What exactly is gunmetal?

Hi everyone!

I have been recently seeing some pieces that are made out of gunmetal
and I love this look! I read that gunmetal is a type of bronze an
alloy of copper, tin, and zinc… also knownas red brass. I am
familiar with bronze and red brass, but they look nothing like
gunmetal. Is this a type of finish or is it a particular metal that
you can buy?

gunmetal, also called G Metal, variety of bronze, formerly used for
ordnance. Modern admiralty gunmetal is composed of 88 percent
copper, 10 percent tin, and 2 percent zinc and is used for gears and
bearings that are to be subjected to heavy loads and low speeds. It
withstands atmospheric, steam, and seawater corrosion and is suitable
for valves, pump parts, and steam fittings.

from Encyclopedia Britannica

I think “Gunmetal” is the newest look by fashion model Derek
Zoolander. His last one was " Blue Steel". Am I right on this?

Jay Whaley

Historically, gunmetal varied a lot in it’s defined composition. In
general most of the pieces that have been analyzed work out to about
a 2-1 ratio of tin to zinc in the alloy, with varying amounts of
lead (0% to 10+%). Most likely, the one that you are liking the look
of is 88% copper, 8% tin, and 4% zinc. I think that one is
commercially produced.

Ron Charlotte – Gainesville, FL

Guns are made of steel. To keep them from rusting, some guns require
you put “bluing” on them, it occasionally has to be reapplied. This
is the “gunmetal” color. You can buy it from Wal-Mart (the bluing
agent) or most places that have hunting supplies.


Howdy. Sorry, but there is probably no defined answer unless you
have a piece to be assayed. The alloys you mention were all used by
the Germans in wwII to injection mold pistol frames. They suck.

They change in every batch.

I’ve a couple 40’s era frames that have challenged my talents.