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Old July 21, 2013, 11:29 AM   #1
Join Date: April 15, 2009
Posts: 47
Restoring the 1841 "Mississippi"

Ok, I now own the rifle. If you haven't seen the pictures, please see my previous post.

Restoration is in order for the rust in the barrel. I'll use solvent and some good wire brushes, finished with some really nice bore preserver like "Bore Butter". That's the easy part...

I intend to use good tools to break the rifle down for a thorough look see and cleaning/lubricating. But I'm not sure how to address the brass. The brass has a nice patina, but also has some corrosion (green). Here is the issue:

Do I use a product such as a brass cleaner and remove the patina, or do I leave it as is. I kind of like the worn, broken in look. It seems to make the rifle look like the antique that the originals are. However the corrosion represents ongoing damage. How do I handle the brass? Opinions?


djdasher is offline  
Old July 21, 2013, 12:25 PM   #2
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Join Date: November 19, 2009
Posts: 3,119
Actually, I don't know how much "restoration" your rifle is going to need.

I have a Remington Zouave (1863) that I've owned since about 1964. Very much like the Mississippi that you have.

In regards to the rust being in the first inch of the barrel . . . probably from someone "fingering" it. Most folks don't realize the salt in their perspiration, etc. is corrosive and the bore of these is big enough that when someone is looking at it, it's hard to keep them from poking their finger in to feel the bore.

I don't know how much experience you have with working with these type of firearms. The breech plug on these rifles is usually not a big deal to pull. Clamp the barrel in a vise, well padded so you don't scratch and put marks on the barrel. Woith a large crescent wrench, carefully unscrew the plug. Be careful with the wrench as the tang portion is tapered, your wrench jaws aren't. This will give you an open bore to examine and do what you need to to clean it up.

If you take the lock apart, you'll need a "main spring clamp" - these can be purchased at such places as Dixie, Track of the Wolf, etc. This allows you to compress the mainspring safely and remove it from the lock - then remove the bridle, sear, tumbler and sear spring. You'll have to remove the hammer screw and hammer prior to removing these smaller parts.

I've used an AMPCO nipple for many, many years on mine and it is still in fine shape after many NSSA shoots, etc

Over all, you probably won't have to do much else. The rust that you refer to can be carefully removed with some oil and steel wool.

In regards to the brass - Brasso works well after you've removed the furniture from the stock. It's up to you whether you want to polish it bright or not. If you do, it will turn again in time. If you shoot it, probably quicker as you will have fouling on your hands, etc. that will transfer to the rifle and that soon turns the brass from bright to patina (so to speak). If you want to leave the patina, carefully take a single edge razor blade or similar and carefully remove the "green" that you refer to. I doubt that it is anything but on the surface. Just be carefully not to add scratches to the brass.

As far as the wood, I'd probably carefully wash it down with a soft cloth and some Murphys Oil Soap or similar - see how it looks and then follow up with a suitable treatment. On mine, I've always used boiled linseed oil thinned down with a little turp but there are lot's of ways to treat the stock. It all depends on what is on it for a finish. I've also used "Liquid Gols" furniture polish on stocks - again, all depends on what is currently on it for a finish.

I had a friend that I shot with in NSSA that had one of these - it was a great shooting rifle. You did fine on the price and it should be a good shooter. Good luck and congrats on your new (to you) rifle!
If a pair of '51 Navies were good enough for Billy Hickok, then a single Navy on my right hip is good enough for me . . . besides . . . I'm probably only half as good as he was anyways. Hiram's Rangers Badge #63
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