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How to Refurbish Your Grandfather’s Hunting Rifle


by: Natchez Shooting Supplies

7 Steps to Making Your Grandfather’s Rifle Hunt-Ready

You just found your grandfather’s old rifle, and you want to restore and take it to the range or use it for hunting. The problem is that it’s old and unused. Does it still shoot? Does it have cracks in the wood? Does it only have iron sights and could use an upgrade to one of the Redfield scopes? Here are some steps you can take to take an old rifle and make it usable.

Take It to a Gunsmith
Your first step should be taking your rifle to a gunsmith. They can tell you whether the rifle is still shootable, and if not, what it will take to make it usable again. They can identify what parts need replacing, whether the pitting in the metal is too much, and whether cracks in the wood are fine or will break open more if you fire the rifle.

Disassemble and Clean
Once you know what you need to do, you will need to disassemble the firearm. If you don’t know how, try to find a video that breaks down the rifle step by step. If it’s an antique rifle, it might be very old and hard to disassemble due to dirt and grime building up over the years. Once disassembled, you will want to clean what you can. Use non-corrosive cleaning agents to avoid damaging the rifle.

Restore the Finish
Once you have given the rifle’s parts a once-over, it’s time to restore the finish. For the wood, use sandpaper to remove the old finish. Try to leave the areas where the action is fitted untouched, or you could have problems with fit later on. After the old finish is gone, you can use a finish like boiled linseed oil to bring the wood to life. You can stain the wood as well. Be warned that, left in the open, rags with boiled linseed oil can spontaneously combust.

Replace Parts
Next, replace any broken parts. Some parts may be hard to find, especially with older rifles. Surplus rifles may be easier to find parts for, and some popular guns have reproduction parts that you might find at modern suppliers.

Consider Upgrades
You may want to consider upgrades at this point. You can sporterize old firearms, though this will decrease their value. You may want to add modern optics, such as Bushnell scopes. You can also add other features, such as trading out parts from newer models that are still compatible.

Blue the Metal
You can cold blue any metal that was blued already but has lost the bluing. Cold bluing mostly restores the look and only provides minor resistance to rust. If you want the metal hot blued, you will likely need to visit a gunsmith, as it involves using boiling caustic liquids. If your firearm was not originally blued, you can skip this step and move on to reassembling.

Find Ammo
Once your rifle is reassembled, you’ll need to find the right ammunition. This can prove tricky for older rifles. You may consider crafting your own rounds to either lower expense or make it easier to have rounds to fire. Modern ammo is often more powerful, but there might be ammo for your caliber still manufactured.

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