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

Mikej

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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.
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.
Yeah, these two say it better than I could. I'll still stand by messing with a mostly complete historic gun is wrong.
 
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OK. Just put one together.
It's a ''Down but not out'' gun.

Once a U.S. Saginaw SG 30 Carbine. It was buffed and blued within an inch of it's life. With a Mannlicher stock and a funky set of sights.
Also the bolt, op-lever, safety, mag release, and trigger were all chrome plated.

I threw it in a FAT Italian birch stock [Courtesy of the CMP]. And hope this little ''Pinto'' will be a good shooter?
But Lord it's ugly. o_O
 
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Mikej

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At least it's recognizable to the semi trained eye, like my own. Personally, I don't think the chrome parts are ugly. They are certainly NOT M1 Carbine, but....I think It's quite attractive. You being a connoisseur of these rifles I can see where it hurts your sensibilities more than mine.
 
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I just messed with a historic firearm, but stayed within my credo. I swapped cylinders on a nagant revolver to shoot .32acp out of it. It is reversible with no more damage than a cleaning would impart.

I wanted a .32acp revolver, and I always liked the wackiness of that revolver. I am also debating having its barrel threaded to shoot the original cylinder suppressed. Not sure I can stomach that though.
 
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I ran into this recently. I picked up a Model 70 super grade made in 1948 in .270. I knew the stock was shortened and it had a good amount of bluing loss and safety was stuck. No telling how good the barrel was.

I verified it had all original parts and repaired the safety, shot some groups to check the barrel which was ok. From the research from some very knowledagble people on Winchester collectors site, at some point the barrel was turned to remove the front sight and a non factory rear sight block off installed. Stock was shortened quite a bit which makes it difficult for me to shoot. My intention is to put a modern scope on it with good rings(but factory bolt size and pattern) and put it in a new stock and take it deer hunting.
 
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My rule is that if it's a historical item in good safe working order, leave it alone. The time, money, and parts to "improve" it are generally in vain and ruining the value.

Some corrections or improvements are forgivable and reversible. The SKS has a dangerous firing pin that is prone to slam fires, and may be wise to upgrade to a safer one. Anybody can appreciate that correction, purely for safety. The ugly Tapco stock with pistol grip will detract from value, however. It's easily fixed, just keep the original stock.

Sometimes guns come with damage that requires some change. If so, I try to replace with something near original. A rusted barrel can be replaced with a correct one, or a cracked stock can be replaced with a correct stock, etc.

If a gun comes already permanently Bubba'd, as they often do, with cut barrel, tapped receiver, replaced sights, etc. then there's not much that can be done. Just know that the molester probably destroyed any collector value and it's now just a common firearm in general terms. I've seen a LOT of these that are, sadly, far less valuable than had they been left unaltered.
 
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If it’s an intact historic gun I would leave it alone in terms of mods. Save the mod ideas for other stuff. There are plenty of cheap or non-historic guns for any project I can dream up.

Fe I have a $100 gun that will get a folding wood stock and be mounted on a gimbal mount in the next month or so. The only reason is for fun not any practical purpose. The sky is the limit for a gun like that cuz u are only out $100 even if u go crazy and overdue it. And there is no loss of historic character or anything important. With a historical gun it’s different. It’s much harder to get it back to original once it’s modded or sporterized.
 

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