View Full Version : Refinishing my "Grail" Shotgun

October 14, 2012, 10:04 PM
I thought I would never get a Remington 31 factory riot in reasonable condition.
But I was wrong.:)

This one from 1934 popped up in the mid-$300's and the only downside is serious flaking of the finish at the comb:


But now, with stripping, sanding and only two coats of Watco Dark Danish Oil on the butt it is getting close to where I want it to be (pump handle has not been refinished):


October 15, 2012, 07:55 AM
It looks like you've done it proud............


October 15, 2012, 02:44 PM
It looks like you're doing fine....

Watco's danish oil is a good product / it has oil in it ...but technically its a "Varnish" ...because it builds thickness as you put 3 or 4 coats on ...but its a "very thin" varnish ...that gives you a little bit of protection from the weather or skin oils ...

If the finish you've put on ...breaks down quickly / I'd suggest you remove it again ...and consider an exterior spar varnish..( from verathane, minwax, or whatever brand you like ) ...it'll typically hold up a lot longer than Watco's product.

October 15, 2012, 06:49 PM
it'll typically hold up a lot longer than Watco's product

Don't need much protection from the elements.

I do plan on purchasing some of the Watco satin liquid wax topcoat.

October 19, 2012, 04:29 PM
I have now refinished the stock and the pump handle:


I would not have messed with a classic gun, but this one needed help:


October 20, 2012, 03:52 AM
Sweet! It looks fantastic. I bet you are proud!

October 27, 2012, 08:25 AM
Bushmaster, looking at your results I would trust you to refinish my shotgun any day!

October 27, 2012, 09:05 PM
Thank you.

Here is the wood, done with the Danish Oil and photographed outside:


October 28, 2012, 02:30 PM
Looks good!

I love them old riot guns.

How hard was it to refinish the corncob style forearm (working around grooves, etc)?

October 28, 2012, 08:40 PM
How hard was it to refinish the corncob style forearm (working around grooves, etc)?

There are 19 grooves and I am intimately familiar with each one!

After stripping with a harsh chemical stripper and a large brush, it was clear that the inside of the grooves were still caked with grime, lacquer and maybe some old stain.:(:confused:

I tried a tooth brush in the grooves with the stripper but that failed as well.:eek:

Finally, I folded some 150 grit sand paper and got into the first groove with the edge of the fold. I had to saw back and forth around the entirety of the groove, being careful not to mess up the edges of the wood. Then I moved onto the next one, and the next, until all 19 were done with a first pass.:o

Then I made several more complete passes of all 19 grooves with the 150 grit followed by several passes with 400 grit.

Tedious and repetitive, but quite enjoyable and definitely worth the effort.:)

October 28, 2012, 09:23 PM
If you feel you need more protection than the Watco oil finish, you could easily add a couple of coats of Waterlox Marine finish over the top. It is an exterior tung oil finish and would work very nicely with the Watco as it is clear, compatible with the Danish oil, and formulated for outdoor use.

October 30, 2012, 09:10 AM
That looks great, I wouldn't be able to tell it wasn't factory if you hadn't told us. A standard config 31 is on my list. Think I can talk you into doing the wood if it needs it:)

November 6, 2012, 10:44 PM
I would enjoy doing the wood only.
Cannot take possession of the gun as I do not have an FFL.

November 17, 2012, 08:30 PM
Finished product:



November 17, 2012, 08:34 PM
Looks great.

November 17, 2012, 08:56 PM
The pic on the split wood looks classic. Like it would have been in a gun rag promoting the gun when new.

November 17, 2012, 10:07 PM
Like it would have been in a gun rag promoting the gun when new.

This gun was "new" in 1936.
I wonder if gun owners knew how lucky they were.