TO: NRA School Participants
FROM: Lassen Community College NRA Gunsmithing Schools
SUBJECT: GSS 98.09 Color Case Hardening

Welcome to the NRA Gunsmithing School for Color Case Hardening.

During this one week seminar, We plan to cover the fundamentals of the charcoal method of Color Case Hardening. This is by far the safest of all the methods used for color case hardening. The most dangerous aspect of this method is that you can easily get burned during the process, so safety is a primary concern during the class. Therefore, long sleeve shirts, long pants, and shoes or boots (no sandals), and safety glasses are required. Some form of head cover (hat) should be worn.

The main venue of this class is to teach the Color Case Hardening process so you, the student, can take this away with you and use it in your shop or home. Color Case Hardening is a simple process as long as you pay strict attention to the rules.

Due to the time involved in the process; waiting for furnaces to heat up and cool down, size of crucibles, etc., We would recommend that you bring one action ready to be colored (320 finish) and something else to work on while waiting (perhaps a 2nd action or a group of parts). After every student has colored one action/set of parts, then, and only then, will we begin doing the 2nd or more actions/parts. Please do not be offended if you not are able to do multiples, our goal is to make everyone successful in coloring while they are here. As time and equipment permits, we will keep running all week.

Brownells is a definitive source for gunsmithing tools when you have trouble finding what you need from the local hardware store. They are on the web or may be reached by phone at (800) 741-0015. Ordering from Brownells will take from ten days to two weeks, if they have it in stock. Please plan accordingly.

We will be providing:

Charcoal & parts packing container (crucible)
Come prepared to learn and have a good time. You'll be sharing time and efforts with some of the nicest people you could hope to meet, and they all love guns!
Live ammo is not permitted in the classrooms or labs.


Items you should bring:

White Cotton Gloves
1 can acetone
2 coffee cans (Large)
1 roll paper towels
5 pair latex gloves
150, 220, 320 grain sand paper. (5 sheets each)
1/4 “, 3/8”, 1/2” wood dowel (6” of each)
1ea. hard sanding block
1 roll 1” masking tape
1 notebook and writing instrument
1 gun polished (to begin on Monday) – student’s responsibility
1 or more other guns to work on
safety glasses
face shield
welding gauntlets
welding or ball cap

This process is time consuming; ovens take time to heat up. You can color case as many items as you would like, provided we have enough time. We will not color case oil hardening steel, so leave your Winchester Models 94 and 95 and rifle barrels at home.

NOTE - Any metal preparation you can do before coming will save time during class. A 320 finish will be more than adequate but by no means necessary.

As instructors learn as much as students do for every class, we, as time permits, will experiment with the variables of color case hardening. I hope to try different quench times and temps, and possibly using minerals in the quench tanks, to enhance or emphasize certain colors.

If you have any questions regarding an action or parts that you cannot determine what the metal is, call me! If I don’t know, I will find out! Contact me at the Lassen College Gunshop at (530) 251-8809. Come prepared to relax and enjoy. I look forward to an enjoyable and productive week.