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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today at the Hartford, CT antique arms show I picked up a Peabody rifle that had a coat of varnish on all the metal. The rifle had an even rust colored patina, but the price was right and it was mechanically sound. When I got it home and removed what turned out to be rust colored varnish I found the most beautiful case hardening colors I have ever seen on a firearm. I think the coat of varnish was put on the rifle near the time of manufacture (ca. 1870) and actually protected the colors from fading. I'm very happy. Here's a picture of the colors on the lockplate, hammer and receiver.

Vern
 

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Well done! The few I see at shows in any kind of shape are ungodly expensive, and the only ones I've seen in that condition are on the auction tables (ie meaning they will go for big $$$). Is this a .43 centerfire or one of the Swiss rimfires?
 

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Oh, my! What a beautiful and well-preserved piece! Congratulations!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
MikeW - This is one of the desirable Connecticut State rifles in 45-70. It is near perfect from butt plate to muzzle except it is missing the cleaning rod.

Vern
 

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Holy moley! I'll be keeping my eyes on the Peabodys now.
 

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Man oh man that is some great color! Why is it some weapons with case coloring loose their color after many years?
 

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VERY nice.....
I had a similar experience upon buying a 1881 Swiss Vetterli. It was also coated with aged brown varnish. After removing it, there was beautiful blueing underneath. Since then I've kept my eyes open....I have read the overall varnish treatment was not all that uncommon. Anyone else run into this???
 

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Man oh man that is some great color! Why is it some weapons with case coloring loose their color after many years?
Time and Chemistry, if not protected with varnish, or cared for, oxidation will take over and ruin it.
 
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