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Thread: Bringing an old shotgun back from the dead

  1. #1
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Default Bringing an old shotgun back from the dead

    Knives or guns, I love to restore old and neglected tools and to try new methods/techniques/products.

    I acquired a Mossberg Model 185 D-C made in 1958. It is in very bad shape and missing the magazine but I know a source for a factory replacement. I plan to make a project out of restoring it. It is not a particularly valuable gun but I like a challenge. I do not intend to create a show piece but rather a functional and usable hunting gun.

    There is no finish at all remaining on the wooden stock and it has some stains.









    The bolt is pretty rusty.



    And there is a good deal of rust on the outside of all the metal parts..





    I would have thrown the gun away if it were not for the bore. I was surprised to find it shiny and in great condition.



    I stripped the whole gun down and began the process of removing the rust and bluing.



    I have never tried this product before but It was on closeout sale at Walmart for $2 a bottle so I picked up three of them.



    It smells awful (sort of like rotten eggs and vinegar) and is a thick and sticky liquid once it touches the metal. I was surprised at how well it removed the bluing but it had little effect on the deep rust. I applied it with 000 steel wool.



    I did the entire barrel and then used 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper to knock down the rust. The pitting was pretty deep but the rust remover worked deeper than I could get with the sandpaper.



    It's hard to see but the pitting is visible.



    I am a long way from being able to re-blue the gun but I couldn't help myself and wanted to see what it will look like finished so I did a small portion of the barrel. I don't think I will use this brand of bluing but rather something a little better from Brownells but I was curious to see what the metal would look like.







    When finished with the test, I used the blue remover again and some steel wool to take off the temporary blue.

    I am becoming more impressed with the blue and rust remover. I apply it with a tooth brush and keep the area wetted for about 10 minutes. I don't scrub the part but rather I just keep it wet.

    Here is the base plate that covers the magazine opening. I only applied it to one portion to show the effect.



    I also did one of the large fasteners.



    Here are the results.





    I then did the trigger and after I polished it, I applied blueing.





    This was again, the Birchwood Casey Bluing but I will buy a higher quality bluing from Brownells and hopefully get a better color and coverage.

    I took all the remaining small parts and put them in a Ziplock bag and poured the blue remover in and sealed it up. While that had time to work, I began to work the wooden stock. With the finish gone and the stains, I could not tell what sort of wood I am dealing with.



    I used 100 grit and then 220 in my palm sander and as soon as I started sanding, I knew exactly what kind wood it was just by the smell. It's good old American Walnut.



    I dipped my finger in a can of varnish and touched the wood to see what I can expect for a finish color. I think this stock will be nicer looking than I had hoped.



    I then went back to the metal parts and scrubbed them and sanded away all the rusty spots. I degreased the metal frame that goes around the magazine opening and then blued it.





    There are lots of little parts to clean and blue and I need to order the replacement magazine.

    I spent about a day removing bluing and rust from the many parts of the shotgun. After I would soak the parts in a ziploc bag of bluing remover, I would wash them and then sand away all the rust and then go over them with fine steel wool. I would then wash the parts down with Acetone and then blue them with Dicropan T4.

    I ordered a bottle of Dicropan and a can or gun part baking lacquer from Brownells because I wanted a better grade of blue.

    After bluing each part once, I would go over them with fine steel wool and wash them again in acetone and then give them a second bluing. the most rusty part was the bolt. I followed above steps with the bolt and here are some pictures.

    Not only is there a lot of rust but it is deeply pitted.





    This is after the soak in the bluing remover and a clean up with 400 grit and steel wool.





    This is after the 2nd bluing.





    I think all the parts will be well protected with the double bluing but I decided to give the parts additional protection by spraying the baking lacquer over the bluing. The instructions call for 3 light dustings and then an hour at 300F. Here are the parts going in the oven in the man room.



    The instructions on the can of baking lacquer say that over spray can be cleaned up with acetone but once the coating is baked on that it can only be removed with sand blasting. I would expect that it has to be pretty durable to stand up to gun cleaning solvents and oil. We shall see but even if the coating does wear off over time, the metal below will have been blued.

    Here are the parts after the hour at 300F

    The adjustable choke.



