Trying to refurbish family heirlooms that went through the Santiam Fire (only hoping for wall-hangers)

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So my uncle's house was completely burned to the ground in the Santiam Fire, and he had all of my late grandfather's guns. Every single one had the stocks completely burned off, scope glass melted, and none of them will ever work again. However, he had 2 Winchester Model 94's and 2 Winchester Model 92's, all of which were nearly a century old, with one of them actually manufactured in 1897, and they've been in the family for 4 generations. I've heard that all of these old school Winchesters had every single part, down to the pins, cut from solid steel billets, and honestly once you look past all of the burnt material caked onto them, the metal itself isn't too bad, aside from heat discoloration and some rusting from the heavy rainfall a few days ago. They even all still have functional loading gates that push back into the closed position.

Now, I fully expect that none of these guns will ever fire again, and I'm doubtful if the levers will move again, but I know these guns meant a whole helluva lot to my uncle and he doesn't feel right throwing them in the dump and wants to keep them as wall-hangers for sentimental value.I took them in to Guncrafters here in Salem, but they took one look at them and said a project this big wasn't worth their time, which I can understand because these guns are gonna need weeks or even months worth of TLC, and I'm guessing almost any gun shop in the area is gonna tell me the same thing, since it seems like everyone has this preconception that if I replace the stock, it's no longer the same gun, like it somehow negates the fact that it's all still the same metal that's been passed down through my family... So I decided I'd do it myself.

But I have no idea on how to fix up guns like this, having never done anything beyond cleaning out a barrel and spraying on some Remington oil. So I'm hoping I can get some good tips and tricks on trying to do this, or maybe someone could suggest a youtube channel with good instructional videos for this kind of stuff, or a good site for buying stocks?

I'll hopefully be able to get some pictures of them soon, but right now I'm kind of hiding them from my grandmother, who is currently staying with us (she'd been living at my uncle's place), because for some reason she gets super angry at the idea of us spending money to fix up the guns and wants them all just thrown in the trash, even though my uncle has repeatedly stated that he wants to try to fix and keep them. For anyone wondering, yes he is aware that I took the guns from the house wreckage and told me he'd help pay to fix them.

update: got in contact with Velzey and he's willing to help restore them, so I'm taking them up to Copeland in the near future.
 
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I don't have much to offer other than, as you know, if they got that hot I expect that you'll want do it in such a way as to make sure they can't chamber and fire live ammo in the future. Restoring them as non-firing relics sounds like a cool project though.

While you're deciding what to do and how to go about it, you'll want to stabilize them. I assume you've oiled them to stop the rust?
 
OP
J
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I don't have much to offer other than, as you know, if they got that hot I expect that you'll want do it in such a way as to make sure they can't chamber and fire live ammo in the future. Restoring them as non-firing relics sounds like a cool project though.

While you're deciding what to do and how to go about it, you'll want to stabilize them. I assume you've oiled them to stop the rust?
Unfortunately, not yet. I can't really do anything with them at home, because my grandmother will go totally ballistic if she sees them. Though I have a can of Rem Oil and some vinyl gloves, so I might just spray them down on the towel they're laying on in the back of my car.
 
OP
J
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okay so I managed to get a few pictures while I was out oiling them in the car. Like I said, they look toasted, but a lot of it is wreckage from the house or the gun socks burnt on, and there's a few spots with nearly untouched metal.
You can ignore the two random guns at the top in a few of the pics, those were some bolt actions I was gonna bring in, but I want to just focus on the lever actions.

1.jpg 2.jpg 3.jpg 4.jpg 5.jpg 6.jpg 7.jpg 8.jpg
 
You might be surprised at what can be fixed here, so don't go off the deep end of things and make a move until you know where you actually are with these!
You see Junk, I see plenty of potential here, First, get them in oil, right quick and in a hurry like! Second, don't try to take them apart, look into the electro chemical rust conversion process, its super easy to do and might allow you to preserve these in better shape then any other method! Lastly You really need to talk to Tim @Velzey ( if he also didn't get burned out of his home) to get his expert opinion on things!
 
OP
J
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First thing you want to do is hose them down with some oil. Or dunk them in it. That fire/smoke is quite corrosive.
Yeah, I sprayed them down with what was left of my Rem Oil after I took the pictures. I'm checking out your Copeland website and the restoration on that Colt 1911 definitely gives me hope on getting these guns restored.
 
