One of the most common gunsmithing projects in C&WAS is smoothing an action.
Numerous articles have been written and even more gun parts have been ruined by guys trying for that "extra edge" that in many cases, their own increased practice would have refined.
There will always be someone available to do that sort of work, and some guys really are worth the money spent - as long as the shooter possesses the sophistication the really be able to use it.
On the other hand - some "cosmetic" things can be good for those Colts and Remingtons and Smith & Wessons and one of those is the benefit of good, highly-polished screws - complete with absolutely straight slots.
Fire-bluing of gun screws is something that can be done easily as long as you have patience and a good eye for color.
In essence, all you really do is to polish the head (and the end, if exposed), to a fare-thee-well and head over to your torch.
Obviously, you'll be clamping the screw in something like a soft-jawed pliers, so as not to burn yourself.
Now, with your torch set for a moderately wide flame, hold the screw head up to it and watch it heat up.
It'll take a minute, but it'll change color.
As it does - decide what color is best for your gun and once you've decided that - immediately quench the screw in oil.
Practice on used gun screws - not wood screws or anything similar - practice on what you'll work with.
After some time, your eye will tell you that you're getting a color match and once that happens, you're on your way.
Fire-blued screws add to the overall "look" of a firearm - giving that slightest hint of "extra" work having been done.
Now that you have a set - make certain that you have screwdrivers that are straight-sided and fitted to the screw slot.
Those slots - when flared or peened - are the first indicator that whoever disassembled the gun may not have known what he was doing.
Buy yourself a good set and take care of them.
For good gunsmithing equipment - Brownell's has a "Cowboy Action Catalog" - call them toll -free at 1-800-741-0015 or email at www.brownells.com
, and get a copy.
Personally, I like the screws made by "Peacemaker Specialists", as they give you a very deep slot that looks good and their finish is superb.
There are some top-notch gun books out there, so buy them and read them thoroughly before you tackle something, and be sure to take your time.
It'll pay off in reliability and more importantly - in pride.