    Safety



    Magazine retention clip.



    Trigger



    Magazine opening.



    Firing pin.



    That rusty old bolt.





    With all the small part finished, I could focus on the barrel. It took a long time to get rid of all the old bluing and the rust but in order to get a good finish on the metal, it was time well spent.





    I then double blued the barrel and rubbed it down with steel wool after the 2nd bluing





    I was so impressed, I took a few extra pictures of the barrel.












  2. #2
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Once again, I'm pretty sure that level of protection (once oiled) would work well but I decided to cover all the metal with the baking lacquer. Again, If the lacquer ever gets chipped or wears off, there will be nicely blued metal underneath. My problem is that I could not fit the whole barrel in my oven so I have to innovate a bit so I made a make shift oven from an electric hot plate and a piece of stove pipe.



    I supported the barrel by hanging it from a wire attached to a metal rod across the opening.



    I used a scrap of plywood wrapped in aluminum foil as a lid. I drilled a hole for a temp probe so I could keep track of the inside temp. Pretty low tech but it works.



    During the hour that the barrel cooked, I sanded down the rest of the wooden stock in preparation for finishing. Here is the cooled barrel.



    I then assembled all the parts of the action.





    Since there was no oil on any of the parts, I set the action in the stock to see how it would look.



    With all the metal parts done, I started to focus on the stock and gave it the first of many coats of polyurethane.



    When the finish dried I assembled the gun and took a few pictures. The replacement magazine is ordered and will be delivered soon.















    I have already started on the next gun. It's a 50 year old Remington 522 speedmaster .22 cal that is in worse shape than this gun was.

  3. #3
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
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    That is freaking awesome!!! That was a labor of love, you don't see people put that much effort into anything anymore. People tend to be throw it away and get a new one types. Love it!!!

    Well done!

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  4. #4
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    That spray on baked coating from Brownells impressed the heck out of me. Its very durable. I can see other uses for it for outdoor gear.

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    Member Tearbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    That spray on baked coating from Brownells impressed the heck out of me. Its very durable. I can see other uses for it for outdoor gear.
    Your projects and the end results...impress the heck out of me!
    "Grin and Bear It"

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    wow what a project and how nice it turned out, I was thinking as I was reading this would be a fun project. Very nice

    Sweepint
    Wasilla, (when not overseas)
    '' Livn' The Dream ''
    26' Hewescraft Cuddy, twin 115 Yam

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    Thanks. Some great ideas. Very nice work.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Looks great. In the inside barrel pic it looks like the bead shank extended into the bore. How did you dress it?
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amigo Will View Post
    Looks great. In the inside barrel pic it looks like the bead shank extended into the bore. How did you dress it?
    That is not the case. You are looking down the choke end of the barrel in that pic. The bead is nearest you and at the bottom of the barrel in the pic (near my thumb). What you are seeing is at the back (receiver end) of the barrel. I think that was some sort of bolt retainer.

  10. #10
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Looks great, I know all too well how much work that is. That coating filled the pits on the bolt extremely well!
    Andy
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  11. #11
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Yes I think that spray on coating is outstanding. Easy to use, durable and great looking. Its not just for steel either. It work on all metals (or materials that can withstand 300F in an oven)

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    Another great post!

    I am very impressed with the ingeniously simple and effective "barrel oven" you designed. I will definitely pack that idea away for future use. Several previous builds of mine would have turned out much better with that baked on finish over the blueing.

    Thanks and keep them coming.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    Yes I think that spray on coating is outstanding. Easy to use, durable and great looking. Its not just for steel either. It work on all metals (or materials that can withstand 300F in an oven)
    Un-believable work! Any chance you want to share what that back on coating is?

  14. #14
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limon32 View Post
    Un-believable work! Any chance you want to share what that back on coating is?
    Here ya go.

    http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-to...-prod1143.aspx

  15. #15

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    very nice RC.

    Rust bluing looks nice also along with Rust Browning. I like how the baked liquor really brought that gun back to life.

  16. #16
    Member GD Yankee's Avatar
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    Turned a sow's ear into a silk purse! Fantastic job. What a great piece of wood underneath that old factory finish as well. Very, very nice.

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