View Full Version : Need restoration recommendations.

January 24, 2014, 11:39 PM
I have an old Winchester pump action .22 rifle that my grandpa owned, and gave to me before he passed in 1996. I didn't even know he had it until he gave it to me.

The rifle is very old, and very beaten. I know the romantics among us are going to scream about this, but believe me, when I say it's rough, I mean it's really, really, kept in the chicken coop, rolled around in the back of a pickup, rough. So rough that displaying it really isn't even a consideration.

That said, there's no metal pitting, and there are no cracks in the wood.

I'm 54, and I'd like to have it restored for one of my grandsons before to much more time passes.

Can anyone recommend a good place to get this little rifle professionally restored?

Or could I just give it a good scrubbing and see what I find under all of that gunk?

January 24, 2014, 11:44 PM
I'd give it a good scrubbing and see what you have. A professional restoration is going to cost some serious money. Just for grins Google Turnbull Restorations.

January 25, 2014, 12:11 AM
If the bore is good, it won't need re-lining. In that case just clean it up, apply some gun oil to prevent rusting, and enjoy.

If the bore is bad, hire a gunsmith to reline the bore and restore the wood, then do a "hot tank bluing" job. It will kill any collectors value but make a nice heirloom to pass on to your children.


January 25, 2014, 09:56 AM
Sending a gun like this out for professional restoration will cause heart palpitations when you hear the estimate.
And don't sweat ruining the the collector value, it probably doesn't have any.
Very few old guns do, that's why they're collectibles.

Why not do a home restore project with your grandsons instead?
The bore doesn't have to be pristine to still make a good shooter.
The wood and steel can be greatly improved with the usual sanding and home refinishing techniques.
At least plenty good enough to enjoy it.
Your grandsons will take pride in doing it and you will enjoy doing it with them.
Just a thought.

January 25, 2014, 11:47 AM
Farmboy: I would bet the gun you have is either a Model 1890 or Model 1906. These are worth considerable money and will often bring several hundred dollars even with poor finish. The 1890s are the more valuable. The model date will be inscribed on the top of the barrel. You say the stock is not cracked and the metal is not pitted, so I am wondering what makes it so "rough."

My advice to anyone. Do not restore a Grandpa Gun. If you do, you do not have the gun that grandpa had and in a generation ot two, the connection may be lost. When grandpa passed, I doubt if you got him an expensive hairpiece, a facelift, and an Armani suit for burial. Why do that for his gun?

Here is what I like to do with an old piece. If the wood has some finish left, I use a refinishing product like Formby's, applying with a pad of fine steel wool, work it around and wipe it off with a soft rag. The idea is not to remove the old finish, but to distribute it evenly on the wood. Then I give it one coat of tung oil, rubbed on by hand, rubbed in and the excess wiped off with a cloth. Make sure all steel wool fragments are removed before you do this. Tung will dry in a day or two. Avoid the temptation to sand out scratches. If you want to do that, you will have to completely refinish the whole stock. And, maybe that will be necessary. I would not try to perfectly remove every mark, and I would use oil for the final finish, never varnish.

For the metal I also use fine steel wool with a light oil like Kroil. If there is no more than a little rust this will be enough. If there is no finish at all left on the action or barrel, I would leave it as is. An alternative is to give it a quick treatment with one of the cold blue preparations. This evens out a surface which has some original finish left and adds some protection.

When this works, as it often has for me, you end up with a piece that is clean and attractive, yet retains the charm of its age. I think that honors Grandpa, God bless 'im.

January 25, 2014, 02:00 PM
I'm in much agreement with post 5.
A little work with #0000 steel wool and some sort of oil like linseed, tung, or something like a Birchwood Casey combo product. Use gun oil on the steel and some sort of wood oil worked in well with the wool. Wipe off the grime with a rag and let it go at that.
Of course my suggestion is based on not seeing the gun and my general inclination would be just to clean it up. I did that with an old rifle and it worked well- just rubbed it down cleaning it up while maintaining it's character.

January 25, 2014, 03:30 PM
I just dug the old girl out, and I was mistaken on one count. It's not a Winchester, it's a Remington. I'm sure it was made after 1911, due to a stamped patent date. I doubt it was made much after that, though.

It has an octagonal barrel, and there is a surprising amount of blue left on the barrel. It is a take down model.

I've refinished several old milsurps, as well as several pieces of furniture that we still use in our home. Tung oil is by far my favorite wood finish.

After looking again, I'm in agreement that a little oil soap, steel wool, and gun solvent will have this girl back to speed in no time.

My biggest concern was cleaning it at all, due to the advice I've seen many make in the past. I understand that can really screw up the value, and while it's certainly no collector, I don't want to completely wreck it either.

January 27, 2014, 03:48 PM
I can't believe nobody asked for pictures. Let's see this thing farmboy. Maybe show off your handywork with a before and after?

January 30, 2014, 01:53 AM
Sounds like you have a Remington Model 12 rifle (not the later 12A). Great little rifles, not a whole lot of collector value, and they are very much period pieces. Do not take it apart and lose the cartridge stop (it lives between the barrel and the magazine mechanism).

As far as restoration, I say go for it. In beat up condition it will not lose value if you restore it, as long as it is done right. I own a gunsmithing shop, and I do restorations on a lot of old rifles. When done properly, they will look very good and would warm old Grampa's heart to see it like new.

Post a few pics and let's get going on the project!