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Yeah, I sprayed them down with what was left of my Rem Oil after I took the pictures. I'm checking out your Copeland website and the restoration on that Colt 1911 definitely gives me hope on getting these guns restored.
If you have plastic trash bags, put them in the bags and spray, coat, cover or somehow coat the metal and then wrap the plastic around them. At least that will stop the corrosion from spreading.
You can leave them in the trunk like that for awhile if you have to. Very sorry to hear about your uncles place.:(
 
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If you have plastic trash bags, put them in the bags and spray, coat, cover or somehow coat the metal and then wrap the plastic around them. At least that will stop the corrosion from spreading.
You can leave them in the trunk like that for awhile if you have to. Very sorry to hear about your uncles place.:(
I'll have to give that a try. Thanks. Fortunately, my uncle's neighbor's house survived, and they had a friend renting a place not too far from their town that they suggested to him and he's already been able to move his family in.
 
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I'm glad to hear that something can be done with these. Years ago a friend brought me an old High Standard .22 pistol that had been through a house fire. He asked if I could do anything with it for him. I was able to get new grips and springs, and a couple small parts that had gotten lost. I also found info online that indicated those particular .22 rimfire pistols were never heat treated to begin with, so there was no danger of firing it (not that it would get fired much).

He really wanted it nicely blued, so I stopped by a gunsmith and asked what he would charge. When I mentioned that it had been in a fire, he got really snappy, told me that I needed to immediately cut it up with a hacksaw to prevent it blowing up on someone and killing them. He was quite rude about it. Since then I haven't had anything to do with a gun that's been in a fire.
 
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I'm glad to hear that something can be done with these. Years ago a friend brought me an old High Standard .22 pistol that had been through a house fire. He asked if I could do anything with it for him. I was able to get new grips and springs, and a couple small parts that had gotten lost. I also found info online that indicated those particular .22 rimfire pistols were never heat treated to begin with, so there was no danger of firing it (not that it would get fired much).

He really wanted it nicely blued, so I stopped by a gunsmith and asked what he would charge. When I mentioned that it had been in a fire, he got really snappy, told me that I needed to immediately cut it up with a hacksaw to prevent it blowing up on someone and killing them. He was quite rude about it. Since then I haven't had anything to do with a gun that's been in a fire.
Yeah, that's kind of how Guncrafters were, even though I told them I already knew the guns weren't gonna fire anymore and that I just wanted them polished up to be wall-hangers. Honestly, if Copeland works out well, I might have to bring them this old 1917 Carcano Model 1890 my dad has that some guy traded to his dad along with a busted .22 gill gun for a full tank of gas decades ago. Aunt seems to recall the guy said he'd fished it out of the Willamette river. Nobody even knew what it was (called it "probably a Chinese Mauser") until I figured out what the bullets were and that the Carcano was the only gun ever made for them. Thing will cycle through the full clip, but we're not sure if it'll withstand being fired, and the guy did this godawful chop job on a replacement stock for it. Cut the damn thing an inch and a half infront of the clip well, leaving a literal 24 inches of barrel sticking out past the end, and just carved out the side of the stock to make room for that big thumb tab of a safety, didn't retouch up the wood at all. A real shame too, seeing a gun that old with such a bad stock replacement job, sitting next to dad's 1914 Springfield Model 1898 Krag-Jorgensen rifle with this beauty of an offset maple stock my great grandfather hand carved for it.
 

ZigZagZeke

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okay so I managed to get a few pictures while I was out oiling them in the car. Like I said, they look toasted, but a lot of it is wreckage from the house or the gun socks burnt on, and there's a few spots with nearly untouched metal.
You can ignore the two random guns at the top in a few of the pics, those were some bolt actions I was gonna bring in, but I want to just focus on the lever actions.

View attachment 753540 View attachment 753541 View attachment 753542 View attachment 753543 View attachment 753544 View attachment 753545 View attachment 753546 View attachment 753547
This old Remington rolling block #1 sporter had been through a cabin fire. Looked pretty much like yours. No fore stock and half the butt stock burned away. I had it restored and part of that was re-heat treating it. It now shoots .357 mag with no problems.

RRB Restore - 09.jpg

Don't throw those guns away. If you do point me to the dumpster.

You can get exact replacement wood (90% inletted) from Treebone Carving:


They have butt plates too.
 

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