getting pitting out of a single shot shotgun


loose noose
June 14, 2014, 09:11 PM
My grandson recently bought a used 12ga. single shot, shotgun, and brought it out here for fathers day to have me take a look at it and see what I thought about it. The gun is a Harrington and Richardson, and it appears pretty solid, however it does have pitting on the inside of the bore. The outside is really nice no rust or pitting.

My question is, is there any way I could get the pitting removed from the bore? It is ok to shoot in the condition it is in, but my grandson is a chip off the old block, and needs to have everything perfect. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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June 14, 2014, 09:23 PM
No, pits are rusted below the surface of the bore.

And there is no possible way to remove them without removing some of the bore until you get back to solid smooth metal below the bottom of the pits.
Then you got a z10 ga instead of a 12 ga!

Best advice I have is get:
A package of 0000 (Super-Fine) steel wool.
A bronze bore brush of the proper gage.
A cleaning rod without a handle.
And an electric drill.

Wrap the steel wool around the bore brush, chuck it in the drill, and using powder solvent, spin it in the bore, in & out for a while.
Keep changing the steel wool as it wears out.

As for safety?
Unless it is so old it is twist or damascus steel, it probably isn't pitted deep enough to be a safety issue.


June 15, 2014, 02:34 AM
I had one in the same condition.
I used a cheap Automotive Two Stone Brake Cylinder hone on a drill extension from the chamber end and tried not to hone out the choke.

Wrap the extension and connector to the hone with electrical tape.

June 15, 2014, 08:40 AM
I would just clean it up and and shoot low power shells through it. The pits in the bore won't hurt anything.

4v50 Gary
June 15, 2014, 10:09 AM
If it was a rifle with a pitted bore that shot poorly, I would suggest you have it bored out and relined. Shotgun barrels are thin so that option is not available. I wouldn't worry about the pits.

loose noose
June 15, 2014, 10:11 AM
RC I've already tried the bronze brush and steel wool, it made it look a little bit better, but what can I say. I don't believe the gun is all that old, it does have a fixed modified choke. I'm not too sure about using a brake hone however. Unfortunately, his dad, my son, told him he was sure "grandpa" could fix it. BTW they're going back tomorrow, but I will get him for a week the last week of this month, and he does enjoy shooting. Plan on taking him up to the trap range I belong to. Anyway any other suggestions will be appreciated.

June 15, 2014, 10:37 AM
Pawn shops around here are loaded with 12 gauge H&R's for less than $100. If it means that much to you, buy one with a good barrel, swap the barrels, then sell the pawn shop one with the pitted barrel cheap.

loose noose
June 15, 2014, 01:16 PM
.45 Auto, now that is a great idea, I'm gonna have to start looking here shortly. I believe he paid just under $100.00 for it. He won't even know the difference, hopefully I'll be able to find a modified choke.

June 15, 2014, 01:23 PM
@ Loose Noose
The Brake hone will not be doing heavy metal removal, it more just polishes the metal, and if done wet like with alcohol the same as you would polish out the brake cylinders, you should be fine.
But you can also take a 1/2" wood dowel, and saw a split in the end about 1" long and insert a strip of 600 grit Aluminium Oxcide sandpaper in the slot, and wrap it around the dowel like a flap wheel.
It doesnt need to be tight in the bore.
When spun in a drill motor, it will polish up the bore really nice and not remove any sugnificant amount of metal.
Again , do it wet with oil or WD-40

loose noose
June 15, 2014, 06:47 PM
Thank ya Lags, reckon I might try that, cause needless to say we're not out anything.:D

June 15, 2014, 07:42 PM
I agree.

But 400 or 320 emery cloth will get you there faster.

600 paper wears slick & loads up before you get started going good in my experience.
It's great for final polish though.


loose noose
June 15, 2014, 08:38 PM
Hey RC, I just saw in my Brownell's catalogue that they have a hone made especially for shotgun barrels, the problem is the cost is only like $15.00 for the hone but the extension is like $78.00. They advertise that they are the cats meow in polishing up the bore of a shotgun, with pitting etc. Supposedly will make a pitted barrel shine like better than new.

BTW Lags I tried the wooden dowel but couldn't get it in my 3/8" drill, my drill press is 1/2" but it is too cumbersome to try. Thanks any way for the suggestions.

Tell me RC are you familiar with that particular hone? Is it worth the money? I'm thinking about getting another H&R single barrel and swapping 'em out, however the dang gun out here goes for over a $100.00.

June 15, 2014, 09:01 PM

The Brownell's hone is just a small brake cylinder hone LAGS mentioned that you can buy at an auto parts store.

You can make your own extension with a little ingenuity, tubing, and some low-temp silver solder.

June 15, 2014, 09:03 PM
That hone is a standard small diameter brake cylinder hone easily sourced. Here it is a little cheaper.
The extension shaft is probably made in small quantities, hence the seemingly high price. Dealer cost is quite a bit less.

June 16, 2014, 01:20 AM
@ Loose Noose.
If your chuck on your drill is only 3/8" then just use a 3/8 Dowel.
I had just mentioned the 1/2" because it doesnt flex as much.
But the sandpaper will follow the surface of the barrel and it is not required to be centered or held against the sides of the barrel.
As the dowel is spinning , keep it moving in and out of the bore and dont let it sit and spin in one place too long.

