I know there are some purist collectors who advocate not altering a "collectible" firearm. I am more or less in the same camp except when it comes to repairing non-working examples. However, a few years ago, I picked up a Mosin M44 for around $90 out the door at the LGS. They had a 55 gallon drum full and I picked through them to find one with good metal. I found one with really good metal and all the S/Ns matched, and took it home.
Now, the problem was, the metal was about 95%, but the wood was horrible. There were dents and scratches and about half the varnish was gone. The wood was totally inconsistent with the metal on the gun, so I decided to refinish.
I steamed the dents and sanded the scratches. Then I refinished the wood, which was European birch with a stain and a tung finish which I concocted to make the stock look like the reddish varnish that was found on many of these carbines.
I think it turned out well. But, it is not original. I don't know that I would have done this on a rifle that was rarer than an M44, say like an M1895 Krag Jorgensen. With the Mosin, I felt at ease, and I do not think I affected its value negatively.
What other C&R guns do you think could benefit from refinishing?