The Great Debate

by Bobby Tyler

photography by Bobby Tyler & Boge Quinn

July 21st, 2020

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ROUGH Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk, before restoration by Tyler Gun Works.



The same Ruger New Model Super Blackhawk, after restoration to factory-new condition.



This question has been debated at great length and no conclusion has been reached, so let me offer my opinion. As an accumulator, shooter, collector, and restorer of fine firearms, we find that most all firearms are restorable, barring fire damage. It all depends on how far you want to take it.

This is a much deeper question than first meets the eye, the answer to which not all will ever agree. You can't generalize every situation, and each must be judged on its own merits. We must ask is whether you are talking about the re-bluing of a firearm or a professional restoration that will meet or exceed factory standards. Restoring an item is defined as "bringing it back to its original, or unimpaired condition." A quality finish depends on the proper preparation and treatment of the metal. We take a number of important steps during the restoration process to ensure bluing of the highest quality. Maintaining the integrity of the firearm is our main goal. Keeping the proper separation of the flats and the rounds and preserving all the screw holes are a must. There is a big difference in hand polishing every small blemish out of a particular area instead of using a buffing wheel. Crisp lettering and roll marks are very important, and can make the all difference in determining if the right decision was made on whether to restore, or not.

So for the big question: how do we know when itís time for a restoration?

Do all old or worn firearms need to be restored? Absolutely not! There are firearms that need to be left alone. Some firearms would benefit more from a preservation/conservation service rather than a restoration, but those are few in comparison to the overwhelming majority of guns that are "restoration candidates." If a firearm is badly rusted, has a great deal of finish missing, or the overall condition is no longer acceptable, it becomes a great candidate for restoration. If itís a rare or valuable gun and the condition is so bad it canít be displayed, then it might be one for consideration. A true professional restoration is an investment into your firearm.

Bluing and color casing for the purpose of custom builds are fun, and the skyís the limit.

Always decide what your goals and your budget are before starting this process. Last but not least, when you make up your mind what you want to do, enjoy your experience because you work hard for your money!

Bobby Tyler

Tyler Gun Works

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Friends and Brothers

L-R: Boge Quinn, Bobby Tyler, and Jeff Quinn during Bobby's 2019 visit to Gunblast World Headquarters.