Restore the gun or leave it alone...

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Total votes : 23

Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby T Man » Sun Aug 26, 2012 6:51 pm

Let me preface this by saying I know this is a triple post, but I wanted to get some traffic on it and see where everyone stands.

Last month my grandpa died, and with his passing, I inherited his shotgun, a 1953 16gau Remington Sportsman 48. My grandpa hunted this gun every season since he bought it new, and it looks the part. I can't be certain, but I think that when I cleaned it a few years ago, it was the first cleaning this gun has had. On a good day, this is a $200 dollar gun, so my desire to bring this gun back isn't financially driven. I am debating whether or not to strip the gun down, have all the metal re-blued, and repair and refurbish the stock. A large part of me says no, keep it like it is because he earned every ding, gouge and dent in the gun, and in the condition it is in, its his gun. I was dead set on leaving it like it is, until my uncle posed this counterpoint. If he left me a 53 Corvette in the same condition, would I restore it. Yes is the only answer to that question. So, it is up to DHC to sway my opinion. Leave it like it is, all beat to hell, but still runs like a champ (and a blast to shoot) or make it look like the day he bought it. I would be doing the stock and front grip myself, but farming the receiver and barrel out to someone who could do the job right. I am re-finishing an 870 stock and grip right now as a sort of proof of concept for myself to see if I am able to do the sort of job I would like to see on the gun, and to find any kinks I may run into along the way.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby clampdaddy » Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:16 pm

I would leave it alone. When I got my grandfathers Winchester model 50 I thought about refinishing it for a few seconds. Then I thought to myself "someone else made this gun but Papa put these scratches on it". Those scratches actually have just as much sentimental value to me as the rest of the gun does.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby UnderDucker » Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:39 am

I used to have the opinion that old family guns should not be restored. In the last few years I have changed my mind on the subject after watching my father restore a few of our family guns - some that have sentimental value to me personally. I watched the joy that it brought to my Dad to strip these guns down, re-blue, and re-finish the wood. When he was done, they were awesome to look at and even more impressive that my Dad had the ability to do it....a sense of accomplishment. I don't feel you will lose anything by restoring your will only gain the satisfaction of knowing you are restoring the gun so it can be enjoyed by others for years to come. :thumbsup:
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby John Singer » Fri Sep 14, 2012 5:43 am

My experience: I inherited a 1933 field grade 12 gauge Model 12 Winchester when my grandfather died. My grandfather was a farmer and not a hunter. It was essentially a barn gun and it looked the part. The wood was rough, the blueing was almost gone, the recoil pad had been varnished over, and there was a small ding in the very end of the barrel that affected the choke.

For a few years, the gun was displayed on the wall in my living room. When we moved to a new house, it did not fit the decor and it became a safe queen. A few years ago, I decided to restore it.

I refinished the wood and it is beautiful. I opened the choke from full to a light modified. I replaced the recoil pad. I did not reblue the metal but painted it with ceramic flat black paint (I know, blasphemy!). I use it as my primary shotgun now. I shoot trap weekly and hunt waterfowl with it exclusively. It patterns beautifully with both lead and steel shot. It swings nicely and pumps smoothly like only a Model 12 can.

Before I restored it (my way) the gun was essentially useless to me. Now, you cannot buy it from me for any amount.

Decide what is best for you. After all, it is your gun.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby Juca » Fri Sep 14, 2012 6:05 am

I would restore it... if i'm gonna use it or if i know that i will never sell it,then i dont see a reason why not to restore it. btw i restored my 1962 beretta s 55,and man i like that guN!
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby ninethreeeleven » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:38 pm

My father had a gorgeous Browing Citori that got swamped in a flood. The gun was one foot in the grave; completely rusted, chokes locked in, wood all messed up.

My uncle then took it to see if anything could be restored. They (my uncle and cousin) went at it heavy handed (they could because it was basically a loss and no further damage could really be done) and got it as best they could. They then sent it to a gunsmith to make sure it wold still be safe. The gunsmith took it, checked it out throughly and had it reblued. It's certainly not a looker, there's pit marks on the barrel from the rust, there's a strange "bleached" part on the stock from the water and it has no bead. But the barrels were perfect and worth it.

