Polishing a Refurb SVT-40 Bolt Carrier

Note: as with all firearms advice on the internet, any modifications you undertake yourself are at your own risk. Also, don’t do this on a rare collectors firearm.

Refurbished Plum SVT-40 Bolt Carrier

Refurbished Plum colored SVT40 bolt carrier

The Tokarev SVT40 is a neat milsurp readily available in the Canadian market right now. Most of the SVT-40s you see will be refurbished variants, and part of the refurbishing process was a reblue of all parts, including the non-previously blued bolt carrier. Because of the bolt carrier metallurgy, it won’t take on a nice rich blue and will show a plum color instead. Originally, the bolt carriers were “in the white”, not blued or colored in any way. Because my bolt carrier was a kind of ugly plum, and it was a bit scratched, I decided to strip the plum off and polish the bolt.

bolt carrier in vinegar

Vinegar bath

To strip the color off the bolt, I’ve read that both Acetone and White Vinegar will do the trick. I personally used White Vinegar. It didn’t work in 1 go, I had to soak it for an hour or so, pull it out and wipe off color, and then dip again.

wiping off the color

Wiping off color

wiping off the color2

The machining quality on your bolt carrier, which can vary from passable to “shop student dropout”, will dictate how much work you’ll need to put in on the polish job. If you don’t opt to polish the bolt, be aware that there might be splotches or runs of brown color in the machining marks. These only fully disappear by working the bolt over with sandpaper and working up grit. I chose to use a brass brush on my dremel to get into the grooves and remove the brown splotches first, hit the bolt with some pretty aggressive grit sanding wheels, and then worked up on grit.

polishing bolt

Honestly, it took a LOOONG time. The Russians did not finish these things for looks, and getting out machine marks is a lot of work. I opted for a “good enough” polish, because if I was shooting for a mirror perfect finish I think I would have picked a different rifle. Overall, I much prefer the new/original look of a bolt carrier in the white. It gives the rifle a bit of a highlight and just a touch of flash. It also makes it a ton easier to clean after shooting. An easy wipe of the cloth, and it’s all clean. I wish the gas system on this rifle was as easy to clean!

polished bolt svt40

  • mikethomas

    Lovely polish job, i’ll be doing mine and refinishing the stocks with a light blonde stain and polyurethane coats…nThe SVT is super easy to clean though, I strip mine entirely in under 45 seconds, including taking the stock off and every spring out… and reassembly is 1 minute flat.nnA few Q-tips and patches and full thorough cleaning takes 10 minutes on a well organized bench.. a quick after use cleaning is five minutes flat, in my lap.

  • Better than I can do. Disassembly for cleaning takes me closer to 3 minutes, and cleaning itself is usually 10-20 minutes.Mostly wiggling the front barrel clamp in/out of place because it’s tight.

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