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Shotgun refinishing question--old Ithaca single shot?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Juna, Oct 3, 2006.

  1. Juna

    Juna Well-Known Member

    My friend has an old single-shot Ithaca 12-gauge shotgun that he inherited from his grandfather. He's never fired it, and it's rusted out. He wants to get it refinished and looked over by a gunsmith so he can start using it. I have a few questions:

    1) Where should he go to get it refinished? Gun shop? Metal shop?
    2) How much (roughly) should it cost?
    3) What kinds of things should he look for to make sure it's in shootable condition and safe to shoot?

    I know a reasonable amount about pistols, but not a whole lot about shotguns. He knows nothing about guns, but wants to start shooting that shotgun and wants me to teach him how to shoot pistols. It seems like it would be pretty simple to refinish in that it's basically just the barrel that needs to be done. There's no magazine or anything, as it's a single shot break action.

    Thanks in advance for any help or advice! I really appreciate it!
  2. Juna

    Juna Well-Known Member

    Anyone? Nobody here has gotten an old shotgun refinished? I figured THR would be the place to ask.
  3. Car Knocker

    Car Knocker Well-Known Member

    Patience, young grasshopper.
  4. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    First question...

    Is this a 66 (action breaks open with a lever that looks like an 1892 Winchester lever) or an older trap gun?

    Those trap guns are nice. The trap guns are all-steel. They were made at various price points, with different wood, metal vs. wood screws, etc.

    I have a 66, though. Only some parts are steel.

    What gun is it, first of all?

    And what is rusted? How badly? Have you seen the bore?

    Do you really mean "rusted out"? If so, if might be a lost cause. But if it's just surface rust, it could be doable.

    Tried soaking it in Kroil or something?
  5. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    "...it's rusted out..." How rusted is that? Pitted? Any scaling? If so, it'll cost more than the gun is worth to refinish.
  6. Juna

    Juna Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I guess it's not "rusted out," but if I recall correctly (I don't have it in front of me) it's just surface rust. The steel itself looks and feels like it's in good shape with just some surface rust. I'm not sure about pitting or other details, but I'll check when I see him next.
  7. Sunray

    Sunray Well-Known Member

    Surface rust can be removed with 0000 steel wool and oil. Or a fine brass wire wheel in a bench grinder. Safety glasses are required.
  8. Juna

    Juna Well-Known Member

    Ok, maybe I should rephrase my questions:

    1) How much will it cost (roughly) to refinish an old, single shot, break-action Ithaca shotgun (it breaks like a lever action)?

    2) And is there much cost difference between different finishes (blued, stainless, nickel)?

    3) Where would one take a gun like this to get it refinished? Would most gun shops know where to send it?

    I ask b/c my friend wants to make his grandfather's old shotgun like new via refinishing it, and he asked me to let him have some rough ballpark idea of how much it would cost him. It has sentimental value to him. The steel seems to be in good shape with some surface rust. He is asking his wife to get it refinished for his birthday, but she has no idea how to go about doing that. Hence, my questions.
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    So it's a Model 66.

    AFAIK, only the barrel, the trigger, and the internal parts are steel. The receiver is painted.

    I'll have another look at mine, when I get home.

    That should be a LOT cheaper to refinish than the old trap gun.

    HOWEVER... The old trap guns are still prized by a lot of shooters, and go for $2500 and up. The Model 66, on the other hand, can be found in quite serviceable shape for $50. (NIB never-fired w/ original manual collector guns for $300-350, not new but collectible condition $150. Note that refinished guns are generally not considered collectible at all, unless they're the only one in existence or something, and Model 66's are pretty common.)

    So make sure he knows that this gun has VERY little value, either rusted or refinished. It's a fun gun, and a great gun to throw behind the seat of the pickup when running errands during bird season. But it's worth less than it costs to refinish it.

    Now, sentimental value is as good a reason as any to restore the thing; just make sure he's doing it for his own enjoyment, nothing else.

    What did I do with mine? I rubbed the outside of the barrel with Bullfrog Lubricant and Rust Blocker and a rough terri cloth rag to get the surface rust off and prevent further corrosion, then I ran a box of shells through it, cleaned it a bit, and rubbed on some more rust preventative (CLP or something). It's fine that way.:)
  10. Juna

    Juna Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the response! I really appreciate it.

    Yes, he understands that it's not worth much monetarily. He looked it up somewhere. It only has sentimental value to him, and he wants to restore it to functional quality. He's never fired it, just inherited it. But he wants to start firing it. He doesn't care about resale value as he'll never sell it.

    So what price should I tell him is too much to pay for refinishing it (so he doesn't get taken--since it's obvious he doesn't know anything about guns)?

    I'd offer to clean it up for him, but I think he feels better having a professional refinishing, and that's what he asked his wife for for his B-Day.
  11. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Depending on where you folks are, a matte blue should be in the 80 to 100$ range. If the surface rust has left pits, this is about the only way to go - darn difficult to get pits polished out. Some good oil (Breakfree is excellent) applied with some 0000 steeel wool can take most of the rust off and give you an idea of the damage.
  12. The Deer Hunter

    The Deer Hunter Well-Known Member

    Check with an appraiser first to see if its worth more money unfinished
  13. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

    Around here M66s go for about $125 all day long.. Hardest part is finding one.
  14. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Well-Known Member

    I don't think the 66 had a polished finish to begin with. It's smoother than your average 870 Express, but it's not polished. That should actually make it easier to restore.

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