I've shot that gun many a times, which I will always remember because it's very hard to aim a gun with no bead, especially at night when the barrel just blends into the darkness (tried to add the magnet beads, they never fit and I was always aiming clays way in front or way in back). I'll eventually have beads put in and have it camo-dipped to cover up the faults.

Not on the topic, but I joined a night time skeet league with that gun. First time ever with skeet. Shot 7 and 9 my first two, then 9 and 11, then 12 and 14. Switched to my father's replacement Browning Citori Superlight Feather and shot 18 and 19. Next week shot 24 and 24 with the new gun. Finally my father came back and took the new gun, relegated me to the old. Shot 14 and 15 with the old one. It's amazing how important beads are at night! But that thing is a rabbit slayer during the day. Anyway, if you're still reading, I haven't fixed the "swamped gun" because I often steal the new Superlight because it just "fits" me, or I just use one of my own guns for hunting. But I've been amiss lately, so that heavy might just get some new beads this week.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby The Duck Hammer » Sun Oct 21, 2012 10:28 pm

Leave it be. Battle scars are visible reminders of hunts past. Everytime you fell the scratches and dings you can feel the history. Everything is earned, why take that away from the gun?
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby Camocynergy » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:27 pm

I would say if you're going to shoot it at all, you might at least want to redo the finishing if needed just to keep the protection from the elements going. Be a shame to see it rust/rot away, versus maybe passing down to your future generations so they can share in some of the memories as well.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby duckslayer74 » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:39 pm

If it were mine I'd leave it the way my Grandpa had it other than a good cleaning. If you want to shoot a cheap gun buy a mossberg or an 870.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby VaTailfeathers » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:06 am

I would leave it alone and cherish it the way it is. Your Grandpa sounds like one heck of a guy, you know best. This shotgun was important to him as he never replaced it with something " new and improved" . It was used by him every year, it has " him" all over it and all through out it . In my opinion, by turning this gun back into out of the box condition, you are wiping away all that family history. He didn't pass along a monkey wrench, or a chain saw. He passed along a very special hunting tool, his very personal shotgun, that gave him pleasure every year, a lot of his life. He might have nearly wore out the mechanism, beat up the stock and forearm, wore and scratched the bluing for all those years and left it in the fields and marshes, spec by spec. Varnish too, maybe even splinters of walnut here and there. And he wanted you to have it, and have it just the way it is. He didn't have it restored to give it to you, he gave it the way it is. If you inherited it to you after his death, without his will stating it, his presence still gave it to you. You got it for a reason, his reason. Look at that gun and picture it all pristine, then ask yourself if you would enjoy your Pappa's gun that way. Would it really look grand? or would it simply look like a pristine shotgun your Grandpa owned. Will you initially like the gun all shiny and new, but then suddenly feel something wrong and ask yourself " what have I done? " Remember, once it's restored, it can't go back. One more thing to ask yourself, and only you know the man. What would your Grand Pa do?
Concerning the Corvette. Great cars were meant to be restored, not let fall apart. Shotguns earn their place by use, not being locked up in a cabinet their whole life and admired and polished like a piece of furniture. A man with an old shotgun in pristine condition has little memories, a man with a beater, will pass with a solid smile on his face.
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Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby mox » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:32 am

I would leave the wood and re-blue the barrel. Just me though. Never been faced with this scenario personally.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby 2500hdon37s » Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:11 am

A corvette and a gun are two VERY different things.... on a classic car scratches, dings, and dents are a badge of shame. On a classic gun they are a part of the gun's history and a badge of honor and attest to the gun's long life of reliable service.
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Re: Restore the gun or leave it alone...

Postby steelslinger » Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:33 am

I believe that if you restore it, you will get another lifetime out of it. Just like your grandpa did. If you don't then eventually it will break and become a "safe queen" and you will get absolutely no use out of it and by listening to your story, it is not a gun that should not be used. If you refinish it, you may take out the rust, dings and character but you will never remove the stories that are behind the gun. The gun doesn't have to look worn to be worn. I would refinish it and use the hell out of it and when I die, I would make sure that I give it to someone who will keep it in use.
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