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Where do you draw the line with modifying "historic" guns?

Andy54Hawken

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One thing to remember about many sporterized military rifles is that they were sporterized when :
They were common...
They were inexpensive...
They were just another German , English , Japanese , etc rifle...

Heck Just after the War of 1861-1865...Bannerman's sold a lot of rifles and muskets as surplus...many a fine rifle or musket was converted into a muzzleloading shotgun....

Articles in the American Rifleman told you just how to sporterize that rifle..
That you just ordered ( from that very magazine ) and had delivered to your door...:D
Whole chapters in gunsmithing books of the period were devoted to just how make a sporter out of that old army gun...

Of course I am talking about the 1950's and 60's...as well as the1970's and 80's to a smaller extent.
In the 1980's and 1990's Navy arms imported some sporter and heavily modified Lee-Enfield rifles as well as some neat Mauser rifles and Carbines in .45-70...Kimber also did a run of Mauser sporters....

Would I suggest now taking a unmucked with Mauser 98K and turning into a sporter...nope
But times have changed and these rifles have gone up in price and are more uncommon...
Partly , because of folks making sporters out of them....and partly because of movies like
Saving Ryan's Privates , Brothers of the Band and the like....:D
Andy
 

ZigZagZeke

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  • If the gun is totally trashed, nonfunctional, lump of scrap metal, a restoration that gives you joy, and in the future someone else, why not.
This!!!!!!! That's how this restoration started out. Had it been in even slightly better condition it would have remained a wall hanger, but now it is a fully functioning shooter.
RRBRestore-RtFullsm.jpg
 
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Where do I draw the line with modifying historic guns ? That depends on general condition, and then condition of specific parts.

Excellent, collector types go to collectors, 'cause I are not one.

If the rifle is mediocre, I either part it out ( allowing someone to refurbish / restore a rifle ), or I get it back to reasonably useful.

Let's say an M1 Garand is decent, except for a sewer pipe barrel- it probably gets a new barrel ( and complete inspection et cetera ) , and continues to live.

Let's say the same M1 Garand has a horrible op-rod track- it gets parted out.

As another example there is a 71/84 Mauser that has a chopped stock and magazine, but the action is very nice - it will become a 40-82 or 45-90 sporter.

;)
 
As another example there is a 71/84 Mauser that has a chopped stock and magazine, but the action is very nice - it will become a 40-82 or 45-90 sporter.
Oh, a 71/84 in .45-90 sounds like fun. :D
 

Ura-Ki

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Well, I have 2 perfect examples of this!
First one is a hand me down wall hanger 1855 patent Colt revolving rifle my Grandad had, it's a non functioning, poor condition historical piece, but is worthless unless you like wall art! It needed a bunch of serious metal work and many parts made and a new barrel, but it's getting closer to being a functional shooter!
The second is a 1895 Winchester that is in very nice shape, but it has been used and it shows it's age and hard use! It has a threaded muzzle, and initially I suspected it was done recently, but history seems to prove it most likely isn't new work! I'm considering bringing it back to it's original new condition and sourcing/fabbing a Maxim suppressor for it, as it likely had in the early 30's! In many ways, it's proper to leave it as it is, given its probable history, but it's value is also tied to the modifications it has! So, restoring it will also not change it's value!
 

Mikej

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Meh, my property, not yours! I’ll do whatever I want to to it!:s0066:
I'll see your :s0066:, and raise you a ... :s0096:...:D

Right you are! I won't hold it against you though! :s0114:

I spent some time coming up with that response. Being new as I am to firearms, and even newer to long guns, I guess I should have said it makes me ache inside when I see a perfectly functional (with a little work) historic gun "Sporterized". It's kinda like someone getting an old 1926 Model T Delivery that was mostly complete and chopping it up to make a hot rod out of it. Being an older than you kind of guy, my view is probably different than others much younger than me too. :s0090:
 

Mikej

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This!!!!!!! That's how this restoration started out. Had it been in even slightly better condition it would have remained a wall hanger, but now it is a fully functioning shooter.
View attachment 652174
Now this ^^ is righteous!
I have a fugly, with a capitol F, Remington Rolling block saddle ring carbine dating to 1891 in a large caliber that I've debated selling, or seeing if there's something that can be made of it. Something like that I don't see anything wrong with trying to bring back some of it's former glory. All it does is sit in the dark safe, with no life.
 

orygun

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Several years ago I started acquiring parts to make an SMLE sporter. I even had a decent No4 MKI to work with. I just couldn't cut the rifle up and sold it as it was. (I'd bought it from GI Joes !)
A few years later a Golden State Arms Mountaineer popped up minus the mag, which I had. I ended up giving away the Golden State stock and forend. Being a previously modified gun I had no qualms about giving it my own twist. It turned out nice, but I ended up parting with it because finishing the project was an end of it's own.
Golden State 1.jpg Golden State 2.jpg
 
Its my buck, I'll fold it any way I like.
I rather see it this way, though likely won't garner much support; If "save everything, and unaltered" is the gospel, then given enough future time passed, at some point there will be no where to store all that "saved history".
Most Large museums now have basements or even warehouses full of donated or consigned "saved history" folks will likely never see for lack of display space. On the up side, the more folks alter, wipe away patinas, sporterized, the more valuable the rest in collection is.
 

