubt any appreciable difference exists between an unpainted barrel and a painted one. The single coat of paint ought not to insulate much, if at all.
I urge you to make the effort to find a glass beading booth, or to pay to have it done. Most gunsmiths have such booths, at least the ones who offer refinishing services. It is the best and easiest way to achieve the PERFECT surface to which to apply paint. Trust me on this.
 

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Thanks. I will keep that in mind when my firearm license gets approved. I wanted go with a stainless Mini but I surely hated an idea of a shiny tactical weapon.

Now if someone had found a way to color the rubber on a Hogue Overmolded stock...

If you do not mind, could you pleas explain how bead blasting works? What' s involved in a process? How do beads get to the metal?
The only thing I found about it is that the bears are spherical and so will not abrade material and cause parts to lose tolerances. If there is no abrasion, how does it work?

Voruzon
 

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Hey Voruzon. The bead blaster we have at work uses high air pressure to blow a course white sand at a metal part. It removes paint, blasts a nice uniform matte finish, and it does surface hardens the metal. Same as rotopeen. It is in a booth to protect user form the blast and dust. It will rip skin right off. Have seen it. Most booths have a glass viewing port, and u use protective gloves thru arm holes to move the part around, and to aim th nozzle.
 

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The material used in bead blasting is really glass. The glass beads can be had in many different sizes or grades depending on the finish desired. As cajungeo says the beads are propelled by compressed air usually thru a ceramic nozzle. The blasting process changes the surface finish without removing material. That is as long as you're blasting metal & not yourself. I would mask any surfaces I didn't want a rough finish on such as bolt raceways & lugs, simply put any surface where one piece of metal slides against another. There are other blasting mediums for special purposes but glass beads are a standard in most shops. If you have anything bead blasted always thourghly wash it with soap & water to remove all the beads & dry with compressed air if possible. Using compressed air alone to remove the beads is risky as they can hide in the worst places & become dislodged as soon as you fire the weapon. A bead blasted finish on stainless steel looks very nice but it will show any dings or dirt more than a dark finish will.

There you are
Bushwack
 

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I've noticed the same thing on the newer v. older stainless mini's. I personally don't like the new "grey" stainless - it just doesn't look good to me. the older stainless looks more refined and not as rough. I didn't think the older stainless finish was too shiny. It's not that I (or others) want a shiny finish, just the option of having the older stainless finish.

Does anyone know if the older and newer stainless mini's use the same grade of stainless. Or does anyone know why Ruger changed the finish on their stainless mini's??? Inquiring minds would like to know.
 
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