Correct degreasing is vital to successfully bluing any firearm. There are a lot of potential degreasers that can be used but we will explore the best and the most effective ways to use them.
There are literally hundreds of polymers and differing oils, greases and protective coatings used on guns. No solvent effectively removes them all. So the best technique is to use a cleaner/degreaser that you like. In the event that a particular project doesn't seem to be clean enough, change degreasers. In the kits that we sell, there is a degreaser called CitriGun Degreaser. It is a non-flammable, no fumes degreaser that will not damage wood finish if it is spilled. For nearly all of my work, I use this product. You can leave the gun together and do no damage even if you spill.
It is best applied with a paper towel or cloth unless there is significant build up of greases and oils. In that case I apply it with #0000 steel wool. Always wipe the CitriGun off (or even wipe it down with a dampened paper towel to make sure there are no residues) before applying the bluing.
Other prime degreasers that I keep on hand are, Acetone, any Ketone (like MEK), and non-chlorinated Brake Parts Cleaner. Brake parts cleaner is better than Carburetor Cleaner because it contains no lubricant (for the flutter valve), but as with all rapidly drying solvents it is far better to wipe them off rather than just allowing them to dry. I spray the cleaner on the metal, then spray some on a paper towel. Then I wipe the metal with the towel to pick up everything I've loosened with the solvent. In cases of severe build up or long term storage in either oil or cosmolene, it helps to warm the metal before degreasing. This softens the grease, and makes it easier to remove. Best temperature range is fairly low ( 90 degrees to about 150). This is easily done with a hair-dryer.
You may find other solvents that you like better such as 111 Trichlorethane, clear PVC pipe cleaner, electrical contact cleaner, etc. Alcohol is not a very effective degreaser because it usually only removes oils - and most firearms these days have multiple layers of synthetics, polymers, and other non disolvable coatings that require something stronger than alcohol.
The test for how effectively you have cleaned the metal is ... does the bluing get spotty or not get dark? ... probably it is not clean!
Once the metal is thoroughly degreased, the next step is the texture of the metal. Click here