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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Restoring a Historic Rifle (Part 2)

This is an update to the previous posting I did on evaluating and getting started with my restoration of a Mosin Nagant 91/30.

It didn't take long for me to realize the enormity of the project I had chosen and what needed to be done to bring this old girl back to life.  I have spent about 5 nights sanding, polishing the barrel and removing rust.  My technique for removing the rust was to first scrape any of the soft rust off with a plastic tool used for popping off door panels in a car.  This tool allowed me to scrape off old cosmoline from both the barrel and the stock.

Next, I began to work on the actual rust by using a copper penny and oil.  The technique is to oil the barrel and scrape the penny along the barrel.  The softer copper removes the rust without destroying the finish.  You could also use copper steel wool, or, since we are going to re-blue anyway, I could have used any steel wool to remove the rust.  Once I got the rust removed, I was left with the pitting to remove.  I carefully began sanding lengthwise to start removing the pits.

If you remember, the original image showed massive rust.  Below is the original image and the one after it is how it looks at this point in the game.  More to do, but looking much better. The black inside the pits is caused by metal filings and tiny pieces of sandpaper getting burned into the pits.

BEFORE

AFTER ABOUT 5 HOURS OF CAREFUL SANDING

At this point in the game, you can see that the rifle can actually still be fired.  I recommend taking the rifle to a competent gunsmith though to be sure. He can check head space, pitting depth and so on. Sure beats the alternative.

Once I was satisfied all rust had been removed and the majority of the pitting sanded to acceptable condition, I started working my way toward the muzzle.  The following video shows the results of tedious and careful hand sanding on the rest of the barrel.


There is still a huge amount of work to be done on this project and the barrel and receiver are only about half-way done.  I estimate another 24 hours of work on the barrel and then I can finally move on to the other metal pieces and the stock.

Until next time...


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