View Full Version : How to restore old .22 rifle?

June 21, 2010, 08:29 AM
I have an old H&R Plainsman .22 rifle I would like to restore. The rifle currently has a moderate amount of rust on the metal surfaces of the barrel and bolt action areas. What are the best steps at restoring the rifle? Thanks in advance.

June 21, 2010, 11:24 AM
This pretty girl explains how in a video:

June 21, 2010, 11:42 AM
The problem will be that after the rust is removed, you'll be left with a pitted barrel. Even if you reblue it, the pits will still be there. The only two ways around that are to sand enough to remove the pits before you reblue or to use a non-blue surface material like GunKote that will fill in the pits.

June 21, 2010, 05:22 PM
You'll spend more restoring it than it's worth. Clean it up and shoot it.

Bill DeShivs
June 21, 2010, 05:50 PM
Using chemical rust removers leaves you with bare metal and no bluing.
Soak the gun down with WD 40. Let it sit for a day or two, and scrub all the WD 40 off with a rag. Much of the rust will come off on the rag. When dry, if you still have rust spots, use 0000 steel wool (or bronze wool) to gently scrub the rust away. This will leave the bluing, but remove the raised rust.
When finished, flush the gun with WD 40. Dry, and oil as necessary.
Stubborn rust spots can be scraped off with the edge of a copper penny. WD 40 and a rag will remove the copper streaks-again leaving the existing bluing intact.

June 22, 2010, 02:39 AM
This pretty girl explains how in a video:

That's fine for a rusty piece of iron.

The problem is if you do this to a gun, you will remove the bluing along with the rust. Do NOT use the procedure above with guns.

Rub gently with 0000 (4 zero) steel wool and lots of oil. That will take off whatever's coming off without refinishing.

June 22, 2010, 06:00 AM
I restored (with a little help) an old Remington Model 34 .22 bolt action that belonged to an uncle who was a cowhand. The gun looked like it belonged to a cow hand-- scratched, initials carved into the stock, and so on. If the rifle could talk, I'll bet it could tell some stories from the wide open spaces of Eastern Nevada. Was only made in the early to mid 1930's.

This one has a Lyman 54 Peep Sight (not all that different from todays' Ghost Rings). Big enough for quick tgt. acquisition.

A local gunshop in Reno, Mark Fore and Strike, sent it in to be blued for me, and I left rust removal to them. Fortunately, the bbl. and receiver weren't pitted. Didn't have pretty girl videos back then, or I might have tried that.:D

It was done by Pacific International of Janesville, Calif. They're now located in Oregon (who wouldn't move out of Kalif.). Good folks, and good gun smiths. This dates backs to the late 70's when I undertook this project. Just recently, I sent the gun back and they were able to make a new tubular magazine that had been bent and kept the rifle from working right. Works fine now. This is one of the more accurate .22's ever made. Still!

A friend showed me a Sheridan air rifle he finished with Tru Oil. Absolutely beautiful, so that's what I decided to use.

I sent to work with fine sand paper and Tru Oil. Apply coat to fill up pores, sand some more with very fine paper, apply another coat, and keep doing this until all the pores are filled up and a thin coat remains on the rest of the stock. Don't be in a hurry. Let it dry between coats. I'd say I put a dozen coats on. I believe my friend used more. Forget the directions on the bottle that say a couple coats. I just hand rubbed it, as I recall.

Finished it up with some mineral oil and pumice stone for a good shine. Probably not necessary, since the Tru Oil does a good job on it's own. Came out beautiful.

Today the rifle isn't as prestine or shiney as when I restored it, but it's had some use since the early 70's!:cool:

June 22, 2010, 09:43 AM
Hawg Hagen nailed it.
Rifle not worth a lot of work or money to restore.
Clean, oil, toss behind seat of yer truck and use as a handy rifle.

June 22, 2010, 05:16 PM
Hawg Hagen nailed it.
Rifle not worth a lot of work or money to restore.
Clean, oil, toss behind seat of yer truck and use as a handy rifle.

A rifle's value, in the eyes of it's owner, isn't always monetary. Restore away, if you wish, and learn something from the process in case you want to restore a rifle, someday, that someone else thinks is "worth it"---or even if they don't.:D

June 22, 2010, 11:48 PM
To Answer your question, which is difficult without a picture or being able to look at the gun, is to.

Draw file to get rid of the pits (and rust). Then spin it on a belt sander, starting with 120 grit and ending with 600 grit, (or if you want a deep blue, work your way to 2000 grit)..

This works for round recievers and barrels, but buffing wheels need to be used on none round parts after draw filing.

Then throw it into the blueing tanks, taking into account bluing will maginify any defects.

June 23, 2010, 05:51 AM
Some times the guns worth in dollar value has no effect on whether or not you want to have work done on a gun.

I have a Stevens 87A rifle that the dollar value is $50.00 to $75.00, but I got it from my Dad, it is the only thing I have from him and he passed away over 10 years ago.
I just sent the rifle off to have it completely torn down, polished and blued, the cost is going to be around $100.00, dollar and cents wise is it worth doing it, NO, but sentimental value wise it is to me.

I would never sell this rifle no matter what I was offered for it.

So if it is going to make you happy, do whatever you want to it.

Michael Grace

June 23, 2010, 07:15 AM
Michael, who is doing this work for you. $100 seems like a very good price for a teardown and reblue.

June 23, 2010, 09:40 AM

The bluing is $70.00, also getting a replacement original but plate.

The gunsmith doing it is Carl's Repair in Oakville, Washington. (I can provide phone# and address if you want it.)

I am not sure if he is doing it him self in his shop or if he is sending it out someplace.
2 Weeks ago when I was in to check prices and BS a few minutes, he had 1/2 a dozen or so actions and barrels sitting on the counter that had just been blued, they were beautiful, very deep dark blue/black and shiny.

I have a bunch of pictures taken of what it looks like before I took it to him, going to take a bunch more when I get it back and post them all in a new thread.

Michael Grace

July 12, 2010, 06:36 AM

I got the Stevens 87A rifle back on the 5th.
I posted more about it and photos here http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4149823

July 12, 2010, 08:06 AM
That looks great. Did Carl's do all the prep work or did you send it to him already sanded out?

July 13, 2010, 01:54 AM
Yes, Carl's did all the prep work.

Michael Grace

July 14, 2010, 09:24 PM
If the barrel is shot out and rusty ... your best bet would be to get a 'sleeve' put in the barrel. I've seen it done a lot on older rifles that people want to shoot and not just have for collecting.

July 17, 2010, 08:02 PM
Try using 0000 steel wool and turpentine. Works much better than WD40.

Even better (but slightly more expensive at $3.00 bottle) is 100% pure natural wintergreen oil, like the kind you get at health food stores and NOT your local Walgreen's. The late Clarence M. Bates put me on to that.

July 27, 2010, 01:09 AM
I just noticed on Midway;s site they have an article discussing restoring an old .22 as means to gain skills and experience.I am not sure if there is a lesson series to accompany it,I did not look close.