I bet the dowel and sandpaper flap wheel will shine up the bore real nice with little effort and cost.

And if you want to use the Brake Hone, you can buy a drill extension at Home Depot pretty cheap.
They are made for the 1/4" hex shaft Spade wood bits, but will work for round shank 1/4" bits or things like hones and grinding rasps and stones.
The bits are held in by two allen set screws

loose noose
June 16, 2014, 09:43 AM
Hey thank ya Lags, I'm gonna have to go over to Home Depot this morning, and check out the extension, I'm thinking about getting the small brake hone at one of the auto parts stores later today. Although the two closest said they didn't have any in stock.

Anyway my grandson and his Dad & Mom left and went home last night and they left the gun with me to try and fix. Father's Day bah hum bug.

June 16, 2014, 11:24 AM
I want to thank you for starting this conversation. It has been very educational and I have a similar problem to attack. Now the procedures are at hand.

June 16, 2014, 08:43 PM
@ Loose Noose.
Most Brake cylinder hones come in differant sizes and amount of stones.
I found the ones with Two Stones seem to fit the bore better than the Three Stone ones.
And sometimes you can find the Hones that look like a wire brush that has little balls of grinding stone on the bristles in the size you need.
They look like the Hone that Brownells sells.
Remember to also Wet Hone, and not let the stones or sandpaper run Dry.
A Squirt bottle works good if you are using Alcohol.
Or just use WD-40 and spray the bore while the hone is spinning
But remember to Wrap the extension with electrical tape to protect the bore.
Good luck, and keep us posted.

loose noose
June 16, 2014, 08:59 PM
Hey Lags, I checked with every auto parts store around here and no one has the smaller hone. Guess I'm gonna have to order one from Midway, and then go to Home Depot and get the extension.

June 16, 2014, 10:50 PM
Before you go to all that trouble, try the Dowel and sandpaper.
Either use the 3/8 Dowel or just sand or file the end of the 1/2" dowl down to fit in your hand drill.
You dont have to be perfect, and even if you carving/ sanding of the dowel is not perfectly centered, it works just fine.
The sandpaper is still spinning and polishing, and you are not trying to Resize the Bore.
The sandpaper follows the shape of the bore, the mandral or dowel is just to rotate the sandpaper Flap.

Jim Watson
June 17, 2014, 09:18 AM
These guys have probably sanded out enough barrels to have learned a little technique.
You can get one pretty wavy if you aren't careful.

The British routinely polish the inside and "restrike" the outside of shotgun barrels in for refinishing, but they have proof laws that limit how thin they can go. Not likely a problem for an American single, though.

loose noose
June 17, 2014, 11:31 AM
I thank ya again Lags, and Jim I don't think I'll be out much if I make the bore a bit wavy just using 400 wet and dry sand paper.

loose noose
June 18, 2014, 06:35 PM
Well Lags I tried it using a piece of 400 grit wet and dry sand paper and used a bunch of WD40 to no avail. It does look a little bit better but I can still see the pitting, reckon I'll order the hone and try that. Darn grandsons, oh well he is my one and only so what can I say.

June 18, 2014, 07:41 PM
Get some 240 & 320 emery cloth and try that first.


loose noose
June 18, 2014, 09:01 PM
I just might try that, I don't see where I'd be out anything, I thank ya in advance.

June 18, 2014, 09:20 PM
240 & oil will actually cut some metal out.
Just keep it moving in & out and never stop in one place.

Worn 320 & oil will leave pretty much a cheap gun reamed but not polished finish like it had.

If you want it shined after that, move on up to the 400 then 600 black paper.


loose noose
June 19, 2014, 10:06 PM
Well RC, I do believe I got er done. I had to go with 150 grit and a lot of oil, but I finally got the pits out. After using the 150, I switched to 220, to 320, and finally to 400 grit and believe it or not it came out looking pretty good. I tried taking a picture of the inside of the barrel but all I got was a blank black hole, I'm not very photogenic so to speak: Using my wife's Nikon Cool Pix camera.

Any way thanks again you saved me some money, no matter how ya look at it, now I can get back at my Winchester Model 97. I do believe my grandson is going to be pleased.

June 19, 2014, 10:11 PM
Thats great!
Like I always say in gunsmithing, if it don't fit, get a bigger hammer!

Thats not what I say! :what:

I say if 220 won't cut it, use 150! :D

Sounds like you done good!


loose noose
July 5, 2014, 06:29 PM
My grandson came over this weekend, and was greatly pleased with the outcome of his barrel, as I knew he would be, once again I want to thank ya all for the encouragement.;)

July 5, 2014, 06:36 PM
@ LooseNoose
You are very welcome. I am glad we all could help in some way.
And if your grandson asks how you did it.
Tell him, what happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas

July 5, 2014, 08:36 PM
Or, you could tell him you really are the greatest gunsmith in the whole USA, and he will believe it now! :D

Or, you could show him how you performed the magic so he will know how to do it for his grandson when he is your age!

Anyway, great to hear you Got-R-Done and it turned out so good!


Just glad to be here!


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