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Restoring a Winchester 1890 .22WRF (1904)

Discussion in 'Maintenance & Gunsmithing' started by bballer182, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    So, I've inherited a more-than-likely 4th or 5th hand rifle. Its a second model takedown and i cant tell whether or not it was a deluxe and it was made in 1904 (according to the serial #), which, is the year before they went to 2 serial #s (one on the underside of the tang and one on the underside of the receiver). It was originally blued but now faded with a little surface rust. The bore looks pretty good and the rifling looks sharp still. I'm looking for advise on how to "restore"/increase value without removing the patina and destroying the value of this piece. I haven't been able to find a picture of another identical to this one and I'm having a hard time telling whether or not the takedown screw is original or not. I'm thinking not because all the other ones I'm seen have a flathead thumscrew and the one on this piece doesn't have the flathead slot and isn't rounded like the others I've seen.
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    GOG and (deleted member) like this.
  2. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Restorations almost always reduce the value of a Winchester. I recently bought a 1925 Saddle ring Carbine that had been beautifully reblued in the 1960's with great original condition wood and a special King buckhorn rear sight. And I paid $550.00 had the rifle been in the same overall condition but with 50% finish it would have easily been $1000.00

    Granted your 1890 is pretty scruffy but understand that if you pay someone to do a restoration quality reblue on it you will never recover your investment. And if the bluing job is anything less it may not be worth what it is now.

    IMHO YMMV
     
  3. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    Any way to remove or reduce the rust without destroying it? So, probably best bet is keep it oiled and stored in low humidity?
     
  4. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Go on You Tube and look up "how to remove rust with a battery charger".
    It's kinda like a miracle watching the process.

    First off, remove the wood stock and grip.
    Get a plastic tub that will fit the longest metal part.
    Go to the store and buy some Arm & Hammer "Super Soda Wash" and only this product, nothing else. Most large groceries carry it.
    Mix 1 Tablespoon per Gallon and cover the metal part completely with enough solution.
    Attach the negative lead of your 12v battery charger to the submerged part.
    Find a piece of angle iron long enough to reach out of the water, so you can attach the positive lead to it.
    Any soft iron will do, all you want it for is to be an attractor for the rust.
    Place the soft iron in the water, near the submerged part, but not touching each other and have part of it sticking out of the water
    Turn on the battery charger. If you have a variable setting model turn it up till you see some small bubbles forming around the submerged metal.
    This is a proven method to remove rust. When the process is finished to your satisfaction, wipe off excess water, blow air through all of the interior areas and then spray very liberally WD40 to displace any remaining moisture.
    Some times I will place complex items with hidden cavities in the oven at 175* for an hour or so to bake out any moisture that I can't reach.
    Small parts like screws and other objects I will place in a basket made out of wire mesh and then attach the negative lead to the basket.
    Do not use stainless steel as a sacrifice rod because it makes a toxic gas.

    If you have any questions not answered by watching the You Tube videos, fell free to call me at 503-705-0098 and I will explain the process to you in better detail.

    I have fantastic results doing this. I was given an old Colt single action revolver that was completely rusted shut.
    You couldn't even tell if it was a Colt it was so rusted. It took three days, but when it was done, you could read the serial #'s and cock the action.
    The barrel was pitted beyond function, so I parted it out and sold the parts on eBay. I gave the frame to my gunsmith.
    He couldn't believe the results, and he uses the same process now.
    Cheers, Jeff
     
  5. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    I suggest that you don't re-blue it. Leave it as stock as possible.

    I've used Birchwood-Casey Blue & Rust remover to good effect. If it was mine, I'd use the BC stuff and clean it, then just keep it lubed. I'd leave the wood alone except that I would use 0000 steel wool and linseed oil and clean it thoroughly. Then I'd buff it with a soft cloth and let it be. A coat of wax or two is okay if you want the wood a bit richer looking. As has been said, a re-blue will drop the value considerably.

    Enjoy that old beauty and shoot it regularly. :thumbup:
     
  6. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    Jbett98 I have read conflicting reports on whether this method will also remove the blueing or not. I believe that the blueing will be removed, but at a far slower rate than the brown rust and should be nearly unnoticeable in a controlled reaction. What say you?
     
  7. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    I have zero plans to re-blue knowing that will degrade the value greatly. I just want to clean up the action, make it shootable, and preserve it for my kids.
     
  8. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    Does the Blue & Rust remover remove the blue too?
     
  9. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Any rust that is present has already removed the bluing.
    The process will remove the rust first, then it will start to remove the metal itself if left long enough.
    It's a simple and cheap way to remove rust and if you set the battery charger on a low setting, it's perfectly safe.
    The process takes a couple of days, so you have plenty of time to examine how it's coming along.
    You can actually see the rust crawl away from the submerged part and head towards the sacrifice rod.

    I went to an estate sale a couple of months ago and for $5.00 bought a large metal tool box that was left out in a metal storage shed.
    Rain had leaked through the roof and the tool box was completely rusted . The box was full of some sort of tools, but it looked like one big lump inside
    I just hooked up the negative lead to the handle and walked away for almost a week.
    I kinda forgot about it and when I dumped out the solution, I found a bunch of Snap-On tools inside.
    1/2" ratchet drives, sockets and screw drivers, plus a bunch of pliers and pry bars
    Most needed further treatment, but I couldn't be happier for $5 bucks and a little elbow grease.

    Try practicing on any rusted metal first and see how it works first.
     
  10. tbotts

    tbotts Bremerton New Member

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    I recommend getting an appraisal from someone who can tell you exactly what that rifle is worth to a collector. Looking at the pictures posted, I dont believe your rifle is gonna bring you any high prices cause of all the rust and you wouldn't lose anything by having it reblued, and using it. I would check with a firearms appraiser and make a decision then. winchester 1890 is a fine rifle, I have one in 22 long(it is not collectable either, but I still like it).
     
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  11. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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    Wait dont do anything yet!! Lemmie go find the name of the stuff Ive used for years.....

    Ok what you need is some stuff called RB 17 made by RB-17 inc, just google it. This stuff works wonders on old rust. Get yourself some brass steelwool and a bottle of RB.

    Ive had customers think I swapped out their old rusty rifle with a different one.

    Dont use any kind of blue / rust remover. It will actually lift the rust and the bluing with it.

    Its safe and non toxic.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2013
  12. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    This process has been used by museums and restoration company's for years.
    The Super Soda Wash makes the water more conductive to the electrolysis process and is not in any way corrosive.
    It's the only way I know of to remove rust without physically abrading the metal surface.
    You can always tell when someone has used steel wool or some other abrasive to remove rust, and the results are always bad.

    For small rusted screws and such, I use Kroil to break up the rust and get the part removed.
     
  13. ogre

    ogre Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    You're darn right it does!
     
  14. bballer182

    bballer182 Molalla Active Member

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    Well I won't be using that then. This RB-17 stuff sounds pretty neat. I read a little bit about it. All I can find is reviews. No official website though, weird...
     
  15. Velzey

    Velzey Estacada, Oregon Gunsmith Gunsmith Bronze Vendor Bronze Supporter

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  16. GOG

    GOG State of Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    Yes, the B.C. Rust & Blue remover will remove the bluing.