ZigZagZeke

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Now this ^^ is righteous!
I have a fugly, with a capitol F, Remington Rolling block saddle ring carbine dating to 1891 in a large caliber that I've debated selling, or seeing if there's something that can be made of it. Something like that I don't see anything wrong with trying to bring back some of it's former glory. All it does is sit in the dark safe, with no life.
If you ever seriously consider selling that carbine let me know. :)
 

orygun

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Its my buck, I'll fold it any way I like.
I rather see it this way, though likely won't garner much support; If "save everything, and unaltered" is the gospel, then given enough future time passed, at some point there will be no where to store all that "saved history".
Most Large museums now have basements or even warehouses full of donated or consigned "saved history" folks will likely never see for lack of display space. On the up side, the more folks alter, wipe away patinas, sporterized, the more valuable the rest in collection is.
Even if I don't completely agree, I support your reasoning to do what you want with your guns.
I have a friend who is in the middle of taking a fairly original 1930 Model A Tudor, chopping the top and swapping to a small Chev engine. He does good work and has tried to convince me to like it. I don't, but it's not my car.
My boss is pretty outspoken and sometimes gets mad at customer for what they do, or want to do to their cars. When he tries to include me in the conversation, I decline. "It's not my car".

To me it's very much like Freedom of Speech. I may not like what someone has to say (sometimes that's a major understatement), but I'll be damned if I'll let anyone squelch my voice!
 

Mikej

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If you ever seriously consider selling that carbine let me know. :)
I'll keep that in mind. It was your gun above, in part, that makes me feel I should hang on to it to do something. I know the throat is really bad. Not sure about muzzle but assume it has to be pretty bad too. So a barrel insert, like you did, would more than likely be appropriate. It's the last junker of dads I still have.

If I ever get it to a smith and discuss options maybe it would be so expensive I'd not want to go for it? I would hopefully be in Florence at that time so a meet up would be easier.
 
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If silencers ever were to be un NFA'd I would make a suppressed flintlock with red dot. Probably some cheap kit gun. New manufacturing is open season on weirdness. Don't think for a second I wouldn't do it.

Here you go.
Looks legal to permanently affix a suppressor to a muzzle loader?

 
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ZigZagZeke

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I'll keep that in mind. It was your gun above, in part, that makes me feel I should hang on to it to do something. I know the throat is really bad. Not sure about muzzle but assume it has to be pretty bad too. So a barrel insert, like you did, would more than likely be appropriate. It's the last junker of dads I still have.

If I ever get it to a smith and discuss options maybe it would be so expensive I'd not want to go for it? I would hopefully be in Florence at that time so a meet up would be easier.

The liner itself is sold by the inch at ~$7 per inch. Mine was about $150. That's pre-rifled. Then you simply have to drill out the old barrel and install the liner and chamber it for what you want. I think that part of mine ran about $300, liner included. The rest of the restoration is whatever you decide to do.
 
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raftman

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Other than restoring something fairly far gone, I don’t really see a good reason for messing with “historic” firearms. These days there are so many modern options for anything, and these options will often be cheaper and better anyways so why bother?

For example, why sporterize a milsurp rifle when you can just buy a commercial sporter for less, without really giving anything up?

Or the other example that’s come come up already are the bubba’d SKS’s. People can spend so much essentially trying to convert an SKS into an AK (which they can’t ever fully achieve), that they may as well just buy an AK anyways.
 

Flymph

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If you have a bunch of random parts of a historic firearm, it's fine to build them into something special to you. Had a talk about this in the gun shop the other day. A guy built a rifle around a 1917 enfield action, I was shocked until he said he just had a bunch laying around with no home to keep them living.
It's important to keep old guns alive and shooting, but also in good condition.
I wouldn't take an original milsurp gun and modify it, but I would replace broken parts. Restoration is fine on guns that have "seen better days" and refinishing metal or wood is fine so long as it would not be protected from the elements otherwise.
Keep your guns in good condition, bottom line.
 

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