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Refinishing my Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine

Discussion in 'General Firearm Discussion' started by jefe, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. jefe

    jefe Portland Active Member

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    Greetings. It has been a little while since I first posted on this forum. A few projects in my graduate program took away my attention, as did a few household demands/projects stemming from the wife. For those who read and provided awesome feedback on my previous thread, I would like to say "thank you." Since getting properly acquainted with my first firearm (Mosin-Nagant M44 Carbine) I've sought to improve/fix-up the rifle. Yes, I know the rifle isn't worth much but I've grown quite fond of it. Anyways, I decided to refinish the wood stock.

    Here are a few "before" pictures. The photos likely do little justice, as the rifle's stock was greasy and the color uneven. More pressing, after each shooting session the rifle would bleed cosmoline.


    After researching (off & on) for a few months, I decided to try the "purple power cleaner" method for stain and cosmoline removal. After disassembling the rifle (and cleaning up as much of the "hidden" cosmoline as possible) I also decided to clean the metal with "mineral spirits." After using a computer air duster as a "Macgyvered" air compressor to remove/dry the water from the steel parts I then slobbered on the gun grease (and cleaned the bore and barrel as well) and set the metallic parts on the kitchen counter for "safe keeping" (to the vocalized displeasure of my wife). There was, however, one piece that I could not remove from the rifle. There is a bolt that holds the cleaning rod in place. At first, I thought the rifle was missing the bolt (completely covered in cosmoline) and so I ordered a new one. I come to find out that I do have the bolt but it must either be in backwards to it is completely stripped. I cannot (for the life of me) remove the bolt from the stock.

    After cleaning the stock of stain and cosmoline, I wiped down the stock using a brand new shop rag and set it to dry in a place in my study with neutral, indirect contact with heat (to prevent bowing of any sort). After waiting it out for 4 days I was quite sure the stock and hand guard were both completely dry. Using 150 and 220 grit sandpapers I went along the grain giving a light and even sand with the 150, and a little more detailing with the 220. Overall, I'm unsure if I removed all the cosmoline and stain from the stock. However, I'm starting to think my uncertainty pertains to light "trickery," as in certain light the stock looks as though stain remains while in other light it looks as though it were almost completely stain-free. Being that I plan on using an ebony stain on the stock, I suppose stain/cosmoline that I was unable to remove will be covered by my intended stain.

    Here is the stripped and sanded stock:

    I thought of posting pictures of the steel BUT although the mineral spirits removed the cosmoline it did little to "freshen" the steel and bolt. As for the bolt, is there an easy and dependable method to (in the words of my wife) "make it shiny"?

    Now I hope to do the same to the Mosin-Nagant 91/30 that I acquired without my wife's consent/knowledge. Maybe now would be a good time to come clean about a rifle I bought 2 months ago?

    I welcome comments/advice. I will post pictures of the stain process, and, if requested, of the steel parts as well.

    ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention (and this is the damnedest thing) that for the M44 the bayonet attachment is supposedly removable. After struggling for quite a while I discovered that the screw may have been soldered into place. Is this a "common" occurrence?


    EDIT 2: Pictures by dutchbastard - Photobucket
  2. itchyfinger

    itchyfinger Oklahoma New Member

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    I don't see any images brother.
  3. sailorman2010

    sailorman2010 Kittitas County,WA Member

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    Thanks for putting this up. I too have been researching how to refinish a stock. I found some great idea's on youtube on how to do this, I'm sure you got idea's off the web. When on youtube check out a guy, his screen name is "Iraqveteran8888", he's got a 4 part series on how to refinsh a stock.

    He also steamed out dents on the rifle stock with a wet rag and a clothes iron, I thought that was pretty neat. Keep us posted on this refinish job.

    Where did you buy your M44, I'm in the market for one?

    Looks great so far!
  4. Ironbar

    Ironbar Tigard, OR Well-Known Member

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    OK, followed the link to your photo's.

    Here's a suggestion: If you haven't already begun the refinishing process on the stock, you can place it in a couple of plain paper bags, and then in your oven on the lowest temp possible. Depending on your oven you may need to leave the door cracked a bit. Anyway, this process will sweat out any additional cosmoline left in your stock. I used this process on my 91/30 during the summer, and just left the stock inside the bags, inside a black plastic bag, in the hot sun. I took the stock out of the bags at least four times to wipe off the cosmo that had sweat out of the stock before I was sure I had gotten it all. Amazing how much there was.
  5. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Have you baked the stock yet? I did a refinish on one of my Mosins and after putting a nice coat of colour on it I ended up running 300 rounds through it. Barrel was so hot that cosmo began bleeding from the wood.
  6. jefe

    jefe Portland Active Member

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    I was planning on putting on the pre-stain today, but I will hold off and try the bake method in order to remove any excess cosmoline that I missed. I must've scrubbed the stock with Purple Power Cleaner 7-8 times, and yet I think there is still something remaining within the stock. I did come across a post on another internet forum. A chemist said that MEK removes everything from the stock almost immediately, but I am too afraid of giving the stock chemical burns (Purple Power Cleaner is biodegradable). I appreciate you recommendation, however, I must ask: does the oven method leave a stench in the air? My wife, though completely supportive, does have a breaking point.
  7. jefe

    jefe Portland Active Member

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    No, I have yet to bake the stock. I've been trying to avoid any method that might further irritate my wife. I'm now thinking about trying it, as I'm looking to get the job finished in a correct manner. So when you refinished your Mosin did you strip it? Did it look as though all the cosmoline was removed? I've heard cosmoline is very tricky/deceptive. On my first time shooting I ran 60 rounds through my Mosin and it bled so much that my hands were stained for a few days later.
  8. jefe

    jefe Portland Active Member

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    Thanks, I will check out the youtube video series.

    I purchased my Mosin through a FTF over the Summer. I've noticed (because I'm interested in acquiring more Mosins) that the carbines are becoming more rare/expensive. I bought mine for $160 + a box a Winchester ammo. It seems expensive, especially to those who may have seen the M44 go for much cheaper, but now I've seen postings on other sites that ask $200+ for the carbine models.
  9. darkminstrel

    darkminstrel PDX Well-Known Member

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    Oh yeah. To some the smell is like ambrosia, but to wives it smells like burning money for some reason.

    Alternative method is a 3mil or thicker trash bag(s) and a couple heat lamps to sweat out the cosmo. I wish I had done it to mine...
  10. coop44

    coop44 Tacoma ,WA Well-Known Member

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    you may ask "why use shellac?"
    here's why

    shellac is a good choice for:
    furniture, woodwork, floors, small craft,
    wood turnings, and wood instruments because it is ..

    Beautiful, Lustrous
    Child Safe
    Easy to apply
    Dries within minutes
    Sticks to almost anything!
    Seals in minutes
    Can be recoated within 15-20 minutes if wiped
    Can be recoated within 2-4 hours if brushed
    Infinitely easier to rub out
    Easily repaired
    Has good clarity
    Completely reversible
    Feels well in the hand
    Offers a wide range of colors without sacrificing clarity
    Environmentally safe
    Compatible with most other finishes
    Once you shellac, ain't no going back!
    Button Shellac is ideal for woodwork & floors

    if you want a better than original finish use the garnet or ruby shellac, when applied with a spray gun it is beautiful, sorry you used sand paper and stripper on it, the shellac that went on it was thinned with alchohol (paint store stuff not drug store) and will remove it nicely along with most of the staining. if it will fit in the dishwasher (you may have to remove the upper rack) run it through a cycle with dishwasher soap it will lift most of the light dents and remove more grease and crud with less effort.

    I am a carpenter by trade and after building and repairing furniture, refinishing pianos, I have discovered that shellac when properly applied is wonderful. In fact it was the finish of choice for fine furniture for centuries. Most of the stuff you have read before is distilled from what guys have heard from "the hardware store guy" i.e. morons without a clue. Sure it works, mostly, but is arduous, expensive, and time comsuming at best.

    just my 2 cents
  11. mkwerx

    mkwerx Forest Grove, OR Silver Supporter Silver Supporter

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    jefe, have you considered getting the action and barrel bead blasted and blued? It'd have a matte finish after bead blasting, instead of shiny gloss (you could, instead of bead blasting, just have the parts polished up before bluing and thus have a shiny, shiny gun)? If you could afford it - I'd go to a gunsmith and have it hot blued - but there's cold bluing products available online or even at Bi Mart. The hot bluing looks better to me, and doesn't have a smell that cold blued guns seem to.