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Old June 21, 2016, 09:09 AM   #1
baddarryl
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To clean or not- Sears 21

Hi all. I inherited my dad's Sears Mod 21 12ga made by High Standard in the late 6o's. The gun has never had a hiccup of any kind. I took her out to shoot some clays this weekend and true to form runs like a Swiss watch. The action is so smooth that the forearm grip falls on its own when pressing the slide release. I love this gun and am so happy to have it.

That being said, I know parts are hard to come by and I am a little afraid to take it apart as it is a little more complex than a standard field strip. I guess you have to remove the stock to lesson the tension on the trigger return springs before pulling the trigger group. There is a part of me that is from the old 'if it works don't fix it' crowd, but not usually when it comes to maintenance of machines. I am afraid to take this apart with the scarceness of parts. I doubt seriously it has ever been apart. I won't use it much, but sure would like to preserve it as much as I can. What say you?
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Old June 21, 2016, 09:33 AM   #2
DavidAGO
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I would not try to disassemble it; it is working just fine. If it is not broken.......

David
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Old June 21, 2016, 11:36 AM   #3
BigJimP
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I think its important to take it apart ( properly )....and inspect, clean and lubricate is appropriately ...at least once a year, especially if you shoot it at all.

If you have it stored where there is any humidity...or if you have shot it in damp or wet conditions - its probably best done at least quarterly.

But even for shotguns that I do not shoot at all in a year...( pumps, semi-autos or over unders..)...I still strip them down fully, remove stocks, etc - once a year or so just for inspection - and a relube ( its a good winter day project ).

I have not looked online ...but I know there are reference manuals available that will discuss breaking that model down properly. But if it worries you - and you have a buddy with more experience in breaking down shotguns..enlist their input before you try it.
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Old June 21, 2016, 12:05 PM   #4
T. O'Heir
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"...the old 'if it works don't fix it'..." That'd be Rule Number One.
There's absolutely no reason to disassemble the trigger group for any kind of cleaning, including annual disassembly for no apparent reason. However, it's not so much about breaking parts as it is about springs and other parts going into the Twilight Zone.
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Old June 21, 2016, 12:51 PM   #5
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I have a J. C. Higgins model 20 made by High Standard that was made in late 47 or early 48. It functions perfectly and I have no plans to take it apart. I don't know if it has ever been apart. Unless you just want to tinker and risk messing something up, I would go by the old adage "If it ain't broke.....".
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Old June 21, 2016, 04:39 PM   #6
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With old guns I would worry about old oil which oxidizes to a varnish ! Top quality oils today have anti-oxidents to prevent that .
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Old June 21, 2016, 06:16 PM   #7
baddarryl
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So is the consensus maybe just spray it out with a good gun wash really good and then oil as normal and keep on trucking?
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Old June 21, 2016, 11:38 PM   #8
BigJimP
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No, not in my view - but apparently i'm in the minority here....

We're really not talking about a complicated machine here....it's just not difficult to fully strip down a pump gun....and to be afraid of doing it is not logical either.

My 10 and 12 yr old grandsons ....have been taught how to fully strip down a pair of Browning BPS shotguns..... by me and their dad....and they do it about every 3rd time they go to the range. No there isn't any reason to take every pin and spring out of the trigger group....but at least learn how to drop out the trigger group, the bolt, the extractor ....how to remove the stock if you need to....all the basic stuff ...and properly clean and lube ...and appreciate that gun.

My pair of BPS's ...we're new in the 80's ...I used them - my 2 sons used them ...and now the grandsons have them. I used to shoot 8 lines of trap a week with one of them, the kids put another 8 lines of trap thru the 2nd one....and they were both fully stripped down every week....and we never broke anything or lost a part ....
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Old June 22, 2016, 05:24 AM   #9
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Lots of guns are damaged from "cleaning"

I wouldn't take it apart if it's not having problems.
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Old June 22, 2016, 06:58 AM   #10
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So is the consensus maybe just spray it out with a good gun wash really good and then oil as normal and keep on trucking?
That's all I'd do to it. The only guns I've ever stripped down to individual parts have been Com-Bloc milsurps that had been dipped in a barrel of cosmoline or whatever that gook is Com-Block milsurps come slathered in.
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Old June 22, 2016, 08:20 AM   #11
baddarryl
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BigJimP: "My pair of BPS's ...we're new in the 80's ...I used them - my 2 sons used them ...and now the grandsons have them. I used to shoot 8 lines of trap a week with one of them, the kids put another 8 lines of trap thru the 2nd one....and they were both fully stripped down every week....and we never broke anything or lost a part ...."

This gun has never seen anything like that. Has always been just a hunting gun and the occasional informal skeet shooting.
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Old June 22, 2016, 08:34 AM   #12
FITASC
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I would not take it down to every screw and spring, but I would do a basic take down to inspect for rust, thick gooey oil, worn parts, etc. Pins can get damaged or excessively worn if pushed in and out too often. Also, use proper screwdrivers and punches, not your Craftsman household tools or you risk damaging.
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Old June 22, 2016, 10:45 AM   #13
BigJimP
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http://thefiringline.com/forums/atta...4&d=1280430875

Sure, I understand my BPS's had a lot of usage...but here's a photo of the 12ga and the 20ga BPS's....Hunter models.

