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Milsurp refinishing: good or bad?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by stevekl, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. stevekl

    stevekl Well-Known Member

    Do you consider it a good idea to refinish an old milsurp? I just got a Swedish mauser and i'm debating with myself wether I should work on it. If I go ahead with it, i'll clean the old finish off the wood and rub on some new oil and wax, and finish with a good buffing. As for the metal, i'll just re-touch the bluing here and there.

    I did this with a Swiss K31, and it looks pretty good. However, I wonder, is this a threat to the 'history' of the rifle? Should I leave it the way it is to preserve the history of the rifle?

    What do you think?
  2. jefnvk

    jefnvk Well-Known Member

    I think refinishing is OK. If you want to clean it up, fix up the stock, reblue it, that's fine. Unless it is something rare, I see it as doing it a favor. Especially something like a Swede or Swiss or Argentine, something that doesn't have a lot of historical significance anyways, but is still a very nice rifle.

    Now, cutting the stock and changing out the barrel is a no-no :uhoh:
  3. cracked butt

    cracked butt Well-Known Member

    Not a problem there for the most part.

    I would leave the blueing alone. As long as you keep it dry and oiled, it won't rust.

    With the way the value of Swedish rifles seem to be going on up lately, I wouldn't do much more than clean them up and rub a little oil into the stock from time to time. Most have survived nearly a century or more with the same treatment by others.

    If its a cheapo $40 rifle with the century billboard logo deeply engraved in the receiver, I wouldn't hesitate to reblue/ refinish the stock if not just for practice.
  4. Zeke Menuar

    Zeke Menuar Well-Known Member

    Depends on the gun. Any gun I get that comes with 40 pounds of complimentary primordial gun ooze automatically gets a stock refinish. Metal is another matter. If there is no visable rust or traces of rust I generally leave it alone. Mosin-Nagants usually come with a fresh coat of shellac and a Russian Krylon finish. I have three Mosins. I like them because usually nothing needs to be done with them. Look'em over and go shooting.

    I did a complete refinishing job on my No1MkIII Ishy. It was pretty ugly looking, no bluing and a wonderful Ishy cosmo finish. Turned out to be a really beautiful job even if it doesn't look issue. However I do not plan to touch my Ishy 2A unless the funky arsenal stock repair fails.

    I need my milsurps to be somewhat resistant to the Monsoons around here. At any time any of my guns could be grabbed off the rack for a trip into the woods. They at least need to be able to withstand, rain, dirt, more sideways rain and maybe some snow. So some preventative maintenance sometimes is in order.

    As a general rule I try to do as little as possible, if anything. But I'll do whatever needs doing to preserve a gun.

  5. entropy

    entropy Well-Known Member

    If you are going to refinish them, why not restore them to as close to their former glory as possible? It requires a bit of research, but it can be done. I'd leave the bluing alone on any but the worst case (and common variations) of milsurps. I will allow another member of the Russian Mosin Nagant Forum to state the case for preservation of not only Mosins, but all milsurps, for he did it far better than I can:

    On the Mosin Forum, member FreeDumb posted;

    "Well, I sure have learned about Bannerman conversions and the link that "Guest" provided certainly answered the "who is Bannerman?": the pioneer of army surplus. Up til now, I have been amazed at how many rifles are availabe to me at low prices, but upon reflecting on Bannerman and the incredible numbers of rifles that have been produced, I am now wondering where have all the rifles gone? Why aren't the importers advertising M91's? There were millions of them. I am beginning to see that preservation of old rifles is a here and now event. Mosins were safe while stored in Russian armories, but now they are hauled out and blown like dandelion fluff all over the world. Only the ones that fall into sympathetic hands will survive. All the rest will vanish.

    This is a watershed posting for me. I bought three Mosins because Aztec was selling them cheap. Cheap connoted a throw-away rifle: trivial. I was truly shocked when postings about spiffing up a Mosin were attacked. I couldn't see anything wrong with trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. I have done a LOT of reading since then. I follow the posts on this site and occasionally some others. I have gone over the cartouches on my stocks and traced where my rifles have been. I bought the Mosin-Nagant manual by Lapin and read what was expected of the previous owners of my rifles. The sentence that jolted me awake was: "If the rifle is exposed to droplets of chemical warfare gas during combat the shooter must, using his individual anti-gas packet, remove droplets of chemical warfare gas from the rifle parts which he touches while shooting, after which he is to continue to fight." Care of the rifle was paramount, fighting came second. I am starting to view my rifles as icons of an era. It is my DUTY to keep them clean. I read that when it is -20 degrees, use kerosene instead of oil and I think of those poor cold bastards hunkered down for months fighting off Germans, hunger and the cold and the most important thing was to keep their rifle clean and in good repair so that it will survive, longer than they will, to someday end up in the state of Illinois in the USA. It's a hell of a responsibility to inherit for $69.95. I was fooled by the price: the "you get what you pay for" mentality. I got a whole lot more than I paid for and I am just beginning to realize it."

    Ask yourself this: Where are all the M1903's that were $200 ten-fifteen years ago? Swedes are already getting harder to find, German Mausers used to be under $100, no more. Yes, it's true Mosins are still a bargain, I just bought one today for $49. (1946 Izhevsk M44) About as common as Mosins come, yet you won't see me doing any more than cleaning off the cosmoline, (which I was doing when I saw this post) and keeping her well cleaned and oiled between outings. :) Repairs and restoration done well, yes by all means, but please be mindful of the 'history you can hold in your hand', and be authentic in keeping it that way. :)
  6. Vert

    Vert New Member

    Leave it the way it is, Stevekl, unless the stock is in such poor shape that it looks like a moldy old piece of driftwood and really, really bugs you. If you *have* to tinker with with the rifle, let the metal retain its dignity and just focus on the stock instead.

    If you really want approval for this project, why don't tell everyone about the time you sporterized your Mosin Nagant M38? I'm sure everyone would be quick to encourage your ambition to restore the Mauser then! :neener:
  7. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Well-Known Member

    I vote for cleaning, lubricating, and repairing the stock. As with all things antique, the goal is to put it the way it was when new, using the material that came with it. Unless it's a really valuable antique (rare variant, matching serial nos. etc) then any decrease in value is minor anyway. JMO.

    TFL Survivor
  8. stevekl

    stevekl Well-Known Member

    Vert: I see what you did there
  9. kfranz

    kfranz Well-Known Member

    Generally I leave them, but have on a few occasions bought "gunsmith specials" for the express purpose of hacking them into something they never were designed to be. Personally, I don't much care about a little missing bluing, or if the stock is less than baby bottom smooth.
  10. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Well-Known Member

    It's your gun, do what you want with it.

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