Case Hardening and Colors

This is a heat treating process that gives a very hard surface finish to a piece of mild steel or wrought iron. The process can also impart some very attractive colors to the piece being treated. This finish is the most common finish on the original Hawken gunsí small metal parts including the breech, tang, trigger bar, lock and hammer, and butt and toe plates. It could also be used on the forend cap, entry pipe, thimbles and trigger guard. The consensus among modern experts is that the original Hawken guns' case hardening were not as pronounced and colorful as today's case coloring tends to be. I tend to prefer the modern style process, in that it gives a very hard durable surface and very attractive colors that will mellow a bit with time.

Another rifle showing case color variations: