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Several brands of single-action revolvers (Colt, Cimarron, Uberti, US Firearms etc) are made with blue finish and color case-hardened frames. Are those frames just colored that way or is the surface of the metal actually harder than ordinary gun steel?

I'd like to know because I have the idea in mind of adding an adjustable rear sight to such a gun and the top strap would have to be machinable with ordinary metal-working tools in order to do this.

Thanx in advance for knowledgeable opinions on this subject.
 

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They are actually case hardened and the surface is glass hard but only a few .000" deep. The Uberti's usually don't have toughest case hardening of the lot and any of them may have a spot that has a thinner 'case' depth than a surrounding area.
They will chew up your normal HS metal working tools in quick order. Just under that hard surface is a soft core though. Some SAA repros actually do have nothing more than a chemical coloring on them to mimic casecolors. Ruger uses a coloring process on theirs too. It is possible to case color w/o achieving the hardness that is normally associated with it..
If you have a specific gun in hand already, just test the frame with a fine cut file under the trigger guard/inside the frame cut somewhere to see if it will bite. If it skips off like a piece of glass,,,it's case color..hardened.
 
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