Owenj492 had asked me about the process steps I take when cold bluing and I missed that part of his question. So, here it is;
The basic steps are usually included in the packaging with which ever brand of cold bluing you use. Clean, coat, rinse off, repeat as needed.
The additional things I do are as follows;
CLEANING - I like to use Brakekleen(red can) as it will cut through about anything your firearm part can be gunked up with and leaves no residue. I will do an initial cleaning with it(outside for odors, etc) then I will take the part to the bench grinder and take a wire wheel(finer and wider is better as it leaves less streaking in the metal) to it to remove all existing bluing and any rust, burrs, etc. Then I go back outside for another spray of the Brakekleen. It is now ready for the bluing.
BLUING - I prefer to use the wood stick swabs they sell for cleaning, but if you don't have those then Q-tips work just as well. Apply liberal amounts onto the swab and then wipe onto the part(keep the swab wet. It is the same mentality as keeping your paint brush loaded). I like to use a single stroke down the length of the part when possible, kind of like painting, when entire part is coated then I look for light spots and, keeping the surface wet, will work on getting a good even coat. This will include working the swab in a circular motion after the initial strokes. Once the entire surface is coated I leave it for 30-60 seconds then go wash it off with cold water rubbing the entire surface with my fingers and thumb to remove any powdery build up left from the bluing chemical.
I will then, after drying the part off, go back over it repeating the bluing process until I am satisfied with the evenness of the bluing and it has achieved the color darkness I want. This usually can be achieved in 2 coats which is what I did for the parts I blued on this rifle. Remember the harder the steel and the more alloy it has on it the harder it can be to blue. A bolt carrier is going to be harder to blue than the receiver cover or a magazine.
FINISHING TOUCH - After I have completed my final wash and dry on the part I will take the part and rub it down with a light coat of gun oil(NOT CLP). That is where the light sheen comes from you see in the pics.
Anyway, for anyone interested. That is my process.