Whether or not to shoot old guns

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I recently got into shooting by happenstance. My grandfather's Winchester Model 62 had been sitting in a closet since as far back as I can remember.... at least 30 years. Covered in dust and it had some white spots on it. On a whim, I decided to spruce it up. I bought a .22 cleaning kit and spent an afternoon giving it a thorough cleaning inside and out. Took a brass brush to those white spots and most came off no problem. Its was no safe queen and by no means in perfect cosmetic condition, but it cleaned up pretty nicely. Took the rifle out to the range and had a blast shooting it! It has open sights and the pump action keeps us honest when shooting... that pause between shots makes me want to make each one count.

However, this gun was built before 1940 and I worry how much life it has left in it. I am shooting standard (not high-velocity) rounds through it. Is there any harm to shooting an old rifle like this? We put maybe 100-150 rounds through it on each trip to the range, which is maybe once every 1-2 months.

What are your thoughts? Am I just looking for an excuse to get a semi-auto .22? :) Or is there a legitimate concern in over-shooting and ruining an old rifle like this?
 

jbett98

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Be very careful of the carrier lift mechanism when the gun is split in two pieces, as it can be bent rather easily when cleaning.
If you start having feeding issues, that's the first place to look. I know this from experience with my Winchester.
 

ron

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I say shoot it, love it and enjoy it. It seems you are being careful
shooting standard velocity ammo. Just don't let it go for weeks without
cleaning it after shooting it. Being this was your
grandfather's makes it extra special. You can never sell it, so enjoy it.
Think about taking out some relatives of your grandfather shooting? ;);)
Maybe some relatives have never shot a gun before?:oops::oops: Who can pass up
a chance to shoot grandpa's rifle? Not even an anti. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:
 

jbett98

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You might want to remove and clean out the magazine tube and inspect the magazine spring for wear.
Numrich Gun Parts has them for only $5.00 and if ordered online with the code of the day, it's free shipping.
You'd be amazed by how much crud can be in there and then the ammo can pick it up and deposit it into the receiver.
 

ZigZagZeke

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This was my great-grandfather's rifle. It was complete junk when I inherited it. I found a good rifle builder and together we restored it to shooting condition. It's chambered for .357 Mag, but I shoot .38 Spl in it pretty exclusively. There's no sense putting unnecessary strain on it just for plinking.

As far as your rifle, I'd shoot it with pleasure as often as possible. Restored Firearms26.jpg
 
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This was my great-grandfather's rifle. It was complete junk when I inherited it. I found a good rifle builder and together we restored it to shooting condition. It's chambered for .357 Mag, but I shoot .38 Spl in it pretty exclusively. There's no sense putting unnecessary strain on it just for plinking.

As far as your rifle, I'd shoot it with pleasure as often as possible. View attachment 347279
That is BEAUTIFUL!!
 

ZigZagZeke

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It'll go to my youngest daughter when I'm gone. This rifle went up the Rosebud River on a steamboat around the time Custer took on Sitting Bull. They said Grandpa Jake came home with a pair of buffalo horns and a Sioux headdress. I never saw the headdress, but I still have the buffalo horns. Then in about 1920 it was in a cabin that burned down. I had to replace the wood and refinish all the metal. It was re-heat treated as well. It was converted about 1910 from rimfire to centerfire by a shade tree gunsmith, probably so it could shoot .38 Longs. We had to re-machine the breech block and make a real centerfire firing pin for it.


Restored Firearms44.jpg Restored Firearms49.jpg Restored Firearms39.jpg
 

Dyjital

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I have my Grandpa's 1952 (unusual) Remington Model 760 in .300 Savage on the wall. I reload for it and shoot it. I have a 1933 Remington Model 33 sitting in the safe... hand made stock by my dad 45+ years ago when he was a kid. It still gets shot.

Guns I wouldn't shoot are black powder cartridge case only guns or Damascus barrel shotguns.
 
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Mark W.

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Four of the rifles in my collection are 1925 or older. As is a shotgun. Three of them are 1905's all of which are shot regularly. The model 1895 in 30-40 Krag is shot at near max allowable pressures ballistics approaching those of a .308.

Shooting a good condition old Winchester will not damage it. Imho
 
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ageingstudent

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I recently got into shooting by happenstance. My grandfather's Winchester Model 62 had been sitting in a closet since as far back as I can remember.... at least 30 years. Covered in dust and it had some white spots on it. On a whim, I decided to spruce it up. I bought a .22 cleaning kit and spent an afternoon giving it a thorough cleaning inside and out. Took a brass brush to those white spots and most came off no problem. Its was no safe queen and by no means in perfect cosmetic condition, but it cleaned up pretty nicely. Took the rifle out to the range and had a blast shooting it! It has open sights and the pump action keeps us honest when shooting... that pause between shots makes me want to make each one count.

However, this gun was built before 1940 and I worry how much life it has left in it. I am shooting standard (not high-velocity) rounds through it. Is there any harm to shooting an old rifle like this? We put maybe 100-150 rounds through it on each trip to the range, which is maybe once every 1-2 months.

What are your thoughts? Am I just looking for an excuse to get a semi-auto .22? :) Or is there a legitimate concern in over-shooting and ruining an old rifle like this?
I've got some old and some new. I love shooting them both but If I had to choose I'd keep the older ones. Something special about those older guns. Just take good care of it and it might make it to your grandson.
 

jordanka16

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Shooting old guns is one of the great thing about collecting them! They were made to be used, not locked away, at least that's my opinion. If something would be seriously degraded in value by shooting it it's probably not something I could afford anyway, lol.

As you say you just have to stick to what's reasonable, no reason to shoot stingers through it, standard .22 is fine. In the same vein the only thing I put through my trapdoor springfield is blackpowder and lead, no reason to stress it with smokeless.
 
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I have my great grandfathers Winchester 1892 chambered in 25-20 WCF from approximately 1904. It probably hasn't been fired since the 1960's; any recommendations for a trusted gunsmith in the PDX area for checking out an old lever action?
 

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