Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Refreshing a Mossberg model 800 Rifle

My neighbor brought me a couple of guns that he wanted me to appraise and clean up. He planned on selling the guns and since they had not been fired or even looked at in a long time, he wanted me to "freshen" them up a bit. One of the guns was this Mossberg model 800A rifle. 
 These were made from 1967 to 1980, designed by Louis W. Seecamp. You may recognize that name as the creator of the Seecamp pistol:
 Note the serial # on this one....maybe they were attempting to displace the Walther PPK as Agent 007's side arm?
Back to the Mossberg. The model 800 was created at the behest of either Montgomery Wards Department stores or Western Auto (or maybe both??), both of which sold many brand labeled guns made by companies like Mossberg.

By the mid 1960's the bolt action rifle had pretty much been perfected. 
Using elements from the Mauser 98, the Japanese Arisaka and the Weatherby, Seecamp built a gun that was well thought out and tough. Many have reported excellent accuracy with the Model 800 as well. 
While doing some research on this model I found a lot of stories that ended with "I wish I hadn't sold it", which in my book is the best kind of review.

I find it interesting that this gun was a lower end, economy priced gun in its day and today it would be a mid to higher end gun. This is a similar story to the Savage model 110.

The Mossberg 800 came in different calibers which were designated by a letter following the model number. The 800A, the most common, was chambered in .308 Winchester, the 800B in .243 and the 800C in .22-250. These were standard grades, Mossberg also made a higher end version with Mannlicher style stocks and factory mounted scopes. In addition they made another bolt action rifle (with a slightly different design) that was a long action for the .30-'06, it was called the model 810.

This particular gun, with a 5-digit serial number was made in 1969 or 1970. 
You can contact the folks at Haviln Sales & Service with your inquiries, they sell all things Mossberg and are the quintessential experts.

This gun will need some good cleaning. I will disassemble the bolt & trigger assembly. I will polish the bolt and oil the internals and wax the external surfaces metal surfaces as well as the internal & external wood.
Here are the before pictures, you can see small rust spots...

Before I dis-assemble any gun I inspect it and clean it. Scrubbing the bore with a brass brush and Hoppes #9.

Once the bore and chamber are clean, dis-assembly starts with removing the barreled action from the stock.

Then remove the trigger components from the action, the trigger assembly housing is made of plastic
Then we dis-assemble the bolt

The firing pin had some corrosion and gummed up grease/oil. This is a bad thing, if the firing pin hangs up you could get a hang-fire (a delayed fire) which could prove to be deadly. After cleaning the gunk, I polished the bolt body and firing pin on the buffer.
I then began cleaning the metal. I used 0000 Steel Wool and some gun oil to gently remove the small rust spots.
After the oil & steel wool treatment I moved to carnuba wax. Two coats on the barreled action

I also wax the interior and exterior of the stock. Many people forget the interior, but that wood needs some conditioning too. The oil in the wax will help the wood from drying and splitting.
Don't worry if you can't get all the wax out of the crevices, it wont hurt anything to leave it there.
Before buttoning everything back up, I cleaned & waxed the exterior of the scope, cleaned the glass and then rubbed some leather dressing into the sling.

The gun is now presentable.

Before and after:


Gun Parts Corp
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Havlin Sales & Service

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