First, I've heard that Mausers (early) were "Browned". In the parlance of Mississippi Rifles and
early US martial arms, browning indicated a rust brown finish that was then varnished. A
beautiful example of this method resides in the Confederate Memorial Hall in New Orleans.
However, the National Armory at Springfield, Mass., used the term "browning" to indicate what
we now call "bluing"; ie.: 45/70's. All M71, M71/84, and German Commission rifles that I have
seen show no indication of early nineteenth century "rust browning". All appear to have been
"blued", even if the stock is removed so protected areas show. The "blue" appears to be a
rich, dark, color. Am I correct to consider Mauser "browning" to be the same as Springfield
"browning" (or, what we now call "bluing)? The early Mausers, and trapdoors (as made in the
US), were contemporary. Your thoughts. wsfbernie
Yes, you are correct. The "blueing" process was still called "browning" at the turn of the century. Springfield Armory called it that until they started using the Parker process. The blue (black) color is the result of the ferrous oxide created by the browning solution being turned into magnetite (a very dark mineral) through reaction with boiling water or steam. nowdays we call it "rust blueing".
Very early guns did a have a 'brown color' however I never saw a browned Mauser as Mausers came about after bluing started to be used (1850 or so?). When the color was changed to blue the process was still refered as browning.
Thank you. You both confirm what I have suspected.
Damascus barrel shotguns were typically browned in which the finish was brown. The browning process on them did not use the boiling water or steam to convert the brown oxide into a magnetic oxide. The hot caustic tank blue did not come into use until the 1930's.