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My brother-in-law gave me 2 guns, a pre 64 Winchester and a navy colt cap and ball replica, both of which were in his brothers car trunk uncased for 2 years. Needless to say both are seriously rusted and pitted. I'd like to try and clean and re-blue them up and at least make decent shooters out of them. Any recommendation on books on where to get started would would be greatly appreciated.
With all due respect to the many fine metal refinishers in this community, there is an inviolate axiom that usually holds as regards all firearms:
If you desire pretty and shiny, then go ahead and refinish. But the ONLY finish that should ever be on a firearm is the ORIGINAL finish.
If you question me, ask serious Colt or Winchester collectors. Many a valuable piece has been ruined by "fixing it up". I could invite you to ask me how I know this. But it would make me feel bad.
My advice is to clean up, remove rust w/o mechanical means if it is too bad and use and appreciate them for what they are.
Thanks for the advice. Pretty and shiny is not my goal, I just want to remove the rust and clean them up. I'm not sure how to remove the rust with out removing the finish leaving the bare metal vulnerable to more damage. Any advice on how to do it would be great.
If it was surface rust, Hoppes #9 and a fine rubbing would remedy it. Badly rusted and pitted...there is very little finish left anyway. A professionally reblued pre-64 Winchester will always be worth more as a shooter that a pile of long-term neglect. Serious collectors don't want abused buckets of rust anyway so go ahead and have it fixed it up. The real value was left in the trunk.
DO NOT strip and cold blue it yourself whatever you do. Cold blued guns are shunned by most whether they're collectors or not. They will always have the wrong look, be less durable out in the elements, and stink terribly once they get warmed up.
The Colt copy on the other hand might be a nice project. You're halfway to an 'antiqued finish' already. Get some Hoppes #9 and some 0000 steel wool. Soak it well in the solvent to soften the rust and LIGHTLY rub out the steel parts as evenly as possible. Repeat as needed. Once you've managed to wash away most of the rust and thinned whatever remaining blue, buy a gallon of white vinegar and drop the parts in. Every day, wipe off the black crud and reimerse. In about a week, the I-tie copy should look dull grey.
Wash the parts in hot soapy water and dry thoroughly. Do not buff to a shine!. Then drown it in Break-Free while the metal is still warm. After 24 hours wipe away the excess oil and reassemble the revolver. So long as you don't buff up the brass, it'll look like a 140 year old well-used gun.
Mildly clean the wood grip but don't scrub it. Leave the dirt and weathered age there. Only remove as much "trunk gunk" as you can without exposing anything fresh below. A wipe with boiled linseed oil using your hand should be adequate after that. Wait about 20 minutes and wipe any remaining surface oil away. By the next day the wood should match the "age" of the rest of the parts.
Internal parts should only be cleaned with solvent and wool. Then oiled.
Thinned finish, old looking pitting....You'll have a cap 'n ball copy that looks like "It was there".
Clean up the Winchester as much as possible without going overboard. Solvent and wool will work to get through the rough stuff. Again, VERY LIGHTLY. Solvent and copper coins work too. Then use solvent soaked rags. A good oiling will stop the rest if maintained.
If you decide to refinish later, spend some money and have it professionally done. If starting from scratch I doubt you could get set up properly for a hot blue for less money than a gunsmith might charge for a single job.
Reminds me of a Sako 7mm mag that once suffered the same abuse. After 5 weeks of slow rust removal it was decided that it would be refinished. I reworked his stock with an oil finish while the rifle was bead blasted and matte blue finished. The bore was scrubbed and cleaned using solvents, oils, and JB Bore Paste. Took half a box for it to shoot back in but once it settled it was a fine hunting rifle.
It wasn't original but it looked great. Originally...the rifle looked downright pitiful when it was first given to him. Nobody else wanted it.
if done correctly by a guy that does restorations, they can be made to look right,
iv restored a few pre 64 M70,s with happy customers as well.
doesnt cost as much as you might think, if you contact me id be happy to give you my rates and turn around time.
I know Chuck in Denver does good work.
Thanks for the advice guys. "Gave me" was a loose term, Ray wants the Winchester back, the Colt I dont think he cares about. He actually wants me to contact Shaw and get it re-barreled from a .308 to a .243. He's not a "fan" of the .30 calibers. I have two problems with this; First it's a pre '64 Win., show it some respect, it's been through enough. Second, while the .308isn't my favorite caliber, I feel it's a hell af alot better than a .243. I haven't cleaned the barrel yet but it's full of dust and lint and appears to be oil soaked. I'm hoping there was enough oil in the barrel to prevent too much damage. I'll let ya know what happens.
On a side note, if the barrel is ruined, any thoughts on necking the .308 up to a .338 and making a short range/brush gun?
the .243 is simply a .308 win, necked down to a 6mm, some things can be done to that rifle to make it shoot awesome without changing the barrel,
if you remove the upper front screw were the small bulge is, and put it someplace were it wont get lost, that will inprove the rifles shooting 10 fold.
Shaw barrels are poo poo, and a waste of time and money for such a rifle,
find a good used pre 64 barrel in the cal. you want and save the old one.
if you shot 110 grn bullets in that .308 it would shoot and act just like any .243 with a 100 grn bullet.
as for the . 338 -08 dont waste your time, again.
load some 200grn match or Nzlr bullets, and it will do the same thing.
dont over build the wheel on this, leave it be, have it restored, and buy a .243, it will be cheaper in the long run, and youll save a nice rifle.
if you want a .308 based round that will kick butt, try the .260 Rem.
.308 necked to 6.5, shoots flat, kills what you shoot with it, and easy to handload.
but once again,
.308 with a 120 grn bullet will do the smae basic thing.
Reminton 700 heavy barrel, 150grn Swift Aframes, BLC-2 powder.
kills antelope from far away with no problem. and keeps 5 shots in a dime at 100 yards all day.
It's not clear why you are putting out your effort if he wants it back.
I recently bought a pre 64 model 70 at an auction, only to discover that the surface rust was really light pitting, and the dirty bore was deeply pitted.
Fortunately, I have a good gunsmith who can fix those things. He has several model 70 "take off" barrels, and installed one of these, identical to the original except for date, and refinished the receiver to exactly the same appearance as it originally was. Total cost, including purchase and the gunsmithing less than $400.
Find a good gunsmith who knows what he is doing, if you are to keep the rifle.
My feelings on this, if he wants the Winchester back, let him have it, if he wants to rebarrel it, that's his problem. While it may be the holy grail as a pre-64 Winchester, they did make a whole lot of them.
The cap & ball revolver? clean it up and shoot it. If it were an original colt, the situation would be greatly different, requiring a professional restorer.
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