View Full Version : Tragedy, can they be saved?

April 15, 2009, 04:18 PM
Last weekend my grandma's house had a horrible kitchen fire. Thankfully, she got out and the fire department contained and stopped the fire before it took the whole house. The smoke damage was very intense through out the whole house. Black soot and smoke spread everywhere, even inside my grandfathers gun cabinet.

My grandfather (Pa-Pa) was a very avid trap and skeet shooter, he also loved to hunt. Heck, he taught me how to shoot on the little pumpmaster BB gun you can see in the picture. Can these be saved or are they too far gone? We lost him last May, I don't want to loose his shotguns and rifles too. They are my connection to him.

April 15, 2009, 04:33 PM
Go to a local gunsmith and have a talk with him about it. I am not seeing the problem in the pictures, but smoke residue could be cleaned off by a gunsmith I would think. No amateurs or non gun people should mess with them if they are valuable to you. I would be concerned about direct fire damage or rust from water so I would act asap.

Jim Watson
April 15, 2009, 04:39 PM
Clean the guns as thoroughly as possible NOW. They are not burnt so the damage will be from condensing moisture and corrosive combustion byproducts. Every day lost is time for the rust to progress.

Then get them to a gunsmith who can take them apart and clean everything.

James K
April 15, 2009, 05:01 PM
The heat was not even great enough to blister the polyurethane stock finish, so there should be no real damage. The rust appears to be due to water damage, not heat. First thing, use some spray oil or penetrant (I like G96 Gun Treatment for jobs like this) on the steel where there is rust, then if you know how, remove the stocks so wet wood does not cause more rust.

If you don't know how to detail strip and clean those guns, a gunsmith is the best idea, but make sure he will be able to tackle the job right away before any more damage can take place.

Good luck.


April 15, 2009, 05:14 PM
They don't look to bad to me. Oil them up to stop what ever is going on, then off to the Gunsmith. Good luck sorry to hear about you misfortune.

April 15, 2009, 09:03 PM
Thanks to all the replies. It's out of my hands, my uncle is taking care of them now. He's asking around for a good gunsmith.

Mr. Keenan, there was slight bubbling on one of the 22's not pictured, so I'm concerned about the heat weakening the steal and them being unsafe to shoot. There was no direct flame around the cabinet, but it was the rifle closest to the fire. I have me fingers crossed and hope they can be restored. Thankfully I got a rifle and a shotgun last November and those are tucked away sound.

I added a picture of the cabinet, they say it has to much smoke damage and can't be saved.

April 15, 2009, 09:11 PM
SWAT Editor Denny Hansen had a house fire a few years back. Subsequent to that, he wrote an article which appeared in SWAT about how to salvage firearms following a blaze. You may want to contact him via PM and ask which issue the article was in -- and also ask him if he has any additional tips for you.


April 15, 2009, 09:12 PM
Make sure to have them checked by a gunsmith. If he thinks they would be better of unfired, have him remove the firing pins and clean up the guns for wallhanging. Don't let them go even if you can't shootem. I lost my dad last Nov and I'll never get rid of his guns even if I couldn't shoot them. Sorry for your loss.

Jim Watson
April 15, 2009, 10:14 PM
I don't know what you mean by "bubbled," but if it is the finish on the wood or a coating on metal, the gun is most likely safe to fire. The rule of thumb on a fire gun is whether the springs retain their temper. If the springs are still "springy" it is highly unlikely the structural steel was harmed. If the springs are collapsed, the rest of the gun has probably been annealed. Not that it would make a .22 blow up but it would not be durable.