Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Browning Automatic Rifle Project part 2

If you missed part 1 check it out here

I trepidly collected the gun and a screw driver to remove the recoil pad and find out if this was a dreaded "salt gun".

One word here, this gun while made in the modern era uses slotted screws for the recoil pad, not Phillips head....

The factory recoil pad has "disappearing" screw holes. To prevent the rubber from catching on the shaft of your screw driver you need to used a round shank screw driver (preferably a hollow ground screw driver) also be sure to lubricate the screw drivers shaft with some dish soap. Of course you could use oil, but then you would be getting oil on your shirt or jacket every time you shouldered the rifle.
You need to be extra careful on a gun like this, this recoil pad is older than I am.....

Eureaka! Luck was on our side, the gun is not one of those afflicted with a salted stock.

So the next step is to remove the fore end wood and begin stripping the old finish so we may restore the wood.
The fore end was held on by the swivel stud.

I use the Citristrip brand of varnish stripper. It is safe to use indoors and works well.

 I brush the gel on and let it sit for 15 minutes or so, then card it off with a plastic card. Stay away from the checkering for now.
I then use paper towels to remove the old gunk, then clean the wood with rubbing alcohol, acetone or paint thinner...the stock already looks way better.
I re-install the recoil pad and begin sanding with 220 grit. You want the recoil pad installed so you don't round off the edge when sanding, it also helps keep a tight & flush fit if you sand them as one piece.

The diggers in the stock became more noticeable as soon as I started sanding

I sanded with 220 grit, then when I was satisfied that I had removed all the scratches, I moved up to 600 grit. I then wiped everything down with acetone.
 I tried a different technique this time. I normally put on the 1st coat of Tru-Oil heavy, then buff with steel wool then do two "slurry sanded" coats using 600 wet/dry paper.

This time I used a different technique that I found by watching others. I rubbed the 1st coat in hard, until the oil was dry, it left a nice even finish, no chance of runs or drips.
In between each coat I will buff lightly with 0000 steel wool. the buffing is only to remove any dust, lint, hair or anything else that may have gotten onto the tacky surface before it dried.
I stay away from the checkering until the final coat, the checkering will get "filled" with the Tru-oil, so I brush it in on the last coat. Be sure to check for runs before they dry....

Here they are after coat #1, I will wait 12 hours then start coat #2

The final coat will be buffed with Brownell's stock rubbing compound for a satin finish.

The instructions call for rubbing the compound against the grain 1st, then with the grain.

While the stock finish was drying I started on the barreled action. The first step is always dis-assembly.
This gun was a little tricky to get apart, it is similar to a semi-auto shotgun. The assembly has a stout rotating bolt with three interlocking lug shoulders.

Once apart I decided to polish the charging handle and the bolt cover. Here they are before polishing:
While the gun was apart I started cleaning up the metal. I decided not to reblue this gun as the pitting is minor and localized to the sides of the receiver only.
Here is what it looked like before I massaged it with 0000 steel wool and gun oil
After the gentle polishing with the steel wool and oil I move to carnuba wax and soft flannel.

After the wood and steel were ready I reassembled the gun, not an easy task. Let's just say you need three hands to get it done.


Before and After


1 comment:

  1. Several years ago I thought I would detail strip and clean a BAR. That three hands part sure isn't a joke. Good job on making that old girl look brand new again.