How Much Does it Cost to Case Harden a Gun? With Video

Case hardening is the process to give your firearm’s surface area a bit harder for not getting fractured. As a byproduct, the layers of carbon come with beautiful, varied color combinations.

It might seem like that it takes a lot to get this pretty layer onto your weapon. Having two methods for doing this process is time-consuming but not that expensive when you have the required materials.

 It depends on your servicing or the person who you selected if you consider how much it costs although you can do it by yourself. In this article we will dive deeper to understand the whole process.

What is Color Case Hardening?

What is Color Case Hardening

The color case hardening is also known as case hardening, case color hardening, and surface hardening. It is a process of heat treating mainly. This process is one of the earliest ways of hardening the steel, even of the lower grade.

Initially, it required the bone charcoal to be warmed up to a specific temperature. Later on, from the quenched and furnace, the parts were separated. This process results in a hard surface finish and a colored carbon layer with beautiful color variants.

Despite being a controlled process with predictable results, the color pattern and combination vary from one weapon to another. The process is a bit different from the potassium cyanide salt bath process, used by the producers later.

The surface will have a component that will not be fractured and has ample resistance on it. Overall, color case hardening is an excellent process for hardening the surface while giving it a beautiful combination of colors.

What is a Case Hardened Finish on a Gun?

What is a case hardened finish on a gun

Case hardened finish refers to the product after finishing the process of color case hardening. The color case hardening process has various names like surface hardening, case hardening, and whatnot.

This process causes the surface area to be more brittle and not to crack. It also gives beautiful carbon layers with a range of color combinations that are unique in each firearm.

This elegant outlook is the case hardened finish on a gun. It’s soothing to look at and even use as it gives armor to the surface of the weapon.

What is Case Hardening Used for?

Case hardening is the process of heat treating and is also known as case color hardening, surface hardening, etc. This process is used to make the surface of any firearm stronger.

People initially used it for hardening the lower grade of steel. This process results in a more brittle surface area that doesn’t get fractured eventually.

It also gives an elegant outlook to the gun, unique to each respective firearm with appealing color combinations. The hardening is mainly used for making the surface area elegant yet hard for not breaking.

It can be done in two methods. This process is time-consuming, but you can do it. Other service centers and people can do it for you although it might be a bit expensive.

Type of Color Case Hardening

Type of Color Case Hardening

Color case hardening is also known as case hardening, and a large number of people use surface hardening for hardening the surface area of their firearm. It also gives an appealing outlook to the gun.

By this process, the exterior part of the surface area becomes more brittle and doesn’t get fractured quickly. It is an aging process that is valid to this day and is still loved by users.

This procedure is relatively easy, and you can do it, too. You have to know the ways. The process can be done in three distinctive methods.

Flame/Induction Hardening

Flame hardening is also known to people as induction hardening. Flame hardening is a comparatively more straightforward process as it doesn’t include different chemical compounds.

At first, the steel’s surface is warmed up to a very high temperature. It can be done by induction heating or applying oxy-flame gas.

 After you’ve increased the temperature, the temperature has to decrease rapidly. You can use water for this. This process does not change the material’s chemical composition like other methods.

Chemical Case Hardening

Chemical case hardening is, as said in its name, the case hardening process that requires chemicals. It can be done in five ways. Each method has its requirements and details. Each procedure is described below:

  1. Cyaniding: Cyaniding is a quicker and effective case hardening way used on steels with low carbon. In a sodium cyanide bath, the required temperature is increased to around 871–954 °C. After doing this, it needs to be rinsed and quenched in oil or water to remove the extra cyanide.
  2. Carbonitriding: Carbonitriding is a case hardening process that is similar to the cyanide process. But, this time, the gaseous atmosphere of hydrocarbon and ammonia is used. In this method, the temperature differs according to its purpose.
  3. Ferritic Nitrocarburizing: Ferritic Nitrocarburizing is the method that diffuses some carbon and mostly nitrogen into the case. The temperature has to be below the critical temperature that is around 650°C.
  4. Nitriding: In this procedure, the steel part’s temperature is increased to around 482–621 °C in ammonia gas and dissociated ammonia’s atmosphere. The depth of the case depends on the time the part has spent in this environment. For this method to work, nitride forming components must be there.
  5. Carburizing:  Carburizing is a diffusion-controlled method that hardens the steel with carbon. The case is kept in a carbon-rich atmosphere at increased temperature and then quenched for the carbon to lock in the surface.

Bone Charcoal Color Case Hardening

Bone Charcoal Color Case Hardening is a color case hardening process different from other methods and unique. The package is kept at a high temperature until the carbon from charcoal sits onto the outer surface of the part.

After this, it is quenched into the cold water. By this, a layer with an elegant outlook is formed.

What is Case Hardening Compound?

What is case hardening compound

Different methods do the case hardening process. Each way requires additional requirements. Compounds are other and depend upon the way you’re hardening your parts.

For example, if you choose to set the case by chemical case-hardening process, you will need to decide which way to do this process, like nitriding requires different compounds than the carburizing process.

What is the Process of Case Hardening

What is the process of case hardening

Case-hardening is another name of the color case hardening procedure. Case hardening makes the critical parts of the gun more brittle. Mainly case hardening is done in two ways.

One way is flame or induction hardening, and another way to do it is chemical case hardening. Chemical case hardening is different as it differs as the chemical composition changes. Both ways to do this process is described below:

Flame Hardening Process

For doing this process, you have to understand the method. This method mainly raises and lowers the temperature. It creates a carbon layer on the surface without using chemicals.

So, at first, you need to heat the steel’s surface at a very high temperature. You can increase the temperature by induction heating and applying the oxy-flame gas.

After this, you have to cool the case down as quickly as you can. You can use water for it. This is a heat-treatment method that creates a beautiful carbon layer while not changing the chemical composition.

Bone Charcoal Color Case Hardening Process

For doing this process, you’ll need a combination of bone charcoal and wood charcoal combination.  You have to take part and pack it in the mixture in a stainless steel crucible until the carbon layer sets onto the part’s surface. After it, you have to quench the piece in cold water.

Chemical Case Hardening Process

Chemical case hardening is the method that needs a chemical to form a unique carbon layer on the critical parts of the firearm. The chemical case hardening procedure can be done in five ways.

All of them require a different way and need to complete. The methods are Carburizing, Nitriding, Cyaniding, Carbonitriding, and Ferritic nitrocarburizing.

Carburizing process: Carburizing is a method for hardening the surface area of the part. For this method, you’ll need to put the piece in a carbon-rich atmosphere for a specific time and then quench it when the carbon is locked.

There is also a more convenient way to do this. You have to heat the required part with an acetylene torch set repeatedly with a huge flame.

Nitriding process: In the ammonia gas and dissected ammonia’s atmosphere, the nitriding method mainly diffuses. You’ll need all the nitriding elements and time as this process is time-dependent for doing this process.

You have to take part and diffuse it in the atmosphere, as stated earlier, at a temperature of 482–621 °C.

Cyaniding process: To complete this process, you have to take part and heat it in the sodium cyanide’s bath at 871–954 °C, and after it, quench and rinse it in water or oil.

Ferritic Nitrocarburizing process: You need to diffuse the part in some carbon and mostly nitrogen below the critical temperature, around 650 °C.

Color Case Hardening Temperature

Color case hardening is a method by which the surface area is hardened. This method has various names for different users. The process results in the same products with a unique decorative outlook in every case.

The color case hardening can be done in two ways. In each procedure, the temperature is different. The chemical compound process requires a whole other way and temperatures.

In carburizing, nitriding, cyaniding, and so on, each process has a different specification and needs a varied temperature. It relies on which method you are using for deciding the color case hardening procedure’s temperature.

Turnbull Case Hardening Cost

The case hardening process differs according to the requirement. But the process is time-consuming and complex as it contains poisonous compounds like cyanide. Turnbull restoration offers to harden the case of your gun.

You can choose which method and color you want your firearm hardened in. It costs around 1000-2000 dollars. It is an expensive process, but it does restore your gun’s surface area and gives an elegant look.

Color Case Hardening Prices

Color case hardening is common among the users of the firearm. It gives an appealing outlook to your gun and makes the surface area more brittle for not getting fractured. Each servicing center offers a different price for it.

Turnbull restoration also gives a range of options, and you can choose according to your likings. Despite being a challenging procedure, you can do it all by yourself.

Color Case Hardening with Torch: What’s the Specialty

Color case hardening with torch

Color case hardening procedure can be done in a number of ways. People can also do it with an acetylene torch set. It is a comparatively more accessible way to harden the case.

For this, the fuel-rich flame heats the part with the help of the torch set, and after it, the piece has to be quenched into the carbon-rich fluid like oil. It takes only about 20-30 minutes.

It helps to do this easily and quickly and also is effective like the other processes.

How to Get Rid of Fake Color Case Hardening?

As the color case hardening process is a bit pricy, some people might try to scam you by putting a fake hardening on the case or the required part. It cannot be effortless, and always better to choose a trusted source for doing this work.

In case of knowing if you got the fake color case hardening process, there’s no way of restoring or refreshing it without knowing which chemical compound is used at first.

But one sign of it is the layer will fade quicker than the normal one. You can also try to remove it by polishing the grits of sandpaper or keeping the hardened part in a 10% phosphoric acid solution. Be careful throughout the whole process.

Case Hardened Revolver: All You Need to Know

Case hardened revolver has a different appeal to it. It has a soothing eye outlook and can give armor to the surface area. It will result in the surface not getting fractured. It will help you to use this revolver without thinking about its exterior getting broken.

It also causes to increase in its lifetime. This process also makes the metal more flexible and more accessible to weld. You, as a user, will be thrilled with it.

Disadvantages of Case Hardening

Case hardening results in so many benefits for the user. But, it also has its cons. Like its wear resistance is limited and galling’s rick is increased.

The process gives a corrosion-resistant surface with a beautiful, unique look. It depends on the users to decide if these disadvantages are too significant to deal with.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can you case harden a gun?

Case hardening is comparatively a more challenging procedure as it takes time. If you choose to do a chemical case hardening process, there is even a risk as the compounds used are poisonous, and there is a very high temperature.

There are ways to do this process, and you can do it if you know the whole process and have the requirements. You should be careful while doing it.

#2. Is color case hardening expensive?

The color case hardening process includes an uncompromising approach to deal with hardening the case. It requires different elements, but the compounds are expensive and hard to deal with in all cases.

For this, the services like Turnbull Restoration offer this option, but the price is a bit pricey. It relies on the service or the person but be careful as fake color case hardening still exists.

#3. How much does Turnbull case hardening cost?

Turnbull restoration can harden your case, and you can even choose which color you want it in. It offers a wide range of options for the convenience of the users. It costs around 1000-2000 dollars to do this process.

The price might seem expensive, but considering the requirements and the steps of the process, the cost is somewhat considerable.

#4. Can you case harden a barrel?

The case hardening process is done onto the guns to have a hardened surface that will not get fractured. It increases the wear resistance. The gun barrels or the cylinders don’t require such resistance; that’s why they are not usually hardened.

But, if it’s necessary for some reason, you can case harden a barrel by following the “case” of the martensite needed procedure.

#5. How do you harden a case?

Case hardening is a heat-treating procedure. It creates a carbon layer on top of the surface area. It also results in an eye-soothing color combination on top of the part.

This procedure can be done in a couple of ways, like chemical case hardening, flame hardening, and bone charcoal case hardening. All of them need different items to complete but result in the same product.

#6. What is bone case hardening?

Bone charcoal case hardening is a process of case hardening requiring a combination of bone charcoal and wood charcoal.

The part is taken and packed up into it with a stainless steel crucible. It is heated until the layer sets up onto the surface, and after it, the part is quenched into the cold water. Also, it creates a beautiful carbon layer on top.


Color case hardening has different names to different persons like surface hardening, case hardening, and whatnot. Ultimately, the process they mean is the same.

There are two methods to do this, but both fulfill the purpose just as they are supposed to. It is a time-consuming process but not that expensive. After all, you can do it yourself easily without facing complications.

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