They're still in great shape ...sure there are a few stock dings...and some internal wear...but no damage from taking them apart ( properly !! )...

Its not that a small shell count says you should not take them apart.... old oil inside the gun can turn to a sticky mess..and more debris gets into the action than you might imagine. But its your gun ...you should do what you want / all I'm saying is, if it were mine, I'd learn how to take it apart.

There is no question you can damage a gun by taking it apart improperly...but there is also a certain amount of satisfaction in learning how to do it properly yourself ...or even teaching young shooters how to do it themselves properly - and in my case now its the grandkids ( from 10 yrs old to 25 )....
------------------------
There are all kinds of things in my life...I do not take apart ...( my car, my computer, a TV...all of that stuff is beyond me / or I just hate doing it )... but in my handguns and shotguns, I like taking them apart.

One winter day earlier this year...my wife came into my shop ...( when I had three of my Over Unders completely apart...and I was cleaning, inspecting, lubing, etc...) ...and she remarked how "her dad" never did that.../ and my dad didn't either.../ but I learned from my Grandpa on my dad's side that taught me how to do it - and he taught me how to reload, how to track and shoot, etc...it was just his thing / and I like it. It may or may not be for you ...but please don't be inherently afraid to do it ...research it .

Last edited by BigJimP; June 22, 2016 at 11:01 AM.
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Old June 22, 2016, 01:11 PM   #14
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There are many good cleaning products & methods that allow you to thoroughly clean your shotgun without a complete disassembly. If you're not confident in a complete breakdown, that's what I would do. And with questionable parts availability in the event of some kind of screw-up, that's probably the safest route. Remove the buttstock and soak the action down with one of the many good cleaning products available. (Hell, old-timers often washed their guns out with kerosine....it works and works well). You'll get 99% of the gunk out, and you won't hurt it a bit. Re-oil as usual, of course.
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Old June 22, 2016, 01:58 PM   #15
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I have to agree with BigJim, I enjoy being able to break down my firearms. Everyone of mine gets a detailed strip before the first round goes through it and then about every other year after that. I field strip and clean all of them after a range outing, with exception to my lever actions, the action, chamber, exterior and bore gets cleaned as well as I can without breaking it down on those.
With that said, you will probably never have issues just simply cleaning the chamber and bore of a shotgun with out field stripping it.
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Old June 22, 2016, 02:41 PM   #16
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Has anybody said, " If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" yet?

Don't take it down to the last nut and bolt, just clean what is easily accessible and lite oil the rest with lube of your choice.
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Old June 22, 2016, 03:46 PM   #17
FITASC
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Jim has excellent points, and to clarify my post in relation to his, SOME guns have screws/pins that are NOT designed to be removed but maybe once or twice and then need replacing as they have been worn...............SOME guns have screws that require some special drivers cut and filed properly or you "bugger them up" (as the English say); SOME guns are only meant to be taken down to a certain point by the owner and only further by a trained 'smith.

Think like a doctor - "do no harm", and if you are a shade tree mechanic, this applies to you. If you are a 9001 ISO machinist, things change a tad.....I think you can begin to see (and hopefully appreciate) the variety of thoughts.suggestions/ideas on this
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Old June 23, 2016, 12:14 AM   #18
natman
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Quote:
I guess you have to remove the stock to lesson the tension on the trigger return springs before pulling the trigger group.
Don't guess. Here's the instructions for a routine disassembly, from the owner's manual.



Please note that you do not have to remove the stock, merely loosen it enough for the pins to be removed.

I'm of the opinion that a gun ought to get a good cleaning and lube every half century or so whether it needs it or not. A couple of tips - If you loosen the stock, be sure to hold the gun by the receiver, not the stock. Use proper flat tip gun screwdrivers that FIT the screws, not a tapered screwdriver from the kitchen drawer.
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Old June 24, 2016, 09:36 AM   #19
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I think a shotgun needs to be taken apart and cleaned with the same frequency that you take you car/truck engine apart and clean it. I have three that I plan on taking apart and cleaning when they need it. They were all made in the late 40s and I don't think they have ever been taken apart (and they shoot great).
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Old June 24, 2016, 04:14 PM   #20
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What it really comes down to is you. If you dont feel confident that you can perform the job then dont. Just spray the action out and relube and press on. If you think you can do it then give it a try, in the end its your gun and your decision. Good luck with your gun and happy shooting.
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Old September 7, 2016, 03:56 PM   #21
evidrine
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I have have never fully taken down any of my guns unless there was an issue with one of them. That said, It is always a good idea to at least take the barrel off and swab it , spray out the chamber with a good cleaner, and oil on a regular basis. This will at least limit the about of debris that may gulf up in the gun and protect it from rust. A full break down is unecessary. If it works fine leave it be.

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