View Full Version : Pitted external barrel surface

July 7, 2000, 08:30 PM
I have a 1917 Enfield with a quite pitted external barrel surface. There is a bit of rust at the bottom of the pitting. Short of rebarreling what is the best way to clean this up and try and preserve the rifle from further pitting?

Thanks Doctari

George Stringer
July 7, 2000, 10:06 PM
Doctari, the only way I know of is to have it reblued. When it's refinished the pits will be polished out and the steel reblued, tefloned etc. George

4V50 Gary
July 7, 2000, 10:29 PM
Short of rebluing, I use a old copper penny (pre-1984) and applying a little CLP on the rust, scrape away. It won't get rid of the pits (refinishing as suggested by George will), but will discard the rust.

July 8, 2000, 08:59 AM
Thanks for the thoughts guys, but refinishing wont help the collectors value at all, as rebarreling wont either. Maybe I should turn it into a magnum sporter.

The pitting is amazingly deep. More like cratering. Three to 4 times deeper than the serial number stamping. Almost makes me afraid to shoot the darn thing even though it headspaces ok. I think its destined to be a wall hanger<g>


Paul B.
July 8, 2000, 04:42 PM
Doctari. have you tried some of the gun parts supply houses for a replacement barrel? Maybe (www.gunpartscorp.com) has a barrel. I'd look in my copy of their catalog, but a freind borrowed it, and hasn't brought it back yet.
Paul B.

July 8, 2000, 06:27 PM
I don't know how well this will work, but:
Take the action out of the stock and liberally coat the barrel with CLP/BreakFree, let set for a while and then wipe down with a cloth.
Do this as many times as it take to get most of the rust out. You will see the rust on the cloth. You may never really get it all out.
After most of the rust is gone, strip off the CLP with alcohol and wax the barrel. You can fill up the pits to some extent with wax if they are small, but I am not sure what it would look like if the pitting is severe. This would be good for long term storage purposes, but not so good if you intend to shoot this rifle.

George Stringer
July 8, 2000, 07:56 PM
Doctari, if your barrel is that badly pitted the rifle hasn't got much in the way of collector's value anyway unless you have historical documentation where it was involved in a particular battle or something. You can only enhance the value of that rifle by refinishing or rebarreling. George

4V50 Gary
July 9, 2000, 11:47 AM
With pitting 4x deeper than the stamping, I'd be worried about shooting it. Replace the barrel if you want a shooter.

Joe Portale
July 9, 2000, 07:54 PM

Here is a neat little trick that I was taught by a old fellow that did a bunch of metal work. You could try to cold weld the pits. The idea is to clean the rust out of the pit, then using a pin drill widen and slightly deepen the pit. DO NOT GO THROUGH! Remember, all you are trying to do is make a even hole. Next take a piece of mild steel the same size as the new pin hole and peen it into the hole. Smooth and polish her up if you did this properly, it will make a repair that will be almost be unnoticable.

This repair is comsmetic, I can not see how this would strengthen the metal.

Another fast an dirty method is to clean out the pits as best you can, then fill them with JB Weld. Smooth the dried JB like you would autobody filler and have the rifle gun coated. I have done this on a couple of Mauser actions that I have reworked, it really works well.

Good luck.

Joe Portale
Tucson, Arizona Territory

"Those who turn their swords into plow shears,
end up plowing the fields of those who didn't"
Thomas Jefferson

July 10, 2000, 11:41 AM
Sorry but I don't know much (almost nothing) about the rebluing process, but don't you need to get all the rust out before you reblue? If you don't aren't you just trapping the rust in and letting it continue to eat away at the metal? Or is there something in the process that stops the rusting?

Something that I've used before for rust spots is carburetor cleaner and a little perseverance, and it doesn't seem to hurt the bluing.

George Stringer
July 10, 2000, 01:22 PM
Hammer, yes you do. When a rifle is pitted as badly as Doctari's most smiths wouldn't even attempt to reblue it. But, with what you might call normal pitting the polishing removes the rust along with the pits. George