Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Forgotten Colt

They say that guns only have two enemies: Politicians and Rust. Rust is the result of neglect. This post is about a gun that was forgotten. Left in a leather holster on the shelf of a closet somewhere. Luckily it was remembered before nature had ravaged the finish too badly.

My Neighbor brought me a couple of guns to clean up so that he could sell them. Both were in good shape, but it was obvious the owner did not properly store them.
One of the guns was this Colt Detective Special. 

My job was to document the condition of the gun, the build date, estimate is value and prepare it for sale.

This one is a third series Detective Special, which was the 1st of these guns to feature the ejector rod shroud.

It has a serial number of C587XX which puts its birth year in 1973, the 1st year of the third series.
I plan on dis-assembling the gun, give it a thorough cleaning, oil the internal parts, polish the hammer sides, re-assemble the gun then give the exterior a good coat or two of wax. Here is what it looked like when he brought the gun to me.




The dis-assembly of most revolvers starts with the grip panels.
We can already see the evidence of neglect, more evidence when I removed the crane/cylinder assembly
 Above you can see what the internal mechanism of an early 70's Detective Special looks like, you can see spots of rust developing
Once the gun was stripped down I "douched" with Hoppes #9 and scrubbed it with an old toothbrush

Next I put the 1st coat of Carnuba Wax on the exterior surfaces
The hammer sides and the face of the cylinder latch were left "in the white" by Colt, this made them extra vulnerable to the rust demons
The answer is sand paper, I started with 220, then 320 and finally 600 grit sand paper
Looking much better now
Time to reassemble the gun, I lube the internals with a light coat of gun grease and gun oil
A good gunsmith will leave no evidence that he took a gun apart, be sure to use the proper size, hollow ground screwdriver or else you'll bugger them up. 
The screw looks buggered here, but it is just oil, see the picture of the finished gun.
During the final coat of wax and before installing the grip panels I wax the interior of the grips. This will help re-moisturize the wood which will preserve them and help prevent rust on the metal underneath. The one on the right has been waxed, the one of the left has not, you can see how the wood is soaking up the wax
A final coat of wax, then wipe the gun down with a soft flannel cloth and we are done




In case you are wondering, I did inquire about purchasing this gun, but the owner decided to keep it after he saw how nice it looked. I just hope he doesn't stuff it in the holster and put it in a sock drawer and forget about it again......


As with many of my posts I like to show you fine examples of the gun under discussion (3rd gen Detective Specials)






links
Colt Build Dates
The